Sunday, May 10, 2009

Torgueing around

The GF Standard comes with 16 bits and  a nice carrying case and opens the door into new realm of bike geekery

I am not a carbon guy. Carbon in most cycling applications just seems too expensive and too risky...ROI (return on investment) is low ROI (risk of injury) is high. Most of my parts are sensible. But who doesn't have a carbon steerer tube on their fork at this point? And some parts are torque sensitive. I've been a big believer in the hand tightening method. I've never had a problem...ok I am lying. I've had a couple of campy chorus carbon seatposts fail at the seattube juncture (can you say overtightening stress riser?) and I had a carbon sid steerer tube that developed some crushing/stress risers where the stem fixing bolt clamped the steerer (again likely overtightening) Never had a failure and obviously never had anything come loose. Admittedly I am a hamfist.

I'd been thinking of getting a torque wrench for about a year. I heard about the giustaforza torque through a few sources (BKW/Zinn). I ordered one from a us distributor. Other than my Campy chaintool it is my most prized bicycle tool. They have a lot in common. Both sit solidly in your hand. And both are heavy...I always love the feel of heavy metal in my hands...but I digresss....The effetto mariposa is gorgeous in its sheer strength and beauty. It is also very easy to use. You just tighten or loosen a knob at the base of the tool to set torque between 2-16 nm. You then tighten whatever bolt on the bike you are working with until you hear a loud click of the head  releasing. 

The only funky thing about the tool is that before you first use the tool you have to "prime" it. Priming the tool is very easy all you do is manually (with your thumb) move the head back and forth at its lowest setting to move the grease around inside the tool. After a few times doing that its ready to go. But directions that come with the tool do not explain this very important step in using the wrench. When I first used the tool it wouldn't "click" Even at its lowest setting the head would not release. I checked the website and it explains this procedure in detail and in a very easy manner to understand. One thing I found is that a torque wrench puts a lot of torque on a bolt. It has way more leverage than an allen key. How ironic would it have been if I destroyed a carbon steerer tube with a torque wrench designed just to prevent this happening because of missing one crucial step in using the tool?

Now I am just torque crazy. I seriously need a laminated card with all the proper torque settings of all my bike parts. This isn't necessarily easy. For example deda specs on its stems max torque 8nm. That is a lot of torque believe it or not. 5nm is probably a safer bet. But it raises the question of where do you go to get the most accurate torque settings for a part? The manufacturer obviously but sometimes its not as easy as just googling bike parts and torque. ...A whole new level of bike geekery is about to begin!

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