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  1. #1
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    Best torque wrench

    I've found several posts recommending that you really shouldn't try tightening a carbon seat post or a carbon stem without using a torque wrench with a useful range under 10 N-m. Browsing around Amazon, a number of alternatives popped up but not with enough comments to make it easy to choose.

    1. Simple beam-type, e.g., from Park Tools or KD Tools.
    2. Click-style, e.g., from either Park Tool or Pedros.
    3. Dial-type, e.g., from Snap-on.
    4. Individual t-handles, e.g., from Snap-on.

    Each has various pros and cons. For example, the beam-type are cheap, don't need calibration and let you see how close you're coming to your intended torque limit but they're clumsier and you have to be able to see the scale. The click-type are super convenient and you only have to listen for click but that's the only feedback you get and they can go out of calibration. The Snap-on dial-type is like the beam but more convenient, though you still have to be able to see the dial. The t-handles are the most convenient because you can't possibly overtighten but you need one for each torque value you want.

    My sense is that most folks probably choose a click-type, either the Park Tools or the Pedros wrench. But I'm really hoping to hear more thoughts before I buy anything, please.

  2. #2
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    While torque wrenches have become much more commonplace in bike work, I'm more retro and feel that good hand feel will give better results. While many feet they're absolutely necessary, there are also many stories of folks breaking bolts, or damaging expensive parts by blindly following torque specs.

    Good design practice calls for a wide band between functionally tight, and failure, but in many bike parts this is incredibly narrow. That's the argument for torque wrenches being needed, but I see it as an example of poor engineering. But I'm equally sure that many will disagree.
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  3. #3
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    I use the Park click style - have had it for several years - it works excellent. In order to keep it in calibration you have to reset it back to zero after every use. Have used it many times and feel it is still very accurate.

    I also have a beam style but only use it for cranks. The Park is for smaller values.

    They both work well. Click is more handy for the smaller stuff.

  4. #4
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    don't pay for overpriced bike specific stuff. go to sears and get the craftsman click or beam type. I own both and for what you are doing with it the click type is not going to go far enough out of calibration that you will ever have to worry about it and they work very well. I prefer that over the beam type any day. I work with these tools quite abit and it's just easier to use all around.

  5. #5
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    + 20 ft lbs

    Quote Originally Posted by the sarge View Post
    don't pay for overpriced bike specific stuff. go to sears and get the craftsman click or beam type. I own both and for what you are doing with it the click type is not going to go far enough out of calibration that you will ever have to worry about it and they work very well. I prefer that over the beam type any day. I work with these tools quite abit and it's just easier to use all around.
    I bought a Craftsman microtorque wrench in December, on sale for about $40. Sears seems to run specials frequently.

    I bought my mondo-sized Craftsman about thirty years ago (for automotive work) and it still functions fine. Great tools there.

  6. #6
    Fierce Pancake
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    I got the Pedro's type and having puzzled out the brief and unclear instructions I am very happy with it. As with the Park one, you just need to remember to reset to zero after every use. It doesn't 'click' as such, the jointed head sort of goes floppy just after you reach the right torque... so simply cranking away on the wrench is still a poor idea.

    I don't trust myself to get torque ratings to spec by feel alone - in fact, I discovered that I was generally under-torquing components. However, tight enough is good enough, there's no need to crank everything right up to spec for the sake of it.
    Quote Originally Posted by SystemShock View Post
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  7. #7
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    Feel is a good adjunct to quantitative torque, but doesn't supplant it. I've done a lot of work on aircraft and motorcycles and when you're dealing with a wide range fastener sizes,materials and function, you need to use torque specs...it's certainly required for aircraft. I've got clickers and beam types and generally find using the clickers to be more convenient, and they give you more feel than springy beam types.

  8. #8
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    i do it by feel for most things even cranks. for isis, octalink, gxp, power torque, and ultra torque you will feel the hard stop and quick ramp up. i still use a torque wrench for square taper. for stems and stuff i have found that i get them to about 40 in lb with a 3 way. i end up over torquing pinch bolts on cranks so i use a torque wrench on those too. i have a utica clicker and gedore clicker

  9. #9
    titanium junkie
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    My hand is my torque wrench. I have also worked on motorcycles, including rebuilding an engine in my younger days with and without a torque wrench and do not recall stripping a bolt ever. It seems like most torque spec are too generalized and in some cases not good enough, so I would trust my hand to tighten each fastener by feel more than anything else.
    Thanks,

    titanium goat

  10. #10
    Fierce Pancake
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigoat View Post
    My hand is my torque wrench. I have also worked on motorcycles, including rebuilding an engine in my younger days with and without a torque wrench and do not recall stripping a bolt ever.
    Fair enough, but stripping a bolt is not what worries me when working on a carbon fibre bicycle...
    Quote Originally Posted by SystemShock View Post
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    While torque wrenches have become much more commonplace in bike work, I'm more retro and feel that good hand feel will give better results. While many feet they're absolutely necessary, there are also many stories of folks breaking bolts, or damaging expensive parts by blindly following torque specs.

    Good design practice calls for a wide band between functionally tight, and failure, but in many bike parts this is incredibly narrow. That's the argument for torque wrenches being needed, but I see it as an example of poor engineering. But I'm equally sure that many will disagree.
    Now that's what I am talking about! Definitely a +1

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigoat View Post
    My hand is my torque wrench. I have also worked on motorcycles, including rebuilding an engine in my younger days with and without a torque wrench and do not recall stripping a bolt ever. It seems like most torque spec are too generalized and in some cases not good enough, so I would trust my hand to tighten each fastener by feel more than anything else.
    Hey, that's great. When's the last time you hand your hand calibrated?

  13. #13
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    Nicole; The T-click types are very handy and quick to work with. The "dial" click types will most likely give you a more accurate reading with a variable setting force and they are clean-lined and mostly compact if you get it in the 1/4" drive. I use a Filzer TR-2 torque wrench for the 1/4" drive. I also have two other click types in 3/8" and 1/2" drive I use for my automotive work too.
    I would recommend the T-type click ones to start off if you just want to adjust your seat post or stem; but if you like doing your own work on your bike; then you might like to invest in an adjustable click type.
    However it is important to note that it is just as important in the technique in how you tighten the bolts and the sequence you tighten bolts on components with more that 1 bolt. Also another last point to make is when you are finished using the adjustable type wrenches; to release the tension back to "0" when you put it away....

  14. #14
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    I got a Park beam-type on Amazon for $24, including shipping.
    "It ain't a teacup that the Queen gave you - it's a bike. Ride it!"

  15. #15
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    I use PBs Spin Doctor click type. It's built like a tank and works well. Comes with allen sockets and a torx socket in a nice case. Not cheap, though, I think I paid 60 on sale.

  16. #16
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    I use beam and click versions. You have most of the pros/cons down in terms of accuracy, ease of use, etc. That said, I don't typically use my click types on the bike - I mainly bought them to use on cars. Instead I use the small Park beam along with a larger Craftsman beam to cover the range of torque. Many of the joints on a bike have very low torque, and click types are least accurate at the low end of their range.

    If you do end up going with click or dial type, I would go with a non-bike brand - I believe that CCI makes the Snap-On wrenches, and those can be had for less money.

  17. #17
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    I have a very old click type and a craftsman beam type. I much prefer the click type. It seems seeing the beam type is nicer, but with the click type you set it and unambiguously have it click at the right setting.

    Also, a friend got the Chinese one at Harbor Freight. We compared it with a nearly new SK a pro mechanic friend uses. All three matched.

    And yes, do remember to leave it stored with zero on the settings.

  18. #18
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    Mine: Topeak® Cycling Accessories

    Crazy expensive but I love it... and it's cheaper than almost anything on the bike it touches....

    OTB

  19. #19
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    I have many torque wrenches including electronic ones but the best one for bike is the park beam one 8nm max. Mostly just use it on handlerbar, stem, seatposts. It has the best accuracy for tightening these items.

  20. #20
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    I have a digital torque adaptor as well as a click type (which I use on the car). The digital adaptor is great - lots of options for measuring units, wide range, digital display and an audio alert. Plus it's nice and small.

  21. #21
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    I have this Wiha torque screwdriver, and it covers pretty much all smaller fasteners (stem, seatpost, etc.). The 20-70 in-lbs is roughly 2.3-7.9 N-m.

    Amazon.com: Wiha 28508 TorqueVario-S Torque Screwdriver, 20-70 Inch Pound: Home Improvement

  22. #22
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    In addition to advice I collected here, I also reached out to a friend who restores collectable cars for Pebble Beach and similar shows. Here was some of his advice:

    Re torque wrenches, I think you should go with a clicker. Not quite so precise as a dial-type wrench, but the margins in question are not relevant to your needs: I doubt there is any joint on any bike that's critical in the sense of demanding a particular closely-held fastener tension to do its job. The issue instead is to tighten each enough to do its job reliably, but comfortably shy of wounding the threads or pulling a thread insert out of the structure. The mechanic's practical problem is that to be accurate at all the last increment of any specified torque has to be reached in a continuous motion, and it's dead simple to do that with a tactile indicator. Driving a visual indicator at a steady pace to a set limit not so easy (this sort of relates as a control issue to pulling a trigger steadily through as you focus on sight alignment!)

    Herein a touch of pedantry: the underlying difficulty with torque wrenches is that torque is a (2nd maybe?) derivative of the quantity you're really trying to achieve, a particular level of tensile prestress in the fastener. The relationship between torque and prestress is confounded by friction, which obviously varies greatly with lubrication and surface condition of the threads, but also with motion. When the operator stops, wittingly or not, the breakaway torque to continue is always higher than the steady-motion case that more closely reflects the developed tensile stress.

    FWIW in applications where the exact prestress of fasteners is important, torque wrenches often aren't used to get to it. The alternatives are by directly measuring bolt stretch (elastic only please - if the bolt actually yields you've gone too far!) or by "angle torque" (fastener pretorqued to a lower level to take up slack, and then turned through a specified angle to create a particular stretch via the ramp angle of the thread) Either case directly addresses the relationship known for the particular bolt material between strain and stress.

    I've got three Snapon clickers in a range of torque ranges. The smallest one may in fact be exactly right for you, I'll get back to you with the model details. Good tools I can vouch for (though I believe the their quality is declining as absolutely everywhere else in the tool world, damnit,) and Snapon offers re-calibration (at a price of course!) as a regular service. The Park item is likely okay. I'd avoid the stuff sold primarily to the DIY market like Sears, Stanley, or the generic China Wrench Factory stuff at Freddy/Lowes/XYZ Auto Parts, and anything that goes "beep." A good clicker is truly tactile and tells your fingers directly when to stop pulling.
    The best match from Snap-on is their 20 to 150 in-lb 1501MRMH available from Amazon for $132. It's a very nice tool and appears to be much higher quality than the Park, just as you'd expect from the name and the price. (I found at least one Park review complaining that the plastic window looks cheap.)

    What I didn't like about the Snap-on is that it's clearly not intended as a metric tool. The Park Tool unit is metric but once I look at the good stuff, I tend to get spoiled really quick. ("How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm once they've seen Paree?")

    What I decided to do was go see what the Germans were using. They seem to know good tools and they’re all metric. One search led to another 'till I ended up buying a Hazet wrench and bit set from the Amazon.de site. I don't speak German but fortunately Google Chrome does, automatically translating everything except the images on the buttons, so it's not very difficult.

    Hazet 5108-2CT Torque Wrench, 2.5 to 25 Nm in .25 Nm increments


    Hazet 2240/36 pro-bit box for the artisans


    The "for the artisans" part is the Google translation and probably silly but I liked it anyway. Total cost including shipping by international express (to get it here before the bike arrives) was $225. Yes, of course that's completely ridiculous. Just like $6000 for a bicycle.

    Once it's here, I'll try to report on my impressions if I like it. If it's junk and I'm embarrassed to admit I wasted my money, you may not hear a word.

  23. #23
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    I am using my rifle scope torque wrench which does from 10 to 65 inch pounds or roughly 1 to 8 Nm
    It is supposedly accurate to 2 inch pounds however the markings on there are 5 inch pound increments.

    You just need to go out and buy some bits for it.
    On Amazon you can search for Wheeler Torque Wrench. It's about $45

  24. #24
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    The best bicycle specific torque wrench is the following:
    Effetto Mariposa's Giustaforza Torque Wrench

  25. #25
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