Bicycle Mechanics - Torque wrenches and other tools ...
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I am taking a trip back to CONUS in late January, and while there will fill out my bicycle toolbox with a few things. Mostly Park and Craftsman - the former are very expensive over here, and the latter essentially unavailable.
Park builds highly renowned tools for bikes. So I am considering their torque wrench - the 3/8" drive one. But it goes from 0 to 600 in/lbs! Can it be accurate (enough) throughout that whole range? One would assume so since it is by Park. I like the idea, because very few things need higher readings, and I still have my automobile big guy wrench. The alternative is two Craftsman wrenches to cover the range, which would at least double the cost.
While I am at it, I will also get a set of metric allen sockets. Which raises a question. In the Bicycling maintenance book, those are considered more than a normal box needs. If that is true, how do they torque almost all of the hex attached bits on the bike corectly???
And lastly, I am considering 10mm and 15mm crowsfoot wrenches to torque brake fittings and pedals. Any comments on the futility of that?
Do you really need a torque wrench?
If you are trying to get tools you need, but money is an issue, the torque wrench could probably wait.
12-27-01, 04:32 PM
Mike is right , a torque wrench is an expensive item that'll rarely get used . Use the money to purchase items you can/will use more regularly, after you gain years of experience working on bicycles you will get to "feel" how tight something needs to be !. I can see the need for one if working on cars esp, with engine tolerances .. but a bicycle , nah...:)
Gary, I would look at VAR tools. They're French made and very good. They may be cheaper for you than PARK or Craftsman. VAR makes everything that the other two make and more because they also make motorcycle specific tools.
The socket Allen wrenches aren't nearly as convienent as regular L shaaped Allen's with a ball end.
Regular 15mm open end (crowfoot?) wrenches may be too wide to work on pedals. A PEDAL wrench with a long handle is much handier.
If you tighten your bolts and nuts up SNUG and then just a little more should be tight enough in most cases. A torque wrench isn't really required. Nothing is that critical. Just don't over-tighten.
I envy your shopping trip.
I own a few torque wrenches, due to needing them on my car. If you get one you can find some fairly inexpensive ones, maybe not park or craftsmen which I do like both brands. Torque wrench if going between those brands i would go craftsman simple due to the lifetime warranty which they honer without any problems. But everyone is right, I have not used one on my bike yet, mainly do to I don't have the allen wrenches for the torque wrench yet. Just don't do the mistake I made once on my car, use a ft .lbs torque wrench instead of teh inch .lbs you will strip out a bolt.. (took forever to get a replacement bolt for my valve cover on my car)..
It is something you will use once a month at best.. better off using that money eleswhere unless you find one fairly cheap..
Although I have rarely used a torque wrench on a bicycle, I have watched plenty of mechanics strip or snap fasteners! German automakers have a different philosophy. The roof rack crossbars for my VW Passat wagon came with a 6mm hex-key torque wrench, which I might be able to calibrate for use on my handlebar stems.
I am, as the brits say, gobsmacked.
Combine expensive alloy parts, some components that can deform if overtorqued, parts that can easily come loose and create havoc if undertorqued, and attachment points which, if badly stripped, can basically mean a frame rework, and that seems to me to beg for proper wrenching.
Live and learn, I guess. :rolleyes:
12-28-01, 04:45 PM
Gary , for their Q.R skewer levers, Shimano recomends 5 - 7.5Nm or 43 - 65 in lbs. , get the torque wrench out ?, how??, oh yeah ! tighten just enough to leave a slight impression on the palm of my hand !!!! ;)
What a relief. I was having a devil of a time figuring out how to torque my valve stem covers and handlebar tape too. :rolleyes:
12-30-01, 06:01 PM
Forget the Craftsman, even though the tools have a lifetime warranty/guarantee , many of them are improplerly tempered etc., the "working surfaces" wear very rapidly. It's no big deal if you have a Sears store nearby to replace your tool, if not... what then? I've had to replace some tools every 2 to 3 WEEKS, when using them heavily.
Ride the Good Stuff
I do have sears right next door.. A good percentage of the craftsman tools I have used, belong to my dad who got them from his dad.. so they are roughly 40 years old.. still original.. they used to make good stuff :) hehee
Wow, I am surprised to hear about Craftsman. I used them a lot as well in the old days. But since they probably have several manufacturers, and change contracts often, who knows what you might get. I wonder if the problems started when they were in deep financial trouble a couple of years back.
If money were no object, I would just buy SnapOn and be done with it.
In either case, specialized bike tools would still be an issue. I have the VAR catalog - a French outfit with a catalog that looks like a museum piece. And TACX from here, Elite from Italy, Park, Pedro's, Lifu, Cyclus, etc.
Too many toys, not [nearly] enough time. :)
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