A good torque wrench should be part of every mountain bikers tool kit - particularly if you've got any carbon bling going on. And the Topeak Torq Stick is a very good torque wrench.
A torque wrench is one of the most important tools in your toolbox. This is because every bolt on your bike has a recommended torque setting, and being able to tighten it to the correct value has two benefits. First, there’s no guesswork, you know how tight it has to be, which means you can just tighten it and leave it, job done. Second, you won’t over-tighten it, which can put a bolt under stress, leading to fatigue, and if you go too far, it can snap the bolt or damage the part it’s attached to.
There are dozens of torque wrenches on the market, but Topeak’s Torq Stick caught my eye because it has a good range from 4Nm to 20Nm, which covers everything from stem to crank bolts. It also comes with a plug-in, hex-drive head adjustable for right and left-hand threads, and nine bits – the six common hex bolt sizes and three different Torx. These are also 30mm in length, which is great for getting into the bolts on hard-to-reach areas like the saddle clamps.
Using the tool is a no-brainer – you simply pull and twist the knurled grip to move the indicator up and down in a slot. The values are written on either side and there’s also a 0.5Nm measurement on the back for further fine-tuning.
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I found the scale quite small and hard to read, but I’ve used this tool on everything. I set the value, tighten the bolt until I can feel the tool click and I’m done. Then release the tension so as not to affect the accuracy. Like most Torque wrenches it's an investment, but you’ll only ever buy one.