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Torque wrench recommendation

Old 09-22-18, 07:15 PM
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Torque wrench recommendation

Looking to buy a 3-15 or so range torque wrench. Which ones are the most accurate (USA/EU/Japan Made)?
What are the most used torque wrenches by bike shops, does anybody know?

Last edited by Boerd; 09-22-18 at 08:04 PM.
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Old 09-22-18, 08:45 PM
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Park tool version is good for me. I have the park version that does the smaller stuff under 50nm I think then I have a bike hand version for over. Don’t quote me on that number though. Both work awesome.
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Old 09-22-18, 10:04 PM
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Are you launching your bike in to space or are you tightening some fasteners enough so that parts stay put without breaking said parts? You really don't need the utmost in accuracy and you really shouldn't be tightening to a max spec - you should be tightening until things stay put.
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Old 09-23-18, 12:17 AM
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I don’t agree with the above.

On a carbon bike, you want accuracy
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Old 09-23-18, 03:18 AM
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Old 09-23-18, 04:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Boerd
Looking to buy a 3-15 or so range torque wrench. Which ones are the most accurate (USA/EU/Japan Made)?
What are the most used torque wrenches by bike shops, does anybody know?
Great question.
After years of searching I finally found one made by a small German company. It was $5,500 but I believe it was money well spent because it is made from carbon fiber and they claim it is the most accurate one on the market.
Btw, whenever I get a new bike I first replace every single nut and bolt on it with ones I found from a small Swiss manufacturer who claims they are the best in the world. Each nut and bolt runs around $55 but I feel that they are the only ones worthy of such an accurate torque wrench.
Hope this helps.
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Old 09-23-18, 04:34 AM
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I use a Spin Doctor 1/4" drive on my CF bike and some small projects. I use a 1/2" drive bar type on my vehicles...lately I've used it for high torques values (80-120lbs) rather than low while doing suspension work...an eye opener wrt amount of force it actually is even after doing mechanical work for years.

I'm of the opinion a torque wrench is a good idea on CF to avoid pulling out/cracking the anchor points, and certainly a good idea where softer metals may be involved. Opinions vary...do what makes you comfortable.
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Old 09-23-18, 05:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Stormsedge
I use a Spin Doctor 1/4" drive on my CF bike and some small projects. I use a 1/2" drive bar type on my vehicles...lately I've used it for high torques values (80-120lbs) rather than low while doing suspension work...an eye opener wrt amount of force it actually is even after doing mechanical work for years.

I'm of the opinion a torque wrench is a good idea on CF to avoid pulling out/cracking the anchor points, and certainly a good idea where softer metals may be involved. Opinions vary...do what makes you comfortable.
Can you post the model no. of Spin Doctor Torque Wrench? Also, where do you buy your 1/4" drive to metric hex allen sockets like 4-5mm?
As you may know, 3/8" drive hex socket allen in the 4, 5mm range are much more available. Old standards die hard and most 1/4" drive allen sockets are English and not metric. For that reason a 1/4" to 3/8" drive adapter which increases drive size makes a lot of sense for bike applications where fastener nominal torque is in the 4-5 Nm /50 in-lb range and 4 and 5mm hex fasteners are commonly used versus English hex size.

OP, a good question. Bike mechanics are all over the map. You can get a decent 1/4" drive torque wrench for $50. Presuming you meant 3-15 N-m range in your opening post...this is a common 1/4" drive torque wrench size for 'torque range sweet spot'.. Most 3/8" drives have a bit higher torque range and a smaller wrench for lower torque is probably a hint more accurate (generalization) but moreover, more comfortable to use on your bike for these small fasteners. . An up-sizing drive adapter is suggested if you go with a 1/4" drive torque wrench so you can easily use common 3/8" drive 4 and 5mm size hex allens for things like seat post, stem bolts etc. If needing big torque sometimes required on a BB...threaded cups most swag but some use a torque wrench...for example a 1/2" drive torque wrench on Campy 10mm Ultra Torque Crankset hex center bolt...where much bigger torque...about 30 ft-lbs which is very big torque on a bike. General CF fastener torque is in the 50 in-lb range where a 1/4" drive torque wrench works best but I have also used a 3/8" drive torque wrench for lower torque applications as well.

Last edited by Campag4life; 09-23-18 at 05:13 AM.
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Old 09-23-18, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi
Are you launching your bike in to space or are you tightening some fasteners enough so that parts stay put without breaking said parts? You really don't need the utmost in accuracy and you really shouldn't be tightening to a max spec - you should be tightening until things stay put.
Not quite sure what you meant by your post WhyFi. But will both support it and also provide a counterpoint.

OP, I believe what WhyFi meant and somewhat analogous btw to powermeters...lol...sometimes good accuracy but not perfect accuracy is good enough. Of course this can go over people's heads and I believe what WhyFi somewhat meant. Proof of this are thousands of guys like me who have been wrenching on carbon fiber bikes since they were invented both with and without a torque wrench. A skilled mechanic can build a carbon fiber bicycle day in without a torque wrench and therefore having one that say has 5-10% error in calibration is 'ok'. Most talented bike mechanics are probably no more accurate or a bit less by hand without a wrench. This begs the whole stress/strain engineering analysis of how torques are even derived. This is based upon a predicate of boundary conditions. Assumption about geometry and material properties. There is room for debate even with this protocol.

But...and perhaps WhyFi was looking through his own particular lens which is common with opinions. People aren't the same. There is a range of 'ham fistedness' in the world of people that attempt to work on a bicycle. Some people should never torque carbon fiber bike parts without a torque wrench.

There is also a pitfall worth mentioning. Under torqueing isn't good with carbon fiber. There is greater stress on parts by undertorquing and potential slippage. Undertorquing aka incremental part creep under load can be as hazardous to carbon fiber as excessive compressive load due to over torqueing. So FWIW for those who tend to error more on the low side. Too low isn't good for your bike either, even without discernible slippage.

So, nominal torqueing....or good ballpark torqueing to spec I believe is the sweetspot. For example most torque spec's for the seat binder bolt which is a 4mm hex on most bikes...is 5 N-m or 5.5. In that range. I could get into the whole derivation of torque ranges which btw is a complex analysis but unnecessary here. Set your torque wrench for 5 N-m and you are good.

Last edited by Campag4life; 09-23-18 at 05:52 AM.
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Old 09-23-18, 06:38 AM
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I work in an industry that actually torques fasteners that go into space. The requirements for the control, use, and calibration of our torque wrenchs would blow the mind of a backyard mechanic. With that said, torque wrenchs that are affordable to the general public are garbage by that standard. The question is are they good enough to be useful on a bike by a typical end user. The problem with answering that question is there are too many variables.

i personally don't use a torque wrench working on my bikes, and never had a problem. I've seen people snap bolts while using a torque wrench and doing it by hand. I've also been asked to get involved when something came apart after being torqued. Speedplay cleats were the most recent (way too tight because of a damaged wrench). The pattern is a torque wrench won't always save a person who doesn't know what he's doing to start with.

i believe that was the point WhiFi was trying to make.
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Old 09-23-18, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by exRunner
I work in an industry that actually torques fasteners that go into space. The requirements for the control, use, and calibration of our torque wrenchs would blow the mind of a backyard mechanic. With that said, torque wrenchs that are affordable to the general public are garbage by that standard. The question is are they good enough to be useful on a bike by a typical end user. The problem with answering that question is there are too many variables.

i personally don't use a torque wrench working on my bikes, and never had a problem. I've seen people snap bolts while using a torque wrench and doing it by hand. I've also been asked to get involved when something came apart after being torqued. Speedplay cleats were the most recent (way too tight because of a damaged wrench). The pattern is a torque wrench won't always save a person who doesn't know what he's doing to start with.

i believe that was the point WhiFi was trying to make.

Aerospace isn't the bike industry was WhyFi's point. So the aerospace standard doesn't apply.

In bold can be explained by simple observation. Ten's of thousands of torque wrenches are used successfully on carbon fiber bicycles at the shop and at home everyday. Count me among them using what you call garbage. You should have been part of the powermeter thread...lol.
If you ever have been around bike mechanics or even within the car industry, you will learn that calibration of wrenchs in many or most shops isn't applied. There is a reason for that. All the bikes they pump out the door assembled with these wrenches of questionable calibration work fine.

So why is that? Are you an engineer? If not, the short answer is, the torque derivation of the specification typically has a safety factor that vastly exceeds the calibration error of most what you call garbage wrenches. That may go over your head if don't have a technical background. Proof? All the bikes that come out of the shops I know where their mechanics use torque wrenches don't crack and they function beautifully. You see, people are adaptive and learn from trial and error. If they break something they learn to not break it in the future. I have never broken a bicycle part using what you call a garbage torque wrench.

A typical seat binder bolt...arguable the most critical juncture on a bike...most are spec'ed in the 55 in-lb range, most won't crack if you torque them to 120 in-lbs. The carbon due to overdesign will take this level of compressive loading. Safety factor is a consideration for how a torque spec is derived.
Point it, the spec doesn't have to be that high. With carbon paste, most 200 lb riders will not have post slippage at 30 in-lbs.

Last edited by Campag4life; 09-23-18 at 07:05 AM.
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Old 09-23-18, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Boerd
Looking to buy a 3-15 or so range torque wrench. Which ones are the most accurate (USA/EU/Japan Made)?
What are the most used torque wrenches by bike shops, does anybody know?
See below

Originally Posted by akirapuff
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Catch being, they are pricey enough that places like bike shops tend to not be able to afford them.
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Old 09-23-18, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Campag4life
So why is that? Are you an engineer? If not, the short answer is, the torque derivation of the specification typically has a safety factor that vastly exceeds the calibration error of most what you call garbage wrenches. That may go over your head if don't have a technical background. Proof? All the bikes that come out of the shops I know where their mechanics use torque wrenches don't crack and they function beautifully. You see, people are adaptive and learn from trial and error. If they break something they learn to not break it in the future. I have never broken a bicycle part using what you call a garbage torque wrench..
My degree is in Applied Mathematics. I play the part of an engineer at work, only I don't use Mathcad as often. I spent 22 years operating and maintaining the power plant on nuclear submarines. I have experience both as a turner and calculator.

What you are using to defend your point or is called a false equivalency. A bike mechanic that does it over and over is going to know when that cheap torque wrench is giving a bad reading. They aren't your average backyard wrench monkey.

Second, if the allowed error on torque values is as wide as you claim ( I really don't know) then the torque wrench is unnecessary just because of that. That experienced bike mechanic can get close enough by feel.

i wasn't for or against using a torque wrench in the driveway. I was pointing out the argument on both sides have merit, but a torque wrench won't save the idiot.

i was here for the power meter discussion, I just chose to let it go. I was an early adopter of training with power, but just like torque wrenchs, you have to understand what you are using and have some knowledge about what to do with the data.
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Old 09-23-18, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by exRunner


My degree is in Applied Mathematics. I play the part of an engineer at work, only I don't use Mathcad as often. I spent 22 years operating and maintaining the power plant on nuclear submarines. I have experience both as a turner and calculator.

What you are using to defend your point or is called a false equivalency. A bike mechanic that does it over and over is going to know when that cheap torque wrench is giving a bad reading. They aren't your average backyard wrench monkey.

Second, if the allowed error on torque values is as wide as you claim ( I really don't know) then the torque wrench is unnecessary just because of that. That experienced bike mechanic can get close enough by feel.

i wasn't for or against using a torque wrench in the driveway. I was pointing out the argument on both sides have merit, but a torque wrench won't save the idiot.

i was here for the power meter discussion, I just chose to let it go. I was an early adopter of training with power, but just like torque wrenchs, you have to understand what you are using and have some knowledge about what to do with the data.

To me, you are the real perpetrator of false equivalency. I explained the dynamic succinctly. If you don't understand it, I can't help you. You say a torque wrench can be a scourge in the hands of a poor mechanic and the truth is, a torque wrench even without torque calibration will vastly save the average wrench much more than it will go wrong. This is obvious to someone with common sense and why torque wrenches exist.

To carve out common ground, is a torque wrench essential? Can I rebuild a car or motorcycle engine or build a bicycle without a torque wrench? Any day of the week. Will it be better generally if I use one for more torque critical parts? Any day of the week. Torque spec's are derived for a reason and a torque wrench is generally able to hit this torque target better than 'any mechanic'. I believe you were trying to make the point that a master mechanic can sense when torque is going too high with a bad wrench. Of course. Years of experience. Even more of reason why an inexperienced mechanic needs the guidance of a torque wrench. A torque wrench will save an inexperienced wrench much more often than break a bicycle. That is why they exist and are so vastly used.

Last edited by Campag4life; 09-23-18 at 07:42 AM.
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Old 09-23-18, 07:42 AM
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Aren't most torque ratings on bikes for the bolts themselves, and not for the component that that bolt is actually being used to clamp? The indicator eg. written on a stem, doesn't know the material or brand of whatever handlebar you may choose to stick in its clamp.

Then there's a variable in the number of bolts that a clamp may use, and then an additional variable in the shape and surface area of the clamp that's being used to clamp to a component. eg. 2 vs 4-bolt handlebar clamps on stems; varying designs on seatpost saddle-rail clamps.
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Old 09-23-18, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene
Aren't most torque ratings on bikes for the bolts themselves, and not for the component that that bolt is actually being used to clamp? The indicator eg. written on a stem, doesn't know the material or brand of whatever handlebar you may choose to stick in its clamp.

Then there's a variable in the number of bolts that a clamp may use, and then an additional variable in the shape and surface area of the clamp that's being used to clamp to a component. eg. 2 vs 4-bolt handlebar clamps on stems; varying designs on seatpost saddle-rail clamps.
If you ask your questions with a bit more context of what you are asking, I will explain it. There is a lot the layperson doesn't understand about torque specs.
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Old 09-23-18, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by exRunner
... That experienced bike mechanic can get close enough by feel.

i wasn't for or against using a torque wrench in the driveway. I was pointing out the argument on both sides have merit, but a torque wrench won't save the idiot. ...
True.

I've used the discontinued Park Tool beam-type torque wrenches exactly because I'm not that experienced. I maintain a couple of bikes. They're nearly all OEM parts; we're not upgrading except for saddles and consumables like tires and chains. So there's not that much maintenance work to be done that I'd have a deep reservoir of personal experience of trial and error. And I haven't apprenticed to mechanics. I don't have other mechanics around me when I'm wrenching. I just have instructions and specs. I believe the words/videos and the torque maximums together get me closer to what the experienced bike mechanic would do than the words/videos would alone.

Over the years it seems to have been about right. Nothing I've torqued has come loose when it shouldn't, or otherwise malfunctioned, and nothing I've torqued has been hard to remove, or cracked.
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Old 09-23-18, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti
See below



Catch being, they are pricey enough that places like bike shops tend to not be able to afford them.
Indeed.. for the OP to get his 3-15nm coverage, he'd be looking at $640 outlay

1-6 NM plus 5-25NM
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Old 09-23-18, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Athens80
True.

I've used the discontinued Park Tool beam-type torque wrenches exactly because I'm not that experienced. I maintain a couple of bikes. They're nearly all OEM parts; we're not upgrading except for saddles and consumables like tires and chains. So there's not that much maintenance work to be done that I'd have a deep reservoir of personal experience of trial and error. And I haven't apprenticed to mechanics. I don't have other mechanics around me when I'm wrenching. I just have instructions and specs. I believe the words/videos and the torque maximums together get me closer to what the experienced bike mechanic would do than the words/videos would alone.

Over the years it seems to have been about right. Nothing I've torqued has come loose when it shouldn't, or otherwise malfunctioned, and nothing I've torqued has been hard to remove, or cracked.
Well done and good you have used this discipline with your experience level.
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Old 09-23-18, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene
Indeed.. for the OP to get his 3-15nm coverage, he'd be looking at $640 outlay

1-6 NM plus 5-25NM
Yup. Professional level tools, in any field, cost big bucks. OTOH they do tend to be sweet things to work with-if you know how to use them.
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Old 09-23-18, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti
Yup. Professional level tools, in any field, cost big bucks. OTOH they do tend to be sweet things to work with-if you know how to use them.
And the theme for this thread for the average home mechanic is pro level tools aren't necessary for those that don't wrench everyday.

Thousands of bike shops throughout the country have the following wrench laying around those that professionally build the highest end carbon road bikes on the market.
A shop may order 10 of these wrenches. Some mechanics may prefer their own type of torque wrench.
Is the precise calibration of this wrench perfect? No, it has some error. Is the error acceptable? Yes and why they exist and so commonly used with good result.

https://www.worldwidecyclery.com/products/park-tool-ptd-5-preset-torque-driver-5nm?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&msclkid=cf2866bfdb5a106462163d1847579d8c#
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Old 09-23-18, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Campag4life
If you ask your questions with a bit more context of what you are asking, I will explain it. There is a lot the layperson doesn't understand about torque specs.
Not sure exactly what you're looking for. I guess I'm suggesting or asking that if torque specs are for bolts (ie. max rating before concern of stripping the threads?), does this imply anything at all for how much torque is needed for different designs of clamps and the surface areas that the clamps themselves exert on what is being clamped? Eg. if you look at the below, how might the torque needed vary between models?
Add in to the equation whether the bolts are dry or greased. Add into the equation what material is being clamped (solid CF rails on the saddle, vs. hollow alloy; or a CF handlebar vs steel). Add into the equation if any assembly paste is being used.
IMO a torque wrench's value is more in bringing consistency for each time you adjust or reinstall the same components, to quickly bring the bolts tightness to whatever value you've already figured out works for the design and material of clamp, in combination with the item's material and strength being clamped.




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Old 09-23-18, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene
Indeed.. for the OP to get his 3-15nm coverage, he'd be looking at $640 outlay

1-6 NM plus 5-25NM
As a dealership auto mechanic I have a toolbox full of snap on tools. The professional brands are really the only stuff that holds up to the day to day use and abuse I put them through.

As many have said those who work with tools regularly will usually develop a feel for their use. Fastener torque is something that an experienced mechanic can guesstimate quite easily. Close enough or tight enough that the part won't fall off or fall apart in many applications is just fine.

I'm used to assembling everything with an air ratchet or impact gun and have become quite efficient in their use. When it comes to light torque though that is where I draw the line. Too many chances the pull out threads and break lightweight bolts on a high end bicycle for me. I have the luxury of bringing home my tools from work when needed.

Plenty of backyard mechanics rely on torque wrenches and torque specs since they simply don't have a feel for what will or won't work in regards to how tight a bolt should be. I don't see a problem with that at all.

That being said I regularly use this torque wrench from snap on while working on my bikes. 1.37nm to 27.12nm. 1/4" drive.

https://store.snapon.com/TechAngle-1...--P760316.aspx

I also use the 2mm - 6mm 1/4" hex bit set.

https://store.snapon.com/Hex-Standar...--P630760.aspx
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Old 09-23-18, 09:37 AM
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My Diamondback Podium actually came with two non-digital torque wrenches and allen bits. One 7Nm specifically for the seat post binder, ànd another 1-12Nm for everything else.
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Old 09-23-18, 09:54 AM
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CDI is the parent company of Snap On and sells great wrenches at a fair price. They can be found on Amazon. The click wrenches are very high quality. The dial wrenches are said to be more accurate but, they are more expensive.

​​​​​​https://www.amazon.com/CDI-1501MRPH-...pSrc=srch&th=1

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