Having raised over CHF120,000 on Kickstarter in 2020, Daysaver Original9 turns what looks like a regular hex key into a modular bit-based multi-tool that’s lighter and more compact than anything else.
Better yet, they teamed up with premium toolmaker PB Swiss to get the thing done. Needless to say, as a fan of bit-based multi-tools and Swiss-made hex keys, I was an early backer.
Fast-forward a year and the small Swiss brand did another Kickstarter for Coworking5, an optional add-on tool that connects with Daysaver’s Original9. And again, I found myself endorsing him. Having spent a fair amount of time uploading and using these two tools, I have a few ideas to share.
- What: A Swiss-made multi-tool that prioritizes function, low weight and compactness.
- Weight: 38g (Original9), 34g (Coworking5), 72g paired.
- Price: $79 (Original9), $29 (Coworking5), $104 (pair).
- Highs:Extremely compact and low weight; highly functional form; compare the durability, strength, corrosion resistance, and fit of fasteners; chainbreaker outperforms many consumer grade shop tools.
- Low: Price; the bits are small and complicated to select the necessary size; Some tool sizes require you to remove and retain a patented needle-sized bit.
the original savior9
The Daysaver is intended to be one of the lightest and most compact functional multi-tools on the market. At just 38g (or 43g including a pair of protective caps), the Daysaver manages to impressively cover the most common fasteners: 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8mm hex; T25; and a #1 Philips screwdriver (mine has the flat blade option instead of the Phillips) are all present. The 8mm hex comes from the outside of the stainless steel tool handle, while all other sizes come from the patented bits that twist and lock together.
Plasma color coated bits and impressive corrosion resistance set this tool apart from others, with two double-sided outer bits, each with a matching color inner bit. Put another way, you get four tools from each outer bit.
The bits are a single 6mm hex size, so standard 1/4″ (6.3mm) bits will not fit in this tool. However, that means you can quickly undo a lot of screw-in thru-axles without having to flip and switch to the dedicated 6mm bit. Meanwhile, one of the smaller internal bits uses the standard 4mm size (the other is just 3mm), something IFixIt uses for its precision screwdrivers and WolfTooth uses with its multi-tools.
In the event of loss, Daysaver offers replacement internal and external bits for $5 and $14 each, respectively.
Overall, it’s incredibly smart and with the excellent build quality, tolerances, strength, fastener fit, and durability you’d expect from PB Swiss. I’m sure there is no other multi-tool on the market made to this standard. (except maybe Bike Tool from PB Swiss). Meanwhile, the 93mm long L-wrench shape means you can access almost every fastener on a bike and have good leverage doing so, something not always possible with the more common folding multi-tools.
However, it is not without commitment. Bit-based tools require care not to lose pieces at best, and 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 5mm hex key requires you to remove the lodged ‘kid’ bit that fits inside it, and that tick-tock-sized piece is just begging to be misplaced. Bits are magnetically retained and sweaty fingers can make removal difficult. That said, I wouldn’t want a less magnetic attraction for fear of bits coming out when you don’t want them to.
Unfortunately, and speaking from experience, I can say that parts can be tricky and easy to drop under the heat of trying to fix something on the road. And having dropped one in a patch of grass, which was like trying to find a needle in a haystack, I can confirm that this tool is not for those who frequently drop things (a wall stud finder and a magnet worked to relocate it).
If you find regular bit-based multitools to be a fiddle, then definitely miss this one. And while the weight and size of this tool will be extremely attractive to racers, the complicated nature means that it will probably be slower to use this tool when needed.
Daysaver offers a few different ways to carry your tools, and those options have only expanded since the launch of Coworking5. I usually carry my multi-tool in a phone wallet, and for this I was using the provided rubber caps. I found these handy to ensure bits don’t get misplaced, my spare tubes don’t get stabbed, or rub a hole in my t-shirt pocket – the bits themselves are pretty pointy!
These covers work, but are an afterthought for the rest of the tool. I’ve often accidentally pulled a bit out while removing the soft cover (although that can be beneficial if you’re struggling to get the bit out with your bare hands), and it’s another piece not to lose.
At $79, the Daysaver Original9 is certainly expensive, as you’d expect from a niche multi-tool made by one of the world’s best industrial hand tool makers. I hope that price completely offends many, but those who have experienced PB Swiss or other equivalent tools (it’s a short list of equivalent tools) may be more willing to spend such an amount on a small multi-tool. The quality is certainly there, but I would rate this tool best for those who rarely reach for their multitool and don’t usually panic when they do.
The Coworking5 works like a spring for the Original9 and adds a chain breaker, compound tire lever, valve core tool, 3.23mm spoke wrench (fits stock DT Swiss, Sapim, etc. ) and a storage place for a spare quick link chain. It’s a 34-gram addition that further expands the practicality of the Original9.
The Daysaver attaches to the tool with a satisfying magnetic snap while retaining an impressively slim profile. The Daysaver stores bare, with no room for the aforementioned rubber caps, though the Coworking5 offers more surface area to protect those pockets from sharp points.
The chain breaker uses the tire lever as a handle and the 3mm bit from the Daysaver tool to drive the pin. The little stainless steel chuck is simple, but the function surprised me. It does exactly what it’s supposed to do and provides ample leverage and link retention security to free pins from the latest high-end chains.
Surprisingly, the chain breaker runs smoother and with better alignment than many of the cheaper shop chain breakers I’ve tried before. The chain breaker fits all common chains, including the often fiddly SRAM AXS Flat Top 12-speed.
Those worried about breaking the tire lever and being left with a useless chain breaker need not worry. The steel chain breaker component is held with a slotted shape and magnetic interface, removing it from the lever by hand. Once removed, the chain breaker piece also provides an impressively functional spoke tool (albeit in only one size) and valve core tool. These tools would also work well for occasional use in a home workshop.
Meanwhile, the tire lever offers great stiffness without any noticeable brittleness. It’s built tough!
As mentioned above, Daysaver has expanded storage options for just the Original9 or with the Coworking5 added. There is now a cradle that screws onto a water bottle case that holds both tools and offers a strap for a tube and/or pump. Still, given the compact size, I prefer to keep the combo tools in a small bag with my wrenches.
At $29 (or $104 with the Original9), the Coworking5 is much more palatable than the Original9, and while it’s designed for use with the Daysaver’s own tool, it could easily be added to a saddlebag, pocket, or pack with any other folding multi-tool. or bit-based. As for chain breakers, this is one of the best lightweight and compact options I’ve ever used.
A niche option
There’s a lot to love about both the Original9 and Coworking5, whether combined or used individually.
The Original9 tool itself is built to PB Swiss ultra-high standards, it’s super light, compact and performs remarkably like a normal L-shaped tool. But I can only recommend this multi-tool to those who don’t mind cutting down on the speed to make sure no small parts get lost, and even then, it’s easy to make that mistake. This tricky usage still makes me grab my Spurcycle or PB Swiss Bike Tool when I’m out for a ride where I suspect I’ll be messing with things (a common thing as a tech editor).
Meanwhile, the Coworking5 is a wonderful companion to the Original9, making it an impressively capable tool that takes up little space and weighs just 72 grams. I also think it’s a great option for those who want to add a compact chain breaker to their multi-tool of choice.
No matter how good certain aspects of this tool are, the price sets a high bar for many. This is the cycling multi-tool equivalent of a pair of CaneCreek eeBrakes, a Silca mini-pump, or a $450 3D-printed saddle. And while the price of such products may offend the sensibilities of some, thankfully, there are always alternative and functional options out there. at less than half the cost.