Crankbrothers M19 Multi-Tool Review: Built To Last
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Reviewing this multi-tool is about as easy as it gets. It's a multi-tool. It's not designed to be the ultimate toolset but it is certainly well equipped. It is designed to be there for you regardless of how far off the beaten path you find yourself and for when you think you have gotten yourself into the mother of all pickles.
Considering the fact that this thing has been in production for over 10 years, simply stating that Crankbrothers have got it "figured out" is a bit of an understatement. Needless to say, if you are in the market for a new mountain biking multi-tool, the Crankbrothers M19 should most certainly be on your list.
The plethora of tools packed into this multi-tool is impressive. I tend to keep it on me regardless of when or where I am biking. In fact, on some occasions, I have found myself reaching for my M19 multi-tool instead of my proper tools in the toolbox simply because this tool is so convenient.
This tool really does have it all but just in case you are looking for something specific, you can find a complete list of the included tools below…
8/9/10/11/12 Speed Compatible
#2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8
Phillips #1, Phillips #2, Flat #2
#0, 1, 2, 3
As you might have expected, we have found the quality of this product to be superb. Picking this thing up for the first time will definitely leave you impressed; “hefty” seems to be the right word here. The fit and finish is very nice and the all-metal construction means that this is a tool built to last.
The case, on the other hand, is up for debate. On one hand, I love and appreciate that this very sleek and aesthetically pleasing tool has an equally attractive case to match but on the other, the case isn’t the highest quality I have seen. Its definitely a nice addition, but I don’t expect it to last long.
Unfortunately, the case is only partially metal. The end caps of the storage case are made of plastic and due to the way they latch to the metal, the plastic tabs seem to be getting chewed away by the metal with each use. Popping the plastic in and out of the case each time you use the tool seems to take an irreversible toll on the plastic rather quickly…
*For those of you wondering, this tool is NOT made in the U.S.A. but truthfully, I’d be surprised if it was. Not to worry though, the quality of this product is still top-notch.
Weight - As Advertised?
Unlike long-distance backpacking, when it comes to mountain biking, people don’t seem to be near as fanatical about weight. Don’t get me wrong, I ride a carbon frame and even have carbon wheels to match but at the end of the day, I’m still carrying more water than a need most of the time and I don’t find myself being overly concerned with the weight of this tool.
The advertised weight of this product is 175g and we found that to be pretty accurate — WITHOUT the case. If you factor in the weight of the case, you’re looking at more like 219.71g based on our scale.
Portability & Ease of Use
This tool is not exactly the MOST portable tool I can image however it is very good. It fits very nicely in the tool pouch of my Osprey Raptor 10 Backpack and unless I need it, I don’t think twice about it. On the occasion that I do need, I actually get a bit excited.
This tool is very well built, it is comfortable to hold, and best yet, it will be your most prized piece kit on that day when you’re 6 miles from the car and find out that you need an 8mm hex.
Portability is slightly hindered due to the weight but overall, we wouldn’t consider it bulky or “too heavy”. There is certainly more slim, low-profile, and weight-conscious alternatives but you will have to sacrifice some tools to achieve it.
I know I say this all the time, but I am a tightwad. It’s not often that I am happy to pay the asking price for anything, but for this particular product, I am. What’s better is that I didn’t have to and neither will you, unless you’re picky with the color.
While the MSRP of this tool is 34.99, you can find it nearly anywhere for considerably less. I purchased mine on Amazon for considerably less ($20). Whether you are looking on eBay, Amazon, or your local bike shop, you probably won’t have to spend 34.99 but even if you did, we still think its worth it.
Unlike some other companies that only offer 1 or two color choices, Crankbrothers have done a great job producing multiple color variations that should match most of the color preferences out there. Currently, they are producing Nickel, Gold, Black/Magenta, Black/Red (as we have), and Midnight (Black).
There are several more colors that we have seen from previous releases available but prices will vary and you will probably need to do some searching to find what you’re after. We have seen an awesome bright green out there floating around, but we doubt you will find it for $20.
To find the best price with the most color options, we recommend checking amazon here (XXXX). Keep in mind, if you can’t find the color to perfectly match your bike, consider that this thing is built to last and may easily last you well beyond your next bike. Perhaps it will match that one perfectly…
Who Is It For?
According to the Crankbrothers website, this tool is tailor-made for Downhill, Enduro, All Mountain, Cross Country, and Trail riders. While I am not disputing that at all, I do think you would have a hard time not justifying the usefulness of this tool to more riders than just those.
You may not need to keep this tool on you at all times and for all occasions but, I can easily see the benefit of keeping a tool like this in your vehicle for those other times when you or someone in your group wasn’t expecting to need it.
Plainly put, this tool is for those who want to be prepared and don’t mind carrying a little extra weight to ensure no issues arise that they are not fully prepared for.
If for some reason, you find that this big boy doesn’t completely suit your fancy, perhaps one of the other Crankbrothers models will. In addition to the M19, Crankbrothers makes the M17($27.99), M10($19.99), and M5($12.99) with the model number being representative of the number of tools (functions) each model has.
While the M19 is the largest and most comprehensive tool that they offer “M” series you may not need everything that this behemoth has to offer, and that's just fine. Crankbrothers also sells the B series, the F series, and the Y series. They are a little more specialized and a little less general in their tool selection but that may be just what you need. If you find yourself looking for a multi-tool that includes a C02 inflator, magnetized stainless steel bits, or a can opener, they have got you covered.
If you are looking for a different brand altogether, we would suggest checking out the TopPeak Mini 20 Pro(Here). It is lighter than the Crankbrothers M19 and also has an additional function.
This product has a limited lifetime warranty! That is music to our ears, however, not all Limited Lifetime Warranties are created equal. Having never needed to use the Crankbrothers Warranty in the past, we cannot comment on the quality of service you can expect. We can, however, tell you that from the way this product feels, you will not need it. The case may not last long, but this tool feels bulletproof.
Truth be told, the Crankbrothers M19 is more of a worst-case scenario tool. Are there smaller, lighter, more portable multi-tools out there? Definitely. Do I still prefer the M19 and keep it in my backpack every time I ride? Absolutely. With that said, although the M19 is a bit on the heavy side, at the end of the day we still feel that this tool is well worth it and considering both the price and total functions, we think it is easily one of the top 3 best mountain bike multi-tools on the market. We love the shape, the colors, the price, the all-metal construction, and appreciate the labeling on the hex wrenches.
As someone who very much cares for the environment, I would also like to point out that we were very pleased with the packaging on this product. It was both minimal and mostly paper based which is fantastic. We think this is a classic case of “less is more” and we were thrilled that our garbage can was not full of plastic after this purchase.
This tool is a must-have and it is more than fairly priced. It makes for a fantastic gift and should be a welcomed addition to any biker's tool kit. But of course, you don’t have to take our word for it. There are literally a thousand reviews on Amazon stating the same things we have told you here. This tool is robust, it promises to be useful, and perhaps most importantly, it's cheap!