Topeak Ratchet Rocket LITE NTX Review: Two Years Later
With a small ratcheting wrench, a good selection of interchangeable bits, and several preset torque attachments, Topeak’s Ratchet Rocket LITE NTX offers a lot of functions in a very small and unique package. Find Miles’ thoughts after nearly two years of use, including a motel room bike build and two weeks on the Oregon Timber Trail…
At the time of its release, Topeak’s Ratchet Rocket LITE NTX was one of the more unique bike tools on the market. And with an overwhelming number of folding hex tools available, I think that’s saying something. The kit is based around a small, nylon carrying case and includes tire levers and a handful of hex keys, but it’s the precision ratcheting driver that makes it special. Read on to find out why.
First, what’s included? To start, the Ratchet Rocket is all based around a cute, palm-sized tool that features a ratcheting driver on one end and an additional bit driver socket on the handle side. The kit includes T10, T15, and T25 Torx bits, as well as 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8mm hex bits, plus and a #2 Phillips bit. It also has three preset torque bits to deliver 4, 5, and 6 Nm respectively, and snap together to fit snugly inside the simple carrying case alongside the bits. Topeak included a magnetic bit extender for those occasions when some extra driver length is needed, This provides about two inches (5 cm) of extension. I’ve also used it to help imitate a L-handle style tool when using the static handle driver side of the tool. For good measure, Topeak also includes two plastic tire levers and a spot to carry a small tube patch kit. The nylon folding carrying case is simple, but keeps things organized and fairly secure with a velcro closure.
Originally, I wasn’t sure the ratchet driver would simplify trailside maintenance. However, my first time trying to tighten an awkward downtube bottle cage proved otherwise. Sometimes the simplest job can prove super frustrating when space is limited or the bolt in question is hard to see, but the ratcheting driver means once the bit finds its home, you can simply wrench away with very limited effort. It sped up simple chores for me along the trail, and during a post-flight motel room bike build I found that the Ratchet Rocket LITE NTX offered everything I needed to re-install my various bottle cages, my fork, preload my headset, attach my rotors, and dial in my drivetrain.
This might seem irrelevant, but I also really like the sound of a good ratchet driver. And, although it’s tiny, Topeak’s driver really packs an audible punch that lets everyone around you know you mean business.
The only issue I’ve had with the tool is that the elastic in the carrying case that holds the bits is a tad loose, so you have to ensure they’re pushed all the way down or they have the potential to slip out. There are also quite a few little interchangeable pieces, so it can be easy to lose small bits. I misplaced my smallest hex key bit somewhere between Portland and Hood River in 2018. As such, I’d recommend taking a look at Topeak’s standard Ratchet Rocket, which appears to have a more secure carrying case and a chain breaker.
Truth be told, in the nearly two years of owning the Ratchet Rocket LITE NTX, I think I’ve used the torque bits just once. I often don’t bother myself with torque ratings (sorry, mechanics) when making small adjustments, so they’ve been left pretty much untouched. For bigger projects, I rely on a full-sized adjustable torque wrench to avoid swapping little bits around.
- Preset torque bits offer more precision for delicate jobs.
- Good range of interchangeable bits, including an 8mm hex, common Torx options, and a Phillips.
- Ratcheting driver takes the frustration out of awkward jobs.
- Sleek and easy to pack, even with the included nylon case.
- Fairly pricey considering no chain breaker, quick link tool, or other options often found in multi-tools.
- Elastic bit holders not quite secure enough to hold tiny bits. I’ve already lost one!
- Weight 233 grams
- Pack Size 12.8 x 7.2 x 3cm
- Bits T10/T15/T25/2/2.5/3/4/5/6/8/#2 Phillips
- Price $89.95
- Place of Manufacture Taiwan
- Manufacturer’s Details Link
I have to admit I was a bit unsure about the need for a ratcheting driver in a bike multi-tool. Normal hex keys have worked just fine for trailside repairs (and for bike shop mechanics) forever, so what’s the point? However, as I was assembling my bike in a hotel room the night prior to our Oregon Timber Trail trip, the ratchet driver clicked and made total sense. Topeak’s Ratchet Rocket LITE NTX, paired with a chain breaker and master link tool, could be a solid tool kit for those travelling overseas or starting a trip by building up their bike. The precision and frustration-free control of the driver and a complete selection of bits provides all the functions necessary and makes getting to intricately placed bolts easier.
On the trail, the selection of bits, although helpful, can be easily misplaced. I would often long for the simplicity of an all-in-one multi-tool. Still, over the past two years I’ve caught myself reaching for the Ratchet Rocket LITE NTX during quick component swaps and rack removal projects, so it must be doing something right.
Make sure to check out our list of Bit Driver Multi-Tools for a few other compact ratcheting options.
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