I stumbled across these recently, and decided to give them a shot. Being a MAMIL, I am easily distracted by bright and shiny objects, and the orange anodizing basically pulled the money directly out of my wallet. Resistance was futile.
I’m spending more time on gravel bikes than mountain bikes these days, and I had hoped that these diminutive tools would fit in the end of my drop bars. However, the tools are about 1/2″ too long, hitting the point where the lower part of the bar starts to roll upwards.
I also tried them in my Spank Vibrocore drop bar (review coming soon. Maybe), but the internal foam also did not allow for enough depth. So, into the mountain bike bars they went.
The Chain Tool has a handle which screws into the tool for storage, a location for a spare quicklink, and 2 handlebar endcaps. A rubber compression plug anchors it in the bar end.
The handle does not screw in to the tool in the operation position, so you can expect to drop it in the dirt several times. The quicklink is held in place with a tiny O-ring, although I am considering drilling the tool and putting in some magnets. In my experience, magnets rarely dry out and crack.
The endcap uses a 3mm Allen bolt to tighten the expansion plug, but a 5mm to operate the pin extractor. Since you’ve probably stopped and gotten out your multi-tool, this isn’t a big deal, but with some tool configurations, swapping between bits is a pain. It would be nice if both bolts used the same sized wrench, but this is a minor quibble.
I broke and reassembled a few chains I found in my spares drawer, and the tool was fine with 8,9,10, and 11-speed chains. I don’t know if it will work with a SRAM 12-speed. The anvil on the tool is a single-position, but the pins went back in smoothly and the re-connected links did not bind. If you have a quicklink, odds are you are just breaking the chain, and the tool does this well.
This is effectively the same size as the Chain Tool, and mounts in the handlebar in the same way. It includes 4 plugs, in 2 sizes, piercing tool, and hook. Like the Chain Tool, it has 2 handlebar endcaps.
The body of the tool unscrews from a central barrel, which covers the tools and provides storage for the plugs. I didn’t test it, as my tubeless tires are currently not punctured, but after dealing with a nail stuck in a tire last year, I’m a big believer in carrying plugs.
Like the Chain Tool, this was too long for my FSA drop bars, and it may be that Granite Designs can shorten the tool body slightly, but since no two drop bar designs are the same, they’ll never really fit everything anyway. Since these tools are now on my mountain bike, I moved the tire plug kit from that bike to my gravel bike saddle bag. No big deal, really.
Overall, these tools seem reasonably priced at about $20 each, which isn’t bad for something you really don’t want to ever use. If you find yourself out in the woods, with no cell service and a trashed chain or punctured tire, however, they are priceless.