Birzman's M-Torque 10 is a 10-piece multi-tool that is not only equipped with those side-of-the-road essentials but also a rather clever torque meter. With top-end frames and components requiring close tolerance tightening ranges it certainly takes the guesswork out of mid-ride tweaks and adjustments.
- Pros: Torque meter is easy to use, solid build quality
- Cons: Feels heavy, quite wide for small hands
If you take a look around your bike, especially at the contact points – stem, handlebar, seatpost and so on – you'll likely see 5Nm or similar dotted about near the bolts. This is the maximum torque value, the clamping force that you should put through the bolts – at the stem facing plate to stop the handlebar from twisting, for example.
With components being made from carbon fibre, and thin-walled aluminium tubing, it's never been more important to not overtighten things. Undetectable fractures can be caused by too much force and you never know when that frame, fork or component might let go – or how catastrophically.
Despite knowing all that, I've never really been a big torque wrench user. After years of tinkering on and building bikes, plus years of working in various engineering workshops, I've developed a pretty good feel for how tight a bolt should feel.
That said, I found the M-Torque 10 really useful and easy to use, so I've become a bit of a torque wrench convert.
Having access to the torque function are the 4mm, 5mm and T25 Torx bits, those most likely to be used for tightening the likes of those components I mentioned above. The limit of 5Nm is most likely to be the value specified, which is why Birzman has set the M-Torque at that.
To use it, you open whichever tool you need out to 90 degrees and tighten the bolt up until you can feel some resistance. At this point you need to rest your thumb on the button – that silver disc you can see on the longest edge – while placing your index finger on the opposite corner. This is important, because the way you hold a torque wrench can affect the reading.
Continue to tighten the bolt and, as the button requires 5Nm to depress it, the moment the bolt reaches that value your thumb clicks the button.
The Birzman isn't like a typical torque wrench that won't let you continue to tighten to a higher torque; here you can. So basically, when the button clicks, STOP!
The width of the M-Torque 10 does make it a bit of a balancing act, especially if you have small hands, and I can imagine the narrower M-Torque 4 being easier to use.
Birzman says that the torque meter doesn't need to be calibrated, and straight out of the box it matched my own torque wrench for the value. It's been bouncing around in a saddle bag and dropped a few times too, with the reading still being consistent.
Even without the torque meter the Birzman is still a very capable tool. Aside from the bits already mentioned, you also get 2, 3 and 8mm hex keys, plus a 6mm add-on, flat and crosshead screwdriver bits, and there's a chain tool too.
The 6mm piece hex key is L-shaped and inserts into the stubby 8mm piece, which is okay but some pedals use 8mm, and you sometimes need a little bit more leverage to get them undone. A neat touch is that the L-shape gives you plenty of leverage when you use it to push the pin out via the chain tool.
The quality of the multi-tool is pretty impressive, although the chromed finish on the actual tool pieces has started to show some corrosion, plus in your hand the M-Torque 10 feels a lot heavier than it actually is. A sign of its solidity perhaps.
Value-wise, at £34.99 it's not exactly screaming expensive – torque wrenches can be pricey, and while this is a pretty basic one it's a welcome addition to your tool kit, whether out on the road or at home.
You can buy cheaper without the torque wrench – Fabric's Sixteen Tool has a chain tool and a lot of the same bits and pieces of the Birzman, and is priced at £24.99, or there is the Pedros ICM Multi-tool, a 17-piece tool kit for £29.99.
I suppose it all comes down to how much you feel you need a torque wrench. I've grown quite attached to it.
Very capable multi-tool with the added bonus that you can torque your bolts up away from the workshop
road.cc test report
Make and model: Birzman M-Torque 10
Size tested: 93mmx55mmx18mm
Tell us what the product is for
The M-Torque 10 is a multi-tool that has the basic tools needed for mid-ride mechanicals while having the added advantage of a built-in torque meter.
Birzman distributor i-ride says: "With this multi tool in hand, the precision of a torque wrench is at your fingertips whenever you need it. Your bike is just a reassuring click away from ultimate accuracy. Birzman strives to empower the rider, and M-Torque is testimony to our commitment to providing every cyclist with the ultimate solutions in the workshop or while on the ride.
"As you tighten a bolt with M-Torque in hand, the force through your thumb pushes on the raised button. When this force reaches 5Nm, the button will give a reassuring click. This click indicates the bolt has been tightened to the correct torque value, just as it would be in a workshop."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
4/5mm/T25 with 5Nm torque alert function/2/3/8/6mm L-shaped /flat head screwdriver/cross head
Body: Alloy Steel / Tools: Chrome / Chain Tool: Alloy Steel
9.3 x 5.7 x 1.8cm
Some signs of corrosion on the bits.
Not exactly cheap for a multi-tool, but it's good value for one with a torque wrench.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tool-wise things are pretty good and the torque meter's calibration matched that of my own unit.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Solid build quality.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It's quite wide to hold between just finger and thumb.
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 overall score
Overall it's a decently built product for a sensible price. The torque meter is a really useful addition, especially if you ride a lightweight frame with carbon components, meaning you can tweak your bolts up to the right level at the side of the road without any guesswork.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.