A low-price tool kit for general cycling maintenance, but lacks the specialist tools needed to suit modern MTBs.
Huge French superstore chain Decathlon is the largest sports retailer in the world, with five individual cycling brands in its portfolio. No surprise then, that it has multiple bike tool kit options ranging from £20 for a compact, fold-out, 13-piece set, up to £100 for a kit with 33 tools.
This 500 Tool Box is the brand’s best seller and bang in the middle of the range at £50. It doesn’t specifically target MTB, also aiming at maintenance and repairs on city, hybrid and road bikes, but the 18 tools included will still cover the majority of modern MTB home repairs. And, depending on how you look at it, this lack of specialisation can be a bonus or a drawback if you have different style bikes in your fleet.
Everything comes tucked up snugly in a very sturdy box with hard plastic compartments for each individual tool. Decathlon’s kit might be at the more affordable end of the spectrum, but this doesn’t reflect in how securely everything is held in place; it’s all rock solid in transport and of all the kits with tools held in specific positions, it’s one of the most stable.
The quality of the tools themselves isn’t as impressive; the 8mm allen key has good length and leverage, but the black allen key set doesn’t appear to be the same quality as others elsewhere, and we also struggled working the bead of a modern heavy-duty tubeless enduro tyres with the thick plastic tyre levers, as the end isn’t hooked enough and they flex a lot under heavy loads.
There are also some glaring omissions here; any bike tool kit absolutely needs a quality set of cable cutters, and we’d also want to see a set of chain link pliers to break and join the chains on 1x drivetrains (which, let’s face it, have been around for about a decade now).
Even though it’s only rated up to 11-speed, the included chain tool did split a 12-speed chain fine and is pretty high quality. The longer cassette tool is good too, as it has no central prong, so will fit in hubs with minimal room around bearings and allow you to remove RockShox top caps and play with the volume spacers.
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This Decathlon 500 kit is good value and the chain whip, cassette tool and spoke key work fine, but overall, it targets recreational cyclists more than riders with an expensive MTB. Crank arm pullers are pretty much redundant nowadays and it’s also lacking a pair of cable cutters, split link pliers and a broader selection of Torx sizes that are all modern mountain bike essentials.