My inbox is constantly filling up with press releases announcing the latest and greatest mountain bike products, everything from new carbon enduro superbikes to brightly colored tubeless valve stems. Every once in a while one of them will contain a concept or a claim that stops me in my tracks. Enter the new Muc-Off e-bike drivetrain tool.
For $35 you can be the proud owner of this gadget, a stubbly little tool that can be set up with a 5mm, 6mm hex, or T30 Torx. It’s not meant to loosen or tighten bolts – you’ll need a different tool for that. Instead, it’s designed to make it easier to lube the chain on an e-bike, since the chain doesn’t rotate when you turn the cranks backward. Apparently, some riders (and even a certain editor at another MTB website) have been flipping their heavy bikes upside down in order to lube the chain, unaware that there’s a much, much, easier solution.
That solution involves sticking something into the chainring bolt that will stick out far enough for the crank to contact it. That will engage the chainring, making it possible to lube the chain in the typical manner. Muc-Off claims that their “revolutionary bit of kit” is the right tool for the job, one that was developed “after months of real-world testing.” The short length eliminates the risk of sticking something through the bolt and scratching your frame, and the rubber covering keeps those fancy carbon cranks from harm.
The thing is, you can accomplish the exact same result with an Allen key or multi-tool; even a stick from the side of the trail will work in a pinch. The latest wave of eMTB specific parts and accessories reminds me of when the word ‘enduro’ began sweeping through the mountain bike world. That was the season when everything was baby blue, and you couldn’t find anything that wasn’t purported to be enduro-specific.
Granted, this tool is actually pretty e-bike specific, mainly because there’s not much else you can do with it. I think that’s what got under my skin – the fact that it’s meant to fill such a tiny, tiny niche, to accomplish a job that most riders probably already have the tools for. It does come with a carrying strap and a carabiner, though, so that’s something. Just don’t get me started on the concept of e-bike specific chain lube…
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go whittle some custom e-bike lubing sticks. They’re 100% sustainably sourced, fully biodegradable, and can be used to keep small dogs entertained.