Reviews / Tools
The new F-series of tools from CrankBrothers aims to add an even sleeker and neater multitool to the already impressive range available. Available in 3 versions the basic F10 is a 10 function folding multitool, but the F10+ gets a bit more funky with the addition of a magnetic sleeve in which the tool sits, and also provides a comfy handle and additional torque. The F15 as featured here cranks things up a notch again with the addition of a chain tool and spoke wrenches in the other end of the sleeve, again being held in place with a magnet. The main thing about the new F-series is magnets, and housing a great tool in a sleek package.
Features on the F15:
Chain tool: 8/9/10/11/12 -speed compatible
Spoke wrenches: #0, 1, 2, 3
Hex wrenches: #2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8
Screwdrivers: phillips #2, flat #1
Built in bottle-opener
The claimed weight is 164g, which matched up with our scales and packs plenty of features for such a neat tool. Everything is backed up with a 5-year warranty from CrankBrothers.
Initial scepticism had me thinking that this tool may well be style over substance. Adding magnetic sleeves looks and sounds good, but I wasn't sure if it was really necessary to create a good trail tool. Still, the features listed were good, so testing commenced by forgoing my tool chest and building some bikes in the workshop with a tiny multitool.
The quality of the tools are very good, specifically, the business ends, with all of them fitting securely and firmly wherever needed. They have a sharp and precise finish which is great to reduce the chances of rounding bolts off with overly excited torquing. The layout is good on the main body, with the larger diameter hex wrenches nearer the edges to help apply more force. The short ends allow for access to awkward to reach places and the 8mm hex is hollowed out to reduce weight, all very nice touches. They all move freely but independently and stay where you want, and with use they haven't loosened up.
The sleeve is far more useful than I initially gave it credit for, as it forms a comfortable and strong handle for when you need a bit of leverage. Choose one tool, flick it up and return the body to the holster and you have a ready to go larger handled hex wrench, which is especially useful for tightening pedals or bolt through axles where more force is needed. The holster can be extended for even more force, but it is no longer locked in place and doesn't feel quite as secure, however it's an option for something seriously stuck.
On the other end is the chain tool, which sits neatly into the case, and with the 4mm from the main tool works to create a comfortable and efficient chain breaker. The metal sleeve again is the hero here as it gives a big and solid base to hold onto whilst pushing pins off chains. On the reverse of the chain tool are 4 spoke wrenches which are simple but work well for on-the-trail fixes, but you may not want to build a wheel with them.
The case/sleeve has the added benefit of keeping all potential weapons safely stored out of harm's way, and means sliding the tool into a pocket for a ride works well - it certainly won't stab you in the back. It does, however, feel like quite a chunk of weight and it would have been nice to see some way of perhaps attaching it to a bike or bottlecage especially with the outer case to keep it all together.
The sleeve and magnets are not a gimmick and the whole system works very well together, providing all the useful tools one might need whilst out and about. The handle allows for more force than you could usually achieve from a multitool and keeps all your high-quality tools looking stylish.
For more information visit CrankBrothers.
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By Ewen TurnerEwen Turner is a self-confessed bike geek from Kendal in the Lake District of England. He runs a coaching and guiding business up there and has a plethora of knowledge about bikes with an analytical approach to testing. His passion for bicycles is infectious, and he’s a ripper on the trails who prefers to fit his working life around his time on the bike.
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Dan, Joe and Edgar