Stuff Fatty Loves; Fix It Sticks

10.23.2013 | 11:49 am

A Note from Fatty: If you read my post about Jaybird Bluebuds X headphones early yesterday, you’ll have missed that readers can now get a code to get 25% off MSRP, making for a pretty awesome deal. Check out yesterday’s post for more info, but make sure you order before November 5, because the coupon expires then.

I don’t pretend to be expert at fixing bikes. Mainly, I make no such pretense because I wouldn’t be able to get away with it. Specifically, as soon as I actually start to work on a bike, it becomes painfully evident that I am completely awful at it. I have no skill, and I have no knack. When I work on bikes, my hands get clammy and my fight or flight reflex kicks in.

If at all possible, I opt for flight.

Sometimes, though, I’ve got to fix stuff. Or maybe put a bottle cage on my bike. Or tighten something that’s rattly. 

And more often than not, I use Fix It Sticks to get the job done. And — as strange as it feels for me to say this about any tool at all — I love these things.

What Are Fix It Sticks?

You might not have heard about Fix It Sticks, so this is what they look like:

IMG 7679

They’re incredibly light aluminum sticks (you can also get stainless steel, but those aren’t as light) with a hex-bit-sized hole in the middle, and a bit permanently stuck in at either end. 

I keep all of mine bundled together with a leftover rubber band from my Garmin 500 mount, making them easy to either drop in a jersey pocket or keep in my seat pack:

IMG 7670

Then, when you need to tighten something, you just make a “T” out of a couple of the sticks, making an instant handle that gives you enough torque for most tasks:

IMG 7675

It’s a simple and ingenious system.

Why I Love Fix It Sticks

The obvious use case for Fix It Sticks is field repairs. Fix It Sticks are portable and light, after all. Probably that was what the inventor had in mind when he designed these.

But the truth is, what I really love these for is my ordinary, everyday stuff. For my in-the-garage quick fixes.

Because, as it turns out, Fix It Sticks are incredibly versatile, and excellent for working in tight spots.

Let’s take a classic example: attaching a water bottle cage to your bike frame. using a triangle wrench or an L-shaped wrench, you’re going to have some awkwardness as you work the angles of the wrench around the frame and the cage itself.

With a Fix It Stick setup, though, you just take the stick that fits — by itself at first, which means the short (four inches), straight tool is unlikely to be in the way of anything — and twirl it between your thumb and fingers to get the bolt snug, then plug another Stick into the center hole and use that to tighten. 

Of course, removing bolts from tricky spots works the same way: Make a “T” to start loosening, then use a stick by itself to spin the bolt the rest of the way out.

It’s noticeably easier than using other tools in hard-to-reach spots. And easy is good.


Of course, I have a wish list for Fix It Sticks.

The first item has to do with pricing. A pair of Fix It Sticks costs $29.99. And really, to cover most of the bits you use most often, you need a couple pair. And that’s $57.50 (though you can specify which bits you want for all those sticks). 

The other thing I would wish for would be that I could get Fix It Sticks that just have sockets, letting me put bits in and take them out at my leisure. That may not be the greatest idea for Fix It Sticks that are going in a jersey pocket (I can imagine bits falling out of the Sticks as I ride along), but honestly, I’m using these a lot more often in my garage than in the field. This way, I’d be able to just have a couple of Sticks and the very complete set of bits I already own.

That said, the eight bits I have in the four Sticks I have take care of me for about 90% of the bike-related fixes I am capable of attempting, and I don’t have to worry about swapping bits in and out. 

You can learn more about Fix It Sticks, as well as purchase them, at Or if you click here to buy them at, I get a little cut, too. Which I am in favor of.


  1. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 10.23.2013 | 12:13 pm

    For the record Matt and Greg, no. Wife#.667 is still not over the earplugs order.

  2. Comment by MattC | 10.23.2013 | 12:13 pm

    They look nice, but way too rich for my blood Fatty. I’ll just add them to my list for Davidh, along with my snazzy colored Jaybirds. Thanks in advance David!

  3. Comment by UpTheGrade SR, CA | 10.23.2013 | 12:16 pm

    Those look like handy tools. I use the Spin Doctor multi-tool as it is compact, has a chain tool and is lighter than many individual tools. It has got me out of a couple of jams while out riding alone.

    Image deleted because of obscene hugeness. – FC

  4. Comment by UpTheGrade SR, CA | 10.23.2013 | 12:17 pm

    Whoops – that came out much larger than the original, sorry. BTW, it costs $19 at Performance Bike.

  5. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 10.23.2013 | 12:19 pm


    Pretty though. Lots of detail.

  6. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 10.23.2013 | 12:23 pm


    “too rich for my blood”??? I read your blog, you failed to mention exactly how many sq ft of granite is going in. A good blog post needs details!

  7. Comment by MattC | 10.23.2013 | 12:25 pm

    Very similar to my Leyzene multi-tool. I got that one specificly cuz it has both a chain-break AND a Mavic Ksyrium spoke wrench. And yes, I’ve had to use the chain-break out on the road (once so far) and a few times on the trails (not always on my bike tho).

  8. Comment by MattC | 10.23.2013 | 12:30 pm

    Uhmmm, David, THAT’s why I’m broke! 3 granite countertops, new sinks/fixtures/hoses/shut-off valves all the way around. I was volunteered to provide all the demo and new-plumbing labor (they just put in the granite on my bare counters and hung the sinks, the rest was up to me). We’ve been ready to drop the hammer having this done more than a few times over the last many years, and each time one of the ‘fur-babies’ has needed some expensive surgery. I’ve already put out the word to the troops that any surgeries coming up anytime soon will be done by ME (but hey…I did spend a night at a Holiday Inn Express!)

  9. Comment by Clydesteve | 10.23.2013 | 12:59 pm

    @UpTheGrade SR,CA – Really, $19 for a tool that measures 13″ x 8″ is a lot of tool for the money.

    But it would not fit in my jersey pocket.

    BTW, it was good to see you at Levi’s GF. Still sorry I missed meeting some of the other Fattys – I was apparently on the other side of the tent!

  10. Comment by old guy who likes to ride | 10.23.2013 | 1:08 pm

    “…the inventor had in mind when he designed these”
    how do you know the designer is a he?

    Because of the YouTube video he posted on his site describing Fix It Sticks and how / why he invented them. – FC

  11. Comment by SteveB | 10.23.2013 | 1:19 pm

    These look handy, I wish they had a ‘rent to own’ program or something.

  12. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 10.23.2013 | 1:19 pm

    Hey Fatty. Just a thought/contest? As you go into winter;

    Post your weight (pre Thanksgiving)
    Set a date (post Christmas, your usual I’ve got to get in shape epiphany)
    we guess your weight
    Dollars to your choice du jour(but not you after all)

    Prizes: earplugs, pick up sticks, and other things you’ll comment on.

  13. Comment by TimD | 10.23.2013 | 1:45 pm


    Disappointed you needed the chain tool, I thought you were a McGyver. Last summer when the timing chain in the tandem broke I fixed it with a rock and a metal farm gate. Got us the 25 miles home.

  14. Comment by Anonymous | 10.23.2013 | 1:57 pm

    I also love fix it sticks and also wish I could replace the bits. You’d only need one replaceable bit and then they’d be 100% better. Let the 4,5, and 6mm allen wrenches be fixed and the other one be a replaceable bit.

    But they are great.

  15. Comment by Clydesteve | 10.23.2013 | 2:15 pm

    @TimD – Masterful McGyver-ing, but didn’t the rock and gate latch make a pretty big ‘CLUNK!” as they went over the sprockets?

  16. Comment by MicroTim | 10.23.2013 | 2:48 pm

    Long time browser, first time commenter (spent the last few months reading the archives, finally caught up today). I think it is time to resurrect the ‘Christmas Gifts for Bikers’ segment. I’d love to have a handy list of items -such as these- to send to curious family members. Cheers!

    That’s kind of what I’m doing right now. Maybe after I’ve done a few, I’ll make a special post with links to the stuff I’m talking about here. Thanks for the idea! – FC

  17. Comment by MattC | 10.23.2013 | 3:58 pm

    @TimD…I’m not saying I couldn’t possibly fix a chain w/ a rock n such, but I’d rather not have to count on that…(considering I ride alone a lot, and if MTB’ing I typically don’t have cell phone coverage). Thus the chain-break. I did complete a road ride a few years back w/ my Easton EC90 carbon bars BOTH snapped right at my clip-on aero bars (they didn’t ‘break’ off completly like aluminum would have, but they snapped/folded down as I went over a hard dirt hole). Found a pathetic piece of 2×4 after a brief search, then hammered it over a iron fence post to get it split in half, then used my spare tube to tie the broken drops as tight as I could to the wood that was lid over the top of the bars…(I was up on Figueroa MT…finished the huge-climb and then did the 10 mi 4500′ descent while putting almost NO weight on the drops/hoods, as I was afraid they’d fold and I’d crash). Ever try going downhill braking nearly constantly while NOT putting weight on the bars? It was EXHAUSTING and TERRIFYING.

  18. Comment by NDE | 10.23.2013 | 4:19 pm

    Looks like they are doing the replacable bits:

    Excellent! – FC

  19. Comment by Davidh-Marin,ca | 10.23.2013 | 4:20 pm

    @MattC. What, no picture????? You are such a tease!

  20. Comment by Wife#.667 | 10.23.2013 | 5:59 pm

    I have nothing to say about today’s post because when it comes to tools, I have a stronger flight response than a zebra at a Lions Club meeting.

    I will mention however that this afternoon we picked up Rune’s new unicycle. He’s throwing down the gauntlet Fatty, he wants to challenge you to a unicycle race at Davis next year, getting donors behind each competitor, with all proceeds going to Livestrong. :-)

    Just putting it out there man.

  21. Comment by J | 10.23.2013 | 5:59 pm

    As OCD as I am on design and concept, I fell in love with these at the store. I still have yet to get a set due to my present multitool working well, but an upgrade is always a possibility. Or a wish list should the wife be reading. *wink wink nudge nudge*

  22. Comment by Jacob | 10.24.2013 | 7:13 am

    That does look really clever.

    I also am not an expert in bike maintenance. I can change a tire like a champ due to a string of blowouts early on in my riding, but beyond that, I’m hopeless. I really don’t understand my rear derailleur.

    I once bought a bike online and put it together on my own using Youtube and other web resources to help me figure things out. I took it to a bike shop before I rode it to get it looked over and the guy took it completely apart and rebuilt it for me because I sucked at it. I really want to volunteer in the mechanic shop at a bike shop one summer to really figure things out. I actually have the time to do this because I teach and actually have real free time in the summers.

  23. Comment by MattC | 10.24.2013 | 7:43 am

    @David…I haven’t yet figured out how to post pictures (I do have some of the broken bars..sent them back to Easton and they sent me a new EC90 Aero bar…SWEET!). I try the link below to add images, copy in the url, and BAM…I get a broken string of goo and no picture. I was hoping you’d do a mini course on that very subject…

  24. Comment by Office Space | 10.24.2013 | 7:55 am

    20 bucks for a topeak multi-tool has all the bits you need, is small, etc. and includes a chain break. And no need for a rubber band.

  25. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 10.24.2013 | 10:38 am

    @MattC The best advice I can offer is to marry a smart woman. The fact she is beautiful is just an added bonus.

  26. Comment by rich | 10.25.2013 | 11:59 am

    I have the topeak multi-tool with chain break (actually used last night on a friends bike mid ride) and it works great.
    That being said, I’ve been jonesing for the fix it sticks just from a “that’s a cool looking tool” perspective..


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