Tuesday, January 22

This and that before other stuff

Before I do the whole "weekend in review thing," I wanna go somewhere else today.  Matters that seem a bit more timely.

The King of Pisgah Series.  Talking to Eric "PMBAR Honcho" Wever yesterday whilst ironically riding all over the general area of ORAMM, I found out the series is almost sold out.  Considering the only info available about the series is that you have to do all five events to be in, that's rather amazing.  For those that have no idea just how hard it will be to complete the task at hand, I present to you this Hitler video by Kris Kjellquist.  I know you're thinking you've seen too many of these "Hitler videos," but I assure you that you haven't.

Obviously locals will find more humour in this than the Pisgah inexperienced.  Among other things discussed with Eric yesterday were the routes for the Pisgah 111K and the next day's Pisgah 55.5K.  This year the 111K will start with an up-and-over on Black Mountain and end the same way.  The 55.5K will also end with an up-and-over on Black Mountain. Upon hearing this, I considered beating Eric with a mini pump and leaving him in the woods, but I only had a CO2 cartridge which would have required a great investment of time and effort to produce the same results.  Ironic, huh?

The King of Pisgah Series ain't gonna be a joke.  I thought about trying to add up how many hours of racing will be involved, but quickly realized I did not wanna know.  Pisgah hours/miles are like dog years. 

And there was also this item I wanted to bring up:

I first saw the Fix It Sticks on Bike Rumor.  This is yet another idea being funded (it met its goals) on Kickstarter.  I do think it is brilliant.  I have shared in the past that I only carry loose allens in my Tülbag.

A 4, 5, 6, with an attachment for an 8mm.  That covers almost every bolt on my SINGLE SPEED, save for brake lever reach adjustment and rotor bolts, which I have learned are best tightened before the ride.  The Fix It Sticks would make a tidy solution, not to mention offer plenty of leverage on the bolts that hold tension on an EBB or slider equipped SS.

One set of sticks would serve me well...

But now I have that annoying squishy/shifty bike that I don't think I'm going to sell right away.  I now use the larger (and newer and only one available) Tülbag filled with shit like a spare hanger, spare links (when I get around to picking them up at Bike Source), and a multi-useless tool.  When I tried to use my multi-useless tool last week to adjust my brake levers, I couldn't get the hunk of shit in tight quarters.  I've had similar experiences in the past, not to mention too-short bits and not enough leverage.  This is the main reason I carry multiple allens and "invented" a method with which to carry them without risking loss or pokeage, thus the inspiration for the original Tülbag.

So, I look at something like the Fix It Sticks and wonder if it's the solution to the problem. Then I think it out.  My multi-useless tool has 13 bits and a chain tool.  I would say at least ten of the bits fit my bike, a couple I could live without.... meaning I would need four Fix It Sticks.  At the Kickstarter early supporter's pricing, you're looking at $45 for a set of four that come with pre-determined bits (that don't suit my needs) or $55 for a custom set that basically would.

What's a multi-useless tool cost nowadays?

So I asked a question on Bike Rumor, but not on Kickstarter (since I would have to create an account and I'm afraid everybody is trying to steal my information because I'm old).

"I’m wondering what the final price point will be. Normally projects on kickstarter offer a bit of a break for people who support the project. At $25 (min) for a set with predetermined bits, does that mean we’re talking about a $30 item?

I hate most multi-tools,and carry loose allens (4,5,6 and a press-on 8mm fitting) in a Tülbag. I see this design as superior to that option, but I’m wondering about the eventual success of the product. With so many multi-tools offering way more tools from $20-30, selling a four tool set for @$30 may not be easy. It is a more functional design in many aspects, especially tight places and bolts needing leverage, but one would have to purchase at least two sets to cover all the bases that a standard $30 tool does AND a chain tool.

Trying to think like a consumer."

I just quoted myself... whatever.

I am wondering if I'll get an answer.  I think the Fix It Sticks are a damn fine solution to a problem, but a damn expensive one.  I know that from the outside, a consumer can't sometimes fathom all the costs involved in the creation of a final product, so bitching about a "25 ¢ hunk of plastic that costs $40" isn't always fair.  R&D, prototyping, molds... it adds up and we ignorant (me included) consumers just bitch and moan.

So maybe the price is justified by production expenses and the superiority of the final product.  It's pretty ingenious, and so far my multi-useless tool has been nothing but training weight.  I'm still considering buying in, even though a trip to the hardware store and @ $6 would fill the rest of my squishy/shifty needs.

Or I could end up with yet another multi-useless tool in the bottom of my toolbox.


*Not that they matter here.


Anonymous said...

So get one set and buy the inserts at the hardware store.

dicky said...

The inserts are pressed-in. No easy swappies.

Anonymous said...

They look nice, but I can't help thinking about the bolts that I can not use my T handled allen wrenches with while working on my bike. What do you do in the middle of the woods and you need to adjust one of those? I can't just pick up another wrench out of the tool box.

Dwayne Hunter said...

Wait on the team car....ATV...or bear.

Anonymous said...

of course now this is crossed out...quote: "The sticks are made of aluminum and hold standard 1/4″ hex-end steel bits, which means you probably already have an assortment of bits that’ll fit them…and a world of options is just a hardware store away which are fixed in place (see comments for explanation).

Jason said...

The guy behind the fix it sticks was showing them at the bike swap this weekend. Seems you can swap the tips, maybe a little heat to remove them the first time. Cost seems high relative to other tools that include chain tools, etc, but I suppose that's the price of being a startup. Quality looked very good on the pre-production samples he had.

AdamB said...

Perhaps one of the "hidden" production costs is that they are making them in the good ol' U S of A.
I feel like the tool would be a real hit if you could swap bits therefore only needing one set of two sticks and a small bit holster. Then I'd be in. As for the chain tool, the Park CT-5 is tiny but shop quality. That's what I carry anyway to avoid the less effective and bulky multi-tool version.

Joe Dirt said...

Huh, I never thought about the fact my multi tool is extra training weight. I just figured I wanted to have anything I might need if something broke/loosened up. I have a multi tool for each bike since I am too lazy to swap them around between rides (one is in the Tulbag for MTB, one in a bottle cage tube with other junk for commuting, etc). I figure the grams I might save by only carrying what I think I'll need are outweighed (heavily) by my lack of fitness and Murphy's Law. If I don't bring all the tools something will break that requires a tool I do not have. Kind of like I only ever seem to need my pump when I forget to lug it along.

Big E said...

I love gadgets as much as the next red blooded Merican. But I get the feeling that ultimately you will be disappointed... Something bare bones and simple(Like SS's) that you can easily change (Like loose allens.) will more than likely make you the happiest Dicky. That being said, if you could change the ends easily to whatever met your needs at the time that would be pretty sweet.

Chris said...

What about the HexY3 handle or full blown kit?
Sockets and bits. No chain tool, but who really needs a chain tool anyway?