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REVIEW

Giant Clutch Hidden Bike Tools

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Feb 7, 2020
Reading time

Potential

Giant's Clutch trailside tool systems, which mount in the bottom of the steerer tube, in the crank axle and inside the handlebar, surprised me at Crankworx 2019. There isn't a company out there that isn't looking at Specialized's SWAT frame storage compartment or OneUp's EDC tool and trying to think of new ways to store tools. What surprised me is that Giant is generally a very conservative company.

With a few exceptions, they've never been a company driving the bus when it comes to innovating the mountain bicycle. They have a solid sober seventh look and then move the needle a bit whether it's modernizing frame geometry or trying to accommodate a longer travel dropper post.

I hope whoever at Giant green-lighted the Clutch kits has a budget and long leash because I really like what they did here. The quality is solid, the designs are simple, and the usability is high. What else do you have cooking?

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Wouldn't even know it's there if I didn't point it out.

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The CO2 cartride magnetically engages to the base that threads into the steerer tube.

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I'm very sensitive to my bike making noise and I haven't heard any rattling coming from the fork insert.

Clutch Fork

Giant's Clutch headtube storage has a lot of potential. A tapered collet taps in easily with a rubber mallet and stays put. The magnetic system holds the CO2 cartridge and applicator silently and it can truly be forgotten about until needed.

I used the cartridge once, to seat a tire after straightening a dent in my rim (totally what Pack Pliers are for!?) when I couldn't get things mounted with my mini-pump, but outside of seeing how the mounting system holds up, I don't normally carry a CO2.

Aside for the rare case of a big enough dent to unbead my tire, the only flats I get with heavy-duty tire casings and big knobs tend to be repairable with tire plugs and there are plenty of tales about CO2 shooting the plugs out. Are they true? I'd rather pump than find out.

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The magic happens thanks to a metal fork insert and a threaded plastic cap with a magnet embedded in it.

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Just tap it in with a rubber mallet. I didn't have any issues with the insert trying to come out even it the roughest terrain.

If you like to carry a CO2, the system works quite brilliantly. I'd like to see Giant expand the Clutch Fork to include a version that contains a multitool. An inverted EDC if you will. Some combination of a custom shaped multi-tool with a real 8mm-hex and quick link pliers would be amazing.

Clutch Fork for sells for 40 USD including a CO2 cartridge, but I'd happily pay double that, or more, and recommend it if it included my above-mentioned multi-tools instead. As it sits, it's a great option for folks looking to never forget their CO2 inflator on a ride.

Clutch Crank

The Clutch Crank puts a multi tool in the unused space in the hollow centre of your crank axle. The challenge is that whether 24mm steel or 30mm aluminum, the inner diameter of a crank axle is tight quarters and the tool ends up being quite small.

It makes a lot of sense considering this is unused space and it's sprung weight carried low. One way Giant could improve the Clutch Crank is by ditching the chain tool, freeing up space for a longer tool with more leverage when needed.

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The insert can be a bit tricky to pull out with gloves. A little twist helps break the magnetic connection.

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I don't carry a chainbreaker anymore - just quick links and pliers - but this one works fine in a pinch if you like to have one.

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Always on hand for a quick adjustment without having to dig into my pack. Great for small adjustments or loose bolts but I'd prefer a longer handled, stiffer, tool.

The tool can be tricky to remove with cold hands or thick gloves but in all fairness, the Aeffect R cranks I tested it with are not listed on the compatibility chart. The challenge is that Giant has to achieve a balance between grip and a low profile when it's stored. It could be a bit more solid with a longer handle for more torque, but then, as noted, space is beyond a premium inside the axle.

The chain tool doubles as a valve core remover, which I find hilarious because it seems like everything on my bike these days doubles as a valve core remover, but it may be worth noting for anyone who doesn't carry pliers when they ride.

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The kit includes various magnetic inserts for different cranksets and a driver to tap them in place.

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The Aeffect R cranks aren't on the compatibility list but worked perfectly.

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Giant did a solid job balancing keeping the knob profile low and allowing some purchase to remove the tool.

I used the 80 USD Clutch Crank a lot on the trail, particularly when I was dialing in the settings on my CCDB coil shock and I also shared it with a huge number of riders. What's with all the folks with loose pedal cleats and no tools these days? It's sort of cool when a fellow traveler asks "hey, do you have a multi-tool?" and you can just reach down and pull it out of your crank spindle.

Ironically, it doesn't have an 8mm hex key so one job the Clutch multi-tool isn't good for is tightening loose crank spindles. But then, you should be checking crank bolts at home, my friend.

Clutch Bar

Of these pieces, the Clutch Bar is the one item I'm 'meh' on, but it delivered the biggest save during my test period. I'll start with the bad stuff. My two favourite pairs of lock-on grips aren't compatible with bar-end plugs without modifications. I prefer to run glue-on grips but I still think it's a relevant concern for riders who have a go-to lock-on with a solid end.

My other gripe is that bacon-style tubeless plugs are so last decade. As mentioned, I only get punctures lately and Dynaplug's inserts are glorious to use compared to strips. My Micro Pro wasn't cheap but it's worth every penny when it comes time to repair a tire - always in the pissing rain it seems.

Finally, I don't see any reason the bacons and prong couldn't have been included in the Clutch Fork tool for an extra fiver and made even better use of that dead air in my steerer.

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Bacons and prong. Or, whatever you want to store in there - just don't set & forget if you're crossing the border.

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Push the plug in and then turn the cap to tighten the expanding wedge. These worked great with various internal diameters of handlebar.

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I laid the bike down hard a few times and the plugs didn't move at all. I'll rate them secure enough for aggressive mountain bike usage.

The one time I've actually needed a tire plug in the last few months, I went to reach for my Dynaplug kit and found it was in my other fanny pack. Oops. I don't carry a tube anymore, and this was a test bike without CushCore, so I started walking. I'm almost ashamed to admit I was halfway down the mountain when I remembered the bar-end bacons.

Install isn't as clean as I like using the prong and strip but it sealed up my tire to ride home. I've left Dynaplug inserts in for ages but in this case I immediately pulled and patched the tire when I was home. That said, the 35 USD Clutch Bar kit saved me a long walk and a bus ride so I'd say it paid for its presence.

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I used the Clutch Crank and Clutch fork - both invisible - on my personal bike. I'll pass on the Clutch Bar and just never forget my Dynaplug kit again.

Lately I've been playing around with a way to silently use the Clutch Fork system to carry a multi-tool in my steerer tube. I think there's massive potential here given the universality of a system that doesn't require me to modify my fork by threading the steerer tube or ditch my time-proven headset starnut. Giant, you're really on to something here.

As the Clutch system is now, anyone trying to go fully packless, or prone to forgetting their multi-tool, is well served to check out both the Clutch Fork and Clutch Crank systems. Just tape your tire plugs to the CO2 cartridge and you're golden. I'd still carry a pump, on the bike, but CO2 can certainly come in handy if you have to seat a tire in the middle of nowhere.

Giant, I hope that Clutch is a sign of things to come. Smart, non-proprietary, innovative products are always welcome.

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Comments

cyclotoine
+2 Dan Andrew Major
cyclotoine  - Feb. 6, 2020, 10:05 p.m.

Nice Review. I bought the EDC pump and run the 100cc model with the water bottle mounted carrier with the EDC tool and the one up tire plug kit and pack pliers all stuffed inside. I know it's not cool to run a frame-mounted pump but that thing is solid and never moves, never makes noise. I know I have everything right there in my pump. I also use a G3 ski strap to hold on a spare tube that is wrapped around the specialized tube carrier thing that fits a CO2 cannister, tire lever and chuck in it if I'm doing a more epic adventure. I honestly haven't seen anything that seems better than the all in one system from OneUp. It's so good and I got so tired of my partner always looking for a pump and multi-tool before her rides that I bought her the system and strapped it on her bike too so she doesn't have to think about it anymore. It's brilliant.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 6, 2020, 10:26 p.m.

Cheers! I think what most impresses me about the OneUp EDC + Pump package is that the pump is actually really good. Like really, really good for a mini-pump, it's tool carrying ability aside. 

I don't carry a pump on my frame anymore as I find they just don't hold up to year-round riding. I've cooked a few nice pumps that I barely used. I carry a small SKS pump in my hip pack and it's surprisingly good when I need it. If I didn't carry a hip pack your EDC package would be a strong consideration.

Reply

Kelownakona
+2 Dan Andrew Major
Kelownakona  - Feb. 6, 2020, 11:55 p.m.

I've been running one of those old 35mm camera film cannisters inverted in the bottom of the steerer for years. Gives a little stash pot for spare quick links, Allen bits, patches plus lid still closes.

Damn Giant stole my idea 

:(

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Dan
Andrew Major  - Feb. 7, 2020, 7:28 a.m.

I was going to mention the film canister as I’ve seen it a few times (sorry, I’m sure they all stole it from you ;-) ) but I wasn’t certain what folks actually kept in them - zip ties and quick links? It’s a tiny space.

Reply

Kelownakona
+3 Dan Andrew Major twk
Kelownakona  - Feb. 7, 2020, 10:42 a.m.

Too right they ALL stole my idea ;)

Yeah it's a small space but better than nothing and means you can always have a few patches, zip tie and I carry a little Silca tool but hate the 8mm adapter so leave that in there too. 

I actually have a roll of Steri-strips and plasters in a sealed bag in the handlebars too. Check me out :) 

Came in useful last summer with a nasty shin gash courtesy of the  Hellraiser-esque pins of the One Up flats.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 7, 2020, 11:59 a.m.

That’s actually a great idea re. bar storage. Stuff in things I almost never use; I wouldn’t mind having to remove my grip to get at it if I had a real need (like for steri-strips). Definitely going to look more at that.

Reply

Kevin26
+1 Andrew Major
Kevin26  - Feb. 7, 2020, 3 a.m.

Wonder if there's a way to do a hidden pump. Topeak does one that hides in a (non dropper) seat post. But then again anything that tiny would be probably be a terrible pump.

Reply

Kelownakona
+2 twk Andrew Major
Kelownakona  - Feb. 7, 2020, 4:15 a.m.

I know it's not really an answer but I use the Airbone micro pump on a couple of my bikes. It's tiny and only needs to be used in an emergency but means you never are without a pump. You barely notice it next to your bottle. Think Birzman do a similar. 

Prefer having physical pump than CO2 for emergencies.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+3 twk Kelownakona Mammal
Andrew Major  - Feb. 7, 2020, 7:32 a.m.

That’s where I was going. I’d never rely on just a CO2 (and the only flats I’m concerned about require plugs so maybe CO2 is a bad idea?) so I still need to make provisions for carrying a pump.

Too bad there isn’t enough room in that BB axle for a mini pump!

BUT, hear me out — with a 34.9mm dropper post that has a Wintek cartridge inside there is a hell of a lot of room. What about a dropper post that doubles as a mini pump?! Lock the remote down and pull up and down on the seat to move air.

Reply

morgan-heater
+1 Andrew Major
Morgan Heater  - Feb. 7, 2020, 10:20 a.m.

CO2 has worked great with bacon strips for me. You should test it with plugs in your shop and see if you can actually get them to blow out at normal riding pressures.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 7, 2020, 12:01 p.m.

I should test it myself for sure. Old trail side tales...

Reply

Vikb
+1 Andrew Major
Vik Banerjee  - Feb. 7, 2020, 5:56 a.m.

I carry tools/spares and a pump on all my bikes in a frame bag. When the various "hidden" tools came out I was kind of interested, but it was never a really satisfying solution. The framebag keeps every together, dry and clean and I haven't had an issue finding a bag solution that works on any of my 3 MTBs.

For the pump I am able to get the pump inside 2 out of my 3 frame bags. On the 3rd I just wrap the pump in plastic and it's strapped to the outside of the bag. Stays clean even in winter slop, but is fast and easy to get to when needed. Typically on get a couple flats a year and then maybe help a few more riders who don't have pump/tools/spares.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 7, 2020, 7:38 a.m.

A friend and I were talking about this the other day over coffee. Inside the front triangle of an FS bike he wants a reservoir shock, two water bottles, and waterproof tool storage. 

Anything Specialized SWAT has potential. I guess a round tube walking beam bike with two bottles on the down tube could fit a small frame bag under the top tube?

29” wheels, 170mm+ dropper posts and pedalable 150mm+ bikes have made seat bags useless for most people so the partial frame bag has potential. Any photos of your setup on an FS bike?

Reply

DanL
+2 Andy Eunson twk
DanL  - Feb. 7, 2020, 10:55 a.m.

I love (amongst the other things they do) Guerilla Gravity's 'integrated external cable routing' box. Seems like a great idea to build more storage into.

And does anyone do a set of goggles that double as a valve core tool ? Seems like a gap in the market.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+2 Vik Banerjee DanL
Andrew Major  - Feb. 7, 2020, 12:10 p.m.

Big fan of Guerrilla Grav’s layout. My brother’s raw aluminum Smash is probably my all time favourite mountain bike by aesthetics and execution.

Foreshadowing, but in my experience with the Polygon Siskiu N9 (review) I often considered how much more I’d like the bike if they’d simply ditch the straight-tube aesthetic and adopt (read: ripoff) GG’s execution of a similar suspension layout that can take 1-2 bottles (depending on size / other payload) and storage for repair solutions.

I think you may be on to something re. Goggles with valve tool (and a bottle opener?). Call Ryder’s and tell them you have a marketing idea with legs that won’t burn the internet down.

Bike packing’s so hot right now I’m sure we’ll see a helmet that’s also a cooking pot first.

Reply

DanL
+1 Andrew Major
DanL  - Feb. 7, 2020, 1:42 p.m.

I'm still laughing with the mental image of pumping a seat up and down to inflate a tire using internally routed airpipes

edit :

just found this - https://stompump.com/

Reply

AndrewMajor
+3 Andy Eunson Cr4w DanL
Andrew Major  - Feb. 7, 2020, 2:25 p.m.

Yeah, that’s half of why it’s awesome?

As an aside, my most awkward biker/hiker moment of all time involved a couple of women walking up behind me while I was bent over vigorously sawing through a downed tree with both hands on my fold-out Silky Saw. Hilariously awkward for everyone when I turned around and they realized I was just cutting one out and then I clued into why they looked so shocked.

Now, when it comes to solo trail maintenance, optics always trump efficiency and safety.

Vikb
0
Vik Banerjee  - Feb. 8, 2020, 7:18 a.m.

"Big fan of Guerrilla Grav’s layout. My brother’s raw aluminum Smash is probably my all time favourite mountain bike by aesthetics and execution."

My metal GG Smash has ruined me. I'm not buying another bike that can't haul 2 bottles and a framebag. It's just so nice to grab a bike that has every I need on it and go for a ride without a pack. I had some skeptical friends, but I've fixed a dozen people's bikes by now out of the tiny framebag on my GG. Most of them were wearing a pack, but didn't have a key repair item with them.

Luckily my packless kungfu is good enough now as long as I can get a bottle inside the frame I can usually find a way to fit a second bottle and frame bag.

FWIW - I also love the way the metal GG's look. I plan to keep mine a long long time.

Reply

DanL
0
DanL  - Feb. 8, 2020, 9:08 a.m.

How did you arrange a test on the Smash? Travel to CO or was there an 'ambassador' nearby ? Or just back and forth with them and then pulling the trigger? There are so many high quality bikes out there right now.

I know what you mean about the raw ALU but I'm also intrigued by their carbon layup too. But something about quality welds makes me happy.

AndrewMajor
+1 DanL
Andrew Major  - Feb. 9, 2020, 4 p.m.

Dan, this is 100% my opinion but 'Test Ride Then Decide' only gets you so far and the only time I've bought a bike, myself, based on a (very positive) test ride it ended up being my second most lackluster bike purchase of all time.  

It's not foolproof, but I consume as much feedback about a bike as I can, go over the geo-chart, and then decide if it works for me. It's really no different than how I've managed designing custom frames in the past. On rare occasions when this doesn't yield a positive result I can always point to a spec issue, which is why, when I'm looking to add a bike to my family's stable I only look at options that are available frame only. 

Again, me personally, it can take minutes, hours, days, or months for me to sort out a bike the way I want it, so the value of a brief test is basically - does it fit?

In the case of my brother's GG Smash, it was really clear what size he needed going off his XL Nomad and Large Honzo. He knew he was getting his CCDB coil re-sized and since all the adjustments are external there was going to be no stress figuring out a base tune for the back end. The bike's progressive enough that a linear spring would work fine and in the worst case he was between rates. Most of his other parts moved over and he'd already decided on a Cane Creek Helm fork so that was beyond simple. 

One of my buddies purchased a carbon Smash (just arrived but not yet built) based on the same premise. There'll be some stem swapping and etc but it's the right size, the geometry is good, the suspension design gets great reviews, and from there it's all set up and spec.

Vikb
+2 twk Andrew Major
Vik Banerjee  - Feb. 7, 2020, 1:31 p.m.

Three different FS bike setups:

Knolly Endo: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866011427_c6f7b853d6_b.jpg

- tool bag is kind of hidden behind pump in its condom

- two bottles possible with the Wolftooth side by side adapter or one of top of TT

GG Smash [metal]: https://live.staticflickr.com/1794/29098573207_ac4132ed63_b.jpg

GG Smash [carbon]: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49333212718_4d37c4283a_b.jpg

- my GF is 5'6" so bottle under DT didn't work

- we swapped to a Fidlock bottle on top of TT

- she has no issues riding techy terrain with that upper bottle

Reply

twk
+2 Velocipedestrian Andy Eunson
twk  - Feb. 8, 2020, 6:44 a.m.

I announced in a similar comment section on here to be working on something like that for my pipedream moxie -- and while I cannot provide photographs as all my phones capable of taking such are basically paperweights right now (unlike bikes, hmm), I can at least describe it:

I got myself a relatively affordable minipump made by "pro bike tool" (no joke, their pumps are nice), it has a hose to screw onto a valve and the pump stashed inside which I find pretty clever and survives the local muck without issue so far, dishing out reasonable volume per stroke. It's mounted under the bottle holder, where I can fit up to 1l of water. An emergency tube, tire levers, small bits to deal with tubeless punctures and valve cores, my leatherman and a multitool I hate are all tightly packed together in a DIY drybag, which I affix at the toptube/downtube junction using one of those totally enduro straps (this one has a seperate strip of velcro to hold the items attached to the inside, so nothing rattles loose). Because the strap isn't really meant to wrap around two tubes and my emergency gear, there's a lot of exposed velcro, but not to worry -- it's covered by a piece of stick on velcro stuck on a piece of old plastic foil I fished out of my trash. The drybag itself is just a piece of waterproof fabric folded in half, sewn together (seams glued) and closes with velcro, the remaining slack taken up by rolling it up and wrapping it in the strap. This literally took 1 hour to make.

So far, I've done daytime rides of up to 4.5 hours (with a refill stop) using that setup and no pack or bumbag. When nightriding or when I have to carry a basic medikit, more water, and food, I add an additional bumbag. Before setting all this up I was a firm believer that packs don't have any real downsides, but my delicate skin sored up by my backpack convinced me otherwise. I won't go back unless I intend to ride an entire day or so.

I also stopped using a dropper, since I ride my SS standing up most of the time anyway, and consequentially lost 20 pounds, learned three languages and used the time I saved on dropper post maintenance and lever actuation to achieve inner peace with myself.

Sorry for diverting hard over here, got carried away by how simple solutions feel so liberating yadayada.

Cheers.

Reply

4Runner1
+3 twk Kelownakona Andrew Major
4Runner1  - Feb. 7, 2020, 8:45 a.m.

I’m really pushing the envelope. I keep everything in my pack, including water, food and tools. Revolutionary really.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 7, 2020, 8:55 a.m.

I’ve been waiting for you (the royal ‘you’) to show up!

Backpack or fanny pack?

If it’s a backpack, does it have a built-in rain cover?

Nothing more Shore than a hydration pack full of gear with a raincover. We used to sell boxes of the Camelbak Mule NV in shops I worked in.

Reply

4Runner1
0
4Runner1  - Feb. 7, 2020, 9:01 a.m.

Haha no rain cover. Truly hard core, I know. 

Backpack, of course! Love me some sweaty back!

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
+5 Tremeer023 twk Vik Banerjee Andrew Major Kelownakona
Cam McRae  - Feb. 7, 2020, 9:30 a.m.

I used to love wearing a backpack and saw no downsides. Until I stopped wearing a backpack. I'll never go back now unless it's absolutely necessary. I still wear a small fannypack but whenever possible I keep it nice and light. I miss being able to take whatever I want but I also dress better and plan more carefully as a result. 

Going packless has helped my riding significantly, but if wearing a pack works for you that's great. It's the most convenient and practical solution in many ways. Oh - and packs with mesh-back like Deuter, will cure the back sweat issue. As a bonus they aren't moist when you put them back on after a break, and neither is your back.

Reply

mammal
+1 Andrew Major
Mammal  - Feb. 7, 2020, 9:46 a.m.

+1 on Deuter. Bought mine about 5 years ago, and I'll be replacing it soon with the same (zippers starting to go). Approximate 85% reduction of back sweat ;) They also stay in place much better than any previous pack I've had.

I definitely see the benefit of taking off the pack when I'm going for shorter or less consequential rides, but always go back to the pack for regular rides because it's just so easy (water, tools, pump, tube, snack, keys, wallet items, phone, beer, "safety consumables"). I even have some left shoulder issues that are benefited when I don't wear the pack, but I find minimizing pack weight helps enough with that.

Reply

Kelownakona
+3 Tremeer023 twk Andrew Major
Kelownakona  - Feb. 7, 2020, 10:44 a.m.

This is so true. Exactly the same experience going backpackless.

Reply

Vikb
+3 Tremeer023 twk Andrew Major
Vik Banerjee  - Feb. 7, 2020, 5:21 p.m.

I thought riding packless was silly until I did it. I'm 2-3 years in and not going back. Once I made it through 6hr rides without a backpack I knew I was rarely going to wear a pack again for a MTB ride.

Reply

Timer
0
Timer  - Feb. 10, 2020, 8:43 a.m.

I seem to belong to a minority who thinks backpacks are more comfortable than hip packs (or stuffed jersey pockets). Got myself a Rapid Pack last year but I prefer the feel of a light backpack.  Riding without any kind of pack is nice in the summer, but the backpack is such a minor inconvenience that I wouldn't compromise on anything else just to get rid of it.

Reply

morgan-heater
+1 twk
Morgan Heater  - Feb. 7, 2020, 10:34 a.m.

When I first started biking, there was a guy that crashed at Duthie and landed on his backpack, which had his pump and shock-pump inside it. He broke his back on the shock pump. Kind of freaked me out. The same thing could obviously happen on a rock or a root, but it still seems like a bad idea. I also have learned that I climb about 15% faster without a pack, for some reason. Not to mention the descending benefits.

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twk
0
twk  - Feb. 8, 2020, 6:47 a.m.

I must admit I'm kind of surprised that the absence of a pack makes some moves *easier*, as I always believed my relatively small mass meant a chunk of gear on my back would help with body english, but I noticed the complete opposite.

Reply

jitenshakun
+1 Timer
Jitensha Kun  - Feb. 7, 2020, 1:31 p.m.

$206 CAD for an allen key, chain tool, bacon plugs, and a CO2.  From MEC you could buy the same tools for $15, $23.50, $12, and $18, respectively.  $68.50 vs. $206.  I think I can carry something in a pocket or rummage through a bag for the price difference.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Jitensha Kun
Andrew Major  - Feb. 7, 2020, 1:58 p.m.

So ignoring the bacons, as I indicated that should just be integrated with the Clutch Fork system, a substantial amount of the cost of these tools is the integration not the tools themselves (a basic multi-tool w/ chain breaker and CO2 cartridge w/ simple inflator - as you note) whether it’s the magnetic crank axle mounting system or the insert system for the head tube.

If you’re in the market for integrated tools - and it’s a growing market - then I don’t think Giant’s value is out of line compared to what other companies sell and what’s coming down the pipe.

OneUp EDC is a popular example, but also check out what Specialized charges for a shitty bottle cage with a tiny integrated multi-tool.

If you’re just going to buy tools and put them in your pack then of course the integration adds no value over basic tools.

Personally, outside of testing stuff, I carry a bunch of tools in my hip pack and integration isn’t a consideration. I actually love the German-made SKS Toolbox Race - which is not a comparatively cheap tool - because it has really nice tool interfaces and a hard plastic shell so I don’t have to worry about the tool damaging anything else I carry (as an example of criteria that may justify a larger investment than a basic tool block).

But, I know an increasing number of riders who don’t even wear a hip pack anymore and I totally get why companies are responding to this growing market.

Reply

jitenshakun
0
Jitensha Kun  - Feb. 10, 2020, 10:55 a.m.

I'm a lifelong pack wearer and I often lend people my full tool after they've fiddled with their EDC enough.  If I encounter and advanced rider that didn't pack anything at all I don't even offer them a tool anymore.  Beginners or people that just had something bad happen always get my help.

Manufacturers will definitely make more of these if they can sell tools for 4x the price so long as they include a plastic attachment.

Reply

trumpstinyhands
+1 twk
trumpstinyhands  - Feb. 7, 2020, 9:19 p.m.

A while back a company was selling a pipe bung style......bung for the bottom of ones fork, and you could then stuff what you wanted (African Elephant, Ford F350 etc.....) inside the steerer. I'm blanking on who the company was though.

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Tremeer023
0
Tremeer023  - Feb. 8, 2020, 8:57 a.m.

Are you thinking of the 'Fork Cork' ?  I have one and yes, perfect for stashing all of the above (I assume they are euphemisms for varieties of weed) :-) 

I'm also a frame bag convert.  Have had a small Alpkit bag for about 4 years now which holds everything for my 2hr rides.  Would never go back to a backpack, or even hip pack.

Reply

Poz
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Poz  - Feb. 8, 2020, 9:56 a.m.

Was just coming here to say Fork Cork from https://miles-wide.com/. Have always been curious about them, seems simple and low-tech --- just what I like for something like this.

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trumpstinyhands
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trumpstinyhands  - Feb. 8, 2020, 7:13 p.m.

Yes, Fork Cork was the one!

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Kelownakona
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Kelownakona  - Feb. 8, 2020, 7:14 a.m.

So many riders don't ever consider carrying any first aid. Even media articles about carrying gear very rarely mention anything about basic first aid stuff. 

Unless your ride is well under an hour and very close to help if needed I think it'd be impossible to go completely bagless (hip or otherwise) . 

I've stopped 3 times in last couple of years to help trailside injured. One guy had broken a rib but he wouldnt believe his luck as my riding buddy was a doctor! 

Another guy just randomly passing had  knocked a tooth out when he couldn't unclip bailing on a skinny so we could at least offer him a painkiller! 

Anyone coming from a mountain background would get it but so many mtbers are townies and don't even think about self-reliance.

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Vikb
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Vik Banerjee  - Feb. 9, 2020, 5:45 a.m.

So many riders don't ever consider carrying any first aid. Even media articles about carrying gear very rarely mention anything about basic first aid stuff. 

I used to carry a small FA kit in my pack, but I realized it's not really all that much good. Unless you carry a substantial kit you aren't going to do a lot with a minimal FA kit. So I stopped carrying one. Seemed like more of a "feel good" move than being useful.

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Kelownakona
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Kelownakona  - Feb. 9, 2020, 11:33 a.m.

Disagree. You can patch up serious stuff enough to get proper help. If you dismiss as 'feel good' you probably dont have confidence to fix yourself and ride it out. Fair enough - wait for medics.

I've used Steri-strips for a nasty shin gash that did need further attention once I got off the hill, and for lighter cuts to my arm (which didn't) , as mentioned painkillers can be useful if you have a wait for medical attention, and a roll of zinc tape or microporous tape can be useful from small cuts to taping up a bandage. Also some antiseptic wipes/cream can help keep it clean particularly important for where MTBers ride.

Doesn't take much space but still need a small hip pack for rides where you may be more exposed.

I actually have the above packed into an old 3 fold wallet that I can stuff into a pocket even when riding completely packless.

I'd argue I'd rather carry something to patch a bad cut up than my bike up! What's more important. Yet every mountain biker carries a multi tool.

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - Feb. 9, 2020, 4:06 p.m.

Not to be that guy, but I think you're both right. I stopped carrying a first aid kit because most of the stuff in there is for treating superficial sh*t that I'm just going to ride home with. I currently carry some painkillers and have tape wrapped around my pump. 

On the other hand, my brother, Crash Test, had a spill a while back that required stitches to his elbow and included his handlebar entering his full face and doing some damage. Steristrips would have definitely helped us manage our exit.

(the worst part, exit wise, was a crank arm to the thigh would result in a massive charley horse. He just had to suck that up and ride down with one leg straight but heck - that's mountain biking). 

I'm definitely thinking of packing some supplies in my handlebar where they'll keep dry and out of mind. Hopefully will never use them, but they could come in handy.

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jitenshakun
+1 Andrew Major
Jitensha Kun  - Feb. 10, 2020, 1:14 p.m.

My first aid has pain killers, fire starter, an emergency blanket, stuff to try and stop a bad bleed, and a SPOT.  It isn't that big and doesn't weigh much at all. Overall, I figure you can ride it out, or you're in the s**t and need to do something drastic while you wait for the chopper.  

The exception are big chunks of flesh being open.  You aren't hitting S.O.S., you aren't bleeding to death, nor do you want to drip all the way back to the trailhead.  I've had and seen a few of these over the years and have appreciated having my first aid every time.

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fartymarty
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fartymarty  - Feb. 11, 2020, 11:16 p.m.

Superglue is quite good for stopping bleeding.  I carry a small tube with my riding tools.  Also useful as a loctite substitute in an emergency.

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andy-eunson
+1 Andrew Major
Andy Eunson  - Feb. 8, 2020, 3:11 p.m.

I love these types of solutions. One bottle does for most of my rides and tube, pump and tools are on the bike always ready and never forgotten. Longer rides or where I might need extra clothes and the butt back comes out with an MSR filter for water fill ups. No shortage of streams and ponds here. 

Mountain bikers and packs are kind of like the frog in boiling water in that packs got larger and larger until we didn’t notice we were carrying way more than we needed because we could. The first Camelbak I owned was a simple foam sleeve with teeny straps. Then there were covers with small pockets for a few things. Before you know it we were carrying extra derailleurs and batteries and winter jackets, because you had room. There will be times when a pack is the smart thing to carry. I avoid those times now.

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