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View Poll Results: Do you torque it properly?

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  • Always, everytime on every part

    4 7.84%
  • Only for the seatpost

    4 7.84%
  • The main areas- seatpost, stem, steerer, crankset

    13 25.49%
  • What's a torque wrench?

    30 58.82%
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  1. #1
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    People spend so much on the fancy gizmos for their bikes why don't they...

    buy a torque wrench?

    I'm curious because it's frightening to me to think thousands of bike owners out there just crank away on the wrenches and allen keys with no guage.

    I spent more than 2k on my ride and the best $60 so far has been the Sears Microtorque I bought to make sure I didn't damage the frame, stem, etc.

    Weigh in please.

    Pj

  2. #2
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    I do not have the time to tinker with my bike..Have a great wrench...But, it is not as simple as Hand tight? If not, guess your $60 gizmo is worth it..

  3. #3
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    I found torque more critical back in the 70's; when I had the motorcycle. It was too easy to strip threads in those castings. (Japanese motorcycles) I still have it ---- Challenge beam torque wrench. 0-150lbs.

  4. #4
    SNIKT! Karldar's Avatar
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    I just got the Park TW-1 and 2 a few weeks back and, even though I don't use them much, I really like knowing that they're available to me 'just in case'. I've screwed up plenty of things before I got 'em.
    I like pie!
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  5. #5
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pjbaz
    buy a torque wrench?

    I'm curious because it's frightening to me to think thousands of bike owners out there just crank away on the wrenches and allen keys with no guage.

    I spent more than 2k on my ride and the best $60 so far has been the Sears Microtorque I bought to make sure I didn't damage the frame, stem, etc.

    Weigh in please.

    Pj
    It's not an issue if you know what you are doing. The inept and mechanically bankrupt will bugger stuff even with a torque wrench!

  6. #6
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    I answered yes to the poll question, but I do not use a "torque wrench". Over time one gets an excellent feel for the amount of torque needed for each application.


    Also, one should understand that a torque wrench reading can be very misleading to what is really going on. All it measures is the torque applied to the fastener. It does not measure the amount of force applied to the other side of the fastener which in the worse case could be zero. Non-lubricated threads can have friction coefficients 2-5 times higher than lubricated threads. There's variation amongst lub's. Dirty threads are worse. There's also the friction underneath the fastener - like the bearing surface under the nut. Etc. Etc. For most industrial applications I find the best method is a very sensitive feel for the wrench. Also for torque critical situations a recheck after some use can be important especially with new threads - fastener creep can be 20-30%. Particularly true with new spokes and nipples.

  7. #7
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    A torque wrench is a very good investment, if it saves you one time it pays for itself!

  8. #8
    Senior Member nick burns's Avatar
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    Torque wrench? Bah!

    Tighten till you feel it start to strip, then back off a half turn

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by pjbaz
    buy a torque wrench?

    I'm curious because it's frightening to me to think thousands of bike owners out there just crank away on the wrenches and allen keys with no guage.

    I spent more than 2k on my ride and the best $60 so far has been the Sears Microtorque I bought to make sure I didn't damage the frame, stem, etc.

    Weigh in please.

    Pj
    Don't be frightened.
    If I ever use a LBS for service, I'd prefer he'd use common sense rather than a torque wrench.

  10. #10
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nick burns
    Torque wrench? Bah!

    Tighten till you feel it start to strip, then back off a half turn
    Yep, that's pretty much my method..... doing it for many years.

    The only time I use my 30 year old Craftsman torque wrench is when I'm tightening crank bolts (bicycle) and head bolts (car).
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  11. #11
    Senior Member gpelpel's Avatar
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    "Tighten till you feel it start to strip, then back off a half turn "

    Problem is that with carbon a bit too far is costly, very costly.
    Tighten your stem a bit too much and say good bye to your all carbon fork.

  12. #12
    Klaatu barada nikto cascade168's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpelpel
    "Tighten till you feel it start to strip, then back off a half turn "

    Problem is that with carbon a bit too far is costly, very costly.
    Tighten your stem a bit too much and say good bye to your all carbon fork.
    I was told by a very experienced pro that to tighten up carbon stems (to handlebars and forks) without a torque wrench is really pretty dumb. You might get by without it, but you're taking a pretty big chance.
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  13. #13
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    i have never used a torque wrench on my bicycle, i think i have one somewhere in the garage i use every now and then for the car, I have not seen it forever. I dont think its necessary, i have not once cracked or damaged anything, i guess you just use common sense.

  14. #14
    Giggity giggity! Dirtbike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cascade168
    I was told by a very experienced pro that to tighten up carbon stems (to handlebars and forks) without a torque wrench is really pretty dumb. You might get by without it, but you're taking a pretty big chance.
    Yes I agree. If they dont get tightened enough, the screws will loosen, but too tight and the CF will crack. A guy at the my LBS had his CF bar crack on him. Costly mistake.
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  15. #15
    Klaatu barada nikto cascade168's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtbike
    Yes I agree. If they dont get tightened enough, the screws will loosen, but too tight and the CF will crack. A guy at the my LBS had his CF bar crack on him. Costly mistake.
    Not to mention that if your stem, handlebars, or steering fails when you are bombing down a steep hill you are in deep barnyard waste.
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  16. #16
    Junior Member The_Peddler's Avatar
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    and just to make matters worse torque wrenches do need to be calibrated once in a while
    (mine gets done annually)
    Gravel rash is damn sexy

  17. #17
    Senior Member (Retired) gmason's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sydney
    It's not an issue if you know what you are doing. The inept and mechanically bankrupt will bugger stuff even with a torque wrench!
    The second part is certainly true.

    Oh, and don't wear a helmet either.

  18. #18
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    Torque wrench no good without torque specs for any given fastener.

  19. #19
    8speed DinoSORAs Ed Holland's Avatar
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    Most of the Shimano stuff gives torque specifications on the installation instructions. Moreover, for current products, these can be found on-line at the Shimano website.

    That said, I agree with Sydney. I have never used a Tourque wrench and have built and serviced many bikes without problems. "Gently with feeling" and knowing when to stand on the end of a 6ft extension bar are important skills

    Cheers,

    Ed
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Holland
    Most of the Shimano stuff gives torque specifications on the installation instructions. Moreover, for current products, these can be found on-line at the Shimano website.
    True and no argument about Shimano and some others. But not all. And the places where a torque wrench cannot be useful are quick releases, particularly on seat posts, but also on carbon forks, and adjusting cones on hubs and cups on non-cartridge BBs. Sometimes items are supplied without any instructions whatsoever.

    I do agree that gentle tension using pressure on fingers and palms is an acquired talent. A motor mechanic acquaintance would use a torque wrench only for cylinder head bolts or studs. But then, he worked on cars day in, day out.

    I can't imagine a bike shop condoning the time wasted adjusting a torque wrench, and checking every single nut and bolt in servicing bikes... some CF components excepted.

  21. #21
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    The answers have been enlightening to say the least.

    I find some of the humorous ones the best...such as tighten till it feels like it's stripping and back off a half turn- Killer. That's how I used to wrench on everything...of course I was 12 years old then.

    I agree that an LBS using a wrench on every threaded part is overkill. But Sydney's (and a few others) idea that "knowing what you're doing" isn't the best practical advice. I do agree with Syd that a complete moron will screw it up even with a torque wrench.

    PJ

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by pjbaz
    I agree that an LBS using a wrench on every threaded part is overkill. But Sydney's (and a few others) idea that "knowing what you're doing" isn't the best practical advice. I do agree with Syd that a complete moron will screw it up even with a torque wrench.

    PJ
    The problem with the "knowing what you're doing" techniques is that the morons *think* they know what they're doing.

    Oh, and I know what I'm doing.


    I would use a torque wrench for carbon bits, but as I don't currently have any, I don't have a torque wrench.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member Avalanche325's Avatar
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    I use one for head bolts, intake manifolds, crank and piston bearing caps. I don't use it on my bike. But, I will say this. I have turned wrenches (not professionally) all of my life. There are things that need to be torqued to a very specific range. There are just none on my bikes that an experienced touch won't do.

    The last bolt that I stripped was a valve cover bolt on a 1974 Chevy Vega. 25 years ago. Why do I remember that??? I work on my own cars, and I repair vintage watches (talk about needing to control your torque).

    I agree, if you are not totally comfortable mechanically, you should use one.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Metro's Avatar
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    I am in the process of swapping out my Shimano 105 cranks for FSA Carbons. I just got a torque wrench and will use it often for repairs. I remember when I first replaced my seat post (the one that come with the bike was a tad too short, so I swapped out my old beater bike post), It has a smaller diameter and I really ratched it down to keep it from slipping. When I visted the bike shop the guy told me to get the right diameter post and don't over tighten it or I could crack my carbon frame. I have since found a nice Specialized Carbon seat post and did not over tighten it (just snugged it). Now that I have a torque wrench I can verify its tightness is correct. Good thread!

  25. #25
    No Rocket Surgeon eubi's Avatar
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    Here's the equation I use to calculate the force generated by a particular torque.

    A mess, huh?

    Or, you can use T = 0.20Fd if no one's watching!

    Torque is very important if you have a fastener subject to a fatigue load, like the ones that hold on your motor heads. For bikes, no. Never used a torque wrench.

    OK, now why won't my attachment display?

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