The rectangular shape of GT's 2nd tier Essence multitool means it's ideally shaped to fit in a jersey pocket. Unfortunately the 155g weight means you know it's there.
It's a ten-function job with 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 mm Allen keys plus an adapter to create an 8mm, Phillips and flat headed screwdrivers plus a Torx key for tightening Campagnolo shifters or the rotor bolts on your bang-on-trend disc-braked road bike. You also get a chain tool, with the pin extractor in a rather fetching anodised blue. Another nifty little idea is the spoke key slot notched into the end of the chain tool handle. Finishing things off is an emergency tyre lever and although it works okay I'd suggest it is only used for emergencies.
All of this is squeezed into a package around the size of a credit card. It's a clever bit of design with the square-bodied Allen keys having notches removed to house the smaller sizes keeping the overall size down.
The tools are made from chromium-vanadium steel which is then hardened to give a longer working life. Over the last month the Essence has been taking on all the maintenance jobs whether they be workshop based or out on the road and each function has stood up to the job well with barely a sign of use or wear.
Its length and shape allows you to undo all but the most stubborn of bolts without slipping and removing the bark from your knuckles; even tight pedals were fair game.
The chain tool, which is normally a weak link on cheaper tools, works pretty well too. There is some flex in the winding handle as you try to get the pin extraction started but as a get-you-home, emergency repair kind of option it's up to the test.
Other than the weight the only other downer is how quickly surface rust has started to show up after it's spent some time in the mesh pocket on the side of my rucksack. Chromium is supposed to protect against corrosion so it was a bit of a shock to see them covered so soon.
Thanks to its low profile even the smallest of saddlebags is going to fit the Essence in alongside a spare tube, some tyre levers and possibly even a small puncture repair kit.
On the whole the GT Essence multi-tool is a strong bit of kit which is going to last the test of time and its diminutive size means that it doesn't up a lot of room wherever you decide to carry it. That strength does come with a weight penalty though which makes it more suited to rucksack/saddlebag storage rather than a jersey pocket.
Price wise it looks about on the money, there are so many variations in terms of materials and specs on the market it's difficult to give a definitive answer but if I'd spent nineteen quid of my own money on it I'd be pretty satisfied.
Good strong performer in a well thought out package, on the heavy side though.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: GT Essence Folding Tool
Size tested: Lightweight mini tool
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Essence covers most of the jobs that you'd need to carry out at the roadside plus strong enough to use in the workshop too.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
*Slim and lightweight design
*2mm Allen Key
*3mm Allen Key
*4mm Allen Key
*5mm Allen Key
*6mm Allen Key
*8mm Allen Key Adaptor
*Flat Head Screwdriver
*Mini Emergency Chain Tool
*Mini Emergency Tyre Lever
The onset of surface rust was pretty quick.
It's heavy compared to some of its opposition.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Good, it coped with pretty much everything I asked of it.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The size fits well in the hand to get enough torque to loosen stubborn bolts.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The weight and that surface rust.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 35 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Ribble Winter Trainer for commuting, Genesis Flyer My best bike is: Sarto Rovigo
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.