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Teddy’s Choice #5

Written on Saturday, April 21st, 2018 about Accessories, Shop News, Teddy's Choice, Tools

Teddy says tighten those bolts not too much and not too little…just right!

Teddy’s Tool Time:

In case you are just joining us, we are up to the 5th instalment of our series of product recommendations by our Shop Dog Teddy. As mentioned, Teddy is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi and he has strong opinions on many things including bike stuff. This week Teddy wants you to not smash your face into the ground. Yes, modern handlebars and stems are precision pieces with small stem bolts that are tightened to not-that-high torque spec; typically 5 Newton metres. If you have a carbon fibre bar and/or stem then it is even more important since carbon can be damaged by over tightening and that damage might not be immediately apparent. Should the bar be damaged and you hit something hard enough it could snap and that’s where things get ugly.

Every Cyclist Needs a Torque Wrench

Now if Teddy were to crash it’s maybe 8 inches from his head to the ground–not a large drop. If you are of average height, are standing up on your bike, which usually have bottom bracket heights in the 1 foot-ish range, then your head is 5 to 6 feet off the ground. Add a steep descent where your distance to the ground is potentially doubled and you can now see how having a handlebar break is generally categorized under “Very Bad Things” and “Things To Be Avoided.” For Teddy, “Very Bad Things” include deep puddles, stairs, and large birds of prey. For us cyclists, a handlebar breaking is almost guaranteed to result in a crash.

Face-Plant Prevention

All of that pain and suffering can be avoided by using a torque wrench on your stem bolts. The Bontrager 5nM Preset Torque Wrench has only one torque setting and clicks when you hit it so there is no guessing–also it’s one size only: 4mm. The Bontrager Torque Wrench’s 5Nm setting also works with clipless pedal cleats, some seat binder bolts and generally 4mm allen bolts on a bike so it isn’t a one-trick pony. Every cyclist’s tool kit should have one of these and it’s also available with a Torx bit. $26.99 and in stock at the Shop.