A Trifecta of Bike Finery from Spurcycle
By Jim Langley It’s said that some of the nicest things come in the smallest packages. The trio of trick toys I’m looking at today, Spurcycle’s Bell, Tool and Multi Pouch, prove the point.
Spurcycle’s Multi Pouch
- The finest materials
- Handcrafted in the USA
- Precision manufacturing
- Guaranteed for life
- There are cheaper bells, tools and pouches, but not with this quality
Prices (Bell, Tool, Multi Pouch): $49/$59 (Raw/Black), $69, $29
Weights (Bell, Tool, Multi Pouch): 45 grams, 90 grams, 14 grams
Source: bike shops, online
How obtained: samples from company
RBR advertiser: no
Tested: Commuting this winter
A Better Bell
When it debuted, Spurcycle’s Bell almost immediately put the company on the map. It was arguably the first noisemaker functional and stylish enough that even the most minimalist roadies were actually eager to put them on their bars.
Handmade in San Francisco of stainless steel and brass, the Bell is small enough to ride in front of the bars, with only the lever above, perfectly placed for plucking with your thumb. And, with its 30mm-diameter dome and 4mm-wide clamp, it takes up hardly any handlebar real estate so it won’t interfere with cables/wires, computers and other bar-mounted goodies.
Two clamp bands are provided in the package allowing the Bell to fit all handlebar diameters. It’s safe for use with aluminum and carbon handlebars.
I’m impressed by the engineering that went into Spurcycle’s design. Ingeniously, there are no protruding bolts or nuts clamping it to the bars. Instead the clamp band is simply a thin, flat piece of stainless that’s ends fit into the dome where they meet the hidden nut. To tighten the bell, you turn a 2.5mm hex screw that’s countersunk and sits flush with the top of the bell.
The lever is made of bent stainless wire about the thickness ofa bicycle spoke. And the part on the end that strikes the bell to ring it is made of brass and neatly held by the other curved end of the wire lever. It’s all minimal, clean and pleasing to the eye and hand.
While the bell’s quality and engineering is exceptional, my favorite feature is the sound. It doesn’t make a “ring-ring” or “ding-dong” like more basic bells you’ve had or heard. It makes a pleasantly piercing and surprisingly long-lasting “ping.”
The closest “everyday” sound I can compare it to is the default ping my iPhone 6S makes when texts arrive. Yet, Spurcycle’s noise is even better to my ear, a tad softer and longer lasting. You can snap the lever softer or harder. If you snap it hard, the ping lasts a full 10 seconds to my count. I’m betting younger ears would hear it longer, maybe louder, too.
To me it makes a friendly sound and is a nice way to let pedestrians and other road users know you’re approaching. With its small form factor, stylish design and lovely ping, it’s no wonder Spurcycle’s Bell has become standard gear for so many riders. If you’ll pardon the pun, you can think of it as a diamond ring for your bike.
You can see the quality and care that goes into making the Bells in a video on the Spurcycle website here
A Tiny Toolkit with Titanium
Spurcycle’s Tool has three features that make it superior to similar T-handle and bit toolsets out there. The first is how small it is when packed in its case. You can actually hold it in your palm, which means it will fit in the smallest seat bag and easily in jersey pockets. Which allows you to pack as many other things with it as you like.
Second is Spurcycle’s nice X-Pac carry case itself. It’s made of tough nylon, is finely stitched in San Francisco and is padded and lined inside. It’s held closed with a snap button that holds fast.
Last, and most pleasing when wrenching on your bike is the machine-turned Grade 5 titanium T handle. It’s featherweight, will never corrode or rust, sports a beautiful satin finish and slides super smoothly in the bit holder for increasing leverage for tough bolts. Circlips on the ends keep the handle in place. And there’s a magnet inside the bit holder so you never drop one.
For bits, you get 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8mm allens, plus a T10 and T25 torx, and a #2 Phillips driver. The bits are made of chromed S2 steel and they’re held in a rubber holder so not to get lost. Overall this mini tool is a pleasure to use and show off, too.
A Versatile Handmade Multi Pouch
Because I like to carry my phone in a jersey pocket, I’ve collected a few protective pouches. They’re all made of some type of plastic. So, I was surprised when I saw Spurcycle’s Multi Pouch. It’s handmade in San Francisco of Dyneema composite fabric, which they say is also called Cuben Fiber – a new material to me.
Like plastic, the Dyneema fabric is waterproof. It’s also just transparent enough to make out what’s in the pouch, but not nearly as see-through as plastic. The pouch has a quality YKK zipper that’s easier to open and close than the press closures on my plastic pouches.
Another nice feature of the Multi Pouch is being able to fold it in half in either direction to shrink it for easier carrying. To keep it folded arepolymer snaps, the same fast holding ones used on the Tool’s case.
The Multi Pouch measures 11.5 x 19cm, which is large enough for a phone and more. Or, you can fit in a tiny pump, multi tool, keys, tire levers and more. Unlike stiffer plastic found in many phone-type pouches, Spurcycle’s composite fabric conforms to what’s inside and allows a little overpacking. I’ve been stuffing mine with different combinations and carrying it in my pack and pocket for months and it’s holding up fine and protecting everything nicely. It’s quite an upgrade from basic plastic pouches.
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.