The Best Insurance for Carbon Parts
We all know those bright colored stickers on a (carbon) frame with writing of the sort “Max torque 6.2Nm.” Are they just the manufacturers way of shifting responsibility to the user or they actually contain some truth to it?
I think it is a bit of both. Going by “feel” is one way to go, however, around expensive carbon components we tend to be veeeery careful. So after having the seatpost slip for weeks on my Tarmac I decided to take the plunge and buy a torque wrench. The PRO one is at a nice price point and it covers 3-15Nm, all the touchy stuff basically. It contains ¼ inch M3, M4, M5, M6 Hex, socket extensions and torx T25 & T30 bits – all you need.
The torque wrench made my illusions of tightening parts by feel disappear. Everything and I do mean EVERYTHING on my bike was too loose. After a quick twist of the handle to set up to 6.2Nm, the click (or more like a clunk) reassured me slipping was a thing of the past. Indeed it was. I went around the whole bike and for some bolts I was almost a complete turn off! From this moment on, I never tighten anything on bike without a torque wrench.
Couple of points to keep in mind. First, always store the wrench at the lowest setting, the internals are not under stress and the tool should remain accurate for longer. If you haven’t used it for a long time, the manual suggest start with tightening the parts that need a higher setting (i.e. 9Nm) and than go to the ones that need lower torque (i.e. 4Nm). At a price of EU90 it is the best insurance for a frame and components that costs 10-20+ times that.