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!
- Good for both novices and professionals
- Customizable and adjustable
- All attachments and the instrument come in a sturdy case made of plastic
- Automatically slips and clicks when the preset value is achieved
- Only one-year warranty
- Requires slow and steady turning, otherwise, the bolts can be overtightened
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.
- Includes the manual
- Factory’s pre-calibration
- Easy to read
- Simple and reliable
- Reversible 72-tooth ratchet head
- A protective molded case with the special storage section
- ISO 6789-2:2017 and DIN EN ISO 6789-1:2017-07 for the accuracy standards
- At low Nm settings (under 5 Nm) the click can be very quiet
- May fall apart from the heavy-duty use
- It does not click when tightening close to 20 Nm
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!
- Pre-calibrated and certified
- Handy and comfortable handle grip
- Comes with a hard case
- Loud click sounds
- Mixed reviews from the same users – the torque wrench may break apart
- The sound may be dull
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!
- Lifetime warranty
- Pre-calibration in the Taiwanese factory
- Good for tightening expensive carbon parts
- Comes with a top-notch quality set of bits
- Has a preset lock ring
- Nice finish
- Measures torque in the clockwise direction
- The click is not very loud
- The torque range could be wider
- May not click at 2 Nm setting
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!
- Reversible ratchet head for right and left-hand threaded apps
- Precise and pre-calibrated
- Measures torque both in the counterclockwise and clockwise directions
- It covers only basic torque wrench functions
- The torque range is rather small
- On average, it lasts only 3 years
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.
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.