Choose the Best Bike Torque Wrench
Customer’s Choice: the Best Rated Bike Torque Wrenches
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Only a top-notch torque wrench can assist when you need to tighten the bolts on your bike. The bolts should be tight but not too tight. Otherwise, you may damage the expensive bicycle. That is why torque wrenches are pre-calibrated to deliver the precise performance for this challenging task. Also, these instruments must be portable and simple to use.
This review covers the specially designed torque wrenches for bike-specific jobs. All of the reviewed instruments are capable of tightening the bolts on such easy-to-break parts of bikes as handlebar clamps and seat posts.
Also, almost all these wrenches belong to the click-type and non-digital instruments. The instruments click when you reach the required and preset tightness value.
After the comparison table and the reviews of certain bike-specified torque wrenches, you will find the buyer’s guide with the tips for novice users.
Venzo Bicycle Bike 1/4 Inch Driver – the best for novice users!
The seller or supplier must provide the full list of available attachments for this torque wrench.
Besides the gauge and the torque wrench itself, this Venzo set includes 6 standard bits and 1 extension bar to cope with any problems that you may have on the road. Most experts recommend this instrument for tightening carbon parts of bikes. This tool won’t fit all bike frame’s bolts – check the range before using.
Pro Bike Tool Torque Wrench Set – the best for professional use!
This 22-inch long tool measures torque in the counterclockwise and clockwise directions.
According to the user feedback, this tool can be good for tightening the bolts and nuts on seat clamps, stems, chainsets, headsets, rotors, lever clamps.
This bike torque wrench can remove the guesswork. Even a novice can follow the detailed instructions in the manufacturer’s manual.
BIKEHAND Bicycle Bike 1/4 Inch Driver – the best for the price!
This budget-friendly torque wrench has a wide Nm range to tighten the fasteners. It may cover all your typical bike issues.
Venzo 1/4 Inch Torque Wrench Set – the best for accuracy!
Just like previous tools, this wrench comes as a kit with attachments and bits.
According to user reviews, it is one of the most accurate mechanical torque wrenches in the U.S. market. You may pre-set this tool up to 0.1 Nm. For example, you may preset the tool manually for 4.2 Nm. You may change the preset parameters simply by turning the handle.
Park Tool Ratcheting Torque Wrench – the best for portability!
For instance, you may tighten such bicycle components as carbon fiber parts, seat posts, stems and handlebars.
This torque wrench comes with two adapters – a 1/4 and 3/8-inch adapters. The tool clicks in both CW and СCW directions. If you just need the tool of decent quality to tighten carbon fiber components and metal fasteners, then this instrument can work fine.
The Buyer’s Guide
Like any other bike owner, I require a torque wrench from time to time. So I picked a few tools for a few tests and then prepared an honest look in my new guide. Of course, I will eventually update my guide, according to the readers’ feedback. But for now I’ve decided on my 5 best bike torque wrenches.
The criteria are pretty much the same as for other hand tools in this niche:
- The price factor – from $20;
- The middle torque range from 3 to 7 Nm;
- Weight matters so try to pick the lightweight instruments;
- Aim for the ultra-compact head design;
Top 3 of best bike-ready torque wrenches in the U.S. market:
- Venzo has an accuracy profile +/- 4%, with the torque range of 2-24 NM;
- Pro Bike Tool has the same accuracy level, with a bit lower torque range;
- Bikehand is good for Allen keys from 3 to 10 mm;
Popular brands to pay attention to when purchasing one of bike torque wrenches – Park Tool and Venzo Premium.
How did I test bike torque wrenches?
I insist on the idea that torque wrenches must be accurate, that is the main reason to buy them. During my tests I use special testing machine and every tool was tested at 3, 5 and 8 Nm. Every instrument was reviewed three times before including it to this list. Yes, this manual testing is a bit inconsistent but I’ve tried to do the tests in a constant manner.
Instead of relying on “sensations,” the easiest way to determine the correct torque when you tighten the bike’s fasteners is to use a special torque wrench.
If you need to replace the components on a bicycle or want to adjust the fastener of a seat’s height, steering wheel angle, etc., then a torque wrench will help tighten everything to the right torque range – no more or less.
Nevertheless, even if you do not change anything, the tightened bolts still need to be checked from time to time, because over time they can become loose.
There are several options for buyers of torque wrenches, and each type has advantages and disadvantages.
The cheapest option is a beam torque wrench. You see when approaching the desired torque setting, instead of relying on a click, you rely on the beam indicator – you reduce the risk of over-tightening the screws.
However, beam wrenches must be used correctly, apply the force in the right direction and make sure that the beam does not come off the sensor. However, the wrenches of this type can be quite bulky for bottlenecks on the bike.
You should stick to the wrenches that have a factory-set calibration and torque range. These parameters should be suitable to work with the bike bolts of the same torque range – usually 5 Nm.
If bicycle repair is not just a hobby for you, then a full-fledged adjustable torque wrench with a scale will give you a wider range of options for tightening. In fact, you need to choose the instrument that will satisfy all your needs as a DIY mechanic – it is the ultimate type of a wrench for quick work. For instance, you may use a digital wrench as a fully customizable tool for serious repairs.
An adjustable torque wrench is definitely a must-have tool for professional mechanics because it has all the necessary settings for the tightening torque for a bicycle.
How to use a bike torque wrench?
The use of a torque wrench is not rocket science but you still need to remember a few things.
First, you need to know exactly how your key reaches the desired tightening torque. All wrenches have a different click or alert system, and it’s very important to know how your instrument sounds and feels. It often happens that people keep turning when it’s time to stop.
Also, do not try to tighten the “slightly larger” bolt if its torque range is higher. You should trust your wrench – this is why you buy it.
When you tighten the bolt with a new wrench, you should start from the lower limit of the recommended torque range. If the fastener is not holding well, then gradually increase the tightening torque, but never go to the maximum reach.
Surely, the bike parts are attached with various bolts of different sizes and torque ranges. For example, the seat is attached with one bolt, the extension to the fork – with two bolts, and the extension to the steering wheel – with four bolts. When the detail is secured with more than one bolt, the tightening torque must be divided between them. You need to tighten these bolts little by little. Fix them as if you were setting the wheel of a car, slowly and steadily tightening each bolt with a cross-shaped head instrument. This will help to distribute the applied force evenly.
You need to pay attention to the condition of the bolt and the fastener you are going to tighten. If the thread is coated with a garage oil/grease/rust/corrosion, the torque markings on the wrench will be inaccurate due to excessive friction on the thread.
It is also important to make sure that the threads and other contact points are clean and working as they should be.
A small amount of grease under the head of the bolt prevents the false torque readings due to excessive friction even on two clean surfaces and should prevent clicking when it is used.
Frequently users had to exceed the maximum tightening torque settings to secure the screws and fasteners due to too much friction due to dirt or corrosion.
Keep in mind that a torque wrench is a sensitive tool that requires patience and persistence when using it.
Bike Torque Wrenches FAQ
What is the best torque wrench for bikes?
A torque wrench is a mechanism that is used to adjust bolts to the proper tension level. Torque – or tightness – is calculated in Newton-meters (Nm), and most bike parts have the necessary torque conveyed near the bolt.
You run the risk of a bolt breaking or a fragile carbon part giving way if you don’t use a wrench. This may be risky in the case of a handlebar because if it’s proved that you over-tightened a bolt and triggered the crack, the warranty argument can be void.
Some do-it-yourself mechanics can choose to change bolts by feel rather than using a wrench. When you’ve tightened a ton of bolts, you’ll get a decent sense of what 4 Nm and 6 Nm should “feel”, but beginners may find it difficult.
Furthermore, calculating torque is a dangerous task, because if anything goes bad, you’re not likely to get a warranty replacement.
The most simple torque wrench is a beam torque wrench, which tests material flex, and the most advanced alternative is an electronic torque wrench, which can be pre-set to a required degree and has a downloaded record.
The most common designs of torque wrenches used on bicycles:
- Preset wrenches. A preset wrench resembles a standard Allen key, except with a handle. The bolt would be tightened to the proper tension. They are lightweight and portable, as well as extremely precise due to their inability to be modified;
- Click-style instruments. They’re sometimes used with ratchet and socket sets. This comes with a variety of bit ends, and the consumer chooses the appropriate size piece before adjusting the torque frequency (frequently using a dial placed on the handle). When the right torque is hit, the device can create a distinct clicking noise;
It’s a smart idea to have wrenches with preset torques of 4-6Nm (the most typical tightness levels found on bikes). However, you’d be hard-pressed to find one in the right size for the perfect torque, and they normally end at about 10 Nm, which is why you would like a click torque wrench if you’re doing anything other than just changing your saddle height.
A few top-notch torque wrenches for bikes:
- Venzo ¼-inch wrench (the torque range is from 2 to 24 Nm);
- Pro Bike Tool instrument (the range of torque is from 2 to 20 Nm);
- Bikehand 2/4-inch wrench (the range is also 2 – 24 Nm);
- Park Tool 17-inch long wrench (the range is 3 – 15 Nm);
Also, pay attention to other torque wrenches for bikes previously listed in this guide.
What are the key types of torque wrenches?
Precision torque application is critical for machinery protection, assembly, and efficiency. If the wrong amount of torque is used, fasteners will detach or crack, resulting in equipment failure.
There are 3 types of torque wrenches to consider:
- Beam tools. When it applies to this instrument, the beam wrench is the simplest. A lever arm connects the wrench’s head and handle. This vibrates against a visual indicator gauge to indicate how much torque is being applied. These wrenches are usually big, and since they’re manual, they’re often the most inconvenient in contrast to more advanced models;
- Digital wrenches. An electric motor is attached to these torque multipliers. Torque wrenches of this kind may be programmed to establish limits for determining torque levels. When the right torque is hit, they sound an audible warning and show the reading on an LED. Electronic wrenches also come with useful features including a memory chip that can be transferred to a computer and used with spreadsheets and papers;
- Dial instruments. The data on a dial is manually shown by a dial torque wrench. These instruments are usually used to check or monitor torque as a quality control device. They may also be applied for joint inspection, auditing, and torque checking. This instrument uses a memory pointer to capture the finishing torque added to a fastener, ensuring high precision;
Besides these major types of torque wrenches for bikes, there are also tools with an interchangeable head and in-built micrometer. But these options are not quite basic and necessary for each user case.
Is a torque wrench necessary for bikes?
Since modern bikes use too much carbon fiber and very light aluminum torque wrenches are a must-have in recent years. Overtightening clamps around carbon parts will cause harm, so a torque wrench is a must if you’re working with certain gear.
However, for those of us, the primary benefit of a wrench is to avoid overtightening. This is especially important on CF bikes.
The crank bolt on your bike, for example, loosens due to insufficient torque when mounted. If the crank bolt and crankset are loosened when pedaling, the threads of the crank bolt and set can be damaged. It’s time to get rid of it. That is why you need to use an accurate bike torque wrench.
What is a good cheap bike torque wrench?
Undoubtedly, you should not go cheap when it comes to tools like torque wrenches for bikes. Because a cheap instrument is not reliable and can let you down at one of those worst moments you never expect to happen. However, if you don’t have a spare $200 to invest in a bike torque wrench then consider cheaper options that tend to be better than average.
Here is the list of some good and cheap (under $100) bike wrenches:
- Park Tool preset torque driver 5Nm PTD-5. One of the drawbacks is its weight and size. Though, it costs less than $50. Basically, all Park Tool bike wrenches are quite affordable;
- LifeLine hand wrench is also a preset tool. It is under $20 but the handle is very small and the tool is not quite accurate. There is also a professional torque wrench by LifeLine (costs around $70) with the better value and precise performance;
- IceToolz Ocarina wrench is one of the most budget-friendly and portable tools you may use literally “on the go”. It is super light, accurate and extremely affordable;
- BikeHand adjustable wrench is just $30. This tool is very generic but will do for small and occasional bike repairs;
What is Nm torque?
Nm is short for Newton meters. The torque range of every wrench is calculated in Newton-meters (Nm), or you can see foot-pounds (lb-ft) in imperial units. 1 Nm is equal to 0.738 lb-ft if you want to measure the conversion yourself. In this tug-of-war game, you will see the pushing power of torque.
The unit may also be used as a unit of function or electricity, in which case it is similar to the joule, which is the more general and normal SI unit of energy. In this context, the word “meter” refers to the distance traveled or displacement in the force’s path, rather than the perpendicular distance from a fulcrum, as it does when describing torque. This practice is usually avoided because it may cause doubt as to whether a specified quantity represented in newton-meters is a torque or an energy quantity.
One newton-meter of torque, on the other hand, is equal to one joule per radian since torque reflects energy transmitted or lost per angle of revolution.
How should you use the Lezyne torque drive?
The Torque Drive, like many other Lezyne products, is easy to use and reliable. That ensures there aren’t any extra moving pieces. The torque spec is not pre-set. Simply place the bit in the wrench and spin it until the symbol corresponds to the required torque. The Lezyne Torque Drive is a simple-to-use torque wrench package that comes pre-calibrated.
The Lezyne Torque Drive is of excellent design, with all being specifically manufactured and fitting conveniently into a convenient carry pocket. When it was fresh, the adjustable handle was a little difficult to separate, but it provides plenty of flexibility and allows you to secure the bolts easily.
Unfortunately, there are no dynamic torque settings on this wrench; instead, you tighten the bolt until a label meets up with gradients carved into the tool’s body. There are two aspects not to like: the markings are tiny, rendering them difficult to decipher, and they’re just on one hand, requiring you to detach the tool and tilt it to see them.
Besides that, the Lezyne Torque Drive is very expensive; for about half the price, you can get a mini-wrench from Topeak or Ice Tool, but the Lezyne is workshop standard. It’s even stylish, and thanks to the magnetic feature, it’s incredibly simple to use, so you’ll find yourself reaching for it often.
Useful Video: Park Tool TW-5 Torque Wrench Review
If you own a bike and need to keep all the fasteners tight and safe, you may want to invest in one of the bike torque wrenches. Check the reviews and pick the instrument that offers the best features for your case. Make sure you buy an authentic wrench made of durable materials and with the most accurate torque rating.