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I am assemblying a bike - new steel frame and DA components. I have all the tools I need to do the job, but I do not have a torque wrench. How important is a torque wrench in bike buildup. Also, since I will be using various sizes of wrenches is a torque wrench adjstable to fit all tightening issues? If the answer is yes - can you recommend where I get one?

Thanks
 

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Park makes bike ones.

You can get them at sears for standard drive ratchets.

If you've never used one be careful, it is really easy to mega-overtighten things with some of them if you're not used to how they work. The first time I used mine I missed the "click" that indicates when it's reached the desired torque. Because the arm on the torque wrench is 3x as long as a normal ratchet I then proceeded to torque it down ridiculously tightly.

I've heard from one shop owner that they stopped using them because "new" mechanics would screw things up more with the torque wrench than without it.

Ben
 

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I own a couple but I only use them for two things: I have a 3/8 drive one that I use for crank arms and bottom brackets. My experience has been that most people, if left to their own devices will undertorque these. I have a 1/4 drive that I use for high end stems and handlebar clamps. My experience has been that most people, if left to their own devices will overtorque these. I don't think that the same torque wrench would work very well for both applications..
 

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Not totally necessary

As to the first question, No, it's not absolutely necessary but having a pair of torque wrenches around can be handy.

The other posters make some good points. I agree wholeheartedly with Spoke Wrench about bottom brackets, cranks and stems. Only problem there is that you generally need to get two different torque wrenches to cover both applications:

note: all torque wrenches are manufactured so that they basically aren't calibrated at all at any torque setting that is less than 20% of full scale.

As far as making a mistake using them, yep seen it happen lots. If you can get the non-clicking type of torque wrench, what they call the "deflecting beam" kind. As long as you can see the beam while you're applying torque then you'll almost never overtorque anything.

Most wrenches come in the standard ratchet head sizes, so buying adapters, sockets, allen heads, and crows feet to cover just about any kind of fastener is pretty easy.

Finally, you get what you pay for in a torque wrench. Mostly what you pay for is accuracy and repeatability, and the cheaper torque wrenches may claim accuracies like +/-4% you will probably never notice as it degrades over a mere few months to something that is actually +/-20% or worse.

IMO the following are the best torque wrenches in USA (no, I don't work for them);

http://www.stanleyproto.com/default.asp?TYPE=CATEGORY&CATEGORY=TORQUE+WRENCHES

but they are on the pricey side. If you're going to be using the wrench a dozen or so times each month it might be worth it. If you're going to be using your torque wrench about once every six months I'd personally either not use one, or borrow one when I need it.

Timbo27 said:
I am assemblying a bike - new steel frame and DA components. I have all the tools I need to do the job, but I do not have a torque wrench. How important is a torque wrench in bike buildup. Also, since I will be using various sizes of wrenches is a torque wrench adjstable to fit all tightening issues? If the answer is yes - can you recommend where I get one?

Thanks
 

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Didn't use one until recently......

I have assembled over a dozen bikes over the years and didn't use a torque wrench once on about 80% of them.

I recently bought a torque wrench (Craftsman brand), that covers most of the needs that a cyclist would have, and don't use it on every single bolt, but on crucial parts, I do.

Crucial to me is a BB/Crank interface, and anything where you are tightening up carbon fiber. I didn't really care about torque before on a big aluminum bar, you really had to go nuts to overtighten the bolts. Now with carbon, that lovely "crunch" sounds is getting more familiar to some people.

I have however, assembled carbon parts without a torque wrench without a problem, but from doing so many parts swaps on the bikes, I kinda have a feel of how tight is actually tight.

I say, it's a good thing to have around, and practice with it beforehand, they do have a unique feel that you should learn to recognize, or else with all of that leverage, you'll overtighten something really fast.

Craftsman is my personal choice, good price, easy warranty, and LIFETIME WARRANTY, no hassles either, just walk in, show them that it's a craftsman, you get a new one (not that i have broken a torque wrench, just saying in general).

Tools are a thing that you can't ever have enough of. You'd be surprised what comes in handy over the years.
 

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I have two, one in the high range and one in the low range, both Craftsman. As with the others above, the only things I religiously torque are BBs, cranks and stem bolts. The BB is particularly important if your bike has italian threading. They're very nice to have, especially if you're the type of mechanic that likes to read the instructions and follow them to the letter.
 
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