Torque Wrench - really needed?

Bullet1
Bullet1 Posts: 161
edited January 2013 in Workshop
What do you think for basic maintenance?

Appreciate if I had an £8k bike then maybe more important but for a £1k carbon bike is guy feel good enough?

Comments

  • cycleclinic
    cycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    It's not essential but if you are working on other peoples bikes then I would say yes it is more then just useful.

    I tend to use them for torquing BB cups and crank bolts. I also use them for the stem/bar binding bolts sometimes and on all carbon parts. Then again I work on other peoples bikes.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Bullet1 wrote:
    Appreciate if I had an £8k bike then maybe more important but for a £1k carbon bike is guy feel good enough?

    Apparently, for small bolts 'guy feel' results in them being overtightened and for large bolts 'guy feel' results in them being undertightened.

    Probably, if you have been working for years in the business, your feel may well be good. But otherwise, you don't really have any feel. Infact, you are just guessing. Badly!

    So get a torque wrench or torque keys. They aren't that expensive and they make the process a lot more pleasant (ie no more 'if I put a quarter more turn on this bolt will it a) ensure it doesn't slip or b) crack the frame'!
    Faster than a tent.......
  • nferrar
    nferrar Posts: 2,511
    I have 3 half-decent torque wrenches but don't use them these days, for the 5Nm stuff I do use a Ritchey Torque key thing and would recommend everyone get one but other than that feel is enough (or the other way of 'if it makes a cracking sound back it off a little').
  • Accuracy & repeatable accuracy is what's reqd. would you guess when fitting a head gasket to a car engine, NO, so don't guess with a bike, buy a torque wrench or key.
  • k-dog
    k-dog Posts: 1,652
    Rolf F wrote:
    Bullet1 wrote:
    Appreciate if I had an £8k bike then maybe more important but for a £1k carbon bike is guy feel good enough?

    Apparently, for small bolts 'guy feel' results in them being overtightened and for large bolts 'guy feel' results in them being undertightened.

    Probably, if you have been working for years in the business, your feel may well be good. But otherwise, you don't really have any feel. Infact, you are just guessing. Badly!

    So get a torque wrench or torque keys. They aren't that expensive and they make the process a lot more pleasant (ie no more 'if I put a quarter more turn on this bolt will it a) ensure it doesn't slip or b) crack the frame'!

    Yep, to the first bit - not so sure about the second.

    I read something a few years ago that used good experienced mechanics and had them do bolts up to what they thought "felt right" - and they were mostly miles off.

    I've discovered since having a torque wrench that most things are done up too tight - especially car wheels - 120NM isn't nearly as much as you would think - and not much of a turn on the wrench from 80.

    Especially for carbon pieces it makes a lot of sense to at least have a torque key - if not a proper wrench.
    I'm left handed, if that matters.
  • kentphil
    kentphil Posts: 479
    I've never used a torque wrench in 20 years of cycling. The only issue I've ever had is cassette lock ring coming loose, which I just tightened up a bit tighter. Its an expensive tool that would be nice to have, but I can't really justify the cost for the use it would get.
    1998 Kona Cindercone in singlespeed commute spec
    2013 Cannondale Caadx 1x10
    2004 Giant TCR
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    KentPhil wrote:
    I've never used a torque wrench in 20 years of cycling. The only issue I've ever had is cassette lock ring coming loose, which I just tightened up a bit tighter. Its an expensive tool that would be nice to have, but I can't really justify the cost for the use it would get.

    Have you got a carbon bike?
    Faster than a tent.......
  • Tom Butcher
    Tom Butcher Posts: 3,830
    I don't use one and yes I have a carbon bike. If I were working on other people's bikes then I would - to cover myself as much as anything - but I've yet to damage anything by over tightening.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • backo
    backo Posts: 167
    Never had one but only time Ive felt like I have needed one is when bolting the fron mech to the seat tube on a carbon frame..scared of overtightening
  • nick300zx
    nick300zx Posts: 219
    I've got a Ritchey torque key but when using it on seatpost or stem always stop tightening before the cut out. 5Nm seems too tight.
    I use carbon paste as well and have never had a problem with under tightening.
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    It's probably down to mindset. If you just have the faith, you'll probably be fine without. If you worry you'll just spend ages inching up every quarter turn in terror of hearing a cracking sound!

    Chances are, if you have any feel at all, you'll probably be OK whether or not you have a torque wrench or key. But personally, I'd just worry without - after all, the problem with carbon components is you can do as much damage under-tightening them as over-tightening them.

    For me, owning a torque wrench is the difference between enjoying working on my bikes and not enjoying it. So a one off £40 investment is a pretty good deal!
    Faster than a tent.......
  • rrsodl
    rrsodl Posts: 486
    Rolf F wrote:
    It's probably down to mindset. If you just have the faith, you'll probably be fine without. If you worry you'll just spend ages inching up every quarter turn in terror of hearing a cracking sound!

    Chances are, if you have any feel at all, you'll probably be OK whether or not you have a torque wrench or key. But personally, I'd just worry without - after all, the problem with carbon components is you can do as much damage under-tightening them as over-tightening them.

    For me, owning a torque wrench is the difference between enjoying working on my bikes and not enjoying it. So a one off £40 investment is a pretty good deal!

    +1

    I would say that having a torque wrench has helped me tune my hands so now I have a pretty good idea what 5NM feels like.

    The other rule I follow is this: finger tight for things like seat post and stems. Even if I try hard I will not go over 5NM :-) for other things I use hand tight.
  • mamba80
    mamba80 Posts: 5,032
    a mate has a snap-on digital torque wrench that costs a lot! we did a quick check with mine - that i rarely use btw - and i could see why, it was hopelessly inaccurate and inconsistance, at 5nm (its minimum) to 8nm, from then on it was ok - it had a calibration certificate.

    How can a £40 Wiggle whatever special compete with Snap on or Brittool etc ?
    Personally, unless you ve one of these in your tool box i cant really see how you can even look at changing your seat height.
    http://www.langtoninfo.co.uk/showitem.a ... 04&loc=GBP