Wednesday, July 10

King of Torkistan

I should be slightly ashamed at the minimal amount of bike maintenance I actually did over the four day weekend, what with all the time I had on my hands.  I've been meaning to adjust the saddle tilt on the Vassago Meatplow V.8 for weeks now, but the idea of getting it down from the top spot on my wall rack and then getting it back up there?

I already know how that motion makes my side feel, so... no.

But I did get something(s) accomplished.

I swapped out the bearings in my front Industry Nine/NOX wheel.  That set had been hanging on hooks since I got my Hydras months ago.  I decided to mount up some narrow treads for greenway grinding that I don't care about so much to save my main meats for the Breck Epic.  I didn't even know the bearings were shot until I had that vague "something's wiggling" feeling dragging the bike back into the house on Friday.

I've mentioned before that sometimes I get things I really can use from Topeak that make my life better.  Other times, they send me something like a case to put my iPhone on my bars... which I don't know what to do with.  Rarely, I actually request something I really need, like the multitude of different wall racks required to hang bikes all over my tiny household.  I am in deep gratitude on that one.

Way back before my coronation as a Topeak ambassador, I bought a D-Torq Wrench.  Covering a range of 4 N•m - 80 N•m, it would keep me from ruining a stem or having a crank arm fall off or snapping a carbon seat rail.  I thought that would be good enough.  How much lower or higher would I really need to go?

A bit lower.  That's how much.

So, I recently ended up requesting something to cover my updated needs.  I had been just faking the torque on my Thomson seat post clamp, bringing it up to 4 N•m and then backing off a hair to 3'ish(?) N•m.

Horseshoes, hand grenades, seat post clamps... same same.

Doing some routine maintenance in my bottom bracket region, I found myself tightening the tiny 2.5mm Allen bolt on the Cane Creek Preloader to whatever torque I could muster with such a spindly loose wrench...

Which also happens to be just enough torque to strip the threads clean off the bolt.  Fortunately, it was the bolt that gave up the ghost and not the aluminum collar.  One shameful email later to the Dick Handler at Cane Creek, and I had a new bolt in hand (and a spare in case I muck things up again).

Something I would like to avoid, lest more shameful emails in my future.

I perused the Topeak site looking to up my torquing game and came upon the new Nano Torqbar X.

With a range from 2 N•m - 6 N•m, it was looking like a good option, tho I thought it would work differently than it does when I first got it outta the box.  I was expecting that I'd need to set the torque and then go until it clicks, kinda like the preset bits in the Ratchet Rocket™ Lite NTX.  Nope.  You just start wrenching and watch the torque value increase until you get what you need.

Since I needed 1.4 N•m on the tiny bolt, obvs I just shot for closer to 2 than 0.

I know that's not ideal, but whatever.  I'm calling it a win.  I was able to dial the Thomson seat post clamp in exactly, which is nice.

Fox Transfer droopers feel about over-tightened clamps like I feel about working in a well-lit room.  Hate it.

Obviously, there's some overlap in these two tools.

I like the Ratchet Rocket™ Lite NTX because that ratchet is bueno, but the preset torque bits have a pretty quiet click indicating that proper torque has been reached.  I gotta tell the dogs to stop breathing in my face and turn down the Pearl Jam to hear the subtle noise.  I do prefer seeing the torque increase slowly knowing that I just didn't hear a 'click' and went too far.

Fortunately, I can combine the tools thusly:

The best of both worlds, and had I a better nose for what I needed to begin with, I coulda just started with this:

The Nano Torqbox X, AKA "the most compact adjustable torque socket" out there.  All one needs is a 5mm Allen to drive it, so it would work with a multi-tool, 3-way, loose Allen key, or a ratchet with a 5mm bit.



I guess my point it that if you don't wanna ruin bike parts but wanna wrench your own business, investing a decent (even minimal) torque tool is a bueno idea.  If I'm gonna destroy a bike part, I'd prefer it happen outside with my ass in the saddle (or flying off of it) as opposed to being a result of mine own ham-fisting.


TJ Morton said...

That’s a pretty sweet doodad! I’d rather see the torque increase than wait for the faint click. Do you get kick backs or credit if I order one of these things by clicking on a link from your blergh?

Also, you wrote a while back about a chain cleaner that you really liked. I’m in the market for a new one, and I figured I’d buy based on your recommendation. Can you remind me of said chain cleaner’s manufacturer?

dicky said...


I don't get any credit except high fives and smiley emojis.

That chain cleaner?

It worked, but I'm just so lazy. It required a steady hand for SS use to keep clear of the cranks, so I gave up. Simple as that. I was looking for absolute easiest/quickest/thorough way ever.

I just did the whole zip-tie a couple toothbrushes together thing recently, but I haven't been able to properly dirty a chain since then.

NordieBoy said...

With the old TorqBar, you don't wait for a click.
Just crank it and once it hits the specced n/m it freewheels.
You can't exceed the spec.

I was annoyed by the tiny click that can be misconstrued as a carbon creak and complained to Topeak.
They sent a link to the instruction video. Oops.