OneUp EDC Lite steerer-based multi-tool review
An affordable tool that hides inside an alloy fork steerer tube.
An affordable tool that hides inside an alloy fork steerer tube.
OneUp is a Canadian-based accessory and component company with a focus on the mountain bike world. The brand got its start doing 1x conversion kits and chainrings when many mountain bikes still had front derailleurs, and the company has since pivoted into offering impressively well-thought-out dropper posts and cleverly stash-able multi-tools, among other things.
OneUp’s 100cc high-volume mini pump was the clear winner in its category in my previous mini pump shootout. Designed to fill mountain bike tyres and therefore great for gravel bikes, it offers an enormously efficient inflation rate. The head can be removed from the pump to be used as a CO2 inflator, and the pump can be used as a storage vessel for OneUp’s own multi-tool and/or a CO2 cartridge. It’s a strong example of OneUp’s genius.
OneUp’s line of EDC (Every Day Carry) multi-tools offers a similar level of cool tech. Designed to be stashed within the steerer tube of a bike, these tools remain easy to access when needed and unnoticed when they’re not. However, they’re currently limited to bikes with alloy steerer tubes only (such as almost all mountain bikes and most lower-range gravel bikes). Here I give my thoughts on the fairly new EDC Lite, the cheapest (US$40) and simplest option in OneUp’s tool range.
Storing a multi-tool within a steerer tube is a simple idea, but the challenge is how to preload the headset. Traditional threadless headsets use the empty space in the steerer tube for a star nut or compression fitting, both of which host a thread for the top cap bolt. And so before you can stash a multi-tool in there, you need to come up with a workaround for the headset preload.
OneUp now offers three distinct versions of the EDC, but for a long time, there was just one EDC to choose from. The original saw the common starnut replaced by an elegant and impressively low weight threaded lockring (similar to what holds a cassette onto a freehub) that would preload the headset once you had tapped a thread into the alloy steerer tube.
Threading the steerer is done with a clever tapping tool of OneUp’s own creation. OneUp continues to offer this original threaded design – it’s the lightest solution, and it’s what I choose to fit to my personal trail bike. However, tapping the steerer isn’t for everyone and OneUp has since expanded the range.
Sharing the same multi-tool as the original threaded version, the newer EDC Threadless Carrier achieves headset compression via a bolted system that draws the top and bottom of the steerer tube together – and it requires an open fork crown to do so (e.g. a suspension fork). Specialized’s SWAT tool has used a similar design for years, while newer entrants such as Granite and Bontrager offer similar, too. In OneUp’s case, this option adds 52 grams over the impressively feathery threaded version and is more limiting in terms of what can be stashed within.
The multi-tool that stores within either the original EDC (threaded) and EDC Threadless carrier is the same as what the EDC pumps can carry. This US$60 tool features hex keys from 2-8 mm, a T25, Flathead screwdriver, tyre lever, chain breaker, spoke heys, a presta valve core tool, and a spare disc rotor bolt. It also comes with capsules to hold OneUp’s tubeless plug kit, quick link pliers, or various other small parts. Alternatively, you can swap out the plastic capsules for the ability to store a spare CO2 cylinder. Clever indeed.
And that leads me to the third option of the EDC range, one that is the cheapest and easiest to install, but in turn, limits you to just the folding multi-tool.
The EDC Lite is designed to work with almost all 1 1/8″ metal steerer tubes (suspension or rigid fork) that use a regular star nut. Once installed it holds the same nine-function folding multi-tool as the original EDC but offers no additional room for the extra items such as the chain breaker or CO2 holder.
The tool and its respective plastic housing replace your existing headset top cap and bolt, and all told will add approximately 72 g to your bike (including the tool!) The top of the plastic housing is visible above the stem once installed, and OneUp offers six colour options here (black, red, blue, green (tested), orange, purple, and turquoise).
Before buying the EDC Lite it’s important to ensure compatibility with your fork – something OneUp has a detailed guide for. Mainly you want to check the available fork length, the internal diameter of the steerer (needs to be at least 24.1 mm), and that you do indeed have a star nut in place. Most bikes fitted with an aluminium steerer should be fine.
Installation is straightforward and requires only a hammer and a long 4 mm hex key; the rest is provided. The process simply involves removing your headset top cap bolt, threading in the provided installation bolt, and then using it to hammer the star nut further down the steerer tube. The EDC Lite’s plastic housing is then ready to install and thread into the freshly lowered star nut. In some cases, you can do the installation without even undoing your stem or having to re-adjust the headset.
Once installed you’re left with a perfectly shaped hole to accept OneUp’s own EDC multi-tool (other tools won’t fit). This compact folding tool covers 2-8 mm hex bolts, T25, and a flat head screwdriver.
Accessing the tool is simply a matter of pulling up on the plastic top cap and unfolding the size driver you need – it’s super quick to access and put back. Better yet, there are no rattles or similar annoying noises from it, and when installed correctly it goes by entirely unnoticed.
The tool quality absolutely gets the job done and each size offers a secure fit in fasteners – I’d liken the quality to tools from Topeak, Pedro’s, and similar. The tools offer a decent length, easily enough to fit into recessed fasteners like those found in rear derailleurs or some seatposts. Like any small multi-tool, leverage can be an issue, but the tool is well sized to handle almost any common task other than undoing tight pedals or crank bolts.
Of course, such a simple tool is only good for dealing with fasteners, and it’s not going to be any help if you need to adjust a spoke or fix a broken chain – OneUp’s more advanced tools serve that purpose.
Likewise, having a multi-tool in your steerer means you give up the option to replace the headset top cap with another accessory such as a computer or camera mount.
Additional plastic housings ($15 each) can be purchased separately in case you wish to move the tool from one bike to another or swap the colours up. And it is possible to use the stored multi-tool to tighten your headset preload – the only issue is that the plastic housing will rotate in the process and so you won’t have logo ideal alignment with this method. Still it’s nice to know that you aren’t stopped from adjusting your headset in the wild.
Overall it’s a neat and simple solution for those who want a basic multi-tool to make simple adjustments, remove thru-axles, or similar. However, if you’re after an all-in-one tool that can handle more detailed repairs, then this isn’t it.
Currently, none of OneUp’s EDC tools can be used within a carbon steerer tube. And the company’s mini pumps remain the best way to carry their original EDC tool on a gravel bike that has a carbon steerer. Still, that begs the question: will we see OneUp produce a carbon-steerer-friendly EDC?
A OneUp representative was quick to return with a somewhat coy answer to my question. “As you said, we currently do not offer a carbon-friendly EDC tool. That’s about all I can say at the moment!” Curious indeed.
Currently, options are extremely limited for such tools designed to be stashed within carbon steerer tubes. And unlike using such a tool in a metal steerer tube, one designed for carbon steerers also needs to be able to offer some form of support against stem compression.
The Granite Designs Stash RCX is perhaps the only multi-tool example I’m aware of that’s designed for hiding within carbon steerers, and that has some notable limitations and concerns around its effectiveness against tube compression. Specialized had a chain tool that fit inside a carbon steerer, however, this appears to have been discontinued. Either way, I’m certainly keen to see what OneUp can come up with in this space.
In the meantime, those keen on stashable tools for use on drop bar bikes are limited to options that make use of the space in the ends of handlebars or underneath bottle cages. The likes of Wolf Tooth, Topeak, Specialized, Syncros, and a number of others offer such things, but I’m still keenly waiting for something better to fill the void in the steerer.