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  1. #1
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    How important is exact torque on the rear cassette?

    I fully understand the importance of properly torquing down smaller bolts on a bike, especially a carbon frame. I recently purchased a nice in-lb/N-m torque wrench to fully avoid over tightening.

    I recently bought a shimano/SRAM tool for removing the rear casette for cleaning and maintenance. The problem is that the proper torque required for the casette is more than my current wrench allows (it only goes to 25 N-m...I believe the casette is 40).

    Now...I really don't want to have to drop $50+ on another, larger torque wrench just to tighten one item (I don't work on my car or anything else that would require a torque wrench of that size).

    What I'm wondering is is it really that critical on that piece? Is a good, "stout" tighten good enough? (I'm not a crank it down insane tight type of guy btw)

    I guess if its critical then ill drop the $$...I'd just rather not spend it if I don't have to.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    You just spent thousands of dollars on your new carbon bike but $50 for a tool to work on it correctly is too much? This is called penny wise but pound foolish. You can get a torque wrench for this at your local auto parts store. Tools are an investment. You will use them more than once. Buy a torque wrench.
    Last edited by Tlaloc; 05-05-2013 at 07:46 AM.

  3. #3
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    Re: How important is exact torque on the rear cassette?

    Quote Originally Posted by Typetwelve View Post
    I fully understand the importance of properly torquing down smaller bolts on a bike, especially a carbon frame. I recently purchased a nice in-lb/N-m torque wrench to fully avoid over tightening.

    I recently bought a shimano/SRAM tool for removing the rear casette for cleaning and maintenance. The problem is that the proper torque required for the casette is more than my current wrench allows (it only goes to 25 N-m...I believe the casette is 40).

    Now...I really don't want to have to drop $50+ on another, larger torque wrench just to tighten one item (I don't work on my car or anything else that would require a torque wrench of that size).

    What I'm wondering is is it really that critical on that piece? Is a good, "stout" tighten good enough? (I'm not a crank it down insane tight type of guy btw)

    I guess if its critical then ill drop the $$...I'd just rather not spend it if I don't have to.

    Thanks in advance!
    I have never seen a bike mechanic torque a cassette, nor have I ever used a torque wrench on one. I've never had one come loose, nor have I ever gotten one too tight. Torquing a cassette is, IMO, silly. Unless, of course, you habitually under-tighten everything...
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  4. #4
    wim
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    Not critical at all, no need for a torque wrench. Your "stout" will do, with some people (yours truly included) going a bit further to "grunt tight" on those lock rings. I'm sure there are people who use a torque wrench on a cassette lock ring. But I've never seen anyone do that. (Just as Platy said above. Didn't see his post before posting mine).

    I wonder about "cleaning and maintenance," though. I used to take cassettes off all the time to play around with gearing, or sometimes for a spoke replacement. But I've never taken one off for "cleaning and maintenance" on one of my own bikes.
    Last edited by wim; 05-05-2013 at 07:43 AM.

  5. #5
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    Speaking of torque specs, I want to purchase a preset torque wrench without paying an arm and a leg. I am looking at a Bontrager and a Topeak which has a preset at 5Nm and 6Nm respectively, great for those handlebar, stem, bottle cage and seat post bolts. Anybody have any experiences with either one? Any recommendations?


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  6. #6
    Windrider (Stubborn)
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    How important is exact torque on the rear cassette?

    I've never used a torque wrench on a cassette either. A little past where the locking clicks and I've never had one loosen nor not be removable.

    Of course I've never had a carbon hub either.

    Just make sure you have it going on straight


    Len



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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tlaloc View Post
    You just spent thousands of dollars on your new carbon bike but $50 for a tool to work on it correctly is too much? This is called penny wise but pound foolish. You can get a torque wrench for this at your local auto parts store. Tools are an investment. You will use them more than once. Buy a torque wrench.
    Like I said...I do own one for that exact reason. I don't want to go off and jack up my carbon frame. The adjustable one I have is a nice unit and will do 99% of what I need it to do on a bike.

    I was simply asking about the rear cassette only. I have standard alu wheels (ROL Race SL) and hubs (no carbon) so I was thinking torque on that one item wouldn't be a giant deal. I asked my LBS mechanic yesterday and he said he didn't torque that one part either.

    As for the cleaning, my cassette can get pretty grimy and cleaning while still mounted is a pain, I figured taking it off from time to time would be easier.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Typetwelve View Post
    ...I asked my LBS mechanic yesterday and he said he didn't torque that one part either.

    As for the cleaning, my cassette can get pretty grimy and cleaning while still mounted is a pain, I figured taking it off from time to time would be easier.
    Your mechanic is lazy and careless if he doesn't use a torque wrench even though one is sitting right there in his tool box. Yes, your casette will get so dirty that it's better to take it off and clean it.

  9. #9
    Windrider (Stubborn)
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    How important is exact torque on the rear cassette?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tlaloc View Post
    Your mechanic is lazy and careless if he doesn't use a torque wrench even though one is sitting right there in his tool box. Yes, your casette will get so dirty that it's better to take it off and clean it.
    Any mechanic that needs a torque wrench for a cassette on a regular wheel isn't very experienced IME.

    Len



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    ""We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. " Aristotle

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Typetwelve View Post
    Like I said...I do own one for that exact reason. I don't want to go off and jack up my carbon frame. The adjustable one I have is a nice unit and will do 99% of what I need it to do on a bike.

    I was simply asking about the rear cassette only. I have standard alu wheels (ROL Race SL) and hubs (no carbon) so I was thinking torque on that one item wouldn't be a giant deal. I asked my LBS mechanic yesterday and he said he didn't torque that one part either.

    As for the cleaning, my cassette can get pretty grimy and cleaning while still mounted is a pain, I figured taking it off from time to time would be easier.
    I do the same thing. I take the cassette off to do a thorough cleaning before reassembling it. Though I only do during the winter, before riding season and maybe once during the riding season since I use White Lightning dry lube, which help keep the drivetrain a bit cleaner.

    Btw Typetwelve, don't you just love that some people just post without even reading the threads and make assumptions without having all the info?
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Typetwelve View Post
    Like I said...I do own one for that exact reason. I don't want to go off and jack up my carbon frame. The adjustable one I have is a nice unit and will do 99% of what I need it to do on a bike.

    I was simply asking about the rear cassette only. I have standard alu wheels (ROL Race SL) and hubs (no carbon) so I was thinking torque on that one item wouldn't be a giant deal. I asked my LBS mechanic yesterday and he said he didn't torque that one part either.

    As for the cleaning, my cassette can get pretty grimy and cleaning while still mounted is a pain, I figured taking it off from time to time would be easier.
    I never remove my cassettes to clean them. I "floss" them regularly, so there isn't any grunge build-up to worry about.

    Remove rear wheel.
    Spray cassette with Clean Streak or a similar cleaner.
    Take a red shop towel (or equivalent) and hold the corners on one side. Pull tight. Stick edge of rag between cogs and move side to side. The cassette will advance, spinning all of the way around eventually. Move to next cog. Ditto until all have been cleaned. Takes me about 2 minutes.

    Oh, and ignore Tlaloc... it obviously has some socialization issues that it's dealing with today.
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  12. #12
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    Re: How important is exact torque on the rear cassette?

    Use you 25nm wrench and then tighten it a bit more. Its not a carbon part so not as critical and like the others said, I've never had a cassette loosen after installation but if it does you will probably immediately notice the change in shifting preciseness.
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  13. #13
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    Sufficient torque on a cassette lockring is very important - whether you measure it with a torque wrench or not is a different matter. Like Platy, I've tightened lots of them; ever since they came on the market. And as one has never come loose or have I stripped a lockring, I guess my "feel" is fine. And yours will be too. You do get some help as the lockrings have tiny ratchety teeth that help stop them coming loose.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tlaloc View Post
    Your mechanic is lazy and careless if he doesn't use a torque wrench even though one is sitting right there in his tool box. Yes, your casette will get so dirty that it's better to take it off and clean it.
    like every other mechanic that's replied to this thread i don't use a torque wrench for lockrings either. there is really no need.
    and if your cassette gets that dirty, you're not cleaning it often enough.
    i work for some bike racers...
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    oh, those belong in another forum

  15. #15
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    No torque wrench here either. I just know 40 nm is pretty tight. So, I put a decent amount of muscle behind it. I have never had a cassette come loose or had a hard time getting one off.
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  16. #16
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    I torque mine to "one grunt". I recomend the same unless you've got one of those aftermarket aluminum lockrings, to save 20 grams.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tlaloc View Post
    Your mechanic is lazy and careless if he doesn't use a torque wrench even though one is sitting right there in his tool box. Yes, your casette will get so dirty that it's better to take it off and clean it.
    Oh brother. Better chalk me up as one of those "lazy" mechanics too. But then I started wrenching at a shop back in 1980, so my laziness is quite long-lived.

  18. #18
    Windrider (Stubborn)
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    How important is exact torque on the rear cassette?

    Quote Originally Posted by marathon marke View Post
    Oh brother. Better chalk me up as one of those "lazy" mechanics too. But then I started wrenching at a shop back in 1980, so my laziness is quite long-lived.
    Lol. Long lived and well-honed.


    Len



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    No one is as bad as the worst thing they have done & no one is as good as the best thing they have done.........think of that when you feel like you understand someone.

  19. #19
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    How important is exact torque on the rear cassette?

    If you don't yet own a torque wrench you will probably find yourself needing one at some point - though probably not for a lockring.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by MR_GRUMPY View Post
    I torque mine to "one Grump". I recomend the same unless you've got one of those aftermarket aluminum lockrings, to save 20 grams.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Len J View Post
    Any mechanic that needs a torque wrench for a cassette on a regular wheel isn't very experienced IME.
    I suppose I agree seeing as you said *need*
    However, it is still good practice and shouldn't be frowned upon if someone chooses to use one. For one, it's a liability issue. For another, it's that extra touch that is so often lacking. I never use a torque wrench working on my own bikes, but I frequently use one at work. It's a precision instrument; if I am paying someone top dollar I would expect them to use it.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by headloss View Post
    I suppose I agree seeing as you said *need*
    However, it is still good practice and shouldn't be frowned upon if someone chooses to use one. For one, it's a liability issue. For another, it's that extra touch that is so often lacking. I never use a torque wrench working on my own bikes, but I frequently use one at work. It's a precision instrument; if I am paying someone top dollar I would expect them to use it.
    I used to wrench on cars, especially rebuilding engines. The reason why I started this thread is like any machine, there are bolts that NEED to be tightened to spec and others that really don't. Sure, some engineer somewhere will put a torque spec on every bolt in an engine...but it doesn't always need to be that way. Other times however, it is critical.

    I didn't even hesitate to get a torque wrench for anything envolving screws on my frame. I knows the importance of proper torque, especially when talking of small amounts like 5 N-m. That's not much and if you try to do it by feel alone...too little and it falls apart on the road...too much and CRACK! Goodbye fancy carbon frame.

    The rear casette is just one of those things that said to me "get me close enough". At 40 N-m...it's the hardest setting I've come across so far, is there anything on a bike that's higher than that? If not, and it's not that critical, there's really no need to buy one expensive tool just for one part, and a part that's not seriously critical.

  23. #23
    wim
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    Quote Originally Posted by Typetwelve View Post
    like any machine, there are bolts that NEED to be tightened to spec and others that really don't.
    Well said.

    As for higher torques on bicycles: Cassette lockrings are sometimes spec'd to 50 Nm; cup-and-cone bottom bracket bearing cups can go up to 70 Nm, and the Hirth joint bolt in Campagnolo's Ultra-Torque cranks is spec'd at 42 Nm, with Campagnolo recommending to increase torque to max 62 Nm if there are issues. There may be even more high-torque places on a bike, but I can't think of them right now.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by wim View Post
    Well said.

    There may be even more high-torque places on a bike, but I can't think of them right now.
    You forgot about the little nuts on the valve stems.

    Seriously, why the resistance to doing things right and torquing them? If you dont have the time to do it right the first time, how are you going to find time to do it a second time?

  25. #25
    wim
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    Quote Originally Posted by tihsepa View Post
    You forgot about the little nuts on the valve stems.
    You're right. 30 Nm minimum on those. That's difficult to get with your fingers, so I always use a pair of those nifty Chanellock® pliers on those.

    The resistance is to using a torque wrench in places where none is needed. To be honest about it: I'd feel like an idiot using a torque wrench on a cassette lock ring and my boss (who's an excellent mechanic) would think I'd gone daft should he observe such foolishness. Campy Ultra-Torque Hirth joint bolt? Another matter altogether. I use a torque wrench every time to make sure I've got it tight enough. I have a tendency to go too easy on fasteners.

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