Chatting with the team mechanics from the Unior Tools Team at the first XC World cup this season, we found some interesting looking and unique tools on their work bench, and wanted to know more. When we got to talking tools, we found that they were in the process of finalizing an agreement to distribute their European-made tool range in the US, so we thought we should give some of them a try and report back since most of our readers should have access to them by the end of the year. We chose to start off with some solid basics that would work well either in the hands of a full-time mechanic or someone like us who works on bikes out of their home shop. That includes Unior’s take on P-handle wrenches, a rotor truing tool, chain tool, some interesting combination wrenches, an external bottom bracket wrench, and a cassette tool.

Take a closer look at a few of these tools, as we’ve started to put them to use…

Unior-Tools_tool-pouch_closed

While it looks like we will have to wait until Eurobike to get the full details on their upcoming expanded distribution in the US, a selection of the tools are already available through CompetitiveCyclist.com. One of their obstacles has been their use of blue handles (they’ve had some blue tools in their line almost since the tool company’s start in 1919), which Park Tool has a trademark on for bike tools in the states. But they have taken that in stride, since they have other colors of tools as well. We’ve seen a few of the tools destined for the American market, and they will have black and red handles and branding.

Unior Tools are however readily available throughout Europe, and we’ve started to give them a whirl. Usually included as part of their multi-piece kits, Unior sent us this handy sized (12x5x39cm folded) toolbag to keep our hand tools in one place, and it seems it and a couple other sizes are also available individually if you need to get organized.

Unior-Tools_P-handle-torx-wrench_short-end Unior-Tools_P-handle-torx-wrench_long-end

The first tools from Unior that we got some real use out of were these P-handled Torx wrenches (Unior calls them T-handles). The short arm was a nice length, long enough (55mm from the center on this T25, and 190mm overall) that we could get to rotor bolts without having to move a QR lever out of the way, and offered plenty of leverage. The plastic head has a nice tapered shape that fits in the palm and gets indentations on either side that makes it easy to grip and quickly spin between our thumb and fore finger. The tools are all size-specific, so when the bit gets smaller, the head gets smaller and the arms get shorter. We’ve only just started to use the tools, so we can’t attest to durability yet, but they are hardened and tempered, so should last. As for the tooling itself, the bits have as precise of a fit into torx bolts as we’ve felt from any tool maker. No noticeable play at all, which is good when we’re working with ti bolts on expensive bikes and components.

Unior-Tools_bottom-bracket-bb-wrench-with-magnetic-preload-tool Shimano-crankset-axle-plastic-preload-adjuster Unior-Tools_Shimano-crankset-magnetic-preload-tool

Unior’s external bottom bracket tool also has a nice feel. It fits tightly and has a nice 34cm long handle that flares out to clear chainstays. At the end you get a big soft handle that uses a hard plastic base (blue) with a rubber cover (black) for comfortable grip on all that leverage. We’re using it here on a Shimano bottom bracket, but it fits many other standard BBs. What’s especially nice about this tool, is that it includes a small detachable magnetic wrench for the Shimano plastic preload bolt on Hollowtech II cranks. So now you can spin that thing in and out by hand, or even use the 13mm wrench flats on it if the plastic bolts is stuck.

Unior-Tools_new_cassette-removal-wrench_11-12-tooth-cassettes Unior-Tools_new_cassette-removal-wrench_11-tooth-engagement

We showed you this cassette removal tool before, and now we’ve got a chance to use it. A much cleaner solution than a chain whip, the short pins on one side grab ahold of the 11 tooth of a cassette, while the longer pins can either grab the 12 of a 12+ cassette or reach over the 10 tooth cog on a SRAM 1X cassette to reach its second 12 tooth cog. For us it is much faster than a chain whip, although it does help to have a longer cassette lockring tool. Our short Park lockring tool still works, but you can only really get a wrench on the last 6mm of the wrench flats (because of the longer 12 tooth pins on one side.) It hasn’t caused us any big problem yet, but it is worth noting, even though I think the tool we were using is as short as they come.

Unior-Tools_new_IBEX-wrenches

There are also a couple of odd combination wrenches that Unior threw into our toolkit. While they aren’t really bike-specific, they are pretty cool. They use a unique IBEX profile that actually grips a nut only on the flats to both protect existing corners and to work on rounded bolts. They touch 3 sides of a nut at a time (instead of 2 with a typical open end wrench) and have a rewinding action that works almost like ratcheting because of their shape. We’ve yet to spend too much time with the other tools so far. The chain tool put one chain together quickly and effortlessly for me. We’ll update you once we’ve broken at least a dozen more to see how it wears. The rotor tool is pretty solid and fits nicely over all the rotors we have on hand, but we haven’t had time to get them all running perfectly true yet. Hopefully we’ll get everybody in line before cross season starts.

Unior produces all of their tools in their factories in Slovenia. They have some more specialized tools that we will be looking at in the future as we try to get more experience with the brand, their workmanship, and durability as a whole, so stay tuned for that. We’ll also talk with them about pricing across the EU and USA in a couple weeks, so we’ll come back here and add that in as well. Plus, from the talks we’ve had so far with the product manager who has his hand in pretty much every bike-specific tool they make, it looks like they will have a good deal of news for us at Eurobike in a couple of weeks.

Unior-Bike.com

27 comments

  1. TLJ on

    I suppose they could be considered unique in comparison to Park and Pedro’s Torx P-handle drivers with their offset handles. These aren’t particularly unique in the wider tool industry, as they look very similar to the Wiha T-handle Torx drivers. The Unior’s look like they may have a slightly longer side driver, which would be nice.
    I’ve used a handful of Unior tools over the years and they have been always been top notch. Looking forward to their wider availability in the US.

    Reply
  2. J on

    I see how the T-handle has a curve for the thumb can be nice, but length of the shafts has not bee an issue for me. At least not yet. I like the idea of a small travel case for the tools, but easily mistook these tools for ParkTools.

    Reply
  3. MulletRacer on

    Where are they built? Not seeing much special here except for the funny 3 sided combo wrenches. Though I don’t really understand the benefit over a closed end side of a wrench…
    Editor: All are made in Slovenia in the EU.

    Reply
  4. Adrian on

    I have found that at least a T25 Torx screwdriver is way more useful than t-handle in the long run. Loosen the bolts and then spin them off.

    Reply
  5. Rixter on

    @Tim, that blue is a complete rip off from Park. If Park is blue and Pedro’s yellow, they have a whole bunch of other colours to choose from.

    Reply
  6. plif on

    @Rixter – In a previous thread, a Unior rep made it clear than their color blue was arrived at decades ago, independently of the Park Tool blue. Just an unhappy coincidence.

    Reply
  7. UniorTools on

    @Rixter – we have been producing tools in Slovenia since 1919 and as articled mentioned, had blue on our tools for years back. Tools in US will be available in different color, more to follow.

    Reply
  8. Mike D on

    I guess I’m the only one who remembers a previous article where it was explained that Unior has been making tools waaaay longer than Park Tool, and have been using that blue color as well. Surely PT’s registered color has had something to do with the late coming of Unior to the states, but I’d say that it has *obviously* been sorted out now (ya know, since they will be here by the end of the year).

    Reply
  9. J on

    The P handles seem nice quality, we have them in Australia. But they are too small. They feel little in the hand after using park for so long.

    Reply
  10. dedge on

    And I’ve just bought a new chain whip from Park because my home made failed… after 15years of hard use! I would have bought this one for sure if I knew it was existing!!!
    Been at the Lourdes World Cup where the team Unior was, but have not seen this little beauty, shame!

    Reply
  11. Skip on

    The 3 sided combo wrench has been around for a long time. When I used them they were called tubing wrench’s. We used to use them when removing and installing tubing on Jet engines. They are were very handy for the hard to reach B nuts on tubing. I do not know if they will be all that useful working on bikes. But for some applications they are indeed a very cool tool.

    Reply
  12. R0b0tAt0ms on

    If you guys would have read the article, you would have known that the US bound tools will not be blue; “One of their obstacles has been their use of blue handles (they’ve had some blue tools in their line almost since the tool company’s start in 1919), which Park Tool has a trademark on for bike tools in the states. But they have taken that in stride, since they have other colors of tools as well. We’ve seen a few of the tools destined for the American market, and they will have black and red handles and branding.”

    Reply
  13. Unior USA on

    Thanks for all of the great comments here about Unior. Feel free to check out our website http://www.unior-bike.com. This is certainly the only major tool company making tools in our own factories. Yes all in tiny and beautiful Slovenia in the European Union. And yes everything. Even tool boxes and work benches are made in house in any of 5 of our factories all located in and around Zrece, Slovenia. We are looking forward to launching our line in the US very soon so keep your eyes open!

    Reply
  14. Slow Joe Crow on

    @Skip, the tubing or flare wrench you are referring to actually wraps further around the fastener, more like a box end with a chunk cut out to clear a pipe. That said, the cut away “ratcheting” open end has also , I remember seeing them in the 80s when I started wrenching.
    Some of Unior’s stuff looks promising, and the pin type cassette holder works really well, I have a Pedro’s cog wrench which does 11T and 12T and works well with the Park lockring tool.

    Reply
  15. Barrett Brauer on

    I came across this company years ago. There was a small distributor here in the states…I forget, it’s been years…who carried this line…as well as stuff like Galfer brake pads. I think they have one of best spoke wrenches out there. I’d be looking forward to getting some…..and I like the blue.

    Reply
  16. Rixter on

    @UniorTools. My apologies that I said you’d stole the colour from Park Tools. It is an unfortunate coincidence. The freeewheel remover looks quite interesting. I’d be aim to give it a try if I found a retailer near me. Cheers

    Reply
  17. Cory Benson on

    @TDog I think we should get our hands on one after Eurobike. So I guess our suspension rebuilds will happily wait til Sept.

    Reply
  18. Jorge Ramiro on

    Yo llevo dos años trabajando con las UNIOR, y me son de excelente calidad. Te das cuenta, al agarrarlas. Las Park Tools, no he tenido la oportunidad de trabajar con ellas…

    Reply

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