We first wrote about the Altum MODUAL multi-tool and tool roll when it was on its Kickstarter. It smashed its target and has now gone into production, so the manufacturer sent me one to try out.
The MODUAL is a multi-tool with a difference because it uses tool bits rather than having fold out tools. It can be used like a screwdriver or wrench. The tool roll can be bought with it or separately. It’s made of cordura, has space for extra tools and an inner tube. A quick release strap allows you to attach it under your seat.
Obviously the MODUAL in its tool roll is a bit more bulky than the most simple multi-tool, but this tool has more features than most. The tool roll also has a zipped pocket for small bike-specific tools or a patch kit, and an elastic pouch that holds an inner tube. Added to that, you can also attach the whole thing to your seat rather than buying a separate saddle bag to put all your tools in.
So what’s in the kit? I have the full kit, which includes the tool roll, multi-tool, and optional socket-heads (which cost £2.99 and includes an adapter). The full list is as follows;
-Tool Roll with elastic straps to hold tool body and inner tube, and a zipped pocket.
-Tool body containing 3.23/3.3/3.45 spoke keys
-2 glass-filled nylon tyre levers
-bit holder containing 2/2.5/3/4/5/6/8mm, T25 Torx, PH2 cross-head, SL4 flat-head, and an extender
-socket adapter, 8/9/10mm sockets (optional extra)
You might find you don’t need the socket-heads, as most road bikes now have only allen bolts and crosshead adjusters. I still have a couple of bikes with older MTB brakes that have nuts holding the cable down. The beauty of this kit is you can have everything in it, or you can just take what you need for a specific bike.
The body of the tool is magnetic and can hold four bits in the handle as well as the tyre levers. I wouldn’t normally carry tyre levers, but these ones form part of the tool’s handle and attach magnetically. Just the tool body with four bits and the tyre levers would stash nicely in place of a regular multi-tool but the tool roll is certainly worth having for longer journeys.
The overall quality of the tool is good. The magnets are strong, in fact it’s a bit fiddly getting bits out of the storage niches in the handle because the magnets are so strong. The tyre levers are well integrated into the body of the tool, forming a handle. In use the tool has a decent weight and size to get some leverage when needed. It’s great to be able to use the tool like a screwdriver or a wrench, and the extension adds a bit more flexibility to get at harder to reach screws and bolts.
I like the idea of being able to slide an inner tube into the tool roll. The elastic strap is 2” by 5” and should keep most of the dirt off your inner tube. I’d still wrap mine in a plastic bag before putting it in, just to keep it all clean.
The tool roll has a zipped pocket, which seems to be made of waterproof material. It’s great for keeping extra bits in, perhaps some latex gloves, a rag or a sachet of chain lube. The tool roll also has a magnet in the top flap to hold on to screws, bolts and spare bits whilst you work.
You can attach the tool roll to your saddle, although I found the bag moved slightly over bumps. I’d like to see a rubberised surface on the section of the bag (the elastic innertube strap) that sits against the seatpost to help minimise this. I also found that on some of my saddles the bag caught against my inner thigh when I sat back on the saddle. This is a problem I’ve had with similar bags that attached to seat rails and even some regular saddle bags. With careful wrapping of the tool roll I did manage to get it small enough and high enough to give a bit more clearance.
I tend to put multi-tools in my jersey because I’m not a big fan of saddlebags, and the MODUAL tool roll fits in a jersey pocket so I’m happy with that. There may be a smaller version of the tool-roll in the pipeline, so watch this space.
The MODUAL multi-tool and tool roll is a great bit of kit, it’s solid and well made. You can have peace of mind that most eventualities will be covered. It contains most tools you’d need with the exception of a chain breaker, which the designer has plans to introduce soon. I reckon you could even squeeze a pump or some air canisters in the tool roll at a push, obviously at the risk of making the overall dimensions bigger.
In my preview of the MODUAL Kickstarter I mentioned that it had no flathead bit, and I’m glad to say the finished product has a flathead bit. It’s nice to see such a well finished product come from Kickstarter to completion and I’m keen to see how the idea develops now it’s gained some momentum.
Compare prices and buy tools from:
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