Spoke Torque Wrench
Real Rider Tested
I have always struggled to tighten the spokes properly on my bikes.Enter the Excel Spoke Torque wrench, distributed by FTM Enterprises. This $109.95 tool comes in its own plastic carrying case along with five interchangeable spoke nipple heads (spline, 6.1, 6.3, 6.5 and 6.7mm ). It is adjustable from 15-60 inch-pounds of torque by rotating a wheel just like larger adjustable torque wrenches (this is handy for maintaining multiple bikes). There is a ball/detent used to secure the head. Once inserted, just rotate the head until you feel the ball drop in place. Next, simply turn the adjusting knob until the desired torque value is set.So what value do you pick? There are several sources of information. One is the recommendation of Excel, which is 45-50 inch-pounds for most off-road applications. Another is your owner’s manual. I also found the tech support at FTM to be helpful.The key to the success of this tool is that your spoke nipples are not corroded and are free to turn on the spoke and rim. Putting a drop or two of penetrating oil on the spoke/nipple/rim junction the night before can help.You tighten each spoke no further than a one-quarter turn at a time, alternating spokes to keep the wheel true. When you reach the torque value you have set, the wrench makes a very audible “click” and you can feel the head release.The only problem I ran into was my son’s YZ85 takes a 5.8mm head and the smallest in the kit was 6. Other sizes are available from FTM from 4.6mm to 6.9mm for $9.95 each if needed.