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  1. #1
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    What size torque wrench should I buy?

    I'm building up a carbon road bike, so I need to buy a torque wrench. I would prefer only to buy one torque wrench, since they are pretty expensive. Looking at the Park Tool website, they offer two different sizes; one has a 3 - 15 NM range and the other has a 10 - 60 NM range. Can I get buy with one wrench or do I really need to buy two? Also is there a particular brand that you prefer or is an exceptionally good deal?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    Most of the bolts on that bike will require the small one. There are a few that will require the larger one (bottom bracket and maybe some pivot bolts depending on your bike). I have four torque wrenches, small (1/4" drive 3-24 Nm), two 3/8" in foot-lbs and a large 1/2" one for big car stuff.

  3. #3
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    You really need at least two -- one for the small bolts and one for the bottom-bracket and cassette lockring. I actually have three -- the two Park models and the nice one from Effetto Mariposa.

  4. #4
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    Check out the 1/4" clicker torque wrench from Harbor Freight. I've been using one myself for several years and have been very happy with it, as have several other members of this board. It has a good range, and it quite inexpensive.

  5. #5
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    The Topeak D-Torq Wrench DX goes from 4nm - 80nm. Pricey, but worth it.

    Topeak® Cycling Accessories

    Haven't found a fastener that's not in that range on any of my bikes.



    Comes with most of the little bits and whatnot you might need (although I bought a 12pt 10mm socket for my Paragons).

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  6. #6
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    +1 on the torque wrench from Harbor Freight. I have both the 1/4" in. lbs. and 3/8" ft. lbs. that I used on my Ibis build.
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  7. #7
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    As long as you return the torque setting back to 1 or 2 clicks past minimum after each use (so 21 or 22 in-lbs on a 20-120), the cheap chinese torque wrenches will last many many years. And even if they're off by 10% its not enough to matter to anything on your bike. I have three: 1/4" (20-120 in-lb), 3/8" (10-75 ft-lb), 1/2" (50-250 ft-lb). Never used the big one on the bike.

  8. #8
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    I have the 1/4" torque wrench from harbor freight. Works fine. I think I spent about $25 for the wrench, socket adapters, and a set of metric Allen socket drivers. Next on my list is the 3/8" torque wrench--I just have not needed it yet.

    Ps- my HF wrench is made in Taiwan not China.

  9. #9
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    ya, should really have 2. there are a BUNCH of options other than the Parks which can save a boat load of money. I have Sears ones that I had from my days of building cars as a kid. If I were to get one now I'd probably get the Harbor freight smaller one and a big one from Sears for the Bottom Bracket. If you have a shop, or even multiple bikes the Parks one would be a good choice, (though I'd probably get a Snap-on or equal just because of familiarity with their products) but for the back yard, home Mechanic it's kinda a waste of $$$ for the few times you'll use it.

    You can get kinda inbetween versions, BBB and a few others make a mid grade version. Just depends on you and how much you'll be using it.
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  10. #10
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    How about a suggestion on a beam style torque wrench that will range from 10-250 in-lbs.? The only problem I have with clicker types is that they sometimes won't click when you reach the desired torque.
    I always wanted a Wookie, but I found out they weren't real.
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  11. #11
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    The clicker kind don't really "click" in the small sizes; the handle breaks loose. You do need to be careful to not push past this point--you can over torque and break the wrench. That said, my dad always had the beam style and the arm always seemed to be bent. Nothing is perfect but all seem to work well enough.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laser4G63 View Post
    How about a suggestion on a beam style torque wrench that will range from 10-250 in-lbs.? The only problem I have with clicker types is that they sometimes won't click when you reach the desired torque.
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  13. #13
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    The only problem I have with clicker types is that they sometimes won't click when you reach the desired torque.
    Thats what happens over time if you don't store them at +1-2 clicks over their minimum. And you need to start at half the torque if its sat for a while.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by hadique View Post
    Thats what happens over time if you don't store them at +1-2 clicks over their minimum. And you need to start at half the torque if its sat for a while.
    When I was into auto racing, I always stored my clicker wrenches at min torque spec and I always had them calibrated yearly as well. Even then, they can be finicky at the lower settings. At higher torque settings (30 ft-lbs+), I never have a problem with it. But the highest required torque found on my bike is only 35 ft-lbs.

    With such low torque values found on bikes, I would much rather use a beam style wrench. I have a Park TW-1 torque wrench and that has been excellent. Only problem with that one is that i only goes up to 60 in-lbs. I need something to fill the gap between that one and my clicker. That's why I was asking for something that is 10-250 in-lbs.
    I always wanted a Wookie, but I found out they weren't real.
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  15. #15
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    +1 for the Topeak digital. I bought the lower range one for around $170 on amazon. Its from 1nm to 17nm and I will soon buy a cheaper harbor freight for the BB and Casette etc..

  16. #16
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    All of the Harbor Freight torque wrenches (1/4", 3/8", 1/2") are currently on sale for $9.99'ish (a coupon may be required for it -- the flyer comes in our junk mail).

    At least the 1/4" and 1/2" I bought are spot on (within 1ft-lb of what was dialed).

    I needed a torque wrench that would do ~125ft-lbs for a bolt on my car, and rather than spend big $$$ for a better brand, I bought the Harbor Freights as well as an "Alltrade Torque Adapter" from Amazon. The "torque adapter" can be used to make any ratchet a torque wrench, but people complain it's too difficult to use, and instead it makes a great tool for calibrating your wrench. I figured I could use the Alltrade to dial-in the Harbor Freight 1/2" wrench right before I use it, and then use the Alltrade in the future to make sure my existing torque wrenches are still accurate.

    It turned out the Harbor Freight 1/2" was accurate at 125ft-lbs when I tested it, so nothing more was needed. My ~20 year old Craftsman 3/8" was also still accurate.

    I've never seriously considered buying tools at Harbor Freight (except for one off/disposable type use), but those torque wrenches are a fantastic bargain.

  17. #17
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    Wow where can I find that coupon?
    Quote Originally Posted by anotherbrian View Post
    All of the Harbor Freight torque wrenches (1/4", 3/8", 1/2") are currently on sale for $9.99'ish (a coupon may be required for it -- the flyer comes in our junk mail).

    At least the 1/4" and 1/2" I bought are spot on (within 1ft-lb of what was dialed).

    I needed a torque wrench that would do ~125ft-lbs for a bolt on my car, and rather than spend big $$$ for a better brand, I bought the Harbor Freights as well as an "Alltrade Torque Adapter" from Amazon. The "torque adapter" can be used to make any ratchet a torque wrench, but people complain it's too difficult to use, and instead it makes a great tool for calibrating your wrench. I figured I could use the Alltrade to dial-in the Harbor Freight 1/2" wrench right before I use it, and then use the Alltrade in the future to make sure my existing torque wrenches are still accurate.

    It turned out the Harbor Freight 1/2" was accurate at 125ft-lbs when I tested it, so nothing more was needed. My ~20 year old Craftsman 3/8" was also still accurate.

    I've never seriously considered buying tools at Harbor Freight (except for one off/disposable type use), but those torque wrenches are a fantastic bargain.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by cfrea View Post
    Wow where can I find that coupon?
    We get it every couple weeks in the mail. I watch for it because our local Home Depot will take the 20% off coupon as a competitors coupon.

    I don't know anything about how their coupons work, however it appears there is quite the marketplace for them on ebay. I cut the coupon out I used, but it looks like the remaining ones have a barcode so that they can only be used once.

    The remaining coupons say the expiration is 7/21/12 and that they can be used online. It looks like the coupons sell for ~$1 on ebay (search "harbor freight torque"), so if you don't mind the hassle of bidding on a coupon it'll work out to be a good deal (limit 7 torque wrenches per coupon. heh.).

  19. #19
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    Just do a search for "harbor freight 20% coupon". You can usually get one off their website directly.

  20. #20
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    So it's $12.99 each for the 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2" sizes at Harbor Freight. Would a 3/8" (5-80 ft. lbs.) torque wrench be sufficient for all bike wrenching needs or would I need a lower torque option as well?

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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by PedalDangit View Post
    So it's $12.99 each for the 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2" sizes at Harbor Freight. Would a 3/8" (5-80 ft. lbs.) torque wrench be sufficient for all bike wrenching needs or would I need a lower torque option as well?

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    I'd get the two smaller ones. Youd want a 1/4" and a 3/8" because some applications require less torque and wrenches that are rated for that are more accurate than wrenches that can go from a small range to a high range

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by cfrea View Post
    I'd get the two smaller ones. Youd want a 1/4" and a 3/8" because some applications require less torque and wrenches that are rated for that are more accurate than wrenches that can go from a small range to a high range
    Understood. I just took a look at my bottom bracket and it asks for a 25-30 ft. lbs. torque and the 1/4" won't handle that.

    I actually bought the 1/4" wrench a few days ago for the $20 sale price before I saw this coupon. I'll take my receipt in and get a refund for the difference and buy the 3/8". 26 bucks for 2 ain't bad.

  23. #23
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    Okay, I feel a need to comment on this. One, do not expect to get a calibrated, good quality torque wrench for less than 50 dollars. they do not exist. Do not expect a 10 dollar torque wrench to function properly (despite what the internet tells you), save up your money and get a quality tool.

    I work at a shop, and use a torque wrench as a extension of my arm. I would personally recommend you purchase a good quality torque wrench that has a certificate of calibration and has high review ratings. I would recommend that you do not purchase one, wide ranged torque wrench, but rather get 2 torque wrenches that cover the low and high torque spectrum. A 1/4 or 3/8ths for the smaller torque values, and a larger, 3/8ths inch torque wrench for bigger stuff. However, these instruments (not just tools) are not inexpensive, and if you cannot cough up the 300 dollars it will take, then the Topeak is the best option I have seen so far. Other information for you:

    Snap on makes the best torque wrenches, but here is a little secret. A company called CDI, manufacturers Snap On's torque wrenches, and for half the price, you get the exact same tool.

    I use a 2-16 Newton meter Effete Mariposa torque wrench (nice, but expensive), and a 3/8th inch CDI Torque 2502MRMH torque wrench, from 30-250 inch pounds, which is my favorite tool in my toolbox.
    Keep in mind, these are extremely nice torque wrenches, top of the line quality, and if you are building just the one bike, the Topeak would work well. If, however, you decide to constantly build/fix other bikes, then you need 2 torque wrenches.

    If you have never used a torque wrench before, go to youtube, and watch videos that recommend how to do it.

    fatwheels

  24. #24
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    I have two cheap harbor freight tool wrenches, and a digital Topeak wrench. I just the digital to generally finish off the tightening. Indeed the cheap harbor freight tool ones aren't the best, but if your not building/reparing numerous bikes and just doing it for personal I don't know about spending an arm and a leg on a set. Indeed though spending on the higher quality ones will make a difference when they are calibrated etc.
    Quote Originally Posted by fatwheels View Post
    Okay, I feel a need to comment on this. One, do not expect to get a calibrated, good quality torque wrench for less than 50 dollars. they do not exist. Do not expect a 10 dollar torque wrench to function properly (despite what the internet tells you), save up your money and get a quality tool.

    I work at a shop, and use a torque wrench as a extension of my arm. I would personally recommend you purchase a good quality torque wrench that has a certificate of calibration and has high review ratings. I would recommend that you do not purchase one, wide ranged torque wrench, but rather get 2 torque wrenches that cover the low and high torque spectrum. A 1/4 or 3/8ths for the smaller torque values, and a larger, 3/8ths inch torque wrench for bigger stuff. However, these instruments (not just tools) are not inexpensive, and if you cannot cough up the 300 dollars it will take, then the Topeak is the best option I have seen so far. Other information for you:

    Snap on makes the best torque wrenches, but here is a little secret. A company called CDI, manufacturers Snap On's torque wrenches, and for half the price, you get the exact same tool.

    I use a 2-16 Newton meter Effete Mariposa torque wrench (nice, but expensive), and a 3/8th inch CDI Torque 2502MRMH torque wrench, from 30-250 inch pounds, which is my favorite tool in my toolbox.
    Keep in mind, these are extremely nice torque wrenches, top of the line quality, and if you are building just the one bike, the Topeak would work well. If, however, you decide to constantly build/fix other bikes, then you need 2 torque wrenches.

    If you have never used a torque wrench before, go to youtube, and watch videos that recommend how to do it.

    fatwheels

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by fatwheels View Post
    One, do not expect to get a calibrated, good quality torque wrench for less than 50 dollars.
    Disagree. The Harbor Freight 1/4" one comes with a calibration certificate and has server me, and several others on this site, well for many years.

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