29 October 2010 - 7:10Let’s Get Torqued!
I know it seems fairly obvious to most, but I had someone the other day ask me what the little numbers on certain bike components mean. Here is an example:
This is a torque spec. This is something that most bike shops will look the other way on, either out of ignorance or laziness. For the most part, it isn’t the end of the world, as most (and I mean most) people will stop tightening a bolt at an appropriate time. I know a few people that like to tighten bolts until the threads strip out or the bolt breaks, which ever comes first.
Why is torque so important? Well, in today’s high end bike world, things have been engineered to work a certain way. The designers of high zoot bike components have the task of trying to make something as sexy and light and strong as possible, and in order for them to work, certain rules need to be followed. This holds especially true for fancy crabon components.
My fancy crabon handlebars cost $170 retail. They are expensive because someone designed them to be light and strong. And look, they even went so far as to put convenient markings on the bars should I want to make them narrower. I like Ergon grips. They work for me, and my grip of choice on the single speed is the GX1, and I just got some fancy new white ones to install.
I also got a fancy new torque wrench. I’m somewhat of a tool whore, but in this day and age, you gotta have good tools if you want to work on nice bikes. Imagine screwing up someone’s $5000 pride and joy because you used the wrong kind of hammer (I’m exaggerating – a lot, but you get the point). I’ve been told that this is the same torque wrench that the Shimano and Sram tech guys use, and if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me. Plus it’s shiny, and comes in a cool box. And if you want one, I can get it for you.
Set the little widget at 5Nm, tighten, wait until the wrench goes “pop!” and voila! The grips are properly installed.
I’ve made a few more changes to my Air 9 Carbon that I’ll going into later on, as you can see by the addition of some familiar looking wheels.
I am testing a new saddle from Bontrager. This is the Evoke RXL, which has hollow Ti rails and utilizes their Inform technology. Basically, it means it won’t destroy your taint. The saddle comes in 3 widths, which is nice because everyone is different down there. It seems nice, and I feel that I should at least try something new. This is the medium width (138mm) and so far, it seems pretty good. I’ve never really had an issue with Bontrager’s saddles, but I have yet to put a really long ride on one.