Chain Reaction Cycles’ own brand LifeLine makes a host of affordable but top-performing parts and I’ve had good experiences with its kit in the past. This time I’m testing the LifeLine 37-piece X-Tools Bike Tool Kit.
LifeLine X-Tools Bike Tool Kit details
The tools come in a plastic case with two plastic catches that secure it closed. Internally, the tools are clipped into place in each of their specific cut-outs with small plastic lugs.
There is no foam between the two halves of the case and some of the tools don’t have a designated compartment, resting in the middle of the case.
Included in the kit is a set of 2mm to 10mm Allen keys, 8mm, 9mm and 10mm sockets with a 1/4in driver and an adaptor for the two Phillips and flat-head screwdriver heads, and Torx T25 and T30 bits.
There’s also a double-ended 8mm and 10mm spanner and a spoke key.
There are 13mm, 14mm, 15mm and 16mm cone spanners, a Hollowtech II bottom bracket tool, internal bottom-bracket tool and a 30/31mm and 36/40mm double-ended headset spanner.
The kit has a 12-speed compatible chain whip and chain breaker tool and an XD driver friendly cassette tool. Finally, there’s a Shimano crank preload tool, a crank extractor, three tyre levers and a puncture repair kit.
LifeLine X-Tools Bike Tool Kit performance
The carry case doesn’t exude quality, and the lugs that hold the tools in place are easy to deform if care isn’t taken when placing them in their cutouts.
The case isn’t supplied with any foam inserts to help keep the tools in place or quieten down rattling – caused mostly by the spanner, chain whip and Shimano crank preload tool – but the tools stayed put during transportation, despite the noise.
Like with a lot of other toolkits, the crank puller, headset spanners and internal bottom-bracket tool are all virtually obsolete and could be excluded. In this instance, they could be replaced with more general tools such as cable cutters, pliers and chain master link pliers – all notable exclusions from the X-Tools kit.
Not having a full Torx set is also frustrating, considering more bikes now have the star-headed bolts.
The pedal spanner is a good size and its 24mm cut out in the centre could be used to drive the cassette and internal bottom bracket tools.
For infrequent use this was fine, but a more manageable 1/2in driver or dedicated 24mm socket would make life easier.
The cassette tool is impressively tight in the splines of an XD driver cassette, thanks to its sharp rather than chamfered edges. The Allen keys were also tight in every bolt they were tried in, but it’s a shame there isn’t a 1.5mm Allen key to complete the set.
The tyre levers were robust with enough gusto to get even the toughest tyres on their rims and the dedicated 1/4in socket driver is a good touch, making the kit rife for expansion as you build your arsenal of tools.
Thanks to the multiple chain grip positions, the chain tool worked well and it was a doddle to join and break chains without damaging links or pins. A puncture repair kit is a nice addition, too.
LifeLine X-Tools Bike Tool Kit bottom line
LifeLine’s X-Tools Bike Tool Kit is a solid performer for the money and will suit most budding mechanics.
It’s definitely worth budgeting for a set of pliers, cable cutters and possibly a mallet or hammer to complete it, and it’s a shame archaic tools such as the internal BB tool and crank puller haven’t been changed out for more commonly used items.
|Price||AUD $145.00EUR €79.00GBP £70.00USD $104.00|
2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 5.5mm, 6mm, 8mm, 10mm Allen key set
2 flat screwdriver bits
2 Phillips screwdriver bits
Torx T25 and T30 bits
8mm, 9mm, 10mm 1/4in drive sockets
1/4in driver with bit adaptor
Shimano crank preload tool
Shimano Hollowtech II BB tool
Internal BB tool
8 and 10mm double-ended spanner
2 13mm, 14mm, 15mm, 16mm cone spanners
15mm pedal spanner with 24mm central hex
30mm, 32mm, 36mm, 40mm double-ended headset spanner
3 tyre levers
Puncture repair kit