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Torque wrench for bike maintnence(7 posts)

Torque wrench for bike maintnencekilimanjaro
Apr 17, 2002 3:14 PM
I would like to get a geneal torque wrench to work on my bike and my car. What is recommended for bicycle work?

I saw a Craftsman torque wrench for sale with the following description

"Beam-type. Separate English and Metric scales. Graduated indicator tip offers line-on-line reading to help eliminate parallax error. Torque accurate to 4 percent. Guide charts. Also measures in Newton meters."

Is this good enough. Are there other features I need to look for?


Get a good oneKerry Irons
Apr 17, 2002 5:38 PM
Don't get the beam type. Get the more expensive Craftsman where you set the torque with the twister on the shaft. The beam units are not nearly as accurate or reliable. With the "clicker" system, you know immediately when you reach the proper torque and you don't over-torque.
Get a good oneBrit Racer
Apr 18, 2002 1:19 AM
Just a warning on torque wrenches - be very careful. Many companies ban their staff from using them due to the de-skilling effect that they can have. eg if there's a bit of swarf in a thread, you may reach the correct torque well before the part is actually tight.

In fact very few (in fact none that I know) pro mechanics use them. The simple fact is that you really don't need one. Maybe using one to get an idea of the correct torque would be useful for the first few times, if you're not confident but otherwise, I'd say avoid it, at least, for the bike...
I second: Get a good onebigdave
Apr 18, 2002 11:41 AM
Definitely a good one. Like one of the others said, inch-pounds is the way to go. The only time you'll need ft-lbs is with bottom brackets, crank bolts.

I disagree with those, however, who say you don't need them. While it's certainly possible to assemble and maintain a perfectly ridable bike without one, I think it's best to use one. You will be sure of not over-tightening bolts, a good way to cause yourself serious headaches and expense. And with things like carbon fiber bars and steerers, I'd make darn sure I had a torque wrench to prevent damaging them.

I would say that experience can get you close, very close, to knowing when a bolt is "just right." But a torque wrench gets it right... provided you do like Mr. Irons said and get a good one.

The Brit poster said sometimes a bolt might have a burr or something which would make a "false" reading. If you're worried about that, then simply "do it over again." Tighten up to torque, then back off (with normal wrench, not torque wrench) and torque again. That should chase the threads to prevent a "false" reading from happening.

I've worked on race cars for years. I got to know and love the torque wrench, so I prefer also use it on my bike when I've got it in the stand.

Just the oppositeKerry Irons
Apr 18, 2002 6:42 PM
The only thing I use the torque wrench for is BB's and cassette lock rings. I'm very comforable with doing everything else free hand, but I find that I will likely not get 70 n-m torque that way for a BB. YMMV
re: Torque wrench for bike maintnencexxl
Apr 18, 2002 1:55 AM
Agree with the Brit poster; you really don't need one for working on your bike. But, if you feel you must have one, make sure it's calibrated for inch-pounds, vs. the much more common foot-pounds (don't know the metric equivs.) The latter wrench is used on autos, etc., but would be almost useless for bikework, since most torque specs (and there aren't many of those) for bikes are in inch-pounds.

If you're serious about working on your car, the "digital" Craftsman is ok, but Snap-On makes pretty much the gold standard of this, IMHO.
inch pounds is a must!jaybird
Apr 18, 2002 11:33 AM
a friend of mine just bought a new easton carbon bar for his mb and the faceplate bolts on the stem were supposed to be torqued to 40 in/lbs but the torque wrench he has was ft/lbs.

It was the nastiest crunch/cracking noise that I have heard...