1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Torque settings and where to buy tools (for a decent price)

    I bought a new disc brake set (HFX MAG XC) and was going to install it. I read over the maintenance manual and noticed the torque settings for the hex bolts.

    -) How important are the torque settings? I notice some people just ignore them when giving advice on mounting brakes in a few threads.

    -) Where can a frugal guy find a set to work on his bike that doesn't cost 1/2 the price of the bike itself? I found the Parks TW-2 that has the right NM span (0 - 80 in/lbs) I need https://www.cambriabike.com/shopexd....+TORQUE+WRENCH

    Costs about 40 dollars. But then I need the torx driver (T25) and a 2mm, 4mm, and 5mm allan driver. Now the t25 torx seems to come in mostly a 1/4" driver size unless you want to pay about $12 dollars for a single driver and a converter from 3/8" to 1/4" is a bit elusive....


    by now my head is spinning with so many tool names it seems like I'm researching this more than I did the disc brakes I bought. Are there any bike oriented stores that might sell a set that has the torque wrench and a "most common drivers for bikes" set with it for less than an arm and a leg?
    Gary Fisher Cake 3 DLX 2003

  2. #2
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    -) How important are the torque settings? I notice some people just ignore them when giving advice on mounting brakes in a few threads.

    For brakes they are EXTREMELY important as are bars and stem. Without them properly fastened to the correct torque you have REAL problems if they come loose. With stems and bars you have no steering, which = dead meat! Same with brakes.

    -) Where can a frugal guy find a set to work on his bike that doesn't cost 1/2 the price of the bike itself? I found the Parks TW-2 that has the right NM span (0 - 80 in/lbs) I need https://www.cambriabike.com/shopexd....+TORQUE+WRENCH

    First let me say, DON'T BE CHEAP!!! At least not with tools. A good quality tool will last you a life time, A cheap tool is just that and may not last longer than a couple of years. With that said, the one that you link leads to, the 0-600 in/lb model is the one that you will use 90% of the time. It will cover everything from stem and bar clamp torque to bottom bracket and crank arm torque. However if you have torque settings that are much lower than 65 in/lb you'll need a smaller wrench with a lower range. But to start the TW2 should get you in business. But I'd look at it with an eye toward picking up a TW1 later on for lower torque applications.

    But then I need the torx driver (T25) and a 2mm, 4mm, and 5mm allan driver. Now the t25 torx seems to come in mostly a 1/4" driver size unless you want to pay about $12 dollars for a single driver and a converter from 3/8" to 1/4" is a bit elusive....

    Here you can compormise a little bit. There are good quality tools out there that are not bike specific that can be had for a reasonable outlay of cash. Check out Walmart of all places. I have a set of Stanley 3/8 drive hex sockets in 3 - 10mm that work very well and that I use quite regularly. I also have a Stanley torx bit set that runs from T8 - T55 that I use fairly regularly as well. The T55 down to the T30 bits are 3/8 drive and the T27 - T8 bits are 1/4. However a 3/8 to 1/4 adapter is not hard to find and are not that expensive. Both sets were purchased at Walmart for about $20 each and the 3/8 to 1/4 drive adapter was about a buck.

    If you were to buy both the TW1 and the TW2, both the bit and hex socket set, and the adapter you'd be looking at an outlay of about $116! That's hardly half the cost of your bike!!! And it is worth it! Just keep in mind, buying tools singly as you need them is much more expensive than buying them in sets if you can. You may never use all of the torx bits in the set, but you'll have them if you need them. Bikes aren't the only mechanical item on the planet that use torx fasteners. The same holds true for the hex sockets. The only additional item I would suggest you pick up is a 3/8 drive socket handle. You don't want to use your torque wrench to remove fasteners, only to torque them down. Once you have all that, with the addition of a set of traditional metric L bend allen wrenches, there will be very few things that you won't be able to tackle on your bike. Yes there are "bike specific" tools that you may want or need eventually. But they can come later.

    Just keep in mind you can be frugal about it, just don't be cheap.

    So go ahead and get the TW2 Torque wrench, it'll cover most of what you'll need on a bike. Then hit Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, etc. and find a 3/8 drive allen head socket set that goes up to at least an 8mm and down to at least a 4mm, this will cover most hex fasteners on a bike. (Anything smaller than that and I just use a regular allen wrench and torque by hand. Fasteners that small usually aren't "torque critical items anyway.) And at the same time shop for your torx bits as well. The T25 will be the only one that you'll probably ever need for a bike, Any store that carries this type of tool in sets should have single torx bits if they are worth spit, and they shouldn't run you that much. They should also be able to supply you with a 3/8 to 1/4 adpater as well. For that stuff I'd say start at Walmart. They usually have racks and racks of that kind of stuff. It ain't top of the line, but the Stanley tools are reasonable and will work quite well. They don't have a life time warranty like Craftsman or Mac tools, but then you aren't paying the same high price either.

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

  3. #3
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    Might want to check an auto parts store, like advanced auto.

    They have good stuff, of course if you can afford it might want to go Craftsman from Sears not bike tools but good tools in general always seem to get the job done.
    XC, Road, XXC, Endurance, Mtn, All-Mtn, Cross, Gravel, just go have fun on 2 wheels!

  4. #4
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    +1 on the Craftsman tools

    Spend the little extra and then you have a lifetime replacement program.

    When the tool wears out, take it into a SEARS and they replace it free.

    Don't skimp on the Torque wrench, you will find you will use it for a lot of things.

  5. #5
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    for brakes, get the right torque, other parts, not so necessary.
    as for torque wrench, go to sears and get a decent craftsman wrench, you will not regret it. It's one of those, get a decent one, and you'll have it for a while and use it a bunch.
    "Get a bicycle.You will not regret it if you live." Mark Twain

  6. #6
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    +1 on the Craftsman tools ... I picked up a Microtork (part #44593) 3/8in drive wrench and 4,5,6mm and a torx 25 for $109 ... $79 for the wrench and $5 each for the sockets plus tax. Check the Park tools website for torque specs for most bolts on a bike
    I used to ride to Win ... Now I ride to Grin

    While my guitar gently weeps, my bike sits there mocking me

  7. #7
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    As an experienced aircraft mechanic, I rarely torque anything with a torque wrench. Ill give you a hand torque conversion table:

    20 inch lbs- barely snug, just tighter than hand tight. nothing on your bike is ths loose.
    almost every bolt is around 80- 120 inch lbs. this is about as tight as you can get with normal hand pressure on a 5 inch allen wrench. your brakes are in this range. just make sure you do them in a star pattern and re check them for sameness. you might do a two stage tightening process, snug them all in sequence then bear down on them to full torque. bottom brackets and bolts are pretty tight, use a 10 inch wrench and put your weight in to it. pedals don't need to be that tight, over tightening pedals is common.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ggnarl
    As an experienced aircraft mechanic, I rarely torque anything with a torque wrench. Ill give you a hand torque conversion table:

    20 inch lbs- barely snug, just tighter than hand tight. nothing on your bike is ths loose.
    almost every bolt is around 80- 120 inch lbs. this is about as tight as you can get with normal hand pressure on a 5 inch allen wrench. your brakes are in this range. just make sure you do them in a star pattern and re check them for sameness. you might do a two stage tightening process, snug them all in sequence then bear down on them to full torque. bottom brackets and bolts are pretty tight, use a 10 inch wrench and put your weight in to it. pedals don't need to be that tight, over tightening pedals is common.


    I hope you mean on your bike and not on Aircraft?
    XC, Road, XXC, Endurance, Mtn, All-Mtn, Cross, Gravel, just go have fun on 2 wheels!

  9. #9
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    most aircraft hardware doesnt rely on torque for strength, but shear loads

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by HEMIjer


    I hope you mean on your bike and not on Aircraft?
    You would be surprised (and not be able to afford) service if the technician used a torque wrench on everything.

    In fact, I do know of an auto repair service that did use torque wrenches on (claimed) all bolts. You would have to expect waits of several weeks for a repair, and pay $250+/hr for the privilege!

    With experience, one can feel the torque a fastener and the fastened parts can take. Few areas, such as exhaust manifolds, are where I do use a torque wrench. Now I'm finding these al bolts on my car. That's a fun gig right there.

  11. #11
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    I got the craftsman microtorque wrench and the necessary drivers. I'm glad I did as when I felt the torque needed for the bolts, it was less then I probably would have applied if just going by feel.

    The brake install went fine. I had to shorten the brake hose, made sure the hose end was higher then the caliper well, and snipped it...so I didn't need to bleed it.

    Made me a bit nervous and the hose was extremely resistant to being pulled from the nose cone, but I finally got it free, put the new compression bushing on the hose, and fastened back to my master cylinder.

    Made me a bit nervous, but I don't think I messed anything up. The nose cone didn't screw on flush to the master cylinder, but I just made it nice and snug. Rode it around the block and all seems to work well and no fluid is leaking. Tomorrow morning will be the real test when I bike to work. . . hopefully my home handyman skills or lack thereof won't result in something disastrous.

    Thank you all for your advice, it helped a lot. I do wish I could run down some locals instead of learning by manuals and instincts alone.
    Gary Fisher Cake 3 DLX 2003

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