Topeak manufactures a sizable range of torque wrenches, many of which, use "TorqBits" or "TorqSockets." For the uninitiated, TorqSockets are pre-set torque devices designed to hold standard 1/4 inch tool bits with a powerful internal magnet, and be driven either by a wrench handle or (in the case of the Nano Torqbox DX reviewed here), by any five-millimeter Allen key. Beyond the fact that Topeak's TorqSockets are only 30 millimeters long and 12 wide, the user can mix and match the three available preset torque modules with any size or type of tool bit that the job requires.
Topeak's Nano TorqBox DX is a durable plastic box with a rubber latch that contains the three most popular TorqSocket values: 4, 5 and 6 Newton-meters (color coded and laser-etched for easy recognition), along with the five most useful bits: 3, 4, 5mm Allen hexes and two Torx drivers - T20 and T25. As mentioned, you can substitute any of the stock options with off-the-shelf tool bits available at auto and hardware stores worldwide. The kit is intended to be a versatile addition to the home tool box, and a compact option for riders who want to pack a torque driver for mid-ride adjustments and fixes. Nano TorqBox DX kits cost $79,95 USD and weigh 130 grams (4.59 oz).
Trail report Details:
• Purpose: Ultra-compact and accurate TorqSockets for home and trail use.
• Drivers operate with any 5mm Allen key.
• TorqSockets: 4Nm, 5Nm, and 6Nm.
• Bits: 3, 4, and 5mm Allen - T20 and T25 Torx
• Drivers fit standard 1/4 inch tool bits.
• Strong magnets retain bits in TorqSockets
• Durable plastic case with rubber closure
• Weight: 130g
• MSRP: $79.95 USD
• Options: Single-driver TorqBox kits
(5 bits) - $29.95
• Contact: Topeak
I won't lie. 80 bucks seems awfully tall for five tool bits, three dedicated torque drivers, and a plastic case. Initially, the tiny tool kit did not seem all that handy when I set it to work. I use dedicated T-handled torque drivers in my home workshop when I switch out stems, bars chainrings and brake rotors. The Topeak TorqSockets added extra steps, because I first had to select a Torque value and then find a five millimeter Allen wrench to drive it with. By contrast, I only had to search for the correct T-handle driver to get the job done. A quick internet check revealed that purchasing three T-drivers with the same values would cost about the same as the TorqBox kit. Most people would stop right here and call Topeak out for making a simple job more difficult and more expensive - but there is more to this picture than meets the eye.
Topeak's kit starts to make sense when real life slaps you in the face - your once-simple task begins to unravel, and you need more options than your pretty pegboard offers up. Dedicated T-drivers assume that all the screw heads are correctly matched to their thread sizes (5mm hex on a 5mm screw, etc.). And, that your bike maker didn't mix and match components with Torx- and Allen-head hardware. In addition, T-handle wrenches can be notoriously slow to operate - especially in close quarters. Sound familiar?
So, I discovered that I could quickly spin stem bolts in with the TorqSocket alone, and then grab an Allen wrench to finish off the last turn until it clicked. That was also a handy strategy for assembling the fussy clamp screws on SRAM brake and shift levers. And, I could choose a correct torque value that didn't match the screw heads on cockpit components (a pretty common occurrence). I chose the 4 Nm option to set my control levers so they would slip rather than break - and also to ensure that I didn't over-tighten seat clamps when riding bikes with sticky dropper posts. The most enjoyable application was assembling brake rotors with an electric screwdriver. I put a five-millimeter Allen bit in the screwdriver, started the rotor screws with just the TorqSocket, and then turned them to the click point with the electric screwdriver - boom!
I'll admit that I am not "That Guy" - the rider who brings a torque wrench set in his pack to ensure that the lords of Trek or Specialized don't rain manure upon him from the heavens, should he dare to adjust his stem height on trail and not use a torque wrench to re-tighten the hardware. I do, however, ride a lot of test bikes that are set up by unseen mechanics and I keep the Topeak Nano TorqBox in my car, and sometimes in my hydration pack, so I can make quick hardware checks of vital cockpit items on new bikes.Pinkbike's Take:
|Topeak's TorqBox DX tool kit is pricey, but it is small enough to travel with and, although it can be a little fussy to use at times, it offers the home mechanic more options than a ratcheting driver or an array of dedicated T-handle torque drivers do. The kit is expandable using inexpensive bits available at any hardware store, and it can be paired with a screw-handle, a T-handle, an Allen key, or even an electric driver to fit the task at hand. - RC|