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Silca's HX-One Home and Travel Essential Kit is a genuinely lovely thing, so much so that its travel opportunities will probably be limited; I wouldn't trust it to the vagaries of baggage handling. It's expensive, but functional and beautiful. You pays your money, and so on.
What do you get? The most useful hex key sizes (2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 8mm, 10mm) as well as 10 driver bits (Torx T8, T10, T15, T20, T25 and T30 plus two sizes each of flat and Phillips screwdrivers) presented to you in a fine wooden box made from sustainable beech wood and featuring a magnetic clasp to keep it shut. You also get a hex adapter to use the 6mm key as the handle for the driver bits; it's magnetic at both ends to hold everything together.
The hex keys are made from S2 tool steel, and then coated with thin-dense chrome, 'a process generally reserved for mold tool components or optical grade surfaces inside molding tools' according to Silca. 'This coating provides the hardest, most dimensionally stable finish possible on each hex key,' it claims. And the hex keys are an excellent snug fit in the relevant bolt holes and they're showing minimal signs of wear after being the day-to-day office hex key set for the past four months. The only part of the keys that is starting to suffer a bit is the red, grippy polymer coating. That's been knocked off a few of the edges on the most-used keys. Functionally it's not an issue at all, but they don't look quite as pristine in their snazzy box.
The bigger keys are long enough to impart plenty of torque, although once you're tightening cranks together or doing anything else that requires a bit of elbow grease you do notice they're not as comfy to use as a big T-handle at that end of the range. That's the only real point at which they're not the go-to option round here. They sit on the side and get used all the time, and everyone eyes them jealously because they're also very pretty.
The bits work well too. If you're really tight for clearance on something like a Torx bolt on a disc calliper then there's the odd occasion where you find the magnetic adapter inhibiting you a touch, but that's been a very rare occurrence. The bits, too, are extremely well made with tight tolerances.
The 'travel' part of the name is up for debate. I don't think I'd take these as a travel set because they're too nice for that. They deserve to be very much on show in your home workshop. It's the kind of set that you hope someone will buy you for a significant birthday, or a work leaving present, or something; you might baulk at the £120 asking price if it's your own pocket you're emptying. If you like lovely things and you have a bit of disposable income, you won't be disappointed by the quality or the performance.
A high quality tool set with all the bits you'll need for a modern bike. Pricey, but lovely
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Silca HX-One Home and Travel Tool Kit
Size tested: 18-piece
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?
Few tools are used as frequently, and can cause as much heartache or wasted time as the seemingly simple hex key. It's one of the first things you notice at the top levels of motorsport tools, or in the toolboxes of Pro-Tour mechanics: extremely high quality hex keys. The reasoning is simple, better tool fit leads to better feel and confidence for the mechanic as well as a significant reduction in the likelihood of damaging exotic fasteners made from Titanium or Aluminum.
One of our goals with this lifetime set of tools was to have it be completely one-hand accessible (we've all been there..). The fine Beechwood Box uses a magnetic closure system and each tool rests in a CNC machined slot, held in place by a single elastomeric tab. Each tool fits into and out of it's slot with a satisfying 'click' so that even when stretched one-handed from work stand to workbench, you can be confident in your placement.
For the HX-One we had to start with the finest S-2 Tool Steel, a shock resistant steel which has been refined by Swiss and German toolmakers for the optimal balance of strength, hardness, shock resistance and dimensional control. S-2 yields stronger tools with much harder surfaces for prolonged tool AND fastener life. The keys are then coated with thin-dense Chrome, a process generally reserved for mold tool components or optical grade surfaces inside molding tools. This coating provides the hardest, most dimensionally stable finish possible on each hex key. Finally, each tool is spray coated with a high-grip, high-visibility textured polymer finish for maximum grip and control. No more dropping your tools with greasy fingers or losing them on your workbench!
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
fully CNC machined Beechwood box
S2 steel hex keys 2mm-10mm
Red polymer coating for superior grip on hex keys
Custom S2 steel bit adaptor to standard 1/4" bit
10 S2 steel bits found in every cycling workshop
Really good hex keys, bits are very good too and magnetic adapter is nice.
Red coating is wearing off a bit, heads of hex keys and bits good as new.
Good for workshop, maybe less so for travel.
Keys aren't as nice in the hand as a T-handle one.
Lovely quality and presentation, but it's still a very expensive set.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well as a workshop set, not sure I'd travel with it.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Mostly the price.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? I'd certainly put it on my wish list for someone to buy it for me
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Lovely quality and presentation, pricey though.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.