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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 05-15-08, 12:50 PM   #1
ralphm2k
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Torque Wrench?

The only thing I haven't replaced on my frame is the headset and bottom bracket.
I torqued everything using feel and common sense. Is there anything I might want to check?
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Old 05-15-08, 12:59 PM   #2
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i only use a torque wrench on carbon bits. and even then it's not really necessary.
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Old 05-15-08, 01:09 PM   #3
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i only use a torque wrench on carbon bits. and even then it's not really necessary.
no it is necessary, if there is a torque spec the specific wrench should be used. right tool for the right job. i have seen way to many bike that people thought it was " not really necessary" to go to spec and they eiher strip it out or things get worn out because they were not tightened down all the way. you can get lucky and not ruin things, but usually the things with the specs are expensive, so be smart and make sure its done right.

XVX
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Old 05-15-08, 01:17 PM   #4
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Is there anything I might want to check?
Maybe your pants after the first part fails unexpectedly or drops off due to incorrect torque values....


The reason I feel rather strongly about torque wrenches is that bike parts are engineered to razor thin margins of safety due mostly to weight concerns, and it is really easy to damage bike parts with the wrong (however well-meaning) torque value. I have been wrenching things for over 40years, and every now and then, I assemble something non-critical and try to guess the torque I'm applying, then use a torque wrench to check. I'm never close enough to be as arrogant as to say I don't need one. I do - and use one whenever the manufacturer specifies a torque value.

Last edited by krusty; 05-15-08 at 01:22 PM.
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Old 05-15-08, 06:16 PM   #5
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op, the two guys above me hint at the good point that if you have any apprehension, it might be worth verifying your work with a torque wrench and a spec sheet. most manufacturers publish a recommended torque on their websites, and it never hurts to be safe.

the suggestion that not using a torque wrench, especially on durable mid-range parts, will result in said parts falling off your bike is clearly alarmist bull**** (but you know that, right?). most people, professional mechanics included, who adjust the stems, seatposts, wheels etc. on a bike do so without using a torque wrench most of the time. common sense is key, and our senses can always be refined.

if you want an idea about when to use a torque wrench, do a search. this question has been asked in the mechanics forum before and they've got a more sensible range of opinions than you're going to get around here.
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Old 05-15-08, 08:19 PM   #6
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the suggestion that not using a torque wrench, especially on durable mid-range parts, will result in said parts falling off your bike is clearly alarmist bull**** (but you know that, right?).
Really? Ever come home after a ride and discover some small part is missing from your bike, or needs tightening during a ride, or broken something trying to tighten it? I bet you or one of your riding partners have.

Just last weekend, the person in front of me in a paceline at the track had his left crank fixing bolt fall off and roll down the track into the infield, followed by his crank arm loosening. He thought it was 'tight enough'. "alarmist bull****"? No. Use a torque wrench.
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Old 05-15-08, 09:03 PM   #7
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yes, alarmist bull****. just like some anecdotal evidence based on your buddy's lack of judgement when tightening his crank bolts.

op, use a torque wrench if it suits you. but do yourself a favor and search, it's a thoroughly discussed topic.
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Old 05-15-08, 09:12 PM   #8
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yes, alarmist bull****. just like some anecdotal evidence based on your buddy's lack of judgement when tightening his crank bolts.

op, use a torque wrench if it suits you. but do yourself a favor and search, it's a thoroughly discussed topic.
"judgement' when tightening fasteners is not a substitute for the proper tool. You may think you're infallible because of whatever 'experience' you might have. You're not. I have built more race engines over the years than you've had hot meals. I KNOW I can't judge correct torque, especially the relatively small and critical values on a bicycle for fastening carbon parts. If you want to work your way on your bike, fine. Fill yer boots. Just don't work on anyone else's bike, and don't counsel others that your way is correct, or an adequate substitute for the correct tool, especially to inexperienced people.

Last edited by krusty; 05-15-08 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 05-15-08, 09:12 PM   #9
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I have never ridden on loose cranks without noticing, stopping, and tightening. You feel it in your legs waaaay before it's ready to come off. The same thing goes for just about any other part of your bike. Too-tight or too-loose hubs and BBs can be felt by wiggling the cranks/wheel (too loose) or spinning them (too tight.) The headset can be heard--it makes a terrible sound if it's loose when you put your bike down on the floor. I've never had any of these parts suddenly fly off(!!) without them giving me a looot of warning.
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Old 05-15-08, 10:04 PM   #10
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no, i don't think i'm "infallible." and like most bike riders, i do rely on "judgement." i've never bulit a "race engine" nor do i ever care to.

i do have several years' experience helping inexperienced folks get rolling on safe bikes, so your advice on the matter is duly noted and disregarded.

thanks for editing your post. feel free to disagree with my posts, but let's not get personal, eh?
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Old 05-15-08, 10:12 PM   #11
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thanks for editing your post. feel free to disagree with my posts, but let's not get personal, eh?
Yeah, it was a bit out of line, wasn't it.
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Old 05-15-08, 10:26 PM   #12
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Yeah, it was a bit out of line, wasn't it.
no harm, no foul. i've been guilty of far worse, trust me. i like that this is a place for a spirited exchange of ideas.

i think we agree on at least 99 percent of the topic at hand. a torque wrench is the best and safest way to go, especially at first. the ability to judge torque by feel is a valuable skill, but it's not as good as using the best tool for the job. yeah?

cheers!

edit: the alarmist bull**** comment was unduly harsh. i'm sorry.
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Old 05-16-08, 12:01 AM   #13
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I torqued everything using feel and common sense.

FWIW common sense is using the proper tools.

and if you're asking this question, no doubt you have nowhere near the experience necessary to torque anything 'by feel'
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Old 05-16-08, 01:21 AM   #14
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i used a torque wrench to tighten on carbon bars and had them slip lightly when I was going down a hill that was bumpy. it pissed me off because I know I used the recommended amount but maybe my weight played a factor??
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Old 05-16-08, 07:43 AM   #15
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I love how on this forum not doing something properly always has to lead to catastrophic failure and death
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Old 05-16-08, 08:03 AM   #16
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FWIW common sense is using the proper tools.

and if you're asking this question, no doubt you have nowhere near the experience necessary to torque anything 'by feel'
Like the feel of the "snap" of an over-tightend screw, or the vibrations when rounding a bolt with the wrong size socket.

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Old 05-16-08, 08:06 AM   #17
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i used a torque wrench to tighten on carbon bars and had them slip lightly when I was going down a hill that was bumpy. it pissed me off because I know I used the recommended amount but maybe my weight played a factor??
Not necessarily your weight, but probably just the sudden forces involved with a bumpy road. This is an annoyance with carbon parts. Seatposts sometimes slip, bars move, and stems can sometimes twist. The recommended torque is surprisingly small with some of these parts, so carbon assembly paste is the way to go. One small container will literally last a lifetime. It will provide additional friction for the carbon parts. I was a convert once I tried it.

There is a thread in the Road section where one person after another cracked their new carbon frames trying to torque their seatposts properly, but that seemed to be an issue with the seatposts they chose not fitting tightly to start with. In each case, they felt the recommended torque was not exceeded.

@ dirtyphotons: cheers. My harsh stance and poor choice of comments last night should not have gotten personal. My apologies. I had hoped you hadn't read the post I modified before doing so, but apparently you did. Kudos for pausing to think before replying to my ill-considered comments, giving me the few moments I needed to rethink.

To the OP - At least take the time sometime to read the specified torque for some components, and then find a torque wrench to feel what some of those numbers mean. At least then you will have some sort of sense for the feel of the correct torque, and you can likely avoid mishaps due to gross errors when assembling your bike. For all my pontificating, it is these gross errors that will cause problems, not the case where you've applied 48ft-lbs to a crank bolt instead of 55, or 7N-M to a stem instead of 6.
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