A Note from Fatty: If you read my post about Jaybird Bluebuds X headphones early yesterday, you’ll have missed that FatCyclist.com 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:
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:
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:
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 FixItSticks.com. Or if you click here to buy them at amazon.com, I get a little cut, too. Which I am in favor of.