Granite Design Stash RT Ratchet Tool Kit Review
Announced earlier this summer, the Granite Design Stash RT Ratchet Tool Kit stores a two-way ratcheting multi-tool in your fork steerer tube with nine bits secured by magnets. We’ve been testing one out for several weeks for this review…
Hiding tools in your bar-ends and steerer tube is nothing new. These days you can hide pumps, multi-tools, tubeless repair kits, and more inside various nooks and crannies on your bike. For the most part, they are set-and-forget and keep handy everyday parts of your tool kit easily accessible and close at hand. We’ve tested options from Bontrager, Giant, OneUp, Dynaplug, and Granite Design—a company that has made stashable multi-tools its business with a full line of steerer tube and bar-end-mounted repair kits.
Building on their standard Stash Multi-Tool, which hides a traditional multi-tool inside your steerer tube, the new Stash RT Ratchet Tool Kit is designed around a similar system but incorporates a ratcheting wrench with a selection of tool bits. When done right, I love ratcheting multi-tools as they can make working on awkwardly positioned bolts (like the ones on racks) much easier. Plus, there’s something satisfying about a good ratchet noise.
Installation and Design
If you read our review of the Stash Multi-Tool, you might be familiar with how the Granite Design Stash tools install into the steerer tube. The process is fairly straightforward, requiring removing the steerer tube star nut, measuring the distance between the top of the stem and bottom of the fork crown to decide on which length of bolt to use, and then sliding the housing down into the steerer tube. As the bolt tightens, the bottom and upper housing sections compress together, preloading the headset bearings just like a star nut would. The new compact design fits most modern forks with tapered steerer tubes, including the RockShox Lyrik and Pike and Fox 38 and 36 series.
With the housing installed, stem tightened, and bars straight, the tool simply slides down inside the housing. To access the tool, the top cap opening has to be pushed on and turned 180°. There’s a small spring at the bottom of the housing that propels the tool up out of the housing once the top cap door opens. It’s a pretty slick setup when installed correctly, but we found a few kinks worth mentioning. First, to access the internal housing bolt to adjust the headset preload, you need a long 5mm hex key. The tool itself isn’t long enough, and I rarely bikepack with a hex key that long, so it might be worth carrying one if you’re worried about trailside headset adjustments, though I wouldn’t say that’s a common requirement. Secondly, the tool gets hung up on the inside the housing if positioned with the ratchet tool towards the back or front of the bike, but slides smoothly when facing either side. It’s a little strange and a slightly frustrating that you have to pay close attention when putting the tool away. Check out the installation video from Granite Design below:
Features and Function
The toolkit consists of a 92mm two-way ratchet and nine bits: 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8mm, and T25, plus a 50mm PH1 bit to extend the ratchet’s handle by 14mm. The plastic tool holder is CNC-machined and has several embedded magnets that hold the bits in place. The ratchet driver is identical to the Topeak Ratchet Rocket kits we’ve also reviewed, which can hold a bit on the handle and have a two-way ratcheting head for tightening and loosening.
Compared to bulkier multi-tools, these compact ratcheting tools are fantastic for on-the-fly adjustments and trailside repairs. The only real trick is keeping track of all the tiny bits, which in the case of the Stash RT Ratchet, sometimes like to run off. There is a magnet in the middle of the plastic tool housing that holds the bits in place, which need to be positioned with the larger end towards the magnet for a solid fit. Even when positioned correctly, it’s almost too easy to remove them, and they sometimes come out two at a time when you’re not careful. Thankfully, everything is contained inside the steerer tube housing when not in use, so as long as you don’t drop any bits while using the tool, you should be able to keep everything together.
As mentioned earlier, there’s no lack of options when it comes to tools that hide within your steerer tube. Most require the removal of the steerer tube star nut, besides the OneUp EDC V2, which requires the steerer tube to be threaded for installation. Thankfully, they’ve since added an adapter for those who don’t want to tap their steerer tube. There’s a fairly wide range of functions and price points to choose from, so it’s worth checking them all out to see what makes the most sense for you.
Steerer Tube Tools Compared
- Easily accessible and quick to deploy
- Ratcheting driver functions well
- Takes advantage of wasted space
- Reasonable assortment of basic trail tools
- GPS top cap mount is a nice addition
- Requires extra-long 5mm hex key to adjust headset preload
- Not a complete tool kit for bikepacking
- Bits have a tendency to get lost due to magnet keeper
- $70 for 9 functions seems pricey
- Made of: Steel, Aluminum, Plastic
- Weight: 159 grams
- Place of Manufacture: China
- Price: $70 USD
- Manufacturer’s Details: Granite-Design.com
Similar to my experience with Granite Design’s first round of Stash Tools, the Stash RT Ratchet Tool is a great option for quick adjustments and packs some useful tools into a tiny package. A tiny ratcheting wrench has become a go-to in my bikepacking toolkit, but since the Stash RT is missing some key functions, it will have to be paired with some other tools for a complete bikepacking kit. The bits fit in the plastic holder a little loose for my clumsy hands, but as long as you’re careful to keep track of them, it’s a great option, as you’ll never leave home without it.
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