This 15mm spanner is a thing of great beauty

Why the Runwell Aqualia15 spanner sets my heart aflutter

Call me a weirdo all you want, but I truly believe that the Runwell Aqualia15 spanner is one of the most beautiful cycling tools out there.

Runwell has been producing tools for the agricultural and automotive industries since the early 1960s, but in 2011 the brand began to experiment with new manufacturing techniques and designs, eventually re-launching with a focus on high-quality tools for cyclists.

Aimed primarily at fixed-gear riders and bike workshops, the Aqualia15 is Runwell’s 15mm spanner and the company has done an incredible job of turning something very simple into a truly beautiful object.

At 170mm long, the spanner is short enough to pack in a bar bag, or even a jersey pocket at a push, all while maintaining a degree of useful torque. The handle is also well rounded and angles out at 15 degrees to help avoid catching your hands — a very nice touch.

The ring head is exquisitely machined
The ring head is exquisitely machined

The 12-point ring-head is exquisitely well finished and, providing you have high quality track nuts, you shouldn’t have any problems.

I don’t imagine for a moment that this spanner will perform significantly better than the pile of bog-standard 15mm spanners I have in my toolbox, but it’s a delightful thing to behold and will take pride of place in my tool roll.

Having a look at the Runwell Instagram page, there also appears to be a seriously cool looking titanium version of the Aqualia15 with a beautiful ‘half dipped’, heat-treated finish coming soon.

All of Runwell’s tools are made in Japan, and the Aqualia15 is available direct for ¥2,300 or from Tokyobike in the UK for £23 — a price low enough to make this a great gift for the fixie-nerd in your life.

Other beautiful 15mm spanners

Of course, the Runwell Aqualia isn’t the only beautiful 15mm spanner out there.

The Campagnolo Peanut Butter wrench is the best known 15mm spanner
The Campagnolo Peanut Butter wrench is the best known 15mm spanner

The best known of these is of course — I say ‘of course’ as if anyone else cares about this stuff — the Campagnolo peanut butter wrench. I’ll let you work out why it’s referred to as the PB wrench.

If you’re lucky, you might be able to pick one of these up on the cheap, but more often than not they go for around £80/$100-ish range.

VeloSolo makes a modern alloy version of the legendary peanut butter wrench
VeloSolo makes a modern alloy version of the legendary peanut butter wrench

VeloSolo also makes a rather handsome alloy spanner that looks very much like the classic Peanut Butter wrench. If you’re a weight-weenie fixed-gear rider (what a niche within a niche), this is the one for you at only £29.95 a pop. 

The PDW 3wrencho combines a tyre lever and spanner in one
The PDW 3wrencho combines a tyre lever and spanner in one

If you’re after a more compact tool, I’m quite fond of the Portland Design Works 3wrencho — the name being a play on 3rensho, a famous Japanese bike builder who specialised in track bikes.

This nifty tool incorporates a tyre lever and a 15mm spanner into one small package, and should fit into any tool roll.

Other Runwell tools

Runwell produces a range of lovely bike tools
Runwell produces a range of lovely bike tools

Runwell also produces a number of other tools for cyclists, including the Nezile double-ended spanner, the Take 8/6mm pedal spanner and these super cool hex keys that have a ruler scale engraved onto them for some reason.

This is made of hammered copper and I'd like it just because, please
This is made of hammered copper and I'd like it just because, please

It also makes these incredibly cool hammered-copper top caps.

What do you think of the Runwell Aqualia15? Are you happy with what you’ve got or do you share our lust for exotic tools? Share snaps of any particularly pretty tools in the comments below! 

Jack Luke

Staff Writer, UK
Jack has been riding and fettling with bikes for his whole life. Always in search of the hippest new niche in cycling, Jack is a self-confessed gravel dork and thinks nothing of bivouacking on a beach after work. Also fond of cup and cone bearings, skids and tan wall tyres.
  • Discipline: Long days in the saddle by either road or mountain bike
  • Preferred Terrain: Happiest when on a rural road by the coast or crossing a remote mountain pass. Also partial to a cheeky gravel adventure or an arduous hike-a-bike.
  • Current Bikes: Custom Genesis Croix de Fer all road adventure wagon, Niner EMD 9.
  • Dream Bike: A rigid 44 Bikes Marauder, all black please.
  • Beer of Choice: Caesar Augustus
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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