Yep, it’s that time of year when folks are parking the bike and pulling out winter gear (that is unless you’re blessed with sun all year round – if so then I’m jealous). Luckily I have an indoor bike park nearby and can continue to ride, though clearly it’s not the same as churning dirt. Either way, all is not lost – this is the perfect time of year to take apart your ride and get busy fixing and tuning!
One piece of a equipment every mechanic should invest in is a quality torque wrench like the Topeak D-Torq DX. The shop-quality D-Torq is superior to most products I’ve used and truly makes your bike safer and easier to work on. For those who don’t know, I have a mechanical background in the aviation and automotive industries with an inter-provincial license plus I teach this stuff for a living. With that in mind, I have to say this is a great tool.
The D-Torq DX is a top quality tool intended to make torquing down fasteners a breeze. Older torque wrenches were either click or dial type wrenches that had to be set and monitored. These wrench types often slow down the work and in some cases they cause the user to get fed up and just go by feel which sorta defeats the purpose. Well, the folks at Topeak must have talked with shop workers to find out what they needed because they hit the nail on the head with the D-Torq DX.
Setting the torque value is quick and easy – just scroll up or down on the arrow buttons and you’re there. You don’t even have to look at the display when turning the wrench – a beep will alert you when you’ve reached your target.
One of the biggest hassles when dealing with torque values is the lack of standards (N-m, kg-cm, in-lb, and ft-lb). I’ve seen plenty of instances where manufacturers use different units for torque specs on the same instruction guide which forces me to keep a conversion chart handy. Since the D-Torq DX is digital it converts units on the fly with just a scroll of a button.
The D-Torq DX features a 3/8-inch square drive with everything you need to get to all the fasteners on your bike. It comes with all the popular socket and hex drives: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15mm sockets and 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10mm hex drive with adapter. You also get Torx T25, T30, and T40 for the increasingly popular Torx heads found on SRAM and Shimano components. A #2 phillips head is also included to complete the selection. Everything is arranged neatly in a convenient case.
Torque settings on the DX range from 4N-m to 80N-m which covers just about everything. If your bike is carbon or has carbon components this is the wrench for you; if you race this is the wrench for you; if you enjoy working on your own stuff – yep, this is the wrench for you too. I’ve been using my D-Torq DX on everything from brake calipers to disk bolts and from stem bolts to crank bolts.
Recently the D-Torq inspired me to make a checklist that to keep with all my bikes for the times I’m working on them or going to do some serious riding. The last thing I want is for something to fall off or break due to over- or under-tightening. I recommend creating a chart like the one below; you can even go a step further and laminate it and use non permanent markers to check off and re-check as needed. All the values can easily be found in your bike and component owners manuals. If you have a Specialized, for example, all the values you need can be found on their website. (If anyone is interested I can email you the chart in Word so you can change it up to match your bike.)
If I had to be picky (and I do), I’d like to see an on/off switch rather than the power timer featured on the D-Torq DX to extend the life of the battery. Every D-Torq DX ships with a certificate of calibration and includes all the sockets any bike mechanic should need. At $290 MSRP I feel like this is a fair price for the level of precision and protection you get. Just remember this is a calibrated, high precision tool – so don’t drop it!