While the vast majority of us carry a ‘penknife-style' multitool (Topeak does 18 different designs) the fold-out design often means a fight getting tools into action without the body in the way. Topeak’s DX+ mini ratchet set takes a little more time to get into action but has some really clever features to make it work significantly better than any ‘knife’ tool we’ve used. Just be careful not to lose the small bits.
The Rocket Lite DX+ comes in a webbing flip wallet. This has a row of elasticated apron pockets for the 2-8mm Allen key, T10-25 Torq and Philips screw heads with the 8.5cm long ratchet wrench clipped into a carrier above them. The other side of the flap has two plastic tyre levers and a forged chain tool. This has a removable handle that works as an extended bit holder to reach into tight spaces and also plug into the ratchet handle to create a 15cm long tool for high leverage jobs like crank and pedal wrenching. The flap folds over to keep things together and stops it digging through pockets. The only downside is that the bits (particularly the tiny 2mm) can fall out of the wrap, but at least it’s easy to source spares for any bits that get lost or damaged or you could even create your own custom line up. There’s even a quick release velcro belt/bag strap loop if you want to look a complete tool, user.
To be honest, the thought of flap faff, plugging in bits and deeply irritating experiences with similar kits in the past meant the Topeak remained unused for a while after it arrived, but we wished we’d started using it earlier. Unflapping, selecting the right head and clicking it into place often takes less time than fighting the right tool out of a stiff multitool and the dual-direction ratchet action can speed up some jobs (loose water bottle cages etc) massively.
Once we’d sussed out the genius of the removable chain tool handle, hard to reach jobs became even easier and our only gripe about lack of leverage for pedals was gone too. Excellent bit and ratchet tool quality, lack of fighting with awkward angles and the whole ‘unwrap-and-select’ process turns trailside maintenance from a potentially compromised, frustrating chore into something that’s actually enjoyable.
While it’s slightly bulkier than a multi-tool with a similar tool roster, it only weighs 20g more than our benchmark Crankbrothers Multi 19 and it only costs £4 more. It’s also the same price as the Wera mini socket set that doesn’t include an extender, chain tool or tyre levers. There’s also a £27.99 DX without the chain tool and an NTX+ version with an adjustable TorqBit for £64.99.
It took just one ride for Topeak’s Ratchet Rocket Lite DX+ to go from 'this looks like a lot of faff' to become an absolute favourite. It’s a competitive price and weight to normal penknife tools, but it’s easier to use, with more leverage and less chance of mangled bolts from awkward insert angles. In fact, we’d go so far as to say it changes the whole mid-ride maintenance process from a potentially stressful struggle to a chance for workshop-quality showboating.
Tech spec: Topeak Ratchet Rocket Lite DX+
- Price: £36.99
- Tools: 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8mm Allen keys, T10, T15 and T25 Torx bits, Phillips screwdriver, 2 plastic tyre levers, Chain tool
- Size: 12 x 6.5 x 2.5cm
- Weight: 199g