Crankbrothers SOS Tools TS18 Tube Stash Tool Kit first ride review

Rich Owen is putting Crankbrothers SOS Tools TS18 to the test, here are his initial impressions

What is a hands on review?
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(Image: © Rich Owen)

Early Verdict

The TS18 Tube Stash kit has you well covered for every repairable MTB mishap on the trail. It has a few small parts that could get lost or damaged though and the price is top-end.

Pros

  • +

    Well made multi-tool

  • +

    Cleverly designed

  • +

    Contains everything you need

  • +

    Modular system

  • +

    Five-year warranty

Cons

  • -

    Plastic parts could be lost or damaged

  • -

    Tire tool slugs will pick up dirt

  • -

    Only one tire lever

  • -

    Premium price

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Crankbrothers has just announced a new range of frame-mounted bike multi-tools. Dubbed SOS Tools, each set comes in various options based around a tube strap mount (the TS2 and TS18), bottle cage (BC2 and BC18), or a twin tube storage case (TT17). 

I've recently been sent the TS18 Tube Stash model. I've only used it on a couple of rides so more testing is required to give you a full verdict, but here's how things have gone so far.

The Crankbrothers SOS Tools TS18 Tube Stash Tool Kit

The TS18 kit as it comes without CO2/pump and inner tube (Image credit: Rich Owen)

Design and specification

The TS18 Tube Stash ($99.99 / £99.99 / €99.99) is essentially a tube strap with an internal mount for a tire lever that houses a pop-out tire plug kit and mounts either side to carry Crankbrothers new SOS (Save Our Shred) Multi-Tool on one side and a Klic HV pump or CO2 canister on the other. The TS2 ($39.99 / £39.99 / €39.99) is a much more basic version that comes with just the tire lever and plug kit. The Tube Stash system is modular though, so the TS2 can be upgraded to the TS18 by buying an add-on kit for $69.99 / £69.99 / €69.99.

The two-piece SOS tool being held in a palm

The two-piece SOS tool itself is held together by a gray plastic joining piece (Image credit: Rich Owen)

As you might have guessed from the name, the TS18 has 18 different tool functions (see the Tech Specs list below), most of them are performed using the SOS Multi-Tool which sits in an aluminum tube (total weight 147g). The screw cap on the canister houses two spare worms for the tire plug kit which along with a spring-loaded base, helps stop the tool from rattling about.

The tool itself comes in two pieces joined together by slotting onto a plastic plate. The main section houses the Allen/hex and Torx keys, while the smaller section is a chain tool, CO2 head, and spoke key. Crankbrothers have thought through the benefits of being able to slot the various pieces together, as the end of the tire lever slots onto the multi-tool and the chain tool to help make things less fiddly or to apply more torque if required.

The SOS Multi-Tool showing all its tools

The SOS Multi-Tool is very well made (Image credit: Rich Owen)

Performance

By coincidence, I'm currently testing a YT Jeffsy with a Crankbrothers TS2 Tube Stash slung beneath the top tube as standard. As the TS2 was already in place, I added the extra parts to turn it into a TS18. However, it turns out that being mounted under the top tube isn't the best place for the wider TS18, as it's easy to catch your knee on the edge of the SOS Multi-Tool container when making turns. To be fair to Crankbrothers, the brand says the TS18 is better suited to being fitted to the downtube.

As for the tools themselves, the SOS tool is a well-made piece of kit with a smooth action when unfolding the nicely finished Torx and hex keys. It feels good in your hand and the tool selection is well thought out to cover everything you need in the event of a trailside mechanical. The ability to slot the tire lever onto the various tools is a nice touch too.

chain tool/CO2 head/spoke key slotted onto a tire lever

Like the SOS tool, the chain tool/CO2 head/spoke key can slot onto the tire lever for easier use (Image credit: Rich Owen)

The only minor concerns I have so far are that you could easily lose the gray plastic joining piece that keeps the SOS Multi-Tool together – and it would rattle about irritatingly in its case if you did. Also, while the plastic used in the joining piece and tire lever looks to be of decent quality, it may well wear down over time and cause issues. The tightly fitted tire plug tool is quite tricky to extract from inside the tire lever and dirt will make its way to the worms slotted in there over time – making them far less sticky and less likely to bond with your tire.

The tire lever with inset plug tool and worms

The tire lever with inset plug tool and worms  (Image credit: Rich Owen)

Early verdict

The Crankbrothers SOS Tools TS18 Tube Stash is a nicely made and well-considered tool that will get you out of all kinds of sticky trailside situations – from a broken chain to a cut tire. The only thing you may desire would be a torque wrench – though some might want another tire lever too.

Despite its tube strap design, the TS18 isn't ideal for running under your top tube though as you'll catch your knees on it. Despite some reservations about the plastic parts involved, the only real concern is the price, though the SOS Tool itself is really well made and the whole kit comes with a five-year warranty. 

Additional worms in the cap of the SOS tool container

Additional worms in the cap of the SOS tool container is a nice touch (Image credit: Rich Owen)

Tech specs: Crankbrothers SOS Tools TS18 Tube Stash Tool Kit

  • Price: $99.99 / £99.99 / €99.99
  • Total weight: 229g (not including CO2 canister or inner tube)
  • Tools included:
  • 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8mm Allen/hex keys
  • T10, T25 torx tools
  • Flat screwdriver
  • Tire plug tool + 4x plugs
  • Tire lever
  • Chain tool
  • Spoke wrenches 0, 1, 2
  • Valve core tool
  • CO2 head
  • Space to carry spare chain link
Richard Owen
Editor, Bike Perfect

Rich has been riding mountain bikes for over 30 years and mostly likes hitting flowy yet technical trails that point downhill. A jack of many trades, he has competed in cross-country, enduro and long distance MTB races. A resident of North Devon, Rich can mostly be found pedaling furiously around his local trails, or slightly further afield in the Quantocks, the Mendips or Exmoor. 


Current rides: Merida One-Forty 6000, Banshee Paradox

Height: 175cm

Weight: 68kg

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.