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Spoke Torque Wrench

Bicycle spoke torque wrench set

Bicycle and motorcycle repair experts and those who work with very old automotive will know what a spoke torque wrench is. These specialty tools allow the mechanic to accurately tighten the spokes around a wheel so that precise tension is held around the circumference.

Most spoke torque wrenches come in a set with a common 6-point spline drive head and 4 or more Japanese and OE head sizes for various types of wheels. Automotive sets will have specific sizes for old-style wheels and some vintage or after-market motorcycle sets will be found with specific sizes for older motorcycle wheels as well.

Most of these spoke torque wrenches are either dial-handle type or double-bar tension types. The first is the more common modern setup, with the handle of the wrench being "dialed" into a specific torque setting (pounds) and automatically releasing the head when that desired torque is reached while turning.

The double-bar tension type is an older variety relying on the tension of a spring steel bar to accurately measure the amount of torque, as shown on a gauge near the handle. The mechanic must watch the gauge and stop wrenching when the desired pounds of torque are met.

In either case, in competent hands, these wrenches can dynamically change the handling, ride characteristics, and durability of a wheel by adjusting the tension pulling it inward. Most spoke torque wrenches can adjust from 5-60 pounds, though many go to enarly double this.

For building, restoring, or truing wheels, a mechanic must have a spoke torque wrench set.

Common bicycle bit sizes are 6.1, 6.3, 6.6, 6.8, and 6.9mm while most automotive and motorcycle sets come in SAE sizes ranging from 1/8" to 1/2".

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