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DRN Tests The Fasstco Spoke Wrench
A torque wrench for your spokes, will it make you a wheel tuner?
by Will Pattison


Shown with optional heads, including the spline head (blue).


The wrench breaks-over when the preset torque is reached.


       

Fasstco Spoke Torque Wrench
Price (msrp): $119.00
Optional heads: (5.0mm, 5.6mm, 6.0mm, 6.2mm, 6.3mm, 6.4mm, 6.7mm, 6.8mm, 7.1mm, and spline drive) $9.95 each
................

Will Pattison's Review

Ok, let's get the disclaimer out there right from the start - I am not a professional wheel builder. I've been riding, racing, and wrenching on my own motorcycles for 20 years, but it's not how I make my living. While I've split my share of cases and done top ends by the dozens, I only recently decided to tackle wheel building. As a mechanical engineer, I can readily accept that every spoke in a wheel should have the same torque, and that there is in fact an ideal setting. I figured that the Faast Co. Spoke Torque Wrench would put some science into the art of determining exactly what that value should be. I also imagined that it would turn a newbie wheel lacer into a pro in short order.

In a word, wrong. The first task I chose to try the wrench was a rear wheel. I already had everything pretty snug, and the rim had less than 0.025" of runnout or wobble. I assumed at that point that I could simply use the torque wrench to take them all to the 100 lbs. mine is set at and be done with it. Big mistake. After cinching up all 36 spokes I stepped back to admire my handiwork and quickly saw that I was in trouble - the wheel had a wobble I could measure with a yardstick! At that point, I did a reset and finished the job by feel. As I expected, the wheel loosened each time I rode the bike (yz400) for the first 5-6 hours, but since the spokes seated themselves, I've had no issues.

I did give the wrench another chance, however, when I built the front wheel in the set. Again, I found it to be less than helpful. To be fair, though, I have to say I'm not sure that the wrench is at fault. First, I believe that the same torque value should probably not be used for both a front and rear wheel. Not only are the spokes different diameter and the rims of differing strength, but the abuse one takes is clearly greater than the other. Second, in my short wheel-truing career, I've decided not to use the resistance at the nipple to judge how tight the spoke is. It seems that even with anti-seize on all the threads that some of them want to gall a bit, which of course sets the torque wrench off prematurely. That may be a manufacturing issue with the spokes themselves (Buchanan in this case) or it may be my choice of lubricant. I'm going to build the next one using plain grease and see if it makes a difference.

Either way, I'd certainly like to hear the feedback of an experienced wheel builder. I guess that until I did, it would be difficult for me to recommend that any one else spend the $119.95 Faast is asking for this tool. I still believe that nipple torque is important, but until I can reconcile that with actual practice, I'm going to continue tightening them by feel and sound.

Contacts:
Fasstco: http://www.fasstco.com

Questions or Comments? Post them in the Review thread found here: DRN Tested

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