Review: Fix It Sticks Blend Edition Tool
I fell in love with the original Fix It Sticks at first sight. A pair of double-sided tools that locked together to form a T-handle wrench was far more user-friendly than a folding tool. Fix It Sticks could reach beyond the stubby lengths of most folders, and their T-handle shape provided more leverage and a better feel. Goodbye fussy folding tool. Hello sturdy, capable Fix It Sticks.Sad to say that our honeymoon didn't last long. The downside of Fixit Sticks reared its ugly head the moment I needed something other than their four permanently fixed bits to work on my bike. I returned to a folding tool, wishing that at least one of my estranged Fix It Sticks had a magnetic replaceable bit option.
The Blend EditionSalvation came a while ago when Fix It added Sticks with magnetic bit holders to the range, and their swankiest offering is the new Blend Edition. As the name implies, the Blend version is made up of one permanently attached 4mm / 5mm handle, while the second handle features replaceable magnetic bit-holders on either end. The idea is that bits won't spew from the permanent Stick while you are using it for a T-handle. Blend Edition Fix It Sticks come with a handy carrying pouch that includes seven bits: a 2mm hex, 2.5mm hex, 3mm hex, 6mm hex, 8mm hex, T-25, and a Phillips #2, Also included, is an engineered-plastic tool holder that fits in place of, or underneath a water bottle cage. MSRP is $34.00 USD.
Trail ReportBefore I hit the trail, I used my Blend Edition Sticks in my workshop to switch-out a drivetrain and some brakes. The new and improved Sticks made short work of the job, with the right bits to fit the SRAM T-25 lever screws, my lock-on grips, the rear derailleur pivot bolt and even the derailleur's high-low range adjustment screws. Much of that task would not have been possible using the original Fix It handles. I did have to consult outside assistance, however. There is no chain breaker in the Fix It tool bag. The low point occurred when I had to switch pedals at the trailhead. The good news is that the Blend Edition has an 8mm Hex that fits most pedals. The problem was that, without a breaker bar, I couldn't muster enough strength using the T-handle to unscrew the pedals. I can (and occasionally do) stand on a folding tool to loosen a stubborn pedal, which works quite well.
|I'm a fan once more. Fix It Sticks' Blend Edition is exactly what the original version should have been from the start. I find it particularly useful to make trail-side cockpit and drivetrain adjustments when I am dialing in a new test bike. The kit falls short of the amenities that good folding tools feature, but on the plus side, you can customize this kit with readily available bits to perfectly match your cockpit and drivetrain components. Keep Fix It's Blend Edition comfortably in your pocket, and you'll be well served by this versatile and professional-feeling tool kit.—RC|