Are you doing your own bike maintenance? Then you need to invest in a torque wrench. Here's one we've been using.
Last year we took a look at what you should consider when setting up your own home workshop. From starting to put a few items in a tool box, to building a workbench and creating an area to to maintain your bikes, there's a whole range of tools to consider.
We spoke to a number of mechanics, including pro mechanics from the BMC Mountain Bike Team, and in terms of the one tool they think any home mechanic should have, it's a torque wrench.
Just about any part on your bike will have a torque setting - that is, how tight to do it up. This is both so it stays tight, and so the threads don't strip and nothing gets crushed. Fititng parts with the correct torque is essential for a safe bike.
The Super B TB-TW20 Torque Wrench
The Super B TB-TW20 is an ideal home mechanic torque wrench. It comes with the standard bits you will need for brake and gear levels, seat posts, stems and handlebars, and for servicing pivot points on a full-suspension bike. These include 2-10mm allen keys and a T25 Torx head. You could supplement any other heads (like a T27 or T30) as required.
The head has a ratcheting feature, helping it work in small spaces. With a small disc on the back you can move it to tighten or loosen. It's a little fiddly with greasy fingers but not impossible.
The range is 3-15Nm, which covers most jobs on a bike. Your cassette needs to be tighter than that, as can other major parts. But for most suspension hardwear, bars, stems, posts and controls this is ideal.
The Newton meter setting is adjusted via a rotating section on the bottom. Pull it out, twist it to increase or decrease the Torque setting. There's a guide in the handle, and then smaller increments on the outside for fine-tuning.
Personally, this is again a little tricky with 'workshop hands' and leaves a little bit of guess work when getting to 0.2 of a Nm. To me this is what makes it a great home workshop item, but probably not the right tool for a mechanic on the road and working on bikes most days of the week.
As it is, this tool has provided great service and has a permanant place on my workbench. At just under $200 it is an investment, but one that adds piece of mind, and security to any of the bikes in my garage.