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Verdict: 
The Silca tool set is a super-high-quality piece of kit that is well worth the (big) investment
Weight: 
230g
Silca T-Ratchet Kit + Ti-Torque Kit
9 10

The Silca T-Ratchet and Ti-Torque kit is a beautifully made, superlight, and multi-functional set of tools, made to the highest quality. The Australian brand is renowned for making tools of the highest quality, with expertly finished components that are aesthetically and ergonomically pleasing. The type of things you might give as a gift, or treat yourself to, and keep in the cleanest part of your workspace, far away from the greasy rags and lubes that perform the grunt work on your drivetrain. The T-Ratchet and Ti-Torque kit very much continues this trend.

Many of you reading this will have carbon fibre bike frames, and when working on them it's essential to have quality tools to ensure you're not rounding off bolts or over-tightening components that could damage the expensive materials. Silca's tool set covers all eventualities here.

> Find your nearest dealer here

There's a lot to say about this tool, as it does so much. By juggling around the four core parts of the system (a steel 72-tooth reversible ratchet, titanium torque beam, steel extension bit, and stainless steel handle extension), you have either a torque wrench or a ratchet, and these can be set up to work in either a T or an L-handled configuration. What's more, if using the setup as a ratchet, the 10 removable bits provided in the set can be inserted directly into the ratchet system, or into the extension bit, giving you either a very short reach or a longer tool. As a result, every awkward nook and cranny of the bike is accessible, with not even the most awkward component left out of bounds.

Silca T-Ratchet Kit and TI-Torque Kit - detail 2.jpg

Silca T-Ratchet Kit and TI-Torque Kit - detail 2.jpg

All the various parts of the tool are held together though magnetic interfaces. This sounds like it may be prone to failure, but the connection achieved is tight and secure – there's no risk of a part becoming disconnected as you apply force to it. The only part of the tool that is not magnetised is the ratchet port, which operates on a clip spring mechanism. Again, this offers a very firm connection that is so tight it is bordering on difficult to disengage. On first fiddle with the tool, I was initially concerned that I'd done something wrong as pulling the pieces out of the ratchet port proved so tough (also due in part to my typically scrawny cyclist arms, no doubt). However, I'd prefer the connection to be too tight than loose – the latter could result in the tool slipping, and damage being done to valuable components.

Ten bits are included in the set: six hex keys ranging from 2mm to 6mm in size, T10, T20 and T25 torx keys, and a PH2. As such, all your needs out on the road or when re-assembling your bike after packing it away for a holiday or race are covered. The bits are made of hardened steel, mitigating the risk of you rounding bike bolts or, indeed, the bits themselves.

Silca T-Ratchet Kit and TI-Torque Kit - detail.jpg

Silca T-Ratchet Kit and TI-Torque Kit - detail.jpg

The titanium torque beam is based on an internal spring, which means that rather than setting the torque to a predetermined amount and hearing a click on achieving the correct pressure (the method by which many torque wrenches work), you instead have to keep a beady eye on the Nm readings printed on the barrel of the tool. There is a risk of over-tightening a bolt, but with due care and attention, and slowly and gently applying torque, you should be fine. On playing around with the tool, I did find it took a couple of goes at getting the exact correct torque without overdoing it, but you quickly pick up the knack. The wrench will measure between 2Nm and 8Nm, which covers all the areas of the bike that you are likely to need to tighten to a set pressure, such as handlebar faceplates, stems and seatposts.

In any of the configurations, the kit is an absolute pleasure to use, with rubber rings around the handles to provide grippy elements, and bevelled parts to provide an extra element of texture. The sizes of all the handles feel just right, and the option to set it up in a T or L shape means you're never struggling for grip or accessibility.

With this kit, you don't just get high quality tools but also a beautiful waxed canvas cloth case to keep it all in. The case has small compartments for the various elements of the torque and ratchet system, as well as for all the bits. The case is magnetically sealed, meaning that it snaps shut and is kept nice and compact and will fit into a jersey pocket.

Silca T-Ratchet Kit and TI-Torque Kit.jpg

Silca T-Ratchet Kit and TI-Torque Kit.jpg

However, while Silca intends this to be a portable, do-it-all toolset, on a ride I would opt to carry the basic mini-tool that stays stashed in my saddle bag. Roadside fixes can be carried out in a quick and dirty way, with complex manoeuvres like careful torqueing and awkward adjustments – the type you would use the Silca kit for – being carried out at home. This kit just feels too nice to cart around on a ride, and instead would sit in an elevated place among my box of tools, more like a display piece.

As part of the design and intention is that the kit be taken out on the road, Silca has made the kit superlight: a mere 230g including the case. Given this weeniness, and the compact size, it makes a brilliant travel accessory; it will fit in a bike box without taking up valuable weight for all the heavy nutrition you're going to carry that will offset all the super-expensive lightweight components you've bought.

Of course, this level of quality comes at a price. At £100, this isn't a piece you're going to buy on a whim or as a last-minute impulse purchase before a trip away. It's more likely something that you'd buy as the centrepiece of your home workshop, or as a present for that special cyclist in your life (i.e. yourself).

> Read our beginner's guide to bike tools

To compare the Silca T-Ratchet and Ti Torque set against market competition is quite difficult at it covers so many niches of the tool spectrum. If you're looking for a quality multi-tool to take on the road, Lezyne's 11-piece SV offers great quality and performance for £36.99. If you're on the lookout for a super-high quality set of tools to keep at home or travel with, Silca also offers this HX-One set with a greater range of bits, but at a more costly £120, and with no torque meter.

If you just want a torque wrench, there's something for all budgets, from Lifeline's £27.50 option to the £99.99 Pro set.

To sum up, this Silca toolset is an excellent piece of kit and a joy to use. It's almost faultless in its design and looks to have the quality to last the test of time. At £100 a pop, the price is a little prohibitive, but for tools that are going to be used for working on your pride and joy, sometimes, more is more.

Verdict

The Silca tool set is a super-high-quality piece of kit that is well worth the (big) investment

road.cc test report

Make and model: Silca T-Ratchet Kit + TI-Torque Kit

Size tested: T-Ratchet with 72 tooth ratchet mechanism Hex wrench bits: 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5 and 6mm Torx wrench bits: T10,T20 and T25 PH2 Phillips head screwdriver bit Magnetic bit extender

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 Silca T-Ratchet and Ti Torque kit is claimed to be the world's smallest and lightest toolset. With 10 interchangeable bits that can be configured in various ways, ad either ratcheting or torqueing functions, the tool will handle nearly nearly all tinkering and fettling tasks you may need to carry out on the bike.

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

The T-Ratchet uses interchangeable magnetic components to convert from screwdriver to ratchet, to ratcheting T-Handle in seconds, and the Ti-Torque is made from Titanium and Aluminum with Hard Steel contact surfaces allowing it to weight only 30 grams. This is a highly ergonomic tool with a torque measuring extender that provides real time feedback to the torque you are tightening to.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
10/10

Silca is renowned for creating the highest quality components, and it doesn't disappoint here. From the hardened steel bits to the waxed cloth case, every little element of this set screams quality.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

I have loved using the piece. The only minor quibble is that there is no 'click' on achieving a desired torque due to the way in which the torque meter works. It's easy to get used to the way the tool works, though it requires careful attention and may not suit some.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

The quality of the components mitigate the risk of rounded bits or component failures.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
9/10

The tool is ergonomically excellent and feels great in the hand.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

£100 is a lot to pay for a toolset. However, if you're working on a bike worth as much as a secondhand car, it's worth investing in to prevent over tightening components or rounding bolts.

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

The tool is brilliant in use, with the multiple configurations meaning recessed bolts or awkward components are no longer out of reach.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The quality feel of the tool makes using it an absolute pleasure. The way in which you can use the tool in a T or L configuration, with a short or long reach, means no adjustment is out of bounds.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The price is prohibitive, and using the torque tool takes a little getting used to.

Did you enjoy using the product? Immensely

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

The tool is absolutely magnificent, and although £100 is a lot to pay, if you are using the tool regularly, perhaps across multiple bikes, with some that could well cost many thousands of pounds, it's worth the investment. Given the multiple functions and portability of the tool, the price becomes understandable in that it covers the functions of two to three 'normal' single-function tools. And the quality means it will last the test of time.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 6ft 1in  Weight: 61kg

I usually ride: Giant TCR / Cannondale Supersix  My best bike is: Giant TCR

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

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding

10 comments

Avatar
Nixster [382 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

Phew, that's a relief, I was starting to think I'd exhausted the cycling industry's ability to sell me over-priced stuff I don't really need, thanks Silca!

Or is a portable tool kit that's too nice to take out and needs to stay in the workshop with the other, full size versions something I DO really need 

Avatar
Grahamd [747 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
Nixster wrote:

Phew, that's a relief, I was starting to think I'd exhausted the cycling industry's ability to sell me over-priced stuff I don't really need, thanks Silca!

Or is a portable tool kit that's too nice to take out and needs to stay in the workshop with the other, full size versions something I DO really need 

Couldn't agree more, but I do like the look of it, would make a great Christmas / birthday / anniversary gift for the cyclist who has everything.

Avatar
kieren_lon [45 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

I bought a sealy mini ratchet for £8 and I had a set of bits from my drill.   I don't have a case though but the mind boggles why someone would pay so much for an occassional / road tool.   I can understand a premium for workshop tools that get use but not this

Avatar
ped [287 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes

I got mine on Silca's early-bird kickstarter pricing and while the £100 price tag would make it a harder-to-justify purchase I'd still consider it. There's true artefact value here. 

Sure, there are cheaper tools that do the same job, but that's not the point: there are likely cheaper bikes that do the job our best bikes do too, or cheaper clothing that offer the same function as our Sunday best but hey, every once in a while it's nice to be spoiled. Treat yo self. 

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KiwiMike [1323 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

I got one of these in the Kickstarter (which meant I wasn't allowed to review it by Road.cc rules) - and it's awesome. I don't take the whole kit out - instead, just the torque beam, the half of the arm with the ratchet, and the few bits that need torquing. I pop them into a length of folded-over old 23mm inner tube to prevent rattles.

Typically I'd take a 4mm hex for stem/seatpost fettling, maybe a 5mm if I need to set some gear cables just right (a few of my bikes lack front mech inline adjusters, for example). With a carbon steerer tube and seatpost, I'm taking no chances. I'm not arrogant enough to believe my fingers are calibrated - especially through gloves or in the hot/cold/rain/dry/at the start/after 100km. No, it's not needed on every ride - but if you are tinkering with your setup, or have a frame where an error could be ruinously expensive, it's a sensible investment that will largely replace a multitool.

Jim's right, if you push a bit all the way home into the ratchet, say to access a tight component, and it clicks home, you'll likely need a pair of pliers to get it out again. That's the only thing I'd change about it. The alternatives to this are much larger, heavier and with the exception of the CDI Torquetool, don't cover 2-8Nm (that I'm aware of in the current market). Yes yes the Effeto Mariposa Giustaforza does 2-16Nm - but it's £150 and weighs a lot more.

Avatar
ped [287 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

@kiwimike, there's some crossover with the Nano Torqbar DX by Topeak too, but it's no Silca.

Avatar
StraelGuy [1095 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Why does the review say Silca are Australian? I've just double-checked myself via Google and they were an Italian company for decades until they moved to America a couple of years ago .

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surly_by_name [550 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes
ped wrote:

@kiwimike, there's some crossover with the Nano Torqbar DX by Topeak too, but it's no Silca.

The other thing to bear in mind about the Nano Torqbar is that its shit. It is supposed to make a clicking noise (an audible one) when you reach the correct torque setting. Mine is soooooooo quiet to the point of being inaudible in real world conditions. Ideal for that odd bit of bolt tightening required when you find yourself in a Trappist monastery at 3.00 in the morning but in ordinary world conditions (esp by the side of the road) next to useless.

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KiwiMike [1323 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Correct - they are based in Indiana, home of NASCAR. https://silca.cc/pages/about-us

The new owner of the brand (ex-Zipp tech director) purchased it off the Italian family shortly before the last-in-line heir's death. So it's the brand. But they make awesome stuff. If anything, thery've improved on the brand. 

 

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hsiaolc [367 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

I have one.  

Never used it.  The scale is way too small to see and use.