though i have four bicycles currently at my disposal, i have only two seat packs, both of which contain a spare inner tube, a tyre lever and a multi-tool. one of those tools, and at present i could not truthfully relate in which seat pack it resides, is simply a park allen wrench set, ranging from 3mm to 10mm. the other unidentified receptacle holds a true if elderly multi-tool offered by the clever folks at crank bros. containing a 2mm allen wrench over and above those on the park version, along with a chain rivet tool and some screwdrivers.
though i'd feel naked if it left home without either of the above, with the exception of the spare tubes and tyre levers, i have rarely had recourse to have need of either multi-tool.
unlike eddy merckx who possibly covered more kilometres riding back to the team car to have his mechanic adjust the seat height than he did in racing, i rarely have to adjust anyhting mid-flight. i've had my preferred seat height verified by cyclefit, and everything else is tightly bolted to prevent any unexpected eventualities during my velocipedinal excursions. but that is not to say that they have been hermetically sealed for the better part of a decade.
those whose bicycles are composed of carbon trinketry cannot have failed to notice the varying numbers stamped on the weave suffixed by the letters nm, initials which signify the number relates to newton metres. of course, we all know intuitively just what a newton metre equates to don't we? no, in fact, very few of us do, and even fewer knew what nm stood for in the first place. if only we all had torque wrenches easily to hand.
the latter is a tool with a price tag that few would be willing to pay if only to ensure the seat bolt was correctly tightened. though obviously incorrect tightening could cause other iniquities, if the biggest problem is likely to be a broken seat bolt, it would be a lot cheaper to replace than buying a bicycle torque wrench. i have, when assembling review bikes, erred on the side of caution when tightening stem and bar retaining bolts, often to my embarrassment when the handlebars have taken a journey south mid-ride. it seems a newton metre is a tad hardier than i had surmised, at which point, a multi-tool has come in remarkably handy.
the modern road bike seems hell-bent on ever increasing complexity and sophistication, with more than just a few of those allen bolts having morphed into torx activated examples, all of which inhabit almost all the sizes on the tool available. it is, therefore, perhaps of little surprise that particularly in urban haunts, the single speed or fixed gear has gained a foothold in pelotonic popularity. with many of these still cheerfully sporting quill stems, the bolt count has halved and with no derailleurs, there's even less need for adjustment screws to be incessantly footered with.
but, for all their simplicity, fixed gear, single speed and bikes with hub gears still succumb to punctures, perhaps even more so as they frequent inner city streets more prone to tyre invading detritus than the wide-open country highways and byways. thus the riders of such machinery still have need of repair facilities, albeit of a more simplistic nature. often the standard multi-tool is left wanting at this stage, for most of the above described bicycles ignore the use of quick release skewers. most, if not all, have the wheels retained by the ubiquitous 15mm wheelnut a tool for which seems conspicuous by its absence on the average multi-tool.
previously demonstrated in these pixels as having the ideal form for peanut butter munching, portland design works' 3wrencho consists of a very sturdy tyre lever at one end, and a 15mm spanner/wrench at t'other. if the more squeamish amongst you are already looking away at the thought of a steel tyre lever mangling those beautifully machined alloy rims (i wouldn't risk it on carbon), the 3wrencho comes in two distinct flavours; coated and uncoated. paligap sent me the coated version when i too demonstrated my squeamishness.
there has been more than one occasion recently when i have found myself straining every sinew and spouting every profanity in the gaelic dictionary while attempting to fit a tyre that seemed every bit not the same size as the rim. there are one or two broken tyre levers on the back porch. pdw's 3wrencho would have been a godsend as it verges on the unbreakable. in fact, when fitted snugly over a 15mm wheelnut that refuses to let go, it's possible to stand on the lever to provide a substantial degree of force with which to persuade it.
however, the more eagle-eyed amongst you will have noted that this is named the 3wrencho and i have paid testament to only two distinct properties. could it be that portland design works are guilty of illicit advertising?
you know when you've fixed a puncture and have this overwhelming desire for some peanut butter...?
thursday 20th june 2013