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Verdict: 
Superlight and well made but fiddly to use, with a limited number of bits and high cost
Weight: 
61g
Fix It Sticks Roadie Set A
5 10

The Fix It Sticks Roadie Set A looks good on first impressions. The set of two double-ended tool sticks – so four 'bits' in total – are well made and fit sleekly to your bike, but unfortunately they don't work as well as expected, and the limited number of bits could leave you stuck when out on the road.

With an attractive anodised finish and superlight at just 55g (61g with holder), the four permanently attached bits can be mounted to a bottle cage boss in their plastic holder, or just carried loose in your pocket. Fix It Sticks has a number of options in the range to choose from to best suit your needs, with this Roadie A set consisting of 3mm, 4mm and 5mm hex keys, and a Phillips #2.

> Buy these online here

I first tried the set in the workshop, rebuilding an older carbon frame into something useable, leaving my trusty Allen key set aside for the duration. With the relatively short length of the sticks (keeping the weight low), undoing anything with one stick was impossible, and it was just about possible to get a bolt screwed in until it tightened up.

Here the party trick came into play – insert one stick into the other and they form a 'T' handle tool, giving the additional force required. Great idea! Unfortunately, it didn't work well in practice.

Fix It Sticks Roadie Set A - together.jpg

Fix It Sticks Roadie Set A - together.jpg

The hex shape at the base of each bit is small, and that's all that comes into contact with the alloy handle of the other, meaning you have to hold the two together while working on the bolt or screw.

This led to much cursing when one or the other stick dropped to the floor as it came apart all too easily, especially when trying to access bolts in awkward places or angles. It was frustrating but not the end of the world when in a well-lit garage, but out on the road when making adjustments to a new bike setup as I went proved a real pain, constantly hunting in the verge for the one that got away.

Fix It Sticks Roadie Set A - apart.jpg

Fix It Sticks Roadie Set A - apart.jpg

And then there's the cost. Sure, they look good and feel well made, and nothing broke in the time I used them – but for the same money you could pick up a decent multi tool with every bit on the Fix It Sticks options list plus a variety of other useful tools attached. Increase your tool count by just one, and weight by just 2g, and you could have the Birzman E-Version Mini Tool 5 Function for £10.99.

> Buyer's Guide: The best multi tools

To those absolutely fixated on saving every possible gram while being able to mend the most basic problems, this would work, but for everyone else there are far better and vastly more useful options.

Verdict

Superlight and well made but fiddly to use, with a limited number of bits and high cost

road.cc test report

Make and model: Fix It Sticks Roadie Set A

Size tested: 3, 4, 5mm Hex, Phillips #2

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Fix it Sticks says: "Fix it Sticks are a must-have tool for cyclists who make repairs on the road or in the shop. The sticks travel flat but then snap together as a T-wrench for fastening applications."

The ability to combine the two sticks to form a 'T' for leverage is a nice idea, and the sets are available in a number of configurations to cover all needs, but in reality you would need more than one set in different configurations, which for the cost would make other options a better buy.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Extremely lightweight – only 55 grams (61g with holder)

Anodized aluminum construction

Permanently attached bits

Maximum torque: 15 Nm

Available in the following configurations:

Standard A (4mm, 5mm, 6mm Hex, Slotted 5mm Wide)

Standard B (4mm, 5mm, 6mm Hex, Phillips #2)

Roadie A (3mm, 4mm, 5mm Hex, Phillips #2)

Roadie B (2.5mm, 4mm, 5mm Hex, Phillips #2)

Mountain (4mm, 5mm, 6mm Hex, Torx 25)

SRAM Inspired (2.5mm, 4mm, 5mm Hex, Torx 25)

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
7/10

The individual sticks are well made, but when put together as a 'T' there is only a small area of contact between the two, making their use fiddly and prone to coming apart.

Rate the product for performance:
 
5/10

Using just a single stick you can't get the required force to loosen or tighten the bolt or screw you are working on; as a 'T' the force is greatly enhanced, but the resulting shape can make access awkward in places, and as the contact area of the two sticks is small, with a loose fit and no magnetic assistance, dropping one of the sticks while manoeuvring to where I needed it was all too common.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

The finish has held up well after use in the workshop and mounted to the bike on winter rides.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10

The tool is indeed very light at 55g, completely unnoticeable when mounted on the bike and barely registers in a jersey pocket. It is only four tools, though. For comparison, Birzman's five-tool option is 57g.

Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

At £19.99 per set they are not cheap; the quality outweighed by the seriously limited use of the four bits.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

The tool worked OK in a warm, dry workshop, but when used on the road with gloves the constant dropping and searching in the grass was frustrating.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The quality and finish.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The lack of bits, its fiddly operation when combined.

Did you enjoy using the product? No

Would you consider buying the product? No

Would you recommend the product to a friend? No

Use this box to explain your score

Well made but expensive, and limited use.

Overall rating: 5/10

About the tester

Age: 45  Height: 190cm, 6'2"  Weight: 185lb, 84kg

I usually ride: Boardman AirPro Di2  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives

10 comments

Avatar
hawkinspeter [948 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

Not as nice as the Silca T-Ratchet kit (my fave) by the look of things, but a lot cheaper.

Avatar
surly_by_name [546 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

I was an earlier adopter - I think I committed to their kickstarter campaign. I think they are great, just the tools you are likely to need (5, 4, 3, 2.5mm hex), none that you don't.

I've never struggled with the T handle. The review gives the impression that the two pieces spring apart with explosive force ("constantly hunting in the verge"). I honestly don't understand how you can make this happen.

I tend to work on the basis that you really should make sure your bike is in working order (using proper tools) before you leave home.

Anyway, each to his own, I really like mine.

Avatar
Valbrona [212 posts] 7 months ago
1 like

Why don't they just sell the 'stick bit' things and let us use them with what bits we like?

Avatar
surly_by_name [546 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

They do - go to their website and look at the "replaceables"

Avatar
Man of Lard [336 posts] 7 months ago
3 likes

Why do the makers of these tools persist in using Philips bits when a JIS would be more appropriate. Glad I'm using a Topeak Ratchet Rocket (in which I swapped the PH#2 for a JIS#2)

Avatar
muffies [76 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

Not as nice as the Silca T-Ratchet kit (my fave) by the look of things, but a lot cheaper.

i think its a different use case. the Silca stuff is high end , also extremely expensive, slightly heavier, is ratcheting, has torque, etc.

 

The fixitsticks are supposed to be simple, cheaper (though not cheap) and light. Its just that they.. don't deliver. So while I'd prefer a Silca, I can see a market for something lighter/not as nice (which is pretty much what Toppeak and others offer, since fixitsticks.. just doesnt deliver on what the ads promise)

Avatar
muffies [76 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes
surly_by_name wrote:

I was an earlier adopter - I think I committed to their kickstarter campaign. I think they are great, just the tools you are likely to need (5, 4, 3, 2.5mm hex), none that you don't.

I've never struggled with the T handle. The review gives the impression that the two pieces spring apart with explosive force ("constantly hunting in the verge"). I honestly don't understand how you can make this happen.

I tend to work on the basis that you really should make sure your bike is in working order (using proper tools) before you leave home.

Anyway, each to his own, I really like mine.

The kickstarter tools were made in the US. The new ones are all made in china and the quality is poor. The machining is not great/too much play. Have a look on Amazon and you'll see horrible reviews piling up.

 

Basically, your set is alright but that's because you got the kickstarter stuff (though some comments still apply like being a little small).

Avatar
Grahamd [670 posts] 7 months ago
1 like
Man of Lard wrote:

Why do the makers of these tools persist in using Philips bits when a JIS would be more appropriate. Glad I'm using a Topeak Ratchet Rocket (in which I swapped the PH#2 for a JIS#2)

Why do the manufacturers of cycle components use JIS rather than the more generic Phillips?

Avatar
StraelGuy [1038 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

A good question. Sure, Shimano stuff is designed in Japan but the vast majority is used elsewhere where people use Philips screw drivers .

Avatar
arckuk [66 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes
guyrwood wrote:

A good question. Sure, Shimano stuff is designed in Japan but the vast majority is used elsewhere where people use Philips screw drivers .

How about replacing the JIS headed b-screw with a Philips equivalent on Shimano derailleurs? Or is the thread/size of screw particularly obscure, too?