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Verdict: 
Handy alternative to one of the most useful and expensive home maintenance tools
Weight: 
75g
Topeak Nano TorqBox 5Nm
8 10

You wait for one affordable and portable torque wrench alternative to come along, and guess what? Hot on the heels of George's review of the Nano TorqBar comes this, Topeak's Nano TorqBox, offering an even cheaper and better value solution to the problem of over or under-tightening bolts...

Cracked carbon has to be one of the biggest fears for a bike owner and yet I'd hazard a guess that the vast majority of us don't tend to use a torque wrench for tightening bolts. Yes, torque wrenches seem to be far more expensive than your average tool, but the effect of over-tightening the bolts on a carbon steerer or seatpost could be catastrophic. The Nano TorqBox is a clever and cheap solution to prevent that scenario.

> Find your nearest dealer here

> Buy this online here

Whereas the TorqBar is a tool in its own right, the TorqBox features a torque adaptor that fits onto any multi tool containing a 5mm hex/Allen key. The kit includes 3, 4 and 5mm hex bits as well as T20 and T25 Torx bits, all packaged neatly into a durable plastic carry case. These bits then fit firmly to the end of the adaptor with a magnet.

The attachment is limited and preset to 5Nm, which is roughly the average recommended torque for stem bolts. However, as with the TorqBar, there are also 4Nm and 6Nm versions if they would suit you better. The device has a delicate click when it reaches the limit, which is noticeable albeit not exactly obvious.

> What's a torque wrench and why you need one…

The case is designed to make the kit portable, with a strong but stretchy rubber strap to fit your multi tool under. I found it more useful for checking the headset and stem pre-ride, rather than for adjusting anything on a ride, but if you think you'll need to adjust parts regularly mid-ride then of course it would be handy.

I realise this might make it sound a little unnecessary and you might be thinking you'd do as well to spend more and get a fully adjustable torque wrench. But these can be priced anywhere from £50 to over £100 for a Park Tool one – even the TorqBar is £24.99 – so the Nano TorqBox is a much more affordable solution at £15.99.

Verdict

Handy alternative to one of the most useful and expensive home maintenance tools

road.cc test report

Make and model: Topeak Nano TorqBox 5Nm

Size tested: 5.4 x 5 x 2.2 cm / 2.1' x 2' x 0.9'

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?

The Topeak Nano Torqbox is a handy attachment, for any multitool with a 5mm Allen key, which allows you to accurately torque bolts to a preset limit. The one tested was the 5Nm version, so perfect for tightening stem or seatpost clamps, removing the worries of over-tightening. It is designed as a cheaper solution to purchasing a fully adjustable torque wrench and does the job very well.

Topeak says: "This preset 5Nm TorqSocket kit will work with any mini tool containing a 5mm Allen wrench (or single 5mm Allen wrench). Its advanced torque limit release design consistently applies precise torque values on component bolts for safety and prevents damage to expensive carbon parts. A carry case neatly stores one preset 5Nm and the 5 most popular tool bits (3/4/5mm hex & T20/T25 Torx)."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

The TorqSocket Kit fits on any 5mm Allen key. It contains five attachments:

Allen Bits - 3 / 4 / 5 mm

Torx Bits - T20 / T25

Tool Material - Hardened steel

Added Features - Carry case

Size (L x W x H) - 5.4 x 5 x 2.2 cm / 2.1' x 2' x 0.9'

Weight - 75 g / 2.65 oz

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Well-made parts fitting nicely into a neat case with two hinged sides. The attachments fit snuggly to the magnetic ends with no rattle. The rubber strap holds the case firmly closed and allows other items to be stored under it. Small design, so very portable if needed.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Does what is says it should. The point at which it reaches the limit could be a little more obvious, but it works very well.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Well made from hardened steel, making it tough against impacts. The case is also strong and robust, having stood up to a couple of drops by yours truly. The rubber strap seems a little thin when stretched fully, but has stood up to the test so far without snapping.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

Much cheaper than your average adjustable torque wrench, but obviously limited by the preset torque. Useful for those critical bolts such as your headset, stem and seatpost.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Does exactly what it should and is well manufactured.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

How well it was made and the way it all fits neatly into a little case. No need for a large tool.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

Works well and is a useful addition to your tool set. The torque setting limits its use, but if you pick the version which suits your bike best it can be pretty effective.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 22  Height: 5ft 8in  Weight: 62kg

I usually ride: Cannondale CAADX  My best bike is: Scott CR1 Pro

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives

3 comments

Avatar
KiwiMike [1323 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I see this being very handy for fine-tuning a new setup mid-ride - seatpost, bars, stem etc. £15 for the 5NM should do pretty much any stem/seatpost, assuming you've used grip paste for carbon. And it's tiny.

No tech docs referencing accuracy on the Topeak website though...just a warning not to use it to *undo* anything. 

Avatar
macrophotofly [295 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Brilliant idea for carrying; and as an alternative to when your torque wrench has a  very short lengths before the handle making it difficult to tighten a nut that has obstruction around it (notably the stem front bolts). Pop this on a long 5mm hex and you have a torque wrench with some length to it

Would have prefered a 6mm bit rather than a T20, but easy to swap with another normal set you have, I suppose.

Cheap, effective, light with a good case. 5Nm is perfectly good for all the normal jobs

I'm nothing to do with the firm (Toppeak), but honestly can't understand why this doesn't get 5 stars. Okay maybe loses half a star for not being able to undo bolts with it (but most torque tools specify that unless they have a reversable setting) but only 4?!?!!?

Avatar
surly_by_name [551 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

A good idea in search of a problem? I don't see this as a replacement for a proper torque wrench for use in comfort of one's own shed. And I confess if I am out on a ride and something needs tightening (I can't reallt remember this happening although I imagine it must have at some stage; maybe adjusting head set preload?) I am probably likely to be guilty of under torquing rather than overtorquing. Perhaps most useful for travel when you have to reassemble bike and don't really want to take the whole toolkit with you?