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  1. #1
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    New question here. Do I really need a torque wrench?

    Just wanted to get some opinions on this, I just got a Yeti 575 over the weekend and I've never owned a bike with discs before. After a couple rides they have started to rub a little and I wanted to mess with the calipers a little to see if I can get them better adjusted but I'm wondering if I'm going to cause problems tightening the mounting bolts back up without a torque wrench. Also one rotor developed a little ring and seems to be a bit loose, am I okay to just tighten it with a standard t-25 or should I really be torquing those as well? Thanks for any help!

  2. #2
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    Ive never used one, and have had nro problems, just use your head a little. To me its not hard to get it right. Just dont go using you 1" impact to tighten things.
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  3. #3
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    If you work on your bike on a regular basis then I would consider a torque wrench. It's especially handy on smaller bolts as people tend to over tighten them (stem, handlebar). It's an sure need for cranks. You may need two though, one for inch pound stuff and one for ft lb stuff. Think of it as another investment in your Yeti. I sold a Ducati Paso to a guy once - over $3,000. He called and wanted to know if he could rinse out the oil filter and reuse it as the filters cost $13!

  4. #4
    "El Whatever"
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    Yes...

    I haven't got one just because prices here in Mexico are prohibitive.

    But get one. Is a wise investment. Lurk over the "tool time" forum to get more specific guidance.

    I warped a pair of rotors due to improper torque (the LBS who sold the bike didn't torqued them properly and I dumbly assumed those were doing good).
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  5. #5
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    No you don't need a torque wrench, it's a bike FFS, not a helicopter.

    If you can't feel when a bolt is tight then you shouldn't be wrenching on anything. Further, if you can't convert between ft-lbs and in-lbs then you shouldn't be allowed near a bike with any sort of tool. Ever. As your complete lack of understanding can only lead to bigger and more serious screwups.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warp2003
    I haven't got one just because prices here in Mexico are prohibitive.

    But get one. Is a wise investment. Lurk over the "tool time" forum to get more specific guidance.

    I warped a pair of rotors due to improper torque (the LBS who sold the bike didn't torqued them properly and I dumbly assumed those were doing good).
    You can't warp a rotor by getting the torque wrong, whoever told you that is spinning. All the bolts do is hold the rotor tight against the mounting flange. Too tight can only damage the bolts, too loose allows movement. Anywhere in the region in between is acceptable.
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  7. #7
    A wheelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by catch22
    Just wanted to get some opinions on this, I just got a Yeti 575 over the weekend and I've never owned a bike with discs before. After a couple rides they have started to rub a little and I wanted to mess with the calipers a little to see if I can get them better adjusted but I'm wondering if I'm going to cause problems tightening the mounting bolts back up without a torque wrench. Also one rotor developed a little ring and seems to be a bit loose, am I okay to just tighten it with a standard t-25 or should I really be torquing those as well? Thanks for any help!

    In 42 years of fixing my own bikes I've never used, needed or owned a torque wrench and have never suffered because of the lack. And there's five years of disc brake testing/installing/servicing in there too.

    For warped rotors see our FAQ on this page. If brake makers wanted us to use torque wrenches on their brakes they wouldn't supply us with the correct sixed allen wrenches.

    If you don't strip bolts or they don't come loose then you are using correct torque.

    If you can't judge acceptable torque then you should a) not be mechanicing your bike or b) should spend the $ on a torque wrench I guess.
    Last edited by Mike T.; 08-27-2004 at 05:54 PM.
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  8. #8
    "El Whatever"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T.
    If you can't judge acceptable torque then you should a) not be mechanicing your bike or b) should spend the $ on a torque wrench I guess.
    I dont want to be an arse... but if he's asking he almost surely needs it. That's why I recommend him to get one.

    I had wrenched always my bikes and installed/serviced discs without a T-W and those run fine.

    Doug... you're right. Uneven torque is not a real problem. But the LBS who sold me my bike surely used an imporper tightening (torqueing) technique and warped them. Usage only did it worst and some bolts came loose (the kind of looseness that you note only with when using some force). Proper technique is more important than proper torque.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by summitlt
    Ive never used one, and have had nro problems, just use your head a little. To me its not hard to get it right. Just dont go using you 1" impact to tighten things.
    Of course, aren't you the guy that informs unwitting individuals of the '2x4 method' of headset installation on your web site?

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal
    No you don't need a torque wrench, it's a bike FFS, not a helicopter.

    If you can't feel when a bolt is tight then you shouldn't be wrenching on anything. Further, if you can't convert between ft-lbs and in-lbs then you shouldn't be allowed near a bike with any sort of tool. Ever. As your complete lack of understanding can only lead to bigger and more serious screwups.
    Hayes does list a torque wrench as "Required Tools" for disc brake installation in their tech manual and specifies all of the torque specs for the various mounting hardware. They go to all trouble of specifying because there is a reason for it.

    It is irresponsible to recommend otherwise. In fact, in today’s litigious climate in the USA, you are opening yourself up to litigation by printing such nonsense. All one needs is good lawyer (Side note: I think this too is nonsense, but it does happen).

    As for conversion between ft-lbs and in-lbs (and every other unit of torque measure), the conversion itself is rather trivial. One would need two torque wrenches due to the different torque setting ranges available on any given wrench.

    A torque wrench is a necessary tool for any serious mechanic. It is near impossible to 'feel' the correct torque based on such things an lever arm of tool, bolt material, etc. It's analogous to building wheels without a tensiometer.

    Get a torque wrench, it doesn’t have to be expensive, it just needs to work. Of course, why not ask Hayes or anyotehr manufacturer what they think (because this is all my opinion).

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    Last edited by dodjy; 08-27-2004 at 08:52 AM.

  11. #11
    "El Whatever"
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    C'mon guys!!!

    We all know it is very recommendable but not strictly necessary. Manufacturers have to play the CYA policy so even if you ask them personally they'll say you need it.

    But let's put things in perspective. As he's asking if he needs it or not, I suppose (best of my intentions here) he's not serviced brakes before and prolly not pretty much related to wrenching. So for him it should be good to get a torque wrench instead of guessing and spending lots in damaged parts due to improper installation or broken bolts.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warp2003
    We all know it is very recommendable but not strictly necessary. Manufacturers have to play the CYA policy so even if you ask them personally they'll say you need it.

    But let's put things in perspective. As he's asking if he needs it or not, I suppose (best of my intentions here) he's not serviced brakes before and prolly not pretty much related to wrenching. So for him it should be good to get a torque wrench instead of guessing and spending lots in damaged parts due to improper installation or broken bolts.
    Please do not take personal offense to my post. I am not trying to belittle anyone at a personal level or spawn an infinite debate, I am just sharing my opinion based on my experience. Chalk it up as that.

    I am not an engineer, but bolts are not static off/on switches as they are being characterized. They are like little springs that are stretched when tightened. That is why the manufacturer requires (or suggests) the use of a torque wrench. It is also explain how non-torqued bolts can contribute to torque induced warp (ask Hayes or Hope, etc. if you want details). The same thing applies to wheels on a car.

    Does he need one? Need is always debatable. Should he have one or take it to a mechanic? Yes, if possible. (IMHO). For example sake, I've never fallen and broken a helmet while riding a bike, do I really need a helmet?

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    Last edited by dodjy; 08-27-2004 at 09:48 AM.

  13. #13
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    Just get one...

    They aren't that expensive. I got one for $40, and think it was totally worth it. Some guys feel it's unmanly to use them or something. I think that the one guy who mentioned getting two was referring to having one that is optimized for lower torque settings (i.e. in-lbs) that you use with alloy bolts or plastic top caps, and having one for higher settings (ft-lbs) to use with installing cranks and such. Anyway, they are helpful if you tear down forks at all, particulary RS forks that have plastic top-caps that are very easily stripped. You can also go the cheapo way, which I do occasionally. I don't have any small socket heads (<4mm), so if I want to get the torque about right on a small bolt I use a fishing scale and some small allen wrenches that I own that have eyelets on their handles for attaching to a key-chain. Anyway, I first tighten up the bolt, then hook the fishing scale onto the eyelet and torque the bolt, pulling on the scale at a right angle to the wrench. I just look at the weight on the scale (in lbs), multiply it by the length of the wrench (in inches), and that's the torque (in in-lbs). It works well for disc brake hardware I've found, because there are some odd bolts that require relatively low torque levels. I think that torque wrenches are especially useful when you need to tighten up a bolt that it relatively weak and easy to strip (like the darn bolts on Thomson stems). Like I said, just get one.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by dodjy
    Hayes does list a torque wrench as "Required Tools" for disc brake installation in their tech manual and specifies all of the torque specs for the various mounting hardware. They go to all trouble of specifying because there is a reason for it.

    It is irresponsible to recommend otherwise. In fact, in today�s litigious climate in the USA, you are opening yourself up to litigation by printing such nonsense. All one needs is good lawyer (Side note: I think this too is nonsense, but it does happen).

    As for conversion between ft-lbs and in-lbs (and every other unit of torque measure), the conversion itself is rather trivial. One would need two torque wrenches due to the different torque setting ranges available on any given wrench.

    A torque wrench is a necessary tool for any serious mechanic. It is near impossible to 'feel' the correct torque based on such things an lever arm of tool, bolt material, etc. It's analogous to building wheels without a tensiometer.

    Get a torque wrench, it doesn�t have to be expensive, it just needs to work. Of course, why not ask Hayes or anyotehr manufacturer what they think (because this is all my opinion).

    dd..''

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    Of course Hayes recommend a torque wrench. Ever heard of ACE (ar*e covering excercise)?

    Specified torques are simply a medium value taken often at the torque necessary for 70% of the bolts yield strength. But due to the nature of the different bolt finishes and hole tolerance, the same torque at the bolt head can give massive variations in the actual stress in a bolt. Yes that's what I'm saying, using a torque wrench doesn't guarantee anything. There's a post on the shocks board today about a guy who stripped a brake mount using a torque wrench. It seems he had the equipment but not the understanding of something as simple as adequate thread engagement. The result was a screwup that anyone with a normal allen wrench and a little feel wouldn't have committed.

    To use a torque wrench successfully requires knowledge of the different units (Nm, in-lbs, ft-lbs etc), knowledge of the fastener size and thread pitch and knowledge of the materials for adequate thread engagement. Get any of those wrong and you're heading for an expensive screwup. Get it all right and you're not going to get a better result than someone with common sense and the appropriate length wrench (ever noticed why bigger wrenches have longer handles)?

    I'm a mechanical engineer, I have never used a torque wrench on a bike, nor do I intend to. The only times I've used them are assembling press-tools, engine head bolts and big end bearings. Times when the cost of the job warrants it or the amount of clamping pressure is critical on a hidden component.

    No I don't consider a spoke tensiometer to be essential either.
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  15. #15
    "El Whatever"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal
    To use a torque wrench successfully requires knowledge of the different units (Nm, in-lbs, ft-lbs etc), knowledge of the fastener size and thread pitch and knowledge of the materials for adequate thread engagement. Get any of those wrong and you're heading for an expensive screwup. Get it all right and you're not going to get a better result than someone with common sense and the appropriate length wrench (ever noticed why bigger wrenches have longer handles)?

    I'm a mechanical engineer, I have never used a torque wrench on a bike, nor do I intend to. The only times I've used them are assembling press-tools, engine head bolts and big end bearings. Times when the cost of the job warrants it or the amount of clamping pressure is critical on a hidden component.

    No I don't consider a spoke tensiometer to be essential either.
    As you said, it depends on the job you want to do. For me it was a must when working on GT's. And while I agree with you on that it is not necessary (the job can be done easily the same) it can be helpful on some jobs like installing rotors, cranksets and carbon parts (I hardly can imagine any other use). Personally I would have liked to have one at hand.

    I know lots of people who had stripped bolts everywhere on the bike just because they don't know when to stop at tightening somethng. Newbies (and First time wrenches) usually do that. So in this case I consider it would be helpful for him to have a $40 bucks wrench instead of wasting money on a new rotor or fork or carbon post or crankset.....

    Bottom line... Not necessary. It's recommendable to have one and know how to use it.

    I agree with you totally on the tensiometer though....
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by dodjy
    Of course, aren't you the guy that informs unwitting individuals of the '2x4 method' of headset installation on your web site?
    '

    No it's not him, it's me. First timers love the method. They might be unwitting before but they are enlightened after. D8 around here uses the "pocket novel & hammer" method and more lately the "dead-blow hammer" meathod.
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  17. #17
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    Well, it sounds like if anyone can get away with not using that equipment, it would be you. As for me, I like to play it safe. But on an aside, what kind of stuff do you design?

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by catch22
    Just wanted to get some opinions on this, I just got a Yeti 575 over the weekend and I've never owned a bike with discs before. After a couple rides they have started to rub a little and I wanted to mess with the calipers a little to see if I can get them better adjusted but I'm wondering if I'm going to cause problems tightening the mounting bolts back up without a torque wrench. Also one rotor developed a little ring and seems to be a bit loose, am I okay to just tighten it with a standard t-25 or should I really be torquing those as well? Thanks for any help!
    As the others have pointed out, "need" is debatable. For the $20 is costs to run down to Sears and pick up a fairly accurate Craftsman beam wrench, why not? It's a worthwhile investment. I've since picked up a better low range unit for some of the tiny stuff, but to be honest, the Craftsman was adequate for bike use.

    I'm probably one of those inexperienced mechanics who shouldn't have been working on his own bikes since elementary school, but whatever category I fit into, I swear by a torque wrench. I have since the day back in '87 I bought a Sloan manual which included a torque table in the back for some assistance working first mountain bike.

    For me, a torque wrench has always been valuable for square taper crank installations, and continues to be so for splined cranks and cartridge bottom brackets. Suspension pivots is another area I consider of high importance. Stems and disc brake installs, seatposts if they have little tiny bolts, suspension fork innards... did I miss any?

  19. #19
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    I would recommend the purchase of a quality torque wrench.

    Due to the exotic alloys and composites of most current mountain bikes, proper torque is of paramount importance.

    Sure, one can "gorilla" torque any given bolt, as well as one could insufficiently tighten a given fastner, with the given repercussions, IE, stripped housing threads, or a critical component comming loose at the most in-opportune time.

    It is up to the individual and his experience and his pocketbook, IHMO it is by far better to use the proper tool and torque value, rather than causing more monitary damage to ones bike than the nominal cost of a torque wrench.

    Conversions are easy to obtain and understand, many hardware stores have conversion tables in a manual form to refer to for the given value needed.

    Soooooooo,........

    The bottom line is thus:

    Proper torqued fastners, and confidence and peace of mind,......OR,.....guessing the proper torque and risking damage to your bike or yourself down the trail. Its YOUR choice.

    "nuff said,..?"

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  20. #20
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    I have two torque wrenches and don't regret buying either

    The first is a large deflection type for higher torque that's good for bottom brackets and cranks. It was less than $20 and was originally purchased for working on my car. I bought a second, 0 to 200 in-lbf wrench for my suspension bolts, bars, and stem. It was about $60 at sears. You can spend a lot more for a click type torque wrench, but I can't see why.

    Others have said that if you can't feel when it's right, you shouldn't be working on your bike. That may be true, but I've had a complete set of pivot bearings ruined by the authorized service center for my bike, just because the mechanic didn't use a torque wrench and didn't know what it felt like to tighten the bolts to 105 in-lbf! Needless I now replace all pivot bearings myself and use a torque wrench just to be safe.

  21. #21
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    Get a beam-type, not a clicker

    The click type wrenches suck... they are unreliable and break (internally). I broke several over the course of a few years and got a pair of nice flat-beam style torque wrenches from McMaster-Carr (mcmaster.com). Stone simple, much more reliable, and cheaper (if you get a round beam; the flat beam NIST-certified ones are $$$). Bikes are expensive, wrenches are cheap. If the $40 torque wrench saves you from one mechanical failure every 5 years I'd say its well worth it. Last week for instance I had to pleasure of riding home (10 rocky miles with 1000' of climbing and 2000' of descending) with my snapped-off carbon post in my pack... a friend had overtightened the clamp bolt by hand and as a result the post broke. I think he'll get a torque wrench for Christmas...

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