Bicycle mechanic review of Topeak Alien X multi-tool
Topeak Alien X - Multi-Tool Review
The Alien X represents Topeak's latest and ultimate multi-tool with 34 functions. A true mobile workshop.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalise a purchase.
- Well known premium quality brand
- Cr-V high tensile steel tools
- Mobile workshop
- Splits into two for added versatility
- Solid premium feel when working with it.
- With all those tools it’s the heaviest and largest one.
- Some people might not like the polymer body
- Its one of the most expensive multitools
- Can be uncomfortable in the hand during high torque use
Who are Topeak and the Alien series multi-tool?
Topeak has been around since 1991 when they brought to market their “survival tool box” designed as a mini tool kit that can easily be strapped to a bike frame. The first true multi-tool released by Topeak was the Alien series multi-tool in 1996 with successive products up to the current incarnation of the Alien X. Topeak have a long history of award winning multi-tools, they have released other series of multi-tools such as the Mini and the Hexus to suit just about every rider. Topeak is a well known multi award winning brand, highly regarded for their high quality and versatile range of products.
Topeak’s Alien series has a unique split body design, which helps them cram more functions and versatility into a single multi-tool making it the ultimate mini mobile workshop. The Alien X is the latest iteration of this line of tools and its a beast! It has a mammoth 34 functions making it one of the, if not the most comprehensive multi-tool on the market.
What does the multi-tool look like?
The body of this tool is made from a black “engineering grade polymer” most likely a polyamide like Nylon 6-6. The body side panels have a pattern formed into them to resemble an alien like architecture and the familiar green alien head logo printed on to identify the brand.
Each half of the tool slides together locking into place with a locking button to detach for use. The tool bits are held together in a traditional manner with bolts through loops at the end of the bits, torqued to provide friction resistance to the opening out of the bits.
All folded up the tool measures approximately 4 x 4 x 7cm and weighs in at a mighty 204g, it comes with a pouch, which is great for these tools if you plan to pack them with other more delicate items like inner tubes or phones.
There are a lot of useful functions in this tool, interestingly it has a knife blade wit is own plastic sheath. I believe the blade does not lock in the open position, which would make it compliant with UK knife law relating to locking blades of 3.5inches in length.
You are treated to a full range of hex keys from 1.5mm up to a 10mm socket bit, in keeping with modern bikes is a good range of torx tools from T10 to a removable T30 bit. What makes this tool really unique is the master link pliers, which are constructed by joining the two halves of the tool at the pivot points of the master link fold out bits. Once put together it gives the tool a distinctive X shape, i wonder if this was their inspiration for the naming of the tool?
What functions does it have?
The full list of tools are:
- Allen keys: 1.5/2/2.5/3/4/5/6/8/10
- Torx: T10/T15/T20/T25/T30
- Spoke wrenches: 14G/15G/Mavic M7/Shimano 4.5mm
- Cr-Mo chain tool
- Chain hook
- Cr-Mo master link pliers
- Super hard anodised tire lever
- #2 Philips screwdriver socket
- Serrated knife/saw
- Presta valve core tool
- Polymer disk spacer
- Secondary chain link fence
- Chain pin breaker up to 12 speed
- Chain pin compartment
- Master link storage compartment
Alright that looks awesome, what do the people have to say about this? The vast majority of reviewers loved this tool. They were super impressed at the build quality and the usefulness of all those functions, the allen and torx keys are usefully long helping to reach all those hard to get at places. As with all things however, there are some downsides mentioned too.
The spoke wrench key starts with its 14G down at the base near the folding point, this makes it difficult to turn the spoke key without it impacting the rim. This is one of the most common sizes and could cause frustration for many users.
One person complained that the shape of the tool body is quite angular and made it uncomfortable to use in high torque situations without gloves especially when the tool is split in half. This one wasn’t a common complaint and I have to say it is dependent on the size of your hands and the ability to securely grip the tool. One thing i have found is that if the tool is digging in a bit in use, put the pouch over the tool body to lessen the effects of sharp edges.
Wow, what a tool! This thing has a tool for just about everything. Its safe to say, I am a big fan of it.
The design of this tool has clearly had a lot of thought gone into it, the fact the tool splits into two and can be used together for things such as splitting chains is awesome.
I love the styling, simple but with a playful theme. The polymer body helps to make this tool feel more comfortable in the hand, which is important with a beast this size. Personally i don’t mind the polymer but i can see some people getting fussy about it thinking it cheapens the feel of the tool.
The tool comes with a carry pouch, which is a nice touch, however there is no belt loop on the pouch so for those who like to wear their tools on their belts, you may have to modify the pouch a bit to create your own loop. Or, like the rest of us, you just simply put it in your kit bag, job done.
As mentioned before, this multi-tool is BIG! It has to be to get all those functions in, I’m a big person and I’m not a weight watcher either so carrying something like this around isn’t so much of a problem to me. Having said that, for someone who likes to carry minimal excess weight for that competitive edge, they would have to seriously consider if this tool is likely to be overkill for their needs.
With all those fantastic functions there is no tubeless repair tools, not a problem for people with tubes but it may be something for you to consider.
This tool isn’t cheap but you really do get what you pay for, quality materials, quality machining, quality functionality all from a quality brand. Never be afraid to pay a little more for good quality tools!
A mixture of Cr-Mo and Cr-V steel used for the tool bits is reassuring, the bits are precision machined and fit well in use. I think the hex and torx keys being longer has a massive advantage over other tools where they have kept them short for space reduction, they can easily fit though congested areas to reach the bolts.
Another minor point of frustration for me is the use of loose socket bits like the T20 bit or the Philips head bit. I always feel like i will end up loosing these bits at some point especially out on a trail somewhere.
Would I recommend this tool to others? That’s a big fat YES! However, that person will need to consider whether they want a tool of such magnificent proportions and become a mobile workshop. If like me, size and weight isn’t an issue and you don’t mind forking out a good wad of cash then stop wasting time and buy it!