fix it sticks tools

Review: The Fix It Sticks Mountain Kit brings shop tool functionality to the trail

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Having launched a wildly popular Kickstarter campaign way back in 2013, Fix It Sticks went on to successfully bring its clever modular tool system into a market that, up until then, had otherwise been dominated by the standard flip-out multi-tools we’re all familiar with.

For those who haven’t seen these before, Fix It Sticks is based around the T-bar tool concept, with two ‘Sticks’ that lock into each other to create, well, a T-bar tool. The goal of this design is to bring shop-like functionality into the world of compact multi-tools.

fix it sticks tools
Fix It Sticks has brought the T-bar concept to the world of portable cycling multi-tools.

The popularity of the design has seen Fix It Sticks expand its original product range, spawning numerous options that offer both fixed and replaceable bits.

The Mountain Kit shown here is the most comprehensive option that Fix It Sticks offers for cyclists. It’s based around the same modular system as the original Fix It Sticks, but uses swappable bits that are held within the metal barrels via magnets.

fix it sticks tools tyre levers chain breaker
What you get inside that carry case.

There are eight bits in total, and you also get a neat chain breaker, clip-in tyre levers, a plastic holster, and a carry case. Basically all the essentials you’d expect from a large size multi-tool.

Fix It Sticks Mountain Kit Features

  • Hex keys: 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5 & 6mm hex bits
  • T25 torx bit
  • Phillips Head P2 bit
  • Clip-in tyre levers
  • Chain breaker
  • Zippered carry Case with mesh compartments
  • Total weight: 257g
  • RRP: £49.99
fix it sticks tool case
There’s a bit of extra room for putting in a tyre repair kit, a spare chain link, and some emergency zip-ties.

Using The Sticks

We’ve used Fix It Sticks in the past, and the experience here is no different. This is a rock-solid piece of kit, and it doesn’t take much fondling with the Mountain Kit to appreciate the level of quality that’s on offer.

The two metal Sticks lock into each other positively, while a hidden magnet inside the hexagonal bore helps them to stay put when they’re in T-bar mode. The bits do require a good tug to free them from the magnetic pull of the handle, but it does mean they’re very secure and very unlikely to self-eject.

So far (*searches for wooden surface*) I’ve not lost any. If you were to lose any though, the bits are a standard size, so you can get replacements from the local hardware store, or from Fix It Sticks directly.

fix it sticks tools magnet
A small magnet inside the receiver end helps to hold each bit in place.

The black plastic holster provides a reassuringly solid housing for the two Sticks, providing a satisfying ‘click’ as they snap into place.

Four spare bits are housed in orange rubberised pockets, which aren’t as secure. Again, I haven’t lost any so far, but to appease my anxiety it would be nice to see a slightly more robust method for stowing the spare bits.

fix it sticks tools
The orange storage pockets could be more secure.

Because of the modularity, you can easily set up each Stick with your most frequently used tools. For me, I keep one Stick loaded with 4mm and 5mm bits, and the other Stick with a 3mm and a T25.

I should also give Fix It Sticks a big thumbs up for including both 2mm and 2.5mm hex bits – those are commonly used sizes that are all too regularly omitted from multi-tools.

And The Other Bits

Upping the versatility over previous Fix It Sticks products, the tyre levers are superb additions. These little black canoe paddles clip onto the open end of each Stick, and just like the other bits, they’re also held in place with the help of a magnet.

fix it sticks tools tyre lever
Tyre levers clip in place, also with the help of magnets.
fix it sticks tools tyre lever
Thin and curved profile makes this a surprisingly useful tyre lever.

Far from being an afterthought (like the crappy tyre levers that many multi-tools come with), the wide, curved and slightly pointed profile works exceptionally well at plucking a tight tyre bead off a tubeless rim bed. The fact that the lever is reinforced with a steel rod also ups the leverage you can apply – not unlike the metal core tyre levers that many experienced shop and race mechanics favour.

fix it sticks tools tyre lever
The metal ‘Stick’ helps to reinforce the tyre lever for better leverage.

Likewise, the chain breaker is well thought out. You clip the body of one Stick onto the hexagonal stub of the drive pin, which creates a wide handle to crank down on the chain. The other Stick is used to stabilise the body of the chain breaker, though because it’s not held in place with a magnet, the slightly loose fit does take some management when in use. Otherwise the breaker does what it’s supposed to, and gives you plenty of leverage to make the job easier.

fix it sticks tools chain breaker
A compact chain breaker also makes use of the modular Sticks.
fix it sticks tools chain breaker
Plenty of leverage from this design.

But What’s Wrong With My Current Multi-Tool?

Probably nothing if you’ve had no issues so far. But whether you’re talking a flip-out multi-tool, a ratchet head and bit kit, or a buildable T-handle like the Fix It Sticks, every portable bicycle tool is ultimately compromised in some way.

The disadvantages of using the Fix It Sticks Mountain Kit are that it’s a bit bulky, somewhat heavy given the number of tools on offer, and it’s slower to use due to the storage case and swappable bits.

The flip side is that it is very ergonomic, and the T-bar profile provides welcome leverage for tightening up bolts, and easier spinning for removing them completely. It’s also reassuringly solid – something you’ll appreciate if you’ve ever had to deal with floppy multi-tools that require regular retightening.

fix it sticks tools bottle cage
The long Sticks allow for access to awkward bolts.
fix it sticks tools bottle cage
Ever tried to do this job with a regular flip-out multi-tool?

The length of each Stick is also very useful for accessing awkward bolts – like those that hold down your bottle cage, or the bolts at the top of a seatpost saddle clamp. Compared to the typical 20-30mm length of the bits on a flip-out multi-tool, the Fix It Sticks measures a generous 87mm from handle to bit tip. And that makes those aforementioned jobs a load easier – particularly if you need to tighten them up to a reasonable torque level.

fix it sticks tools multi
The Fix It Sticks are far longer than your average multi-tool bits.

Speaking of, you can get torque limiters separately if you’re after a little more assurance when tightening up bolts on expensive carbon handlebars. Fix It Sticks sells these separately, though because of the standard 1/4in bit size you can likely source them elsewhere too – I’ve actually borrowed a torque head from a Topeak ratchet kit I also own.

The other addition I’d consider would be an 8mm hex bit, since the Mountain Kit doesn’t come with one. That’s something you’ll want if you travel with your bike, and need to whip the pedals on and off for packing into a car or bike box.

fix it sticks tools seatpost saddle
The T-bar design makes it easy to apply torque to awkwardly angled bolts.

Overall

There are no doubts that Fix It Sticks has produced a lovely bit of hardware here. The Mountain Kit is solid, easy to adapt depending on the task at hand, and the T-bar design is an absolute pleasure to use.

It is very expensive for what is still a bicycle multi-tool. But if you’re the sort that appreciates well-made and well-designed tools, and you’re looking for a high quality trail tool that you can use to similar effect in your home workshop, then the Mountain Kit is well worth your consideration.

Review Info

Brand: Fix It Sticks
Product: Mountain Kit
From: Raleigh, raleigh.co.uk
Price: £49.99
Tested: by Wil Barrett for 6 months

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