The Rolling Fix are a mobile bike mechanic service based in Sydney, Australia. We recently sent them the X-Tools Performance 39 Piece Tool Kit to put through its paces and see how the tools would hold up with daily use on their mobile trike. Their head mechanic Cam shares his thoughts.
Like most home mechanic kits I’ve seen, the X-Tools Performance 39 Piece Tool Kit consists of a wide variety of tools from yesteryear that may not only be less than frequently used but actually completely redundant. This tool kit seems to be making an attempt towards providing tools needed for the staple tasks of cleaning and replacing drive trains, something every home mechanic should be well versed at!
There is definitely more positive than negative and for the price, it is a bargain and a great place to start. When considering this tool kit make sure you look into the spec on your bike as you may find yourself wanting if you have an 11-speed group set or want to move past the cleaning and tuning stage of the home mechanic.
Let’s not be too negative though and start from the top, in order of “great to paper weight”.
- X-Tools Allen Key TwinHead Ball End and tape measure: these get a big tick! There is nothing like a good set of ball end T-handle allens combined with a solid tape measure to help get your position dialed, especially when replacing or upgrading those frequently turned over components like stems, saddles and pedals. Although the tool material hasn’t been put to the test the handle shape is awesome. A secondary ‘big plus’ is that they have included a T25 torx key, “welcome to the 21st century”. Stem bolts and disc rotors are all using torx keys and if you don’t have one handy there is no other tool that will fit into that ‘bloody’ star to get you out of trouble.
- X-Tools Pro Magnetic Bowl: If you are not particularly dexterous, this little tray will pay its weight in gold. There is nothing worse than having a stem bolt roll off the bench and into the dirt or carpet or down the drain, that will end your “home mechanising” for sure.
- Chain cleaner: The cleaner your chain the better! And this looks a beauty, no removal needed, just some degreaser and the desire.
- X-Tools Pro Cassette Remover, X-Tools Chain Whip and X-Tools Pro 15mm Pedal Wrench. These three tools are essential for the home wrenching jobs of cleaning, greasing the threads and checking the tightness. Doing these few little tricks can save you and your mates a lot of serious headache caused by incessant creaking.
- X-Tools Pro Spoke Wrench: Despite there being an air of witch craft about wheel building and truing, like all things mechanical there is a simple formula to make it work, and a little research will enable you to use these guys when they are needed most!
- The X-Tools Screwdriver Set - a couple of Phillip heads and flat head: these will always come into good use when setting up your derailleur limit screws. That is, if you have transferred your 2008 Ultegra 6600 onto your new frame. If not, and you have upgraded to the new SRAM or Shimano, you may find these have been replaced by the 2.5mm allen, which then makes this particular tool useful for installing and or removing those awesome reflectors that come in the box!
- X-Tools Chain Rivet Extractor: A tool that should be in every home mechanic kit. The chain is the most ‘fragile’ piece of the drive train and prone to wearing out. As it is the only link, excuse the pun, between your cassette and chainrings it is also responsible for wearing the rest of the components too. This tool is integral to installing a new chain, and maintaining an efficient bike. So why is this in the middle ground and not a massive PLUS you ask… Stamped on the side of the tool is “for 8,9,10 speed chain only”… I think that needs no more explanation.
- X-Tools Pro Cable Cutter: Don’t get me wrong these are always handy to have. In this current time of internally routed cables however, they are verging on redundant unless you have a Park Tool internal routing cable guide, worth about the same as this entire kit. If not, I wouldn’t bother trying to replace your wires, and hence the cutters might find themselves on top of that stack of letters you haven’t got round to sending yet.
- X-Tools Cone Spanner, X-Tools Crank Extractor, X-Tools BB Tool Hollowtech II - Spanner Fitting and X-Tools Steel Core Tyre Lever Set: Coming back full circle to the date, these tools will be redundant on most of today’s mid to high end bikes. Cup and cone bearings in wheels are only done by Shimano on a large scale, and servicing them is a headache. With most manufactures moving towards sealed bearings and slotted axles, in hubs and BBs these tools won’t be seeing much air time.
Cam H, Head Mechanic, The Rolling Fix