By nature, adventure racers as athletes are prepared and well organized. Mostly due to the unsupported nature of our sport where anything can happen out on the race course. We like to have the means to overcome any obstacle that may be presented. Mechanicals on the road or trail can leave us stranded so we try to be prepared by having a wide range of tools. That’s why we are excited to put the STIQUE ML123 under review and report back to you, the mechanic.
The STIQUE is a multi-tool that breaks down into three pieces to form two tire levers and a wide variety of tools, 15+ to be exact. Each one of the three pieces has features inside features, it’s like the swiss army knife of tire levers. Since there are so many features to cover we’ll break them down feature by feature so you get the full effect of how versatile this tool really is.
STIQUE has designed the ML123 to be lightweight but extremely durable by using a metal replacement, an engineering-grade polymer that can withstand some serious torque and abuse. STIQUE also created a unique magnetic system to hold all three pieces together, each lever has four small magnets to ensure they fit together without compromising the tools or the other features on the ML123. We found the magnetic system to be very strong and have had no issues with it coming apart in our packs.
One of the features of the ML123 is the three screwdriver bits, securely sunk into a pliable plastic to ensure that you don’t lose them on your ride. The three tools offer a 4mm & 5mm Allen key and a #2 Philips screwdriver. We found that all of these sizes were very versatile and worked for both the bikes we were riding. The Philips was really great for tightening limit screws and making adjustments on the trail.
The thermometer located on the top is a nice little touch. It allows you to track the temps on your ride and may help you determine desired tire pressures, number of layers of clothing, etc. It is set in celsius, though, so you must be sure to know your conversions.
Of course a multi-tool wouldn’t be complete without the trusty bottle opener. I’m sure this could have been designed to be a third tire lever but STIQUE obviously had their priorities straight. We recommend that this bottle opener be used for only the finest of craft beers.
The Second piece in the STIQUE set not only doubles as a tire lever, it also holds many necessary features for maintaining your bike. The 4.43 mm T25 Torx wrench, which fits the bolt heads found on many disc brake calipers and rotors is essential. We wanted to make sure that this would hold up when you’re stranded on the trail or roadside so during testing, we really cranked down on this with a ton of torque. We were please at how well it performed and held up to the abuse. It’s a feature you can count on.
STIQUE designed the ML123 with a double spoke nipple wrench at the end of the tire lever. It fits both 3.3 & 3.5mm spokes for rebalancing or realigning wheels on the trails. We were grateful when we clipped a root and loosened up a spoke, just a simple turn and off we went. A thoughtful addition to a tool that already has everything.
The second lever in the ML123 also has the capability to house an extra heart rate monitor battery or other CR-type battery. We never thought we’d actually use this feature but when out on a long training ride our watch battery died and because of the tool, we had a spare. It’s never a bad idea to have a backup anyways, even if you’re as sure as we were.
The third piece in the STIQUE set is the second tire lever and it also features the spoke hook. Our last bike tool didn’t feature a spoke hook, so now that we’ve used the ML123 we’re kind of spoiled. We found this to be a small addition but a very useful one, makes for quick and hassle free tire changes in any condition.
This next feature is one of our favorites, this is because every time we have a chain malfunction we spend priceless time digging through our packs looking for our master link that has been lost to the void in our hydration packs. The ML123 split (chain) link holder houses 2 quick links. They are securely held in place by super strong magnets to ensure they stay in the tool. Now we always know where they are and can avoid the bottomless packs. In addition, the same lever has a very useful inner tube valve cap holder. Didn’t think much of it at first but it’s really nice not to have to search the trail or road for the little black cap.
The tire levers in the ML123 houses 4 quarters. It is always good have a dollar in change when you’re out riding. Whether it be for phone call, a cold drink, or air at a gas station, you’ll be prepared.
The one con we found with this design is that it doesn’t offer a means to break a chain, which is one of the things we look for in all of our tools. However they’re modifying the ML3 to incorporate a chain-breaker in place of the puncture pad clip and thermometer. The ML4 is due to be released in the summer of 2015. The STIQUE has found a home in our packs and in our transition bins because we love this tool for all of its features and functions. If you’re looking for a tool that can handle almost anything then this tool is for you.
See you on the trails!