Wonderfully Versatile Mini Toolkits Work Great
In case you didn’t notice the 5-star rating above, I really like these mini ratchet toolkits from Prestacycle (I have both tools; see the other photo, below). In fact, they’ve become among my most-used tools because of their convenient size, nice action and wide assortment of bits. I even use them at work.
You might think that ratchets have to be full size to work well and hold up. And there are plenty of high quality standard-size ratchets to choose from. But for bike work, Prestacycle’s mini models outperform the bigger ratchets in several ways.
The Advantages Are Many
For starters, they’re small enough and light enough to carry in your pocket or pack so you can bring them along. Which also means they take up a lot less space in a toolbox than a full size ratchet and bit set; and they weigh much less for easier carrying, too.
Also, one even has Prestacycle’s nice Prestalever built into the handle – which is a unique tool in itself made to help remove and install tires. Another advantage is that the short handles allow getting these tools into tight places where ordinary ratchets can struggle.
Plus, the ratchet mechanism has about twice the clicks of most full-sizers, meaning that you can tighten and loosen things easily, even if you don’t have much swing for the handle. To help spin loose bolts up to tension faster, there’s also a small knurled ring above the bit – dubbed the Quick disc – which you can turn with your thumb to spin the bit and bolt quickly.
Because the ratchets are small and light, should you fumble the Prestaratchet and drop it, it’s much less likely than a heavy ratchet drive to smash into your frame and components and damage things. And, maybe the best reason for using smaller ratchets is because they greatly reduce the chances of overtightening and stripping the delicate threads found on bicycles since they apply just the right amount of leverage needed.
Small Size Doesn’t Mean They’re Delicate
Which isn’t to say that the tools are delicate. They’re precision crafted of steel, nicely balanced, heavily chrome plated and have durable handles. The ratchets also hold the bits so they can’t fall out during use. And, there’s a toggle lever for quickly switching from tightening to loosening.
Each kit includes 1/4-inch size hex, torx and driver bits in a little silicon bit holder, which keeps them together in a tidy, easy-to-carry package. You can cut and shorten the holder, too, if you only want to carry certain bits.
If you do a lot of repairs in your home bike shop, you might like using the Prestaratchets the way I do. I have 3 handles and leave a 6mm, 5mm and 4mm bit in each one. With this setup, you almost always have the right ratchet at-the-ready to work on anything held together with allen bolts, which is just about everything on road bikes today. It makes working on your bike easier, faster and more fun.
You can learn more and see the Prestaratchet in use on their YouTube channel.
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. He has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check out his “cycling aficionado” website at http://www.jimlangley.net, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim’s streak of consecutive cycling days has reached more than 8,000. Click to read Jim’s full bio.