Topeak Nano TorqBox DX - Review

Nov 7, 2016
by Richard Cunningham  

Topeak Nano TorqBox DX tool


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 Nano TorqBox DX tool


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).


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
Topeak Nano TorqBox DX tool
TorqSockets double as small screwdriver handles for tight places.


Trail report

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 Nano TorqBox DX tool


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!
Topeak Nano TorqBox DX tool
Once assembled, magnets keep all the components together.

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:
bigquotesTopeak'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






54 Comments

  • + 71
 You've torqued me into it.
  • + 77
 It might be off-Topeak, but you are hilarious.
  • + 23
 You're driving me nuts
  • + 24
 What a bunch of tools.
  • - 9
flag dydanz (Nov 8, 2016 at 1:50) (Below Threshold)
 Tighten your seatbolt, its gonna long way down
  • + 5
 This is at the Topeak of my Christmas list.
  • - 1
 Sssssstopeak-ing at my tools maniac!
  • - 6
flag GOrtho (Nov 8, 2016 at 4:31) (Below Threshold)
 I'm all-en on buying this. Now, I only need to talk my wrench into letting me spend the quid without her putting a hex on me.
  • - 14
flag headshot (Nov 8, 2016 at 4:54) (Below Threshold)
 ...
  • - 8
flag jaame (Nov 8, 2016 at 4:57) (Below Threshold)
 My mate Allen is keen on these but I told him at that price it must be a ratchet
  • - 5
flag hangdogr (Nov 8, 2016 at 5:23) (Below Threshold)
 I want to say I'm torqued off but it'll be fine in a bit.
  • + 2
 screw you all for these puns
  • + 3
 Socket to me I can handle the puns
  • - 2
 Whoever would fork over 80 bucks for this must have a couple screws loose
  • + 5
 This is just all torque and no action
  • + 0
 @Gasket-Jeff: my favorite part of all the puns is the one that propped propped after a line of good ones, haha, oh man, I can just visualize them sitting there like eh, did you get it, eh. PB entertainment
  • + 0
 Its not the size of the tool that matters. As long as it gets your nut off.
  • + 20
 RC, I like the way you acknowledged the argument of price but explained the extreme versatility. I've been looking at torque wrenches for a while and this article has me sold. It's like you get paid to do this or something ;P
  • + 9
 I know this is a bit more expensive but it seems a bit more versatile in that you are not restricted to pre set torque values and it comes with a cool mini ratchet.

silca.cc/collections/silca-tools/products/57b6f72295673c11003e392f
  • + 1
 Looks pretty trick but is not shipping til Jan 17 earliest.
  • + 9
 Cool little kit, but not really compact enough to justify the finicky set up nor the fixed torque values IMHO. I picked up a CDI torque driver for about $60 on Amazon, uses the same hex bits, and adjusts from 2-8nm . For the price, it can't be beat, CDI is pretty much the gold standard amd it just works bitchin. It also comes with a certification so when the warranty guy tries to deny a claim because you probably over torqued the bolts, you can can say no sir, I used a calibrated torque wrench, and here's the certain, now send me a new stem pronto.
  • + 2
 CDI is great. I believe that snapon split beam torque wrenches are simply rebranded CDI/precision instruments wrenches.
  • + 1
 Another vote for CDI torque wrench, 65 CAD at MEC. May not be "trail friendly" like the set above, but for the price difference and better versatility, it's way better value.
  • + 1
 @arek: just checked it out
www.mec.ca/en/search?text=cdi
you vouch for it ? it's hard to tell but it looks very plastic
  • + 1
 don't matter it's $50 shipping to the UK
  • + 1
 CDI torque driver all the way. Way more versatile, less expensive.
  • + 2
 @pigman65:
I've been using one for 2 years. Yes, it's plastic but it feels solid, no flex, no rattles, construction and how it's put together seems seems good quality. Calibrated and tested individually and comes with a "certificate" card showing calibration/testing data and a signature.
  • + 7
 "5mm hex on a 5mm screw"
But a 5mm hex appears on an M6 screw?
  • + 2
 This is incredibly clever really. I use a Wiha adjustable torque wrench. Even though it has a range of .25 to 6Nm, most of the time I use 4, 5 and 6Nm anyway. Not sure what it cost back then, but it probably wasn't cheaper than this Topeak offering.
  • + 1
 I am sure this is a nice set. I have to wonder if it's really necessary to schlep out on a ride? I have a very nice torque wrench set that I use at home. On the trail any adjustments I've ever had to make were minimal; at most tightening a loose bolt if not something simple just to get me back.
  • + 4
 ends need to be flush not eased for shallow head fasteners. eased ends tend to strip heads....
  • + 1
 A torque wrench that is compact and slender for fixing a bike for 80$ is a good price!
You get three of them?
Absolute bargain!
Stem bolts, crank arm bolts, dual bolt pinch style, Post mounts on disk brakes ect.
I would prefer to know what torque each bolt is the ensure even torque.
If it was just another multi tool then that's a whole different matter.
  • + 2
 What a neat gadget, an at an acceptable price range I'll take it for what it is. The torx bits are the selling point for me. Can't ever seem to get those down even.
  • + 3
 Wow! I was expecting a much higher price!
  • + 7
 What I appreciate is I can get them for 80 of our fantastic Dollarydoo's

Usually 80 of your Trump Dollars is about $140 by the time it gets here.
  • - 8
flag ibishreddin (Nov 7, 2016 at 23:24) (Below Threshold)
 @darkmuncan: OK, good for you
  • + 8
 @ibishreddin: it is good, very good.

Seems like a decent product, and far cheaper locally than I was expecting.

I just ordered a set from Cell Bikes in AU, as i've been looking for a Torque solution for some time.

I am glad you approve.
  • + 3
 @darkmuncan: HAHA we were just kidding about Trump. It's not real.
  • + 1
 Wish this would have been available before I went and bought all 3 of their torque drivers separately!
  • + 1
 hhmmmm just looks the same as they extension in my cordless drill lol even does the same
  • + 1
 "I won't lie. 80 bucks seems awfully tall for five tool bits,"

Be glad it doesn't say 'Snap On'...they'd be $280.
  • - 2
 I just don't feel the need for a torque wrench that often with bikes. Certainly not enough to justify $80. I picked up an Ocarina from IceToolz for about $20 and it's perfectly adequate and also tested to be very accurate. I do think Topeak's Ratchet Rocket is the best small multitool of its kind, but a torque wrench, it ain't.
  • + 2
 Price depends how much you value 4 screws and a fixed neck - go Italian
  • + 2
 mtb tax at is finest
  • + 0
 Sandvik Coromant 5680 099-01 is the tool you want. best small torque wrench on the market. 3-15nm as well.
  • + 1
 I would check that out but their site is jacked up. Got a link that doesn't take me to endless chamfering and milling products.
  • + 1
 @endlessblockades: lol, that's what they make: machining cutting tools! the torque wrench is for installing the inserts. It's a great unit that we see holds accuracy for a long time when getting it calibrated. It's price varies wildly online, but here's amazon: www.amazon.com/Sandvik-Coromant-099-01-Assembly-Adjustable/dp/B016KZXV2M I've seen them under $100 from time to time. It's small and easy to use. For cyclists, this range is ideal for most use. I wouldn't be surprised if another brand is relabeling it as something else, but I can see if this is the case. Would be great if park or the like were to rebrand this as their own. the head pivots too for harder to access bolts.
  • + 2
 @atrokz: Cool thanks - that looks burly! The Sandvik site was clearly designed by a mechanical engineer with a minor in HTML and UI.

Actually - I take that back. Entering from the front end makes sense - just don't go directly to:

www.sandvik.coromant.com/en-gb/products/Pages/productdetails.aspx?c=5680+099-01
  • + 1
 @endlessblockades: yea, the catalog is so big that the website almost becomes pointless, we just have reps come in and sort out our order and part numbers for us. And yea, it's a solid unit, can see it taking lots of abuse for a torque wrench.
  • + 1
 Park atd1
  • + 0
 But is it "Enduro Specific"?
  • - 2
 Screw this artical, I'm going riding.
  • - 1
 Pass
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