When it comes to tools for the purpose of working on your bike, the entire universe can be summarized into two key camps: Portable and shop. Your portable tools are often light, small, slightly flimsy and, above all else, portable. Sure you can make due with them in the shop but with the luxury of a dedicated workplace and no worries about tools designed to be shrunken, we're big fans of stocking our shop with the absolute best equipment possible.
Enter the Nut Flex from ByrneOs: A breaker with a screwdriver handle that we purchased for working on ATVs but have come to adore when wrenching on mountain bikes as well.
Most of your major mountain bike components use hex key fasteners and if you've ever worked with your average allen wrench, you know a thing or two about driving the blunt hard surface of a bent hex key into your palm. What the Nut Flex does that so ingenious is it allows you to bend the tool in half and torque on the oversized handle to break tough bolts free then to straighten it out and spin the bolt free of its threads with the speed and ease of a screwdriver.
We found the tool very useful in assembling our bikes but downright priceless in the disassembly process. The more rusted out, corroded or tricky the bolt, the more the Nut Flex shines.
The only downside is that since this tool is designed primarily for motor-vehicle usage, it takes a little bit of ingenuity to get it into mountain bike mode. It's sold either on its own or with 8, 10 & 12mm sockets (that conveniently stow away inside the handle) but in either scenario you are looking at a ¼" standard ratchet drive. This means that converting it to allen wrench mode requires hex key bits (the type designed for a universal screwdriver) and in most cases an adapter/ reducer.
It's by no means difficult, but we certainly hope that as the tool gains popularity, ByrneOs sees fit to offer sport-specific variations of the Nut Flex as a mountain bike edition with swappable allen wrench drive would be extremely valuable.
In all we're really pleased with the Nut Flex's performance. In life, sometimes the simplest innovations prove to be the most useful. Breaker bars are nothing new but we've yet to encounter a more useful take on the concept. This is $20 very well spent!
For more information or to purchase directly, head to: www.byrneos.com