We were enthralled from the moment we first saw Silca’s HX-One. Our third favorite room in our houses is the garage (behind the Pain Cave, and after that, any room that has a bed in it). We love our tools and tinkering on our bikes, whether it’s installing gear for a review, doing some maintenance, or just making up an excuse to get the tools out. And when we saw the HX-One at Interbike, we tried pretty hard to take one home with us. Unfortunately we quickly realized we didn’t have enough room in our bags at that point. So we had to wait a bit longer for our chance. Patience pays off, and for the past few months we have had an HX-One in the AeroGeeks garage to determine if our expectations met reality.
The Silca HX-One
For the past few years, Silca has been taking the everyday items you use on your bike and bringing them to a whole new level. First was the SuperPista Ultimate and then came the Hiro chuck (for disc wheels). Their valve extenders are becoming the new standard, and their EOLO III is a high-quality alternative for your emergency inflator. And now they look to do the same with your standard hex key set.
The HX-One starts with S-2 Tool Steel. S-2 steel displays very high-impact toughness and relatively low abrasion resistance, and it can also attain relatively high hardness. S-2’s hard surface results in prolonged tool life, which is one of the primary reasons Silca selected it. The steel keys are then coated with thin-dense Chrome, providing the hardest, most dimensionally stable finish possible for each hex key. Finally, each tool is spray-coated with a high-grip, high-visibility textured polymer finish for maximum grip and control.
Each set comes with eight metric keys (2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10). In addition, Silca includes their 17-4 Stainless Magnetic Adapter. The adapter turns the 6mm key into a ¼” socket drive. To make use of this, the kit also includes the T8 – T30 Torx bits, Phillips head #1 and #2 bits, and Flat head #.5 and #1 bits.
The entire kit is then packaged in a CNC machined Beechwood box (a sustainable wood) that is hand sanded and finished before receiving the stainless steel SILCA Shield on the lid. The box is held closed with a magnetic closure system to make one handed access a breeze. Each tool rests in a CNC machined slot, held in place by a single elastomeric tab.
But unfortunately, this quality and precision doesn’t come cheap. The HX-One will set you back $125 (or about $110 more than a generic set from Amazon).
So let’s start with the obvious: $125 for a set of hex keys is a lot to spend. We’re talking a real lot. So when we started our review process, the question at the top of our minds was whether this was a purchase we could justify to both ourselves (Ok, so maybe that’s not so hard) as well as our significant others (that’s quite a bit harder).
Surprisingly the current home for the HX-One is not the garage. Instead, it’s found a permanent spot on a shelf in our Pain Cave. This is partly due to the fact that we routinely tinker and adjust our position there (we tend to prefer fitting bikes here when they come in for review). And to be totally honest, it’s also because we absolutely love our pain cave—the beech wood box looks perfect there.
If you have ever tried to make a slight saddle adjustment after an hour on the trainer when you are already pretty soaked in sweat, you’re definitely going to appreciate the textured polymer finish that Silca has used to wrap each wrench. We cannot tell you how many times we fumbled with and dropped our old tools (and cringed as the metal tools bounced off our carbon frame) after thy slipped out of our sweaty hands. This simply did not happen with the HX-Ones. There was always just enough grip to help us quickly tighten down the bolts and get riding again.
The included ¼” socket drive is fantastic. Instead of having to go reach for a full set of Torx wrenches, we just popped on the socket drive and grabbed the bit. This is a simple solution to how to make one set of tools meet all of your needs. It also meant one less item to clutter our pain cave.
The HX-One is a simple but complete package, making it a great solution for race day. You have almost any tool you need for on-the-fly adjustments, or if you need to build a bike back up after traveling. It can be easily thrown into a bike bag or into your luggage.
But still the question remained, could we really spend $125?
Not everyone is going to agree with this, but to us, we would. Despite the price, we want this permanently in our tool kit. Like we said, we love our tools. What’s more, we are totally confident that this is the last set of hex keys we will need to buy for a very long time. Of course this wouldn’t be a splurge purchase. The HX-One is more appropriate for that extra-special holiday or milestone birthday gift we ask the spouse for. Do we NEED a set of hex keys like the HX-One? Of course not. But do we WANT it? Absolutely. In fact, it may already be on our respective holiday wish lists.