Daysaver Original9 and Coworking5 multi-tool review: 14 tools, 72 grams
The smallest, lightest, and most expensive cycling multi-tool.
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Having raised over CHF120,000 on Kickstarter in 2020, the Daysaver Original9 turns what looks like a regular hex key into a modular bit-based multi-tool which is lighter and more compact than just about anything else.
Better yet, they partnered with premium tool manufacturer PB Swiss to make the thing. Needless to say – as a fan of bit-based multi-tools and Swiss-made hex keys – I was one of the early backers.
Fast forward a year and the small Swiss brand did another Kickstarter for the Coworking5, an optional add-on tool that docks with Daysaver’s Original9. And again, I found myself backing it. Having spent a good chunk of time carrying and using these two tools, I have some thoughts to share.
[ct_story_highlights]What: A Swiss-made multi-tool that prioritises function, low weight, and compactness.||Weight: 38 g (Original9), 34 g (Coworking5), 72 g paired.||Price: US$79 (Original9), US$29 (Coworking5), US$104 (pair).||Highs:Extremely compact and low weight; highly functional shape; benchmark durability, strength, corrosion resistance, and fastener fitment; chainbreaker beats many consumer-level shop tools.||Lows: Price; bits are tiny and fiddly to select the needed size; some tool sizes require you to remove and not lose a proprietary needle-sized bit. [/ct_story_highlights]
The Daysaver Original9
The Daysaver is intended to be one of the lightest and most compact functional multi-tools on the market. At just 38 g (or 43 g including a couple protector end caps), the Daysaver impressively manages to cover most common fasteners: 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 mm hex; T25; and a Philips #1 screwdriver (mine has the flat blade screwdriver option in place of the Phillips) are all present. The 8 mm hex comes from the outside of the stainless steel tool handle, while all the other sizes are from the proprietary bits that flip and dock with each other.
The plasma colour-coated and impressively corrosion-resistant bits set this tool apart from others, with two double-sided outer bits, each holding a colour-matched inner bit. Put another way, you get four tools from each outer bit.
The bits are a unique 6 mm hex size, so standard 1/4″ (6.3 mm) bits won’t fit in this tool. However, that means you can quickly undo many bolt-up thru-axles without having to flip and switch to the dedicated 6 mm bit. Meanwhile, one of the smaller inner bits uses the 4 mm size standard (the other is just 3 mm), something that the likes of IFixIt uses for its precision screwdrivers and WolfTooth uses with its multi-tools.
In case of loss, Daysaver offers replacement inner and outer bits for US$5 and US$14 each, respectively.
All-in-all it’s incredibly clever, and with the superb manufacturing quality, tolerances, strength, fastener fitment, and durability you’d expect of PB Swiss – I’m confident there’s no other multi-tool on the market made to this standard (except perhaps PB Swiss’ Bike Tool). Meanwhile, the 93 mm long L-key shape means you can access almost all fasteners on a bike and have good leverage in doing so – something that isn’t always possible with more common folding multi-tools.
However, it’s not without compromise. Bit-based tools require care not to lose pieces at the best of times, and the Daysaver requires another level of care. In many cases, you need to remove or at least flip a bit to use the size you need. For example, the 5 mm hex key requires you to remove the housed ‘child’ bit that docks within it – and that tic-tac-sized piece is begging to be misplaced. The bits are magnetically retained, and sweaty fingers can make them difficult to pull out. That said, I wouldn’t want any less magnetic attraction out of fear of the bits coming out when you don’t want them to.
Unfortunately, and speaking from experience, I can say that the bits can be fiddly and easy to drop under the heat of trying to fix something roadside. And having dropped one in a grass patch, which was like trying to find a needle in a haystack, I can confirm this tool isn’t for those that frequently drop things (a wall stud-finder and magnet worked to relocate it).
If you find regular bit-based multi-tools a fiddle, then certainly give this one a miss. And while the weight and size of this tool will be extremely attractive to the racers, the fiddly nature means you’ll likely be slower to use this tool when needed.
Daysaver offers a few different ways to carry its tools, and those options have only been expanded since the release of the Coworking5. I typically carry my multi-tool in a phone wallet, and for this I was using the supplied protective rubber caps. I found these useful for ensuring the bits aren’t misplaced, that my spare tubes aren’t stabbed, or that a hole isn’t rubbed in my jersey pocket – the bits themselves are quite pointy!
These covers work, but they are an afterthought to the rest of the tool. Often I’ll accidentally pull a bit out while removing the soft cover (although that can be of benefit if you’re struggling to pull out the bit with your bare hands), and it’s yet another piece not to lose.
At US$79, the Daysaver Original9 is undoubtedly expensive, as you should expect for a niche multi-tool manufactured by one of the world’s best industrial hand tool manufacturers. I expect that price to offend many outright, but those who have experienced PB Swiss or other equivalent tools (it’s a short list of equivalent tools) may be more open to spending such an amount on a tiny multi-tool. No doubt the quality is there, but I’d categorise this tool as being best for those that only rarely reach for their multi-tool and aren’t typically in a panic when they do.
The Coworking5 works as a dock for the Original9, and adds a chain breaker, a composite tyre lever, a valve core tool, a 3.23 mm spoke wrench (suits common DT Swiss, Sapim, etc), and a storage spot for a spare chain quick link. It’s a 34-gram addition that further opens up the practicality of the Original9.
The Daysaver docks into the tool with a satisfying magnetic snap while retaining an impressively slim profile. The Daysaver is stored bare, with no room for the previously mentioned rubber caps, although the Coworking5 offers more surface area to save those pockets from the sharp bits.
The chainbreaker uses the tyre lever as a handle and the 3 mm bit from the Daysaver tool to drive the pin. The tiny chuck of stainless steel is unassuming, but the function surprised me. It does exactly what it needs to do, and provides ample leverage and link-holding-security to free pins from the latest high-end chains.
Impressively, the chainbreaker works more smoothly and with better alignment than many of the cheaper workshop-type chain breakers I tested previously. The chainbreaker fits all common chains, including the often fussy-fitting SRAM AXS 12-speed Flat Top.
Those worried about breaking the tyre lever and being left with a useless chainbreaker need not worry. The steel chainbreaker component is held with a slotted shape and magnetic interface, removing it from the lever by hand. Once removed, the chainbreaker piece also provides an impressively functional spoke tool (albeit just in one size) and valve core tool. These tools would also work fine for occasional use in a home workshop.
Meanwhile, the tyre lever offers a huge amount of rigidity without any noticeable fragility. It’s built tough!
As mentioned above, Daysaver has expanded on the storage options for either just the Original9 or with the added Coworking5. There’s now a cradle that bolts onto a water bottle cage boss that holds both tools and offers a strap for a tube and/or pump. Still, given the compact size, I prefer to keep the combined tools in a small bag with my keys.
At US$29 (or US$104 with the Original9), the Coworking5 is far more palatable than the Original9, and while it’s intended for use with Daysaver’s own tool, it could just as easily be added into a saddle bag, pocket, or pack with any other bit-based or folding multi-tool. As far as chainbreakers go, this is one of the best lightweight and compact options I’ve ever used.
A niche option
There’s a lot to love here in both the Original9 and the Coworking5, whether paired or used individually.
The Original9 tool itself is made to PB Swiss’ ultra-high standards, it’s super light, compact, and works remarkably like a regular L-shaped tool. But I can only recommend this multi-tool to those who don’t mind slowing down a tad to ensure small bits aren’t misplaced – and even then, it’s easy to make that error. This fiddly usage still has me grabbing my Spurcycle or PB Swiss Bike Tool when I’m heading out for a ride where I suspect I’ll be fiddling with things (a common occurrence as a tech editor).
Meanwhile, the Coworking5 is a wonderful companion to the Original9, making for an impressively capable tool that takes up little space and weighs just 72 grams. I also think it’s an excellent option for those wanting to add a compact chainbreaker to their preferred multi-tool.
No matter how great certain aspects of this tool are, the price sets a high barrier for many. This is the cycling mult-itool equivalent of a pair of CaneCreek eeBrakes, a Silca mini pump, or a $450 3D-printed saddle. And while the pricing of such products can offend the sensibilities of some, thankfully, there are always alternative and functional options at less than half the cost.