Crankbrothers m17 multi-tool review – a classic trailside multi-tool

Crankbrothers m17 multi-tool has been a staple of emergency bike repairs for years

Crankbrothers m17 multi-tool review
(Image: © Graham Cottingham)

Bike Perfect Verdict

If you're looking for the trustiest workhorse of mountain bike multi-tools, Crankbrothers m17 is a great option.

Pros

  • +

    Tool length helps access some bolts and adds more leverage

  • +

    Different color options

  • +

    A useful selection of tools

Cons

  • -

    Can't get at those tucked-away bolts

  • -

    Feels cumbersome compared to fancy ratchet-style tools

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Crankbrothers m17 multi-tool has been around for ages and in that time has remained relatively unchanged offering riders a nice balance of tools to fix their bike out on the trail. A lot has changed though as the best mountain biking multi-tools are looking for creative new solutions to aid emergency fixes, so does the classic m17 still earn its spot in our riding pack?

Crankbrothers m17 multi-tool with all the tools unfolded

There are 17 tools in the classic fold out design (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Design and build

Crankbrothers has used high tensile steel for the m17 which has a standard ‘Swiss-Army’ layout. The tool includes a rubberized band that holds it all together when in your pocket, pack, or when you are using it. The bumpers feature a knurled finish for added grip and are available in four different colors; midnight (black), black/red, gold (which I have on test), and nickel. There's also a range of jazzy splatter effects as well.

You might have guessed already but Crankborthers has kitted the m17 out with 17 tools. There are the expected 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8 hex keys, Phillips and flat, and a T-25 torx tool. On top of that, there is a chain tool that has  0, 1, 2, and 3 spoke wrenches integrated into it as well as 8mm and 10mm open wrenches. The Chain tool should have you covered for most bikes too as it works for 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12-speed chains. 

Crankbrothers m17 multi-tool unfolded and focused on the chain tool

The chain tool houses four spoke keys and two open wrenches (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Performance

The first thing you notice with the Crankbrothers m17 is how well it's put together, everything feels tight but still moves freely when folding out tools. All the tools snug neatly into bolts for a secure fit and there is little bending or twisting when trying to turn stubborn bolts. The length finds a nice balance of not too small that it's hard to get enough leverage but not so big it becomes an uncomfortable heavy lump when riding.

The chain tool is about as good as you can expect from a tool integrated into a multi-tool giving enough leverage to drive a stubborn pin out and it's always handy to have a plethora of spoke keys just in case things get out of true.

While the m17 has a great selection of tools, Crankbrothers have a range of ‘m’ tools If you need more, less, or different options. Crankbrothers has the m19 (one extra Phillips and a T-10) and the m13 which drops the chain tool, spoke keys, and open wrenches in favor of a tire plug tool.

Crankbrothers m17 multi-tool unfolded and focused on the hex tools

The hex tools have a good length which helps access recessed bolts (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Verdict

Crankbrothers m17 is a classic tool for a reason, it's simple, well-made, and has all the facilities that are needed to fix the majority of trailside issues. The overall design does feel a little basic compared to newer options with smart tool configurations and ratchets etc which can make working on your bike easier, especially if there are hard-to-reach bolts involved. Pricing is on par with a lot of the similarly equipped multi-tools though and there is no denying the straightforward reliability of the m17. If you are looking for fuss-free reliable tooling on the go it's a great option.  

Tech specs: Crankbrothers m17 multi-tool

  • Price: $29.99 / £29.99 / $54.99 AUD / $34.99 CAD
  • Tools: 2/2.5/3/4/5/6/8 Allen keys, Phillips #2, flat #2, T25 Torx, chain breaker, 0/1/2/3 spoke wrenches, 8mm/10mm open wrenches
  • Size: 9 x 4.5 x 2.5cm
  • Materials: High-tensile steel
  • Weight: 177g 
Graham Cottingham
Senior reviews writer, Bike Perfect

Graham is all about riding bikes off-road. With almost 20 years of riding experience, he has dabbled in downhill, enduro, and gravel racing. Not afraid of a challenge, Graham has embraced bikepacking over the last few years and likes nothing more than strapping some bags to his bike and covering big miles to explore Scotland's wildernesses. When he isn’t shredding the gnar in the Tweed Valley, sleeping in bushes, or tinkering with bikes, he is writing tech reviews for Bike Perfect.

Rides: Cotic SolarisMax, Stooge MK4, 24 Bicycles Le Toy 3, Surly Steamroller

Height: 177cm

Weight: 71kg