Recommended torque wrenches for cycling use

Modern bikes with lightweight parts need to be torqued to spec with a torque wrench. The alternative is getting familiar with the distinctive crack of carbon fibre as it’s crushed by a clamp bolt. Questions about what torque wrench to buy regularly appear on Reddit and other forums, this is my answer.

I consider the best tool to be the Prestacycle Torqratchet/ Feedback Sports Range Torque Wrench/ Tone TBS20 (discontinued?) and maybe others from the same OEM. The most important aspect is that it’s a low-profile, high tooth count ratchet. Even without the torque capability it’s convenient to use and will most likely take the place of regular hex wrenches. When it comes time to get a bolt to torque, all that’s required is zeroing the dial and pushing down on the black ball end instead of the red shaft. Because there’s no need to shuffle bits or tools it’s trivial to torque every bolt down accurately, even for areas where it’s not critical.

In comparison, most regular clicker ratchets (Park/ Pedros/ Topeak) are fairly chunky and get in the way when doing torque-insensitive tasks. Constantly spinning the dial to get the setting into a safe range ends up taking too much time. Beam-type wrenches don’t ratchet for the most part, and are either fairly large (Park) or have awkward shapes that get in the way (Topeak).

When using the tool as a ratchet force is applied directly to the red handle so the torque measurement mechanism is not involved. Applying torque past the end of the scale, going backwards, breaking stuck bolts or just applying many small cycles will not affect the mechanism. Unlike most clicker-type wrenches there’s no way to damage or wear the torque sensing mechanism by using it as a ratchet.

Problems are that the dial needs to be re-zeroed before each use (it doesn’t come back properly), it can be hard to read from some angles (saddle clamp bolts are awkward), and the range is not high enough to cover everything.

Personally, I wouldn’t consider a torque wrench strictly necessary for bolts that require more than 10Nm so the limited scale isn’t a problem. Getting into the ballpark for a 12-16Nm bolt by feel is close enough to be safe and exceeding the limit by a bit isn’t likely to be catastrophic. This is doubly true for 40Nm lockrings.

If budget doesn’t allow for the Feedback Sports ratchet, the cheapest tool I would consider is the Topeak Combotorq. The shape can be awkward to use but functionally it’s fine. On the other side of the budget range, the Silca T-Torque and Effetto Mariposa Giustaforza are both stunning but unnecessary.

Looking at the Prestacycle range, the Torqratchet PRO may be an even better option - harder to read scale but the torque display should return properly. I haven’t used it so I can’t say. Also, it’s cheaper than the dial version.