On more than one occasion, I have heard people respond to product reviews with, “You got it for free, of course you like it.”

As a reviewer, I can say that it doesn’t really matter, good stuff is good and bad stuff is bad, regardless of the source. If anything, the fallacy of sunk costs might actually imply the opposite effect… but I digress.

At any rate, here is the first of several reviews of stuff I’ve bought with my own dough.

Crank Bros Multi-17

As the name implies, this is a portable multi-tool for trailside repairs and adjustments. Before buying this model, I had tried or borrowed a number of different tools,andI found them all to be either too bulky, lacking specific features, or just plain too expensive. For $20 and weighing in at 168 grams, the Multi-17 nails the first two categories. As for included features, have a look and judge for yourself:


  • Torx bit: t-25 for brake rotor bolts
  • Open wrenches: 8mm and 10mm
  • Screwdrivers: Phillips and flat
  • Hex wrenches: #2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8
  • Spoke Wrenches: #1, 2, 3, 4
  • Chain tool!!

Over the past 5 years I have used every tool on this device, but by far the most crucial one is the chain tool. I have fixed numerous broken chains for other riders along the trail, preventing many a ride from ending on foot.

This tool is flat, but with a slight curve so it fits perfectly into a hydration pack or seat bag. The weight is reasonable, the price is spot on, and you will be amazed at how frequently you’ll dig it out on the trail, especially on group rides.

If you are shopping for a packable multi-tool for anything more than casualmountainbiking, this is the one you want. To me the Crankbrothers Multi-10 is too sparse, whereas the Multi-19 only adds an additional size of each screwdriver. Either way, Crank Bros backs their tools with a lifetime warranty.

Get this tool, put it in your pack, and thank yourself later when you REALLY need it 20 miles into an epic ride. 😀

# Comments

  • arizonaglider

    I’ve ridden with this tool in an under-seat pack for over a year. I’ve never needed any other tool to work on my bike.

  • element22

    You Make a good point Greg.

    I guess people also have to realize that all the media that they read, manufactures send product out for reviews. PB,MTBR,MBA,DZ,SL,Decline…etc..etc…If they like it, they like it, if they don’t then they also say so….Now if it is really, bad people probably won’t hear about it….

    We have had a few products that fell in the last category. Those products usually end up getting sent back or what I at least do is give constructive criticism as to why it performed poorly and ways to significantly improve it.

  • delphinide

    Having used several tools, this is unquestionably my favorite. I have used it several times for different reasons; last week a friend was climbing and his derailleur hanger snapped, destroying a lot of his drivetrain as he inadvertently mashed up the hill a few feet before realizing the damage. We used this tool to turn his 3×8 into a single speed and it worked well. I did the same thing before to my own bike. This tool rocks, dudes.

  • ckdake

    I have 3 or 4 of the Crank Brothers tools (and their wheels on my mtb and their pedals on all of my bikes) but after a particularly mechanical prone ride a few weeks ago where I had to use their chain tool to fix 3 different peoples chains, I’m switching the brand of tool that I carry with me.

    The Crank Brothers chain tool typically is ‘Good Enough’ for on the trail repairs, but on 2 of these chains (that were perhaps a bit more worn than ideal) It kept bending the plates when trying to re-pin the chain. Just using it as a chain breaker is fine, when you have enough ‘missing link’ type snap in links to fix things, but when those run out (and who carries a handful of them?) a Topeak chain tool is the way to go.

    Thankfully, someone on the ride had a Topeak Alien multi tool which has a _much_ better chain tool. I got a Topeak Survival Gear Box for my mountain bike bag which includes their fantastic chain tool, and I’m looking forward to the next broken chain 🙂

  • azdrawdy

    I have owned several of these over the years, and while I appreciate their usefulness and compactness, I have been disappointed that they always tend to rust when left in a seatpack or even my Camelbak. For that reason I abandoned them and have gone to other tools, which at the moment is a Topeak Alien (the knife blade is extremely useful and has been used to cut many things over the years). Perhaps CB has addressed the rust issue in the last several years?

  • trek7k

    @madd, I think ck was saying his group burned thru all their power links.

    I’ve also run into rust issues with multitools – except the Topeak.

  • delphinide

    Yes, mine started to rust in my camelbak after the first ride…and my topeak MacGuyver was awesome until the chain tool fell off of the tool itself.

  • AK_Dan

    Love this tool and never a rust issue.
    Recently save a damsel in distress miles out into the backwoods of Bend with one of these and one of them spare links – ya just never know…

  • slipfinger

    These comments “forced” me to head to my LBS to grab a couple power links for my pack, you never know!
    When I first stocked my saddle bag for my road bike, I decided on a different multi-tool due to weight, even though they stocked this model. I think I’m going to have another look, now that I am starting to gather items for my MTB pack.
    Thanks for the review maddslacker.

  • arizonaglider

    slipfinger, ditto on the “head to my LBS to grab a couple power links for my pack”.
    What a light weight “I wish I had one of those” items
    Thanks maddslacker

  • element22

    An easy fix to the rusty powerlinks… Lightly coat them in oil, drying as much away as you can…Then place them in a small zip lock bag.

  • maddslacker

    I leave them in the sealed blister pack until needed. I just use scissors to trim down the cardboard backing.

    Not that anything rusts here anyway…

  • jaredmcvay

    Just added it to my Amazon cart for the next order. Thanks for the info.

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