There’s a lot of advice online saying you don’t need a torque wrench for bikes. Look in any community of cyclists and you’ll see it, the guys who say they’ve worked on bikes forever and never needed a torque wrench. They’ve got calibrated forearms and haven’t ever broken anything. Please ignore this advice, there is no downside to using a torque wrench. That doesn’t mean you need the fanciest torque wrench from our list of the best bike torque wrenches, but pick up something.
One good option if you don’t expect to need a torque wrench often is the PRO mini torque wrench. It won’t cover everything but it’s perfect for stems, handlebars, seat posts, and saddles. It’s something we’ve carried on every ride since it came out and now, we are ready to discuss the details. If you are looking for a lightweight, reasonably priced, torque wrench, keep reading to see if this option from PRO is the right option for you.
Design and aesthetics
The Shimano PRO mini torque wrench is a black and gray study of hand ergonomics. The exterior is fiberglass reinforced nylon roughly 7cm long with an angled exterior that houses a socket sized for a quarter inch hex shank. Saying it a bit simpler, it’s a plastic exterior with a place to hold a standard hex bit. It also happens to be exactly the right size to fit inside your hand. There’s not a lot of extra space at the end and just enough space to fit your forefinger in front of the bit with two fingers wrapped around the tool aft of the bit.
At the end of the 111 gram tool is a gray end cap that hides an interior compartment. Pry the end cap off and out slides a carrier with a selection of bits. On the side of each bit is stamped the size but there’s a 3, 4, 5, and 6mm hex bit as well as a T25 torx bit and finally a slotted screwdriver bit. The bits all fit into a series of three slots with an opening in the middle. You can actually just push them in but the channels do, loosely, hold the bits and the missing section gives room for your fingers.
On the back of the bit carrier is a much bigger slot. This is the spot where a chosen torque limiter fits. There are three options covering 4, 5, and 6Nm and each signified by a different color but only space for one at a time in the carrier. Choose what you want to bring and slot it in. When it’s time to use the wrench, you’ll slide out your torque limiter and slot it into the bit holder then put a bit into the end of the torque limiter. Slide everything back together and you’ve got a compact wrench that fits in the palm of your hand.
Image 1 of course 3
The design and aesthetics section of this review is necessarily short and sweet. The reality is that there is very little to cover. The handle and bits aren’t what you pay for, although they do work well. In particular the handle is a plastic that’s exceptionally hard but also light and malleable enough that drops are not going to bother it. The real strength of its design is how well it fits your hand. The angles and facets allow you to perfectly palm it and it feels on par with the level of control you might find in a bigger wrench. It’s also compact enough that you can fit it in a saddle bag.
Despite the quality of that piece, that’s not where your money goes. Instead of those pieces, what you are investing your money in is three torque limiters. They aren’t adjustable but they do match up with the three most common specs you’ll find on saddles, seat posts, and stems. If I’m being honest, I have rarely used these with the included handle. The handle doesn’t have storage for all three and, given how small they are, I’d rather not choose only a single option.
Instead of the included handle I tend to use them with a Fix-it-sticks ratcheting T wrench and that’s what I like about the whole system. When it’s time to actually use the torque limiters they are rather abrupt when reaching the limit. It feels almost like you’ve slipped and you are starting to round off a bolt but, of course, that’s actually the opposite of what’s happening. It’s this feeling, along with the non-adjustable nature of the limiters, that has the system labeled for occasional use in the buyers guide. Still, when you only need them occasionally, you can get a ton of use out of them by attaching them to whatever tool works best for you.
There are only a few included bits and the space for one limiter but the whole kit is less expensive than the competition. From there add whatever your favorite mini ratchet might be and you’ll have a super customizable road-side repair kit. You can add, remove, or replace inexpensive hex bits depending on your experience and your bike. At home you can attach the same torque limiters, and bits, to a full-size ratchet.
Image 1 of course 2
My review of the PRO mini torque wrench is perhaps an odd one. I’ve made the case that the best way to use it is to take the most important parts and pair it with other tools. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the included handle. In fact, it’s the opposite and it’s well designed and comfortable to use. It’s not a bad place to start at all and the price is less than the competition. At the same time, a mini-ratchet is a better overall experience except it lacks the ability to limit torque. Combine the two and you will find yourself right around the same price as a ratchet kit with torque limiters included. You might even pay just a little more with this approach.
That pricing challenge is always there anytime you look at a ready-made vs a piecemeal approach. The difference is that if you do it yourself, you’ll have exactly what you need. The final kit will perfectly cater to your needs and wishes. As needs change over time, you can make adjustments and you can also use those pieces in different settings such as at home and on the trail. If that’s the kind of person you are, it might make a lot of sense to start with a small selection of pieces at a good price and expand over time. The PRO mini-torque wrench is a perfect place to start that journey.
|Build Quality||It’s plastic but it’s exceptionally well made and should last for a long time.||10/10|
|Accuracy||We don’t have a laboratory but it’s claimed at +/-2% and checks against other torque wrenches.||10/10|
|Hand feel||Shaped well but the feeling of hitting torque isn’t great.||5/10|
|Included accessories||Included bits feel quality but there’s not a wide range.||7/10|
|Value||The strength of this package is that it’s cheaper than the competition. That said, it’s right on the line and not a clear win.||6/10|
Tech Specs: Pro Mini Torque Wrench
- Price: $64.99
- Included bits: Hex: 3, 4, 5 and 6, T25 and SL4
- Drive Size: 1/4-Inch Hex Shank
- Measured Torque Range: 4Nm, 5Nm, and 6Nm
- Length: 7mm
- Resolution: One of three options