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all photos: Jeff Barber

Topeak is not messing around with their Alien series of mountain bike multi-tools. I recently checked out the Topeak Alien III which packs 31 tools into a heavy-duty — and just plain heavy — portable, package.

The Alien III mixes in a few different tools compared to the Alien II, but most importantly features a stronger body which makes the tool easier to wrench on stubborn parts.  The unique split body disassembles to provide easier access to the tools, particularly the chain tool and the locking, serrated knife/saw blade.

Of course the Alien III has all the basics covered: hex keys (from 2mm up to 10mm), standard Phillips and flathead screwdrivers, a bottle opener, three spoke wrench sizes, box wrenches (8, 9, and 10mm, though most mountain bikers won’t use these), and a torx bit (sadly, only a T25).

Don’t forget to take this out of your carry-on luggage if you’re flying.

Beyond the standard tools, Topeak crammed in a serrated, inch-and-three-quarter-long locking blade. The blade is one feature many bike multi-tools omit, but one that comes in very handy on the trail.

Mountain bikers will be especially stoked with the removable disc pad spreader and storage for two master links for easy chain repair. The robust chain breaker is stout and should be compatible with everything from singlespeed chains up to 12-speeders.

There’s a metal tire lever for when you need to cheat, though even Topeak advises against this saying it’s “designed for durability and for emergency use only.”

Given the number of tools in the Alien III, Topeak has done a decent job keeping the overall package fairly compact, though it’s still bigger than almost any other “packable” tool on the trail. At 276g (actual weight), it’s easily one of the heaviest. Topeak includes a nylon tool holster for the Alien III that can be clipped to a belt or hydration pack strap, saving precious cargo space and making the tool easily accessible.

The Alien II is still around, and costs about $15 less than the Alien III. It has the same number of tools, though a slightly different mix, and weighs even more at 290g.

The Topeak Alien III retails for about $65USD (find online) which is pricey, even among high-quality multi-tools. But for those who can never be too prepared, the Alien III provides priceless peace of mind.

Thanks to Topeak for providing the Alien III multi-tool for review.

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