Using a torque wrench is cheap insurance says Husky’s Bart Dirkx
When a mechanic has not one but two torque wrenches as pride of place in his toolbox – one to use and one spare in case one goes amiss – then you know he’s a serious spannerman. So that’s Max Nagl’s factory Husqvarna mechanic Bart Dirkx in a nutshell! “I love my torque wrench as it’s not only precise but is faster than using T-bar spanners and safer too!”
When you work for a factory team – as Dirkx has for many years as one of Belgium’s top technicians – then you can’t afford to make mistakes. Every bolt is set to the precise torque, as specified in the owner’s manual, every time it gets tightened up.
“That way if anything goes wrong with a bike during a Grand Prix, I can honestly say that every bolt was tightened up to the exact specification,” he says. “There’s no room for guesswork.”
But many riders don’t use a torque wrench, thinking that T-bar spanners are much faster and more convenient. Dirkx says: “Yes, it seems like T-bars are a tiny bit faster. But you tend to tighten up bolts to what you think is right, then give it another tweak to tighten it a bit more. Then often, you go around and give every bolt a final little tweak again – especially after motos.
“That way you are constantly tightening the bolts and they can quickly start to deform whatever they are threaded into. The threads can get damaged, too. And if you’re doing it week in, week out, then over the course of a year that’s a lot of damage you can be doing to your bike without even realising it.
“And of course you never know if anything is tight enough anyway. And for some bolts, like fork pinch bolts on the triple clamps, it’s easy to over-tighten then which can make the forks bind. So in the long run it’s faster and far safer to use a torque wrench every time.”