When you are the Sherpa, there is but one simple rule – don’t do anything to mess up your athlete’s race. Yet there we were, sitting in a hotel room in Texas after building up the bike. The bike had survived 1,000 miles of air travel and a sketchy Uber ride, only to have us build it, and realize that, to save space and weight, we had left our torque wrench at home. And then came the decision – do we tell her that there is a slight chance her seat post may slip during the race … or do we just hope we torqued it enough without over torqueing it. We probably could have asked for one at the athletes’ village, but for some reason that never really occurred to us. So instead, we told her (about 15 times as she reminds us frequently), which resulted in her spending five and a half hours worrying that every expansion joint in the highway was about to be her downfall. The good news is the seat post never slipped, and the bike was safe. The better news was that two weeks after the race, a Silca T-Ratchet Kit + Ti-Torque showed up on our doorsteps that would have saved us from possible calamity, and even worse, failing as a Sherpa.
The Silca T-Ratchet Kit + Ti-Torque
The T-Ratchet and Ti-Torque started with a simple problem. How can you effectively tighten bolts with very specific tolerances while on the go? Silca tells us that more than 70% of all lightweight cycling component and fastener damage—cracked carbon fiber components, rounded hex heads, and stripped screw threads—occur while making adjustments on the road or trail.
The T-Ratchet is a multi-configurable ratcheting mini-tool. Ti-Torque is a Ratchet Extension that shows live torque readings when used with T-Ratchet. T-Ratchet can quickly be configured as a short- or long-reach T-Handle tool capable of using any 1/4″ drive bit, then quickly converted to a high-torque configuration, which is also ideal for tight spaces.
Ti-Torque solves the portable torque measurement problem in a 100 x 12mm package, weighing 30 grams and capable of reading 2-8Nm of torque. As the Ti-Torque becomes loaded, the internal Titanium beam deflects, allowing the live torque measurement to be read on the side of the tool.
The T-Ratchet is made utilizing a 72-tooth custom designed ratchet mechanism forged and through-hardened to 56-58 Rockwell C. In the kit are 10 Bits for all common cycling fasteners, made from the hardest steel available for this application. The bits include 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, Ph2, T10, T20, and T25. The case for the T-Ratchet is hand sewn from SILCA’s custom black waxed canvas with reflective thread quilting and utilizes a magnetic closure. The case cleanly holds T-Ratchet, Ti-Torque, extender, and 10 bits while fitting in any jersey pocket, seat bag, or tool roll.
Based on our earlier comments, you can see that we have definitely had the need for a compact torque wrench that we could travel with. However, in our time with the Ti-Torque (and T-Ratchet), we have found that this tool has also become our go-to shop tool.
The adjustable nature of the ratchet – either in the T-Handle or high torque configuration – is fantastic. The magnetic arms easily convert between the two configurations, allowing us to use the setup that works best for the part we are working on. We especially liked the T-Handle setup combined with the short-reach configuration. The bit could fit right inside the handle instead of being at the end of the arm, allowing you to really get into some tight places.
At first, we never thought we would find the fact that Silca had to develop a custom 72-tooth ratchet mechanism all that important. But the ability to back up just the slightest bit to put a little more torque on a bolt soon became a welcome feature. Our one issue with the ratchet is that it holds the bits extremely securely. If your fingers are sweaty, you may have a bit of an issue getting them out.
The Ti-Torque is super easy to use, though doing it precisely could sometimes be a bit challenging. To use it, simply attach the Ti-Torque to the T-Ratchet, and start tightening. Keep an eye on the torque lines, and when you hit the max you are aiming for, stop. Because the measurements are in even numbers, it is definitely easier to accomplish if you are aiming for 2,4,6,or 8Nm. If you are looking for odd numbers, you may find that you have to be a little more imprecise in your measurements and just aim for in-between the even numbered lines (and unfortunately, decimals and fractions were really not possible).
The included bits cover most every need we have for the majority of bikes we have on hand. The only wrench size really missing is the H8. In their quest to always go above and beyond, Silca even went so far as to individually mark each bit so there is no chance you accidentally grab an H4 versus an H5. Oh, and another neat trick is that the magnetic snap closures on the case are designed to double as a place to temporarily store the bits when swapping between one or two.
While we haven’t chosen to ride with the kit in a jersey pocket yet, we have checked it for size, and found that it easily fits. And if we were to be building up a new bike, we would definitely grab this for our first checkout rides.
The T-Ratchet Kit + Ti-Torque combined retail for $98 (you can get the T-Ratchet kit on its own for $50). And while expensive, it’s certainly one of those “you get what you pay for” situations, and honestly something one comes to expect from Silca products. But like every Silca product we have tested before it, we are fans and would love to have one of these in our personal tool bench. And more importantly, we want to have these in our bike bag the next time we travel to a race, because failing your athlete is never an option – every Sherpa knows that.