New Crankbrothers SOS Tools Deliver Versatile Trailside Fixes

The new Crankbrothers SOS tools represent a competitively priced and well thought out, on-bike tool kit to rival the best.

Arguably the multi-tool market is pretty flooded these days, and some tools are better than others. The new Crankbrothers SOS (Save Our Shred) tools can be as minimal or as maximal as you wish, with options for pretty much every repair under the sun.

There are three tool bases to choose from, with the possibility of expanding two of them, for five different full options each, with one main multi-tool that fits each of the three bases. The three bases are either a bottle cage, a tube strap, or their ‘twin tube’ kit, each of which at their most basic level features a tire lever with an integrated tubeless plug kit. The bottle cage and tube strap can either be expanded later to carry the SOS multi-tool and either a CO2 or a pump, or can be bought as the full kit.

Quick facts

  • Modular tool system that can be mounted to bottle cage or accessory mounts
  • Multiple configurations to choose from
  • Price: $29.99 – $119.99
  • Buy from Crankbrothers

SOS BC2 Bottle Cage Kit

Starting with the Crankbrothers SOS BC2 Bottle Cage+ kit, priced at $39.99, it consists of a side-loading cage that can be flipped for either right-handed or left-handed loading, and is made of fibre-reinforced nylon that seems to be pretty tough. Snapping into the bottle cage base is a single tire lever with tire plug tool and two plugs hidden behind it. The lever snaps in nicely and seems secure, and there is enough room to leave a loaded plug in there for emergency use. While I never dropped a bottle, the cage doesn’t have as positive a feeling when loading as some other cages. The tire lever is exceptionally sturdy and well designed, and can be used solo to remove most tires. As far as baseline tools go, it’s good, but doesn’t have a ton of functionality.

SOS TS2 Tube Stash+

The second tool base is the SOS TS2 Tube Stash+ which mounts onto a plastic cradle with a wide hook and loop strap for securing a tube. It’s priced at $29.99, with the same tire lever and plug tool as the bottle cage. The strap is big and secure and easily holds a large 29″ tube in place. Designed to mount either in place of a bottle cage or on a dedicated tool-mount. This would be my pick for baseline tools, since if you squeeze a CO2 and inflator in with a tube, that’s all you need for a basic puncture repair.

SOS Multi-Tool

The centerpiece of the range is the SOS Multi-Tool, and it packs an impressive range of tools into a small footprint. The SOS tool has a long, cylindrical shape, and the main body houses hex keys from 2mm to 6mm, T10, T25, and a flat head screwdriver, with an additional 8mm hex bit that slots onto the head of the 5mm and lives inside the tool on a small magnet. Plus the side of the tool has slots for chain master links. The top portion of the tool is connected by a small plastic piece and houses a chain breaker, CO2 inflator, valve core tool and three sizes of spoke wrench. The spoke wrenches/valve core tool work well, and can be used with the tire lever for extra leverage; I found I could turn a nipple well enough without, but it’s good to know I could do that.

The chain breaker head snaps onto the end of the included tire lever for leverage, the main body of the tool driving the pin, and works remarkably well. Both pieces of the tool seem well made with the side plates being aluminum and the tool bits of hi-tensile steel, and are of good quality with a sharp edge. The tool handle is long and slim and makes it easy to use in tight spots, while providing plenty of leverage for tight bolts.

Overall, the SOS tool is a well-considered design and contains pretty much everything you could need out on the trail. The only thing I could think of adding would be a set of quick link pliers.

Crankbrothers SOS BC18 Bottle Cage Tool Kit

The $99.99 SOS BC18 Bottle Cage Tool Kit is essentially the base bottle cage kit with a carrier for the included SOS tool, and either a CO2 or Crankbrothers’ Klic HV pump, not included. The SOS tool is housed in a sealed screw-top aluminum canister and is spring loaded so that it doesn’t rattle, though in reality I did find it maks a little noise unless you get it just-so.

The canister cap houses a couple spare tire plugs in addition to the two already inside the included tire lever. The whole thing snaps into a plastic mount and is secured by a sturdy rubber loop – it’s a bit of a tight fit and could sometimes be difficult to remove, though there’s zero danger of it falling out. On the other side their Klic HV pump can be mounted, or a CO2 in the same way, with an included plastic shim for different sizes of CO2. This tool combo is the winner for me, and for anyone with only a single bottle cage mount; simply find a way to carry a tube, and everything you need is right there. Personally I’d probably carry a pump rather than a CO2, just to be always covered, though for shorter rides I’d take the risk of a single CO2, knock on wood.

Crankbrothers SOS TT17 Twin Tube Tool Kit

Finally, the $119.9. SOS TT17 Twin Tube Tool Kit is a folding metal kit, where the SOS Multi Tool is spring loaded inside one half, and the other half has space for a smaller 20g CO2, or storage for small spare parts. In the center is a slimmer tire lever without the plug kit; despite being slimmer, the tire lever is still plenty sturdy. The plug tool is relocated into the multi tool in place of the T10. Personally this is my least favorite incarnation of the SOS tool, partly because it’s fairly heavy with its all-aluminum construction, and there’s no provision for a pump or tube, and only carries a smaller CO2 suitable for narrower tires. However, for those who don’t want to carry a pump, and already have a tube stashed somewhere and want a really clean looking mounting solution, this could be the one. The weight and price penalties combined with form over function makes it less appealing to me though.

Bottom line

It’s pretty much impossible to design an on-bike tool system that does literally everything with no downside. It would be great to include quick-link pliers and another nice-to-have would be the ability to carry a Dynaplug tool. Additionally I think a package including a pump would really finish the line off. I realize that I’m really nitpicking here, and overall I’m really impressed — the SOS tools give me a sense of security on big and small rides alike and perform admirably when needed. I’ll happily continue to use and recommend them.

I really like being able to shift the tools from my person to my bike. There’s nothing gimmicky about the SOS tool, even as a standalone tool. It’s well designed and highly functional with a quality feel and a high level of practicality.

The five variations of SOS tool offer a good blend of price vs. performance, and there’s just about something for everyone. I like that that the system is modular, and while the bases can be a little fiddly to mount since there are a few pieces to align, once mounted they feel sturdy and are well up to task. The BC18 and TS18 bottle cage and tube stash solutions with all the add-ons are the standouts for me, representing decent value and when combined with a CO2 or the $39.99 Klic HV pump, deliver a solution for pretty much any eventuality. Both in terms of price and functionality, the SOS tools is a genuine rival to the OneUp EDC tool which is the gold standard of on-bike tool storage.