A few weeks ago, I was preparing for my first race of the new year. Having rode my bike all winter without cleaning or maintaining it, (which I do NOT recommend) I knew it needed some attention. As I was going over the bike, tightening each bolt, I inadvertently over tightened the screw on my seat post and it popped and broke!
I was able to pick up a new bolt but I also got a torque wrench. Take a look at your bike and you’ll probably find the torque specifications printed right on the bike at critical locations like your seat post, stem, or cockpit. They are measured in Newton Meters (Nm). Also, if you have the owner’s manual for your bike or can find it online, they’ll have every torque specification for every bolt and screw. As you can see from the picture, I should have tightened my seat post to 6 Nm or Newton meters of force.
Instead of over tightening, you might under tighten a screw or bolt too. Have your aero bars dropped or your seat shifted during a ride? A friend of mine had screws fall out of their shoe during a race and couldn’t stay clipped into their pedals. Another friend’s bottle cage fell off during a group ride, bouncing around the peloton like the game Plinko!
Using a torque wrench may not only save you time, money, and a head ache, but will also keep you and those around you safer. These wrenches can be pricy. If you opt not to ever get one, be sure you service your bike frequently or anytime something moves.