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Object of Desire: Silca Titanium shop tools

Cyclingnews takes a closer look at the super-lightweight Titanium shop tools from Silca

What is a hands on review?
Object of Desire: Silca Titanium shop tools
(Image: © Graham Cottingham)

Our Early Verdict

The ultimate in super lightweight workshop tools

For

  • - Staggeringly light
  • - Minimalist design
  • - #toolboxwar envy

Against

  • - Chain whip is only available in 11-speed
  • - Expensive

Silca is a bit of a one-stop shop when it comes to super high-quality products, from pumps to lubes, the brand's strive for perfection is the same. Silca’s attention has recently turned to 3D printing, utilising the new possibilities this manufacturing process opens up to begin developing new products.

Silca began its 3D printed titanium project with Mensola computer mount which was launched earlier in the year, and it has now focused its machines on producing a range of ultra-premium 3D printed titanium tools, the tools on offer include a chain whip, lockring tool and machinist hammer. 

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Object of Desire: Silca Titanium shop tools

Silca's Titanium shop tools have a raw industrial aesthetic (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Object of Desire: Silca Titanium shop tools

The set is made up three tools including this 11-speed chainwhip (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Object of Desire: Silca Titanium shop tools

The set also includes a lockring tool (pictured) and machinist hammer (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Design and aesthetics

The initial outlay for these tools means Silca is primarily aiming these at the travelling pro mechanic. While it might be the riders on course doing the actual bike racing, that doesn’t mean it’s any less competitive in the pits. Pro-mechanics are a special breed, highly creative and knowledgeable they continually strive for the best. While most of their time is spent servicing and optimising bike setup, they do have a little free time to work on other things, and so began #toolboxwars.

For those unaware of #toolboxwars, it started as a bit of fun between mechanics as they showed off the tools of their trade. This quickly became a game of one-upmanship where setups became more optimised, personalised and the tools became the crowning jewels. 

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Object of Desire: Silca Titanium shop tools

The ends have an embossed Silca logo (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Object of Desire: Silca Titanium shop tools

The lockring tool is both Shimano/SRAM and Campagnolo compatible (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Object of Desire: Silca Titanium shop tools

The rounded teeth grip the cassette (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

There are plenty of brands offering ultra-premium tools, too, but for those mechanics looking for the lightest setup, Silca has to be the way to go. We aren’t talking marginal gains here either, Silca claims that its trio of tools will knock around 450g off other equivalent lightweight sets. 

The finish of the tools has a very raw quality about them. While some premium tooling goes for smooth and weighted, Silca’s tools feel ultra stripped back and minimalist. The handles gently widen towards the end to give a comfortable grip and have a slightly textured feel adding some additional purchase. The bottom of each handle are flattened and have the Silca logo subtly embossed on the end, this is the only branding on the tools. At the business end, the lockring tool’s splines are sharp with the Shimano/SRAM and Campagnolo ends sandwiching a cross beam supported midsection. This central cross-beam section is also used on the hammer. The chain whip’s teeth are rounded in design to mimic the shape of a chain to provide purchase on a cassette. Attached is a gold section of the chain, which gives a pleasing contrast to the grey finish, with hollow pins and cut-outs in the link plates as weight saving is everything here. 

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Object of Desire: Silca Titanium shop tools

Its all about weight saving so the chain section has hollow pins and plates (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)
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Object of Desire: Silca Titanium shop tools

The cross sections add strength whilst using minimal material (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Object of Desire series

Specifications 

All three items are 3D printed from a hardened 6Al/4V Titanium and have a combined weight of just 245g, 160g for the hammer, 80g for the chain whip and a staggering svelt 45g for the lockring tool. The chain whip is 11-speed compatible and uses eight links of TiN YBN 11-speed chain. To add strength, the 28cm handle has an internal spiral riffle which has been added to bolster the handle. The lock ring tool has the same handle design and is compatible with both Shimano/SRAM and Campagnolo lockrings.

The Titanium Machinist Hammer is also made from titanium and uses a hollow head filled with stainless steel and fine tungsten grit to increase impact strength. For hitting delicate things, there is a hard rubber side on the other side.

Silca sent us the chain whip and lockring tool and when holding the tools in your hand it’s hard to believe that something so lightweight could possibly function properly as a workshop tool. Silca does make it clear that these are to be your Sunday best and as such, should only be used when working on your best bikes. If you think you might need to pull out the breaker bar to get the cassette off your winter bike, these aren’t the tools for the job. 

Object of Desire: Silca Titanium shop tools

The handle gently increases in diameter to give a good grip (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

They aren’t a showpiece though, we know that 3D printing titanium is able to produce extremely light yet functional products, check out the Titanum MyTi 3D-printed titanium pedals which despite a feathery 102g for the pair, are rated for the rigours of cross-country mountain biking. In the case of the lockring tool, while the titanium used may not be as hard as other super-premium tools, Silca claims that it’s four to six times harder and stronger than the aluminium used in high-end lockrings. 

That said, we are yet to bring ourselves to use them in anger, however, once we have a reason to remove a cassette we are looking forward to trying them out. Until then they will be kept near my desk to be occasionally picked up to marvel in their lightness and design.

View the Titanium shop tools at Silca

View the Titanium shop tools at Silca.

Early impressions

Ultimately, for most tool swingers, Silca’s Titanium shop tools are going to be pretty hard to justify, especially considering that this set of three tools is more expensive than most comprehensive home tool kits from the likes of Park Tool and Unior. For professional mechanics and people who have a real love of tools then these are some truly aspirational pieces. Unless you are lugging your tool kit around, the weight savings of the tools are meaningless but that doesn’t change how wonderfully premium they feel as soon as you pick one of them up. These tools will not be the workhorses of your tool kit but they are going to feel special when you do, plus you will get to revel in the reactions of friends and colleagues when you hand them a 45g lockring tool.    

If these ultra-premium, made to order 3D printed titanium workshop tools aren’t personal enough, Silca offers the option to get some text of your choice engraved onto the handles. 

The tools are available directly from the Silca website and can be purchased individually for $150 a piece. The chain whip and lockring set we have here comes in at $275 and the full range will set you back $399. Want that aforementioned personalised touch? Silca charges $25 whether it’s one or three tools, which is actually pretty reasonable if you are getting the full set.   

Tech Specs: Silca Titanium shop tools

  • Price: $150 each ($399 for the full set)
  • Weight: 80g Chain Whip, 45g Lockring Tool, 160g Hammer
  • Material: Titanium
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What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.