Flow tested the small but very versatile PrestaCycle mini ratchet and Pro tool bits recently and found good things do come in small packages.
First off, the mini ratchet.
Amongst professional bicycle mechanics, it’s common to hear strong opinions on tools, especially favoured type of Allen keys. Whether it is T or P handles, L or “Y” wrenches; most have their choice. When handed the mini ratchet, we were skeptical as this little 32gram, 105mm length ratchet is meant to out-do multiple sets of Allen keys, Torx drivers and screwdrivers? [private]
Turns out that the reversible mini ratchet, when accompanied with the bit set, is one very useful and time saving tool. Its small size and low profile is easy to fit into many tight areas and where access is even more limited; such as a seatpost or a bidon cage bolt; the finely toothed ratchet made it all a synch.
The small size of the mini ratchet also creates a very competitive multi-tool for on-trail use. The interchangeable bit system allowed us to pick the needed bits to match the bike and carry only what is required. Except for the lack of a chain breaker, we found the weight and functionality of the mini ratchet as a multi-tool, class leading.
It does have limitations though; the short length won’t produce enough leverage for items that need extreme tightening, such as crank bolts. It’s this lack of leverage that left us reaching for longer wrenches when it was time to undo tight bolts. We also experienced tool bits getting stuck in some softer bolts and then coming dislodged from the ratchet, slowing down the ratchets efficiency. Lastly, unlike a screwdriver or a T handled tool, the use of down pressure to stop slipping in a worn bolt is difficult and so we don’t consider this a replacement for the Phillips and flat head screwdrivers. It aint perfect, but damn it’s close; we loved the mini ratchet, which now holds a permanent spot on the workbench.
Now to the PRO tool bits, which are the perfect (and much needed) compliment to the mini ratchet.
Made of S2 hardened steel, these top quality ¼” shank bits are seriously durable and tough. These bits are precisely made and gave a secure and confident hold within the bolt heads. With a complete assortment of Allen, Torx and screwdriver bits, this set covers all the commonly used sizes for a modern mountain bike. Longer extensions featuring an angular ball head design are provided where access is limited or where your knuckles may be at risk. We also loved these bits for use in our electric drill driver for doing up rotor bolts and assembling Swedish furniture. When combined with the mini ratchet, these bits create the complete package. [/private]