Torque wrench for the bicycle, how does it work?

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Torque wrench: what is it and how to use

You have probably heard of a torque wrench before. What not everyone knows is that a torque wrench can also be very practical when you do some maintenance on your bicycle or mountain bike yourself.

Just think of the simple things such as mounting a bottle cage, securing your seat post, and reattaching your cranks or stem after replacing or cleaning these parts.

Tightening all bolts by feel is not immediately the most sensible solution. A torque wrench can prevent a lot of possible problems in this case. Just think of broken bolts or even a crack in your frame because a bolt is just a bit too tight.

In this article, we explain what a torque wrench for the bicycle is and how you use it. Don’t worry though, it’s all very easy. After reading this article, you will immediately have the necessary knowledge to get started with a torque wrench for your bicycle.

What is a torque wrench?

A torque wrench is a (ratchet) wrench with which you can tighten bolts with a preset force (also called torque) expressed in Newton-meters (Nm).

When the set force is reached, the key will click or kink and you should stop tightening.

These wrenches are equipped with different attachments (bits) so that they are suitable for most bolts on your bicycle.

Why do you need a torque wrench?

Why exactly do you need a torque wrench? Of course, cycling itself is much more fun than polishing your bike or working on your bike. However, good maintenance is essential for the life of your bicycle and its parts.

It is, therefore, useful to carry out minor repairs and cleaning yourself. For some jobs, it is best to use a torque wrench.

Especially with carbon frames, a torque wrench is definitely worth the investment. When you tighten bolts too tight, damage can occur to your carbon frame, and of course, you don’t want that.

It is also quite possible that if you tighten the bolts just a little too tight, they will break. It is a time-consuming activity to restore all this. In the worst cases, the broken bolt has to be drilled out with a drill.

That is why it is best to use a torque wrench so that the bolts are immediately tightened with the correct force and there is much less chance that they break.

Which torque wrench should you buy for your mountain bike?

There is of course a lot of choice in terms of torque wrenches for the bicycle. Which one you should buy depends on several factors:

How many newton meters should the torque wrench go?

Before buying a torque wrench, you should decide for yourself which parts you want to be able to tighten with it.

Wrenches with a small range (eg 2-14nm; 5-25nm…) can be used to tighten small and sensitive bolts. (eg handlebars, saddle, disc brakes…). These are by far the most important bolts where it is recommended to use a torque wrench. A thick robust bolt can have something compared to fine and fragile bolts.

With a larger range (eg 10-100nm; 10-210nm…) you can, for example, secure your crankset and your cassette, but not parts that require less power. Please note that, for example, to secure your cassette you still need a special attachment that fits on the cassette.

In principle, you can simply tighten a cassette by hand, since it is best to tighten it with a lot of “moment”. “Fixed is steadfast” is the best counselor in this case.

How many and which attachments do you need?

Once you have determined which parts you are going to use a torque wrench for, it is important to choose one that comes with the right attachments that you need. Therefore, check in advance which bolts are on your bike and what size they are.

How much do you want to spend on it?

Once you have made a choice in terms of range, you can compare in terms of price and possibly take extra parts into account.

Try to find out for yourself how often you think you will use the key. If you are not going to use the key every day, it is only too crazy to choose the most expensive price category.

You do not necessarily need extra parts that you are not going to use.

To how many Nm should you set the torque wrench?

Before you start to tighten your bolts, it is of course useful to know with which maximum force the bolts can be tightened. For this, you have to take a closer look at your bike.

With most bolts on your bicycle parts, the number of Nm is written next to it or you can find it in the user manual of the relevant part.

Read the number and then set the key to this power.

These stem bolts may have a maximum of 5.5 Nm.

The indicated force in Newton-meters is always the maximum force with which this bolt can be tightened, never go over this because this can damage the bolt.

How does a torque wrench work?

Almost all torque wrenches work in almost the same way. The working of the BBB torque wrench is therefore almost the same as with any similar torque wrench.

Mount the correct attachment

There is a push-button on the back of the head. Take the correct bit, press the button and slide the bit onto the key. Release the button and the bit is secured.

Set the torque

At the bottom of the handle is a rotary knob to set the torque. Push it up and turn to the right.
Follow the screen and turn until you get to the desired torque.

Choosing the right direction of rotation

On the back of the head, you see a pointer, to tighten you have to slide it completely to the right. In principle, you can always leave it that way. You can also loosen bolts with a normal Torx or Allen key. That’s how I work, maybe you like to do it differently…

Tighten the bolt until the torque is reached

Insert the wrench, with a bit, into the bolt and grip the handle of the wrench. Now tighten the bolt. With the BTL-73 torque wrench, you immediately know when the right moment has been reached.

The head of the key will then make a nodding movement. There are torque wrenches where you hear a click when the right moment is reached. This is therefore not the case with the BBB torque wrench, but it can always be clearly felt when the correct and set torque has been reached.

When the set moment is reached, you can immediately stop turning, an extra stroke is certainly not necessary!

Now the right moment has been reached and the bolt is tightened at the moment you set.

Storing the key and attachments

Now that your repair has been completed, all you need to do is release the key and store everything in the included storage bag.

To release the key, push the button back at the bottom of the handle. Then turn the knob to the left until the line shows 2 Nm on the screen.

Never store the key before releasing it first. It is handy that this is also stated in the storage bag so that you will not soon forget this.

Buy a torque wrench

A torque wrench is an essential tool that every recreational cyclist or mountain biker should have at home.
It saves you a lot of time to be able to solve small jobs yourself if you have the right tools (eg cleaning your seat post, installing new disc brakes…).

It is therefore good for the life of your frame and parts that you secure everything with the right force.
Your own strength cannot be measured, so a torque wrench is an essential tool for you and your bike!

If you want to sit on the bike more than next to it, secure all your parts in the right way and thus extend their lifespan, get a torque wrench right away.


Don’t have a torque wrench at home yet? Then think it over again. You don’t want to break a fragile bolt, part, or your entire frame when you could have simply prevented it. A torque wrench for your bicycle is always a good idea and will only save you money in the long run.

In any case, we hope to have informed you sufficiently with this article about the functioning and usefulness of a torque wrench for the bicycle.

Do you already use a torque wrench for maintenance on your bicycle or mountain bike, or are you planning to do so after reading this article? Be sure to let us know in a comment at the bottom of the page.

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Geert is a marathon mountainbiker who is also a bike maintenance graduate. Besides mountain biking he likes going on hikes and he loves an occasional trail run.

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