With the most common 4, 4.5, 5, 5.5, or 6Nm torque settings and the most common 3, 4, 5mm and T25 bits, the easy-to-use Park Tool ATD-1 Adjustable Torque Driver makes a great addition to a keen mechanic's tool box.
- Pros: Most common torques and bits covered, really easy to use
- Cons: Fiddly to get the bits from their storage
With many bikes featuring carbon components, a torque wrench is a wise investment. Buying a good one should ensure it'll last for years which, at this price, is essential. The Park Tool ATD-1 is a great example of a well designed product that works well and feels like it's going to last.
At the risk of teaching granny, let's start with why you, like me, should be using a torque wrench. Both my race bike and cyclo-cross bike have carbon frames and my winter bike has a carbon bar. All that carbon has to be treated carefully, and while I'd never be overzealous with my tightening of bolts, it's prudent to know exactly how much force you're putting on them.
This Park offering is pretty easy to use, with great grip offered by the 'T' shape. I was a little concerned that I wouldn't be able to reach more hidden bolts, but I've been able to get at everything except the upper bottle cage bolt.
Changing the torque setting requires a hex key to set the torque (I set ours to 5Nm and kept it at that, suitable for all the parts I was tightening). There's a newer version of the ATD out now, the ATD-1.2, the only difference being you can now do this by hand.
Switching out the bits is pretty easy: they live within the tool so you're never without, and they pop out of the head with a small pull. Well, I say that but... getting them out of their storage holder is a little fiddly with not much to get hold of. They do slot back in easily though, with the female end magnetised to hold the bit. I imagine the plastic housing will soften with use, so this might become less of an issue over time.
The chunky nature of the tool means that I'm far less likely to fumble this than a hex key. As a result, I've been increasingly reaching for the ATD-1 as I can do most jobs with just this. The bits have fitted snugly into bolt heads and there's a definite click when the specified torque is reached.
At this price, you'll want the tool to last and I'm happy to say that nothing has degraded. The plastic housing still holds the bits securely and the torque setting maintains a good click for each increment. The all-metal internal construction undoubtedly helps here. I've also noticed zero wear to either the bits or my bolt heads.
You can extend the range of bits if you have more specific bolts. The ATD-1 uses a quarter-inch hex key driver so a set from the local hardware store will be fine.
You've got some other options though. The Pro torque wrench I tested is very good and still going strong after nearly a year of use. It's quite a bit more expensive at £99, but it does offer a larger torque and bit range.
At only £34.99 the X-Tools Essential Torque Wrench is a much cheaper option, but we haven't tested it so can't comment on its performance.
Both of these options are a little bigger than the Park Tool. I recently took a stripped-down tool kit to Mallorca, and the ATD-1 fitted nicely in my compact box.
Although expensive, the ATD-1 is a good investment, I'd say. Having looked at my use, I can't see the need for a larger range of torque settings or bits. I also find this a bit easier to use than the Pro/X-Tools style. Is it worth the money over the X-Tools? Without testing that it's hard to say, but the quality of the Park tool suggests it's worth the money.
The happy consequence (possibly) of there being a newer version of the tool is that the ATD-1 can be found discounted online. At £52.99, for example, it's an even more appealing purchase.
Easy use, compact design and solid build make this a good investment
road.cc test report
Make and model: Park Tool ATD-1 Adjustable Torque Driver
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for
From Park Tool: "Shop quality, adjustable torque driver that limits torque applied to fasteners, preventing over-tightening and damage to lightweight components. The ATD-1 features all metal internal construction with a comfortable, ergonomic composite molded grip. Each tool is assembled and calibrated at our factory in Minnesota."
The quality here is really good. The bits are perfectly machined and made from strong metal that hasn't rounded at all. The clicks for setting the presets and also when reaching the torque setting are very positive.
The handle is easy to hold and I haven't fumbled this with cold hands like I would a single hex/Allen key.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
From Park Tool:
Adjustable to 4, 4.5, 5, 5.5, or 6 Nm
1/4 inch hex drive
Includes 3, 4, 5mm and T25 bits stored in the handle
Limits torque applied to fasteners while rotating clockwise
All metal internal construction for long life
The build is brilliant and the actual torque mechanism is great. I'm marking it down slightly as it's sometimes difficult to extract the bit from its plastic housing, especially with cold fingers.
Perfect range of bits for my bike and so easy to use, I've reached for this instead of regular hex keys.
It has lived in a tool box in a shed and travelled to races and also on holiday. Even after a few months' use there are no signs of wear.
Nicely weighty and feels solid.
Very comfortable in use with good purchase on the T handle, but a little fiddly and difficult to get the bits out which can cause a little discomfort.
There are cheaper, but this feels really solid, it works perfectly and it's not crazy expensive.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very easy to use, setting all the torques on three bikes without issue.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Everything is housed within the tool, meaning I could pick it up and not have to search for various bits.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The housing of the bits when not in use could be improved to make extraction easier, but I guess the plastic may soften with time.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, it's not the most glamorous purchase but it'd be a good one.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The ATD-1 is really well built and works very well. It is expensive, with a more limited number of bits than cheaper rivals, but signs are good on the durability front, and I think it's worth the money, so I'm giving it an 8 overall.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. Liam spends his time plodding his way through cyclocross races, very busy not winning. As an advocate for perfectly clean chains, he can be found cleaning his bike instead of training. A shop mechanic, Liam has many helpful skills, such as being able to identify 'cross tubs by the tread pattern alone. If you bump into him, he'll probably be eating.