There's some Jedi in every mountain biker. We love using the force. You know, that thing that surrounds us and penetrates within us. We use it when guessing the traction offered by our trails, or the effort necessary for a jump. It's part of learning the way. But there's a bit of the force we'd do good to un-learn, and that's the assessment of proper torque using only our fingers. Prestacycle's TorqueRatchet might be a way to resist the dark side.
We're a big fan of the little innovations we see from Prestacycle. We recently wrote up their underrated Prestaflator compressor chuck, but they also have some other nifty bits. Most recently, they released the TorqueRatchet, a sleek, portable, deflecting, beam-style torque wrench.
There's a growing market for these little guys as we're seeing lighter and lighter materials around our bolts and nuts. And often it's nice to be able to adjust those bolts and nuts while we're on a ride. If you're able to get your bars, brakes, grips or shifters in exactly the right place before you leave your garage, you're a better man than I am.
The TorqueRatchet works with standard ¼-inch bits. If you already have plenty, you can get the wrench on its own for $50. You can add a set of 20 bits for another $10, or you can get 12 essential bits and the nifty carrying case you see here for the same upcharge. If you scour the depths of Amazon, you can find a generic click-style torque wrench for about $40, and if you only want something to leave in your toolbox, that's a decent option. But for traveling and for those new-bike on-the-trail adjustments, a portable option is ideal, and the prices tend to ramp up quickly. $60 for the TorqueRatchet is really impressive compared to $100 for the Silca T-Ratchet, or more than twice that for options from Effetto Mariposa. The $60 TorqueRatchet is a 68-gram bare essential.
Simpler, but non-travel-friendly deflecting-beam torque wrenches like Topeak's Combo wrench have the advantage of spreading the measurement text over a large area. The needle has a wide plate to sweep across, and that makes it easy to know when to stop twisting. That's the one headache I found when using the TorqueRatchet. Its numbers are clearly easy to read, but each number's corresponding notch is less than a millimeter from the one next to it. If you want to be spot-on, you'll need good light and good eyesight.
Prestacycle did add the clever feature of printing those notches on both sides of the wrench, so if you're trying to reach a pinch bolt deep in a nook or hidden in a cranny with the back of the wrench facing you, you'll still know your torque reading. And the business end of the TorqueRatchet is as shallow and narrow as possible, but I did need an extension to reach some bolts in the cluttered spaces around the controls or at the brakes. For even more sleek extensions, Prestacycle offers 50-millimeter extended versions of popular ¼-inch bits for $7.
Maybe it's time to stop using the force when tightening your bolts. We promise not to find your lack of faith disturbing.