You won’t be the first and certainly not the last person to consider buying cheaper, unbranded or, at least, lesser known branded products from Amazon. Thanks to its mostly free and speedy delivery, favourable returns policy and vastness of scope of what it sells, it’s frequently an appealing prospect to purchase almost everything from the online giant.
And that extends to bike tools and parts, too. While there are some branded kits available from the likes of Park Tool, there’s also a wealth of less well-known brands churning out kit at respectable prices.
We trawled the marketplaces’ bestsellers and decided to purchase the Femor Professional Bicycle Maintenance Tools 48 Piece toolkit with our own cash to see how it compared to kits from brands such as Topeak, PRO, LifeLine and Halfords.
Femor Professional Bicycle Maintenance Tools 48 Piece toolkit details
Packaged in a plastic box with plastic catches, there’s no branding on the outside. Once opened, the tools are stored in both halves of the clamshell and there’s a removable thin foam insert between the sides.
Each tool is fastened in the case with small plastic lugs that grip the tools. However, some of the tools — the Allen key set, spanner and one of the lockring tools — don’t have a dedicated cut-out. Instead, they sit in the centre of the box and are free to move around.
Included is a 1.5mm to 6mm Allen key set and a separate 8mm L-shape Allen key with a removable 1/2in driver adaptor. There’s a dedicated 1/4in L-shaped driver with an adaptor for the two Phillips and two flat head screwdriver bits. It can also drive the 8, 9 and 10mm sockets. There’s a smaller dedicated Phillips screwdriver, too.
It also has a crank extractor, internal bottom bracket tool and two sets of lockring pliers, one for pinned rings, another for bottom brackets.
An adjustable spanner, spoke key and 13, 14, 15 and 16mm cone spanners are also supplied, plus a 15mm and 16mm pedal spanner. There’s a 30/32mm and 36/40mm headset spanner and three tyre levers, too.
A puncture repair kit is a nice addition, and there’s also a dedicated 8mm and 10mm spanner. Finally, the kit has a spoke key, a cassette tool, a chain whip and a chain breaker tool.
Femor Professional Bicycle Maintenance Tools 48 Piece toolkit performance
The carry case feels fairly cheap and the plastic latches don’t inspire confidence with their rigidity, but even after dropping the case on a hard floor, they remained shut.
The tools did rattle in the box during transit, despite the foam insert, which is mostly caused by the loose items in the centre of the box.
And despite the rattling, the tools didn’t break free from their dedicated pockets, although care needs to be taken to make sure they are correctly seated in the first place.
And getting some of the tools to clip into place requires a fair amount of force – which is good for their stability, but means the box gets damaged quite easily if they aren’t pressed into their slots perfectly square.
General quality feels okay considering the price, although ultimately the kit has a quantity over quality feel; the plastic rubberised handles are thin and poorly made, the tools don’t have a weighty and solid feel, and the Allen keys aren’t especially sharp. They’re also very short, reducing their usability.
The two lockring pliers – one for pinned lockrings and one for old-style bottom brackets – are virtually obsolete now, and more worthy replacements would have been a set of pliers and cable cutters.
Similarly, the lack of Torx keys is frustrating, especially when working on a more modern bike.
The adjustable spanner was a nice addition, however, because it could be used for a variety of applications. It was a shame it didn’t comfortably open wide enough to be used with the internal bottom bracket tool, although the 1/2in driver on the 8mm – that isn’t secured to the end of the key and can slip off during use – helped mitigate the need.
The chain whip didn’t comfortably work with 12-speed cassettes and the cassette tool wasn’t sharp enough to solidly engage the splines on an XD cassette. However, the chain tool worked with 12-speed chain pins well.
The conspicuous lack of external bottom bracket tools was frustrating and the pressure gauge – that can only be used on Schrader valves – has questionable accuracy once a compatible bike is found. Most bikes now use Presta-style valves.
Femor Professional Bicycle Maintenance Tools 48 Piece toolkit bottom line
The Amazon toolkit is arguably flawed, especially if you’re planning to rely on it as your sole source of tools to fix a bike made within the last five years.
There are some significant absences such as an external bottom bracket tool, a set of Torx keys and 12-speed compatible chain whip and XD compatible cassette tool.
The tools that are included are functional, albeit not the best quality. Femor has used the word ‘professional’ in the kit’s name but it’s more suited to the fledgeling mechanic on a budget who wants to check their bolts are tight and do some general fettling, rather than the full-blown professional mechanic.
For £50 it’s a relative bargain, but it would be wise to consider the Halfords Bikehut 30pc Bike Tool Kit if that’s your max budget, or up it by £20 for the Lifeline X-Tools Bike Tool Kit 37-piece kit.
Alternatively, you might be better off buying individual and slightly higher quality tools as you need them rather than opting for this Amazon special.