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In this first-look review, mechanic/photographer Andy Rogers checks out the Toolbox made by PRO Bike Gear, Shimano’s in-house component and tool brand.
One thing that most cyclists will benefit from at one point or another is a decent set of tools. They let you perform maintenance at home (often at the last minute!) and save you money in the long run by not needing to take your bike to your LBS for every little thing. Having decent tools also helps you learn more about the way your bike works.
The difference between a good tool kit and an average one is what tools you get and the quality of the tools inside; which can be the difference between causing damage to your components and having a stress-free maintenance experience.
The first thing that struck me was the sturdy case the kit came in. Not only does this act as an excellent storage solution for your tools but it also protects them from any damage. The case isn’t particularly heavy and does have a nice handle making transport super easy.
Upon opening the easy-to-use but still-secure latches I was greeted by quite a broad selection of tools themed in PRO’s standard blue and black colour scheme and their familiar logo.
The kit covers most things that a cyclist would need: a full allen key set and, surprisingly, a full torx key set which is becoming a more widely used standard of bolt. I was very happy to see this included. The basics were covered with a pedal spanner, a set of tyre levers, cable cutters and both a flathead and Phillips-head screwdriver.
The kit also includes tools for those inclined to get a bit more involved. A set of cone spanners, a chain whip, 11-speed-compatible chain tool, chainring bolt tool and socket spanner (with bottom bracket, freewheel and cassette sockets included) were also provided. There was also a handful of spoke keys included as well.
The tools lived up to their visual expectations and performed quite well. The tools felt comfortable and safe in hand thanks to the grip surface on most of them. The socket attachments fitted securely onto the socket spanner and didn’t fall off in use which can sometimes happen with cheaper socket tools.
The chain tool broke chains of multiple speeds with no issues. The cable cutter cut inners and outers cleanly. The allen/torx keys and screwdrivers performed as you’d expect most simple tools to perform; not once did they chew out any bolt heads.
The spoke tools were probably the least impressive item in the kit. Initially they worked well, with a familiar shape and feel to the Park Tool spoke keys, but the sizes offered were a bit too large and started slipping on nipples at higher tensions. Some tools also had a tendency to fall out of their slots in the case when closed but this was infrequent enough to not be that annoying.
All in all this is quite a good tool kit. It covers most scenarios that the majority of cyclists would encounter and the specific gaps it leaves can easily be filled by taking a visit to your LBS. Most of the tools performed very well with only a few lacking in minor areas. The case is a great storage and transport solution. This tool kit would be great as a selection of tools to keep at home and even take with you when you take a cycling holiday or drive to a race, just in case any last-minute adjustments are required.
Click here to read more at the PRO Bike Gear website.