Ironarm Torque Wrench
NICK EE| 1st Sep 2015 | PRODUCT REVIEWS
Anyone who has ever worked with bolts and nuts or anything that has threads will know about the frustration and the headaches and troublesomeness that follows a stripped thread, because once the thread is gone, there’s no way to re-fasten the screw or nut. If you’ve managed to strip a female thread, then there might still be some hope in sight as you will be able to drill out the old stripped thread and re-insert in a kind of threaded sleeve to replace the previous original thread, as for a male end thread, that would usually mean that you might just simply need a new screw or bolt, but in any case, avoiding over tightening a screw or bolt will be good enough to ensure that you don’t strip the threads.
If you’ve never heard of or even laid your hands on a torque wrench before, you’re in luck! Welcome to threads for dummies! No kidding, because using a torque whenever you tighten a screw or bolt is the safest and best way to ensure that it’s tightened to the maximum allowable specification that has been predetermined by the part’s manufacturer, this is even more important when carbon fibre is involved, but more on that a little later. The torque wrench is basically a ratcheting socket wrench with some kind of setting to adjust the amount of strength that you want to apply to the bolt or screw, and once that limit is reached, the head of the torque wrench will ‘slip’ slightly and most of the time emits a ‘click’ sound to indicate that the specified amount of torque (or strength) has been reached. Almost all of the bike component manufacturers have torque settings specified for any screw or bolt in their product, and following this guideline will ensure that you will be tighten and loosen the thread without ever causing it any problems.
The Ironarm torque wrench set is a little and clever device that should be an integral part in any DIYer or home mechanic’s tool kit, recent mass production and the ever growing popularity of self bike maintenance has brought down these once very expensive professional tool and made it very affordable, even to the occasional home bike mechanic. This little tool set comes with several hex bits, or Allen key bits, as well as three sizes of torx bits, usually enough to fit any screw or bolt that you can find on your bicycle. The wrench itself has a very clear torque setting display that is adjusted by turning the handle itself, clockwise to get a higher torque setting and anti-clockwise for a lower setting. The case itself has a very cool and extremely sturdy locking mechanism that is miles better than those cheap plastic cases with plastic catches, as this metal catch will ensure that the case will open and close properly for many many years. All bits that are included with the set have individual and clear size markings so that you will never get the sizes mixed up, and they are all also locked into each position securely, I’d doubt that the bits will come loose from the case if it’s dropped form a reasonable height, that’s how well designed and made the case itself is.
The final and most important reason why having a torque wrench is so important, especially when it comes to carbon fibre parts, is the problem of over tightening. Like in the case of securing your carbon handlebar to your aluminum stem, if you were to ever exceed the tightening torque spec that’s listed by the handlebar manufacturer, you don’t only run the risk of stripping the threads, but over tightening the stem might even clamp the handlebar too tight and sometimes the carbon will just give way and crack! Resulting in an even more costly mistake, probably many times for expensive than this torque wrench itself.
I have learnt from my mistakes since I started messing with bicycles, some mistakes were very costly, and some couldn’t even be repaired or replaced at all, so in my honest opinion and most highly recommended advice, get a torque wrench before you yourself makes a costly mistake. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
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