Few people think they need a torque wrench when they first start cycling, but anyone who's ever under- or over-tightened something will undoubtedly agree it's a good idea. One of the key drawbacks is that they are generally fairly large, so adjustments on the road are always a bit of a risk. This is where the Topeak Nano TorqBar comes in: it offers the practicalities of a torque wrench in a small sized package.
As with any torque wrench, the most important element is going to be how well it tightens bolts. The Nano TorqBar not only makes this easy, but given its size it also means you can get into tight spaces to make the necessary adjustments.
Topeak claims the Nano TorqBar is the smallest torque wrench on the market, and I haven't found a smaller one in my research (although Topeak has another option, the TorqBox – review to come). It fits easily in a pocket or saddle bag, and takes up less room than a gel or CO2 pump.
It works through having a pre-set tension head, in this case 6Nm (4Nm and 5Nm heads are available too), which sits in the ratchet at the top of the bar when in use. This is accompanied by five of the most popular heads – 3, 4 and 5mm hex and T20 and T25 Torx – which slot into the magnetised head with ease before use.
At road.cc towers, we tried to work out exactly how accurate the tightening was for the head, which is surprisingly difficult without specific equipment for it. We decided on the not-very-scientific method of tightening it to the same tension with a regular torque wrench and seeing if it was roughly as difficult to undo. From this rigorous experiment I deduced that the tension seems accurate.
The tension head slides into the bottom of the Torqbar and the body of the bar opens to allow you to store two of your most used heads within it. Given that you are provided with five heads, this means you need to carry the other three around in a small carry case (about the size of a match box), so you'll need to take care not to lose them.
Although not outrageous, the RRP of £24.99 is still quite expensive, especially bearing in mind that it can only tighten to one pre-set tension. You can buy a set with all three tension heads for £54.99, but at that price you can buy a professional torque wrench set with variable tension settings. You can't take a full size version with you on a ride, but given that you will only have two heads to use with the Nano TorqBar (unless you carry the others separately) it loses a fair amount of practicality.
Overall, the Nano TorqBar is a great idea and solves the issue of safe tightening on the go, but it's limited by the fact that it can only hold two heads, and the high cost. That said, if you're willing to carry around the other heads and you can pick it up for less than RRP, it becomes more appealing.
An innovative design and useful idea, but a bit expensive considering its limitations
road.cc test report
Make and model: Topeak Nano TorqBar 6Nm
Size tested: 12x1.6x1.6cm
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Topeak says: 'The Nano TorqBar is the slimmest preset torque wrench available, but don't let its size deceive you. It is a precision-crafted, high quality tool for either the home mechanic, professional bike shop, or your own jersey pocket. Its advanced torque limit release design consistently applies precise torque values on component bolts for safety and prevents damage to expensive carbon parts. Includes 4Nm preset TorqBit and the 5 most popular tool bits (3/4/5mm hex & T20/T25 Torx). Two of your favorite bits can be carried in the handle of the Nano TorqBar for immediate use and even greater portability during rides.'
It is a well made tool and the design is innovative, especially with the two heads that integrate into the body. I never had any issues with tightening, even in tight areas.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Allen Bits 3 / 4 / 5 mm
Torx® Bits T20 / T25
Tool Material Hardened steel
Body Aluminum / Engineering grade plastic
Added Features Integrated compartment for two bits, Carry case
Size (L x W x H) 12 x 1.6 x 1.6 cm /4.7' x 0.6' x 0.6
Weight 62 g / 2.19 oz
(Tool w/ 1 TorqBit & 2 bits)
Very well made and a design that includes two heads is a great idea.
Performs well for a portable tool, allows for tightening even in the tightest areas.
No reason to suspect it won't last – as long as you look after the loose heads.
It is the "world's smallest and most lightweight" torque wrench.
Expensive, especially when you only get one pre-set tension.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It performed well, although it could do with being able to take more heads within the tool itself. Also the single pre-tensioned head means it can only be used on a select number of bolts.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Innovative design, small yet easy to use, and the ability to put a couple of the heads in the body is a nice touch.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The price is high for something that only has one tension.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? If on sale.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Loses some marks given the price, plus the need to carry heads around in a separate case, along with the single tension setting. However, in use it works very well and it's useful to have when out on a ride.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Evo 6 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
George spends his days flitting between writing about data, running business magazines and writing about sports technology. The latter gave him the impetus (excuse) to get even further into the cycling world before taking the dive and starting his own cycling sites and writing for Road.cc.
When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects.