Some tools, a cyclist carries with him (or her) and some he doesn’t. A wise cyclist carries a multitool with standard Allen wrench sizes and screwdriver blades, and perhaps a chain tool. Multitools, although they have saved many a rider’s bacon on the road, are still clumsy in the shop. When you put the bike on the stand for routine maintenance or a repair, you use tools meant for the shop: tools like a Park Tool AWS-1 Y Hex Wrench.
An AWS-1 is a beefy tool a bike mechanic can love. It’s a triple hex-head wrench with the most common size wrenches – 4, 5 and 6mm – arrayed off a central disk. It makes a Y shape about 5 inches high. Each wrench is 1½” long plus a 1-inch polymer arm; the arms are arranged around a 1½” polymer disk about ½” thick.
Unlike an ordinary L-shaped hex wrench, the AWS-1 fits in the palm of the hand to provide more torque than the simple design. It’s also more comfortable to use. The three-prong design has good balance even while making three common hex wrench sizes instantly available. That thick central disk makes it easier to pick up, too.
Park also has a version with 4- and 5-mm hex wrenches and a T25 Torx head (the AWS-7), a smaller Y wrench with 2-, 2.5- and 3-mm hex wrenches (the AWS-3) and a version with ball tips that are easier to insert into hard-to-reach screws (the AWS-8). All are made of high-torque industrial steel and have a Park Tool logo printed on the disk and a label for the different sizes. While you could probably get by with ordinary L-shaped wrenches for bike maintenance, a Park Tool AWS-1 is an easy-to-use and convenient package.
Pros: much better torque, more convenient, and more comfortable than an L-shaped hex wrenchCons: this one lacks the Torx head that's being more commonly neededSummary: Next to a cold, frosty one, a Park Tool Y-design Hex Wrench is a bicycle mechanic's next friend.