On a budget: XLC bicycle tool kit review

It looks just like all the other tool kits
It looks just like all the other tool kits

Hey, it’s a box of tools! I have never owned this many bicycle specific tools and since I will be building the Ultimate Commuter from frame up – I will be needing them. I read a few reviews and they have all been full of misery, but for the tools you have for your money, I risked it. Sure, it helped greatly when talking with my local bike shop, and they swore that I could build my bike with it. So if I won’t, well, they lied.

So far, we’ve been testing the XLC 33 piece bicycle tool kit in quite a few things: Removing very, very stuck pedals from cranks and this morning I removed the crankset to try out the tools and everything worked as I imagined they would. People have been complaining that the tools break, but I wonder how much power they use with their tools in order to break them.

The tool kit in itself is quite complete. It has hex wrenches from 2 mm to 10 mm with ball drivers, nylon tyre levers, a socket wrench with 8, 9 and 10 mm sockets. It also has Torx, flat head and Phillips screwdriver heads. It also has your usual crank pullers for nearly any kind of crankset you can buy in the market today, even Shimano’s Hollowtech II.

What’s seen most duress is the 15mm pedal wrench which is surprisingly ergonomic and although it looks a bit fiddly because of that, it’s taken some serious beating and it looks and feels just as sturdy it was when I first laid hands on it.

So far, it’s been a decent package and you can get it for as cheap as $67 USD – which adds up to 2 US dollars per tool. Seriously, I’m not expecting the kit to last forever, but should something break – I’ll replace it with a “better” one. Like most people in our planet, I don’t even know what some of the tools do, so buying a set from Park Tool (such as the Advanced Kit 37, or the AK37) and spending 400 euros in it would just be daft.

So if you need tools, the XLC bicycle tool box is an option for the budget minded – there are similar kits from other brands, and I believe them to be exactly the same tool kit branded with a different logo.

Speaking of Park Tool, they have great instructions on their site for bicycle repairs, which help you a long way when you are finding your way and you can find it here: http://www.parktool.com/repair/

Our verdict: ★★★☆☆

It seems like a good value tool kit for the low price, but only time will tell how it will last.

The contents of the tool kit:

  • T25, T30 – That’s Torx for you – and these are just the heads, not whole drivers
  • 5mm Flat driver, 7 mm Flat driver heads
  • 2 Phillips screwdriver heads
  • Socket wrench coupling
  • 8/9/10 mm sockets
  • L-grip for socket wrench
  • 3 nylon tire levers / 1 tire repair kit
  • Crank puller
  • Chain tool – which is a quite sturdy feeling chain tool
  • Hex wrench set w/ ball driver 2/2.2/3/4/5/6/8/10 mm
  • 15mm Pedal wrench w/ 24mm inset wrench
  • Hollow Tech II Crank arm tightener
  • Double ended Cone Wrench 13/14mm and 15/16 mm
  • Chain Whip
  • 8/10mm box wrench
  • Cassette lock ring remover w/ pin
  • O-spoke wrench
  • ISIS compatible 22 tooth bottom bracket cup remover
  • Outboard bottom bracket cup wrench
  • Doubled ended head wrench 36/40 and 30/32

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By Markus Sandelin

Markus is a bike commuter gadget freak who is learning the ropes of the bike world, you can find him all around the web - but you can start with his twitter at @banton.