In most parts of the country, the off-season for cyclists has arrived. Even if it hasn’t for you, it’s high time for gear junkie cross-training: Buying better components for next season. For folks who have a penchant for carbon fiber components or precision tools, check out the Topeak D-torq wrenches.
Torque, as you probably know, is the rotational pressure applied to something — in this case it’s a bolt. Apply too much and you can break a bolt. This is especially dangerous if you’re working with materials that fail in catastrophic ways like carbon fiber. It’s an expensive mishap at a minimum, and a life-threatening potential component failure at maximum Murphy’s Law application.
The standard D-torq retails for $219 and includes bits and sockets that are bike specific. According to Topeak, they are manufactured in the same plant as SnapOn so quality is excellent even if there are no plans for a Topeak Calendar.
One cool feature: There are audio warning tones prior to hitting target torque. You get a different sound once you reach each “target” tone so that you don’t have to watch the numbers too closely.
This tool is great for folks who desire precision — the ones who read the installation brochure front and back and want to follow a manufacturer’s directions to a tee. But this tool might be good for casual mechanics as well. Anyone who doesn’t have a natural feel for proper torque pressure — yet wants to assure that they don’t put too much pressure on fragile components — might look at the D Torq Wrench for guidance.
And if you want something with more torque — like ratcheting down on crank bolts — the company’s $269 DX version is built for that.
So, if like Car Talk’s Click and Clack, you’re always looking for an excuse to buy a new tool, or if you just want to make sure you’re as precise as possible, the Torqs are a good addition to any work bench. Especially, this time of year, when there’s a lot of winter ahead. www.topeak.com
—Stephen Krcmar is a former shop mechanic who lives, works and spins his own wrenches in Mammoth Lakes, Calif.