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FOUND: 9point8’s Torque Keys Make Proper Bolt Torque Affordable & Easy

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torquekey_use_close_6nm

9point8, the Canadian company that brought us the Pulse Dropper Seatpost, has created another unique idea. This time, using the inherent flex in a set of long allen keys, they created a simple measurement device that uses that known flex, and correlates it to the torque needed to make it flex that much. This may seem like a very simple idea, but it is how most automotive torque wrenches work as well, they just add a scale to a long bar that flexes under the load.

Many cyclists don’t use a torque wrench when they should, and this can be because the wrenches are large, cumbersome, and can be expensive. But now, rather than claiming to all your buddies that your hand is calibrated within 1Nm, these simple wrenches are no different to use than a standard allen key, and can measure many more torque values than the pre-set clicking t-handles that can only measure a single torque value.

Best of all, they are affordable. Only the 4mm is available right now, and is listed at $8.99. They list the 3mm as coming soon, and we hope that others will follow soon after. Click past the jump for a short video showing how they are used, and the specs…

SPECS – 

  • 4mm TorqueKey™
  • Hex Size 4mm
  • Torque Range 0-12Nm
  • Weight 26g
  • 3mm COMING SOON
  • Hex Size 3mm
  • Torque Range 0-4Nm
  • Weight 18g

www.9point8.ca

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19 Comments
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RC
RC
8 years ago

What a cool idea. Maybe not quite as accurate as my Snap-Off wonder-gadget, but hey, close enough for most things. I’m in.

Dude
Dude
8 years ago

Wait, does it come with it’s own key? If so, I’m all in and will take all sizes they make. If not, accuracy is suspect due to different material choices.

vladimir_e
vladimir_e
8 years ago

I have a very similar tool from Topeak that comes with interchangable bits. Costs less than two of this keys and works great for me.

Mick
Mick
8 years ago

@Dude… it does…

Trexor
Trexor
8 years ago

Canyon gives you one of these for free with your bike in order to assemble it properly. Theirs actually one ups this one by having a set of standard sized replaceable bits to use on all the different sized allen and torx pieces possible (up to 6mm, I think, though you could use adaptors for anything bigger I suppose).
I’m surprised not to have seen more of these, though. Torque wrenches are otherwise way expensive for idle tinkerers especially when they have different torque settings and bits, though admittedly more and more necessary.

greg
greg
8 years ago

Topeak has a multi-bit torque wrench using this concept. Very affordable, and extremely accurate and repeatable.
I like this.

goridebikes
goridebikes
8 years ago

Cool, now I can use a $10 torque wrench to avoid breaking my $300 handlebar.. because, you know, $45 for a proper torque wrench is just so expensive I can’t afford it.

Tim
Tim
8 years ago

OK it’s not a torque wrench, but I see two good things here – it’s light and easy to take with me on trips or even on a ride, and because the tool is similar to a regular allen it’ll help me ‘calibrate’ my hand so I won’t need it any more.

Milessio
Milessio
8 years ago

@goridebikes – If you don’t know how to use any torque wrench correctly, you still can break your handlebar!

tom
tom
8 years ago

you can use any allen key with this set up, so long as it is the appropriate size, and you apply the torque out past the edge of the card a shown in the pic. I’d rather use a standard torque wrench.

Chris S.
Chris S.
8 years ago

It’s a great idea but there are serious bias problems related to the usage of this thing:

1) It cannot be precise since it is measuring off of an already twisting beam (deflection bias)
2) How about if you can’t see the bottom of the wrench? (ambivalence bias)
3) It will only work with one single grade of steel from one batch because another batch will have a different Young’s modulus, which will also vary with usage and time.

Spend the $50 for a real torque wrench.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
8 years ago

Using a calibrated piece of plastic to turn a hex key into a beam type torque wrench is really clever but not super practical since for $19 you can get a Ritchey torque key with 4 bits, preset to the 5 nM you need for most stems and seatposts.

JBikes
JBikes
8 years ago

Maybe I’ll get flamed for this, but you gotta be pretty ham-fisted to break parts on a bike for lack of a torque wrench, even carbon stuff.

@ Chris S –
Concern no.1 – Its repeatable if one uses the same intersection point of allen key to scale. Is it ultra precise. Probably not, but I don’t think its far enough off to matter.
Concern no. 3 is ridiculous. Tool steel is made to a standard. Small variations from batch to batch will not adversely affect young’s modulus to such a high degree that accuracy will affect bike installations. Its a bike, not a precision bolt. Variations in the bolts, bolting surface, lubricant used probably affect bolt stress and clamping force more than any variation in varying steel batch’s young’s modulus.

Dominion
Dominion
8 years ago

@ Chris S

Could you provide more details on $50 a real torque wrench ?
Thanks.

onespeed
onespeed
8 years ago

i like it because it’s good for hard to reach configurations where other torque instruments i have won’t fit well (e.g., saddle clamp bolts on some seat posts).

keville
8 years ago

@Dominion

I picked up my adjustable Tekton torque wrench from Amazon for under $40 on Prime. I did already have a good number of socket wrenches but did not have an appropriate set of 1/4″ hex-insert bits to drive bicycle fasteners; add $10-15. There is a Venzo model similar to mine that comes with a set of bits for $50.

anthony
anthony
8 years ago

I use the toppeak torque wrench. It includes all different sizes and is $25-30. I use it all the time and is accurate as I have used an actual torch wrench to test it out.

pilf
pilf
8 years ago

@Dominion – There are a number of reliable, high-quality torque wrenches for $50 and under. They’re not Snap-On, but they do the job. I’ve been using the same Harbor Freight torque wrench ($20 at the sidewalk sale) for the past two years, and it is still calibrated to within 1% of my coworker’s digital zillion-dollar Snap-On wrench.

Also, http://bit.ly/1CbS54a.

Brian
Brian
8 years ago

@Chris: The Young’s module (stiffness) of steels are almost all ~210GPa and does not change over time. All these keys are made of steel with the same dimensions. Therefore this is a very simple and accurate way to measure torque and never needs to be calibrated unlike “normal” torque wrenches.

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