Close your toolbox and hide your credit cards. Oh yes, it’s time for another New Tools Day!
There’s plenty to share in this instalment, including some hands-on testing with Unior tools revealed at Eurobike, a few bits from the do-it-all brand BBB Cycling, and a few personal acquisitions of the dreamy bling kind.
Additionally, today sees Feedback Sports lift its media embargo on a new torque wrench I’ve been clicking away with.
As always, our galleries are best enjoyed on a desktop screen. Alternatively, turn that phone sideways.
Feedback Sports just released its first adjustable click-type torque wrench – the Range Click Torque Wrench. It’s a compact little number that covers a useful 2-14 Nm range which works in both clockwise and counter-clockwise directions (a rare feature for torque wrenches of this scale).Priced at US$120 / €135, the Range Click Torque Wrench comes in its own compact tool-roll with 13 usefully-sized S2 steel tool bits.While Feedback Sports’ recently released Reflex Fixed Torque Ratchet Kit is designed to be a carry-along tool, the new Range Click serves as a dedicated torque wrench for home workshops and portable toolboxes.The Range Click is still impressively small compared to almost all other tools offering a similar torque range.Perhaps the closest size comparison is Topeak’s Torq Stick which spans a more limited 2-10 Nm range. Both tools offer a solid mix of steel and aluminium.The Amazon Basics torque wrench (review to come) on the far right offers a more typical size for this torque range. Meanwhile the Pedro’s next to it is considered a compact torque wrench.
How you hold a click-type torque wrench has an impact on its leverage, and therefore the torque that it clicks at. For this reason it’s important to use a torque wrench from the intended gripping point. The Feedback Sports’ compact size encourages you to use the whole thing as a handle, however my torque testing suggested that the correct holding position is at the silver end part and not holding onto the red area. The company’s own imagery supports this finding, but I’d also like to see it clearly outlined on the tool or perhaps with a QR code.
(Edit: Feedback Sports has since released its instruction video confirming my findings for correct usage. The retail packaging of the torque wrench also features a QR code that links to this video). This torque wrench feels and looks like a nice quality tool in hand, and it’s clear that Feedback Sports has put plenty of thought into the unique demands that working on bicycles can present. One example is the compact ratcheting head that allows the tool to fit into tight spots. The torque adjustment is a bit of an unusual one. There are scales on either side of the tool, one with even numbers, the other with odd numbers. However there’s not a precise indicator to know when the tool is set exactly to a certain number, and so you’re left guessing whether you’re at exactly 5Nm or perhaps have it set to 4.83, 5.17, or 5.34Nm (each click corresponds to a .17 Nm adjustment).
Despite this odd quirk, my torque accuracy testing proved that this tool offers consistent numbers and so if your setting is close enough, then you’ll still be in a safe torque range. This may sound strange, but it’s important to note that many torque wrenches in the market have variances of 5-10%.Known as a do-it-all cycling accessory and component brand, BBB Cycling has long offered a range of tools that would be best described as functionally generic. Now BBB appears to be stepping up its game and has an increasing number of affordable tools with nice design details. One example are the new bottom bracket bearing extractors (€33 / US$TBC / AU$55 each). While not new in concept, these BBB bearing removers are a nicely executed tool. The BTL-232 is designed to pull 22/24 mm bearings from bottom bracket cups or Trek BB90 frames (including the 37.1mm oversized versions). The BTL-233, meanwhile, will pull DUB/30mm bearings from cups or BB30 frames.
It’s important to note that these tools are specifically designed to remove bearings, and not press-fit cups. Brands such as Enduro Bearings (the benchmark), BSC Tools, CeramicSpeed and ZTTO create puller tools for removing both bearings and whole bottom bracket assemblies. The tools offer some quality features, including a non-marring rubber ring where the extractor cup contacts the frame or bottom bracket. There’s knurling on the cup for further grip, and spanner wrench flats in case it’s slipping under torque. Additionally, using a hex bolt from behind the bearing provides a smoother operation than comparable tools that are tightened with a nut from the outside (such as Unior’s pre-existing version).
This photo shows the bearings being pulled from a Wheels Manufacturing thread-together press-fit bottom bracket. This of course can also be done with the bottom bracket still installed in the frame.Tools like these really do make bearing replacements a smooth and easy process. Better yet, they remove the bearing entirely square which reduces the chance of having the bearing fall apart during removal and removes the risk of ovalising the bearing seat (which walking a bearing out with a punch can do).It’s a short list when I think of products that I’ve used for more than 15 years without issue and would unreservedly buy again. Deserving of such praise is the Dualco grease gun, a workhorse of bicycle shops around the globe. However, for the 15+ years I’ve used them, I’ve also consistently knocked them over due to the top-heavy design (made worse when they’re nearly empty).
And that’s where Radar Laboratories comes in with yet another clever creation. Pictured here is the US$20 “Hop Up Kit” (#ADHK01) which consists of an adapter nozzle, a LoobToob brush applicator, and a 3D-printed no-tip base that works with Dualco and a number of other similar-looking products.The adapter nozzle allows you to replace the stock nozzle with a Leur-lock fitment that works with Radar Laboratories’ full selection of grease fittings. This brush applicator has proven effective at providing efficient grease application with reduced waste.Meanwhile the 3D-printed base can also be bought separately – or for those with a 3D-printer, Radar Laboratories offers the design for free download! Speaking of free 3D print files, there’s also a super nifty toolwall holder for print that I covered in New Tools Day #3.Radar Laboratories got its start with the LoobToob, a range of high quality and durable syringes optimised for grease application with various different applicator nozzles. Up top is an example of the company’s signature Pro syringe in a 10 ml capacity. Pictured beneath it is the new LoobToob Slim, a more compact and toolbox-friendly option designed in collaboration with pro race mechanic Peio Romera.The LoobToob Slim utilise the regular Pro syringes, but replaces the stock handles with some that are 3D printed. This pair of 10 ml Slim syringes feature a joining clip and easily removable storage caps to make a duo that’s quite ideal for portable tool kits.The LoobToob slim is available to fit both 10 ml and 20 ml Pro syringes. Better yet, the slim handles are yet another product that Radar Laboratories offer for free download for those with a 3D printer at home (and who already own the LoobToob Pro syringes). I have only praise for what this small business is doing.Radar Laboratories’ range is constantly growing, with the new tyre sealant/suspension oil syringe being one example. The company is also currently testing high-capacity brake bleed syringes that are looking really good.
This 100 ml tyre sealant and suspension oil syringe (pick one purpose) is the nicest of its type that I’ve used to date. For suspension purposes it offers a precise and easily measured way of dispensing oil into lower legs or other tight spots.Alternatively, the syringe is highly efficient at drawing out old sealant or replenishing new, while the soft hose slips over the outside of Presta valve stems easily. My only criticism is that the stainless steel fitting has a minor choke point if using some thick-particle sealants. That said, Ethan at Radar Laboratories works quickly, and within an hour of my mentioning this issue, a solution was already in the works.There are a myriad of pro tricks that can be used to achieve a tighter feel with less freestroke in the lever of a hydraulic disc brake.
One old trick is to advance the brake pad pistons so that the pads run closer to the rotor. Crest Tool is a new small business out of Utah, and its first (and currently only) tool, the Brake Pad Advancement Tool, aims to be an easy solution to achieving consistent results.The common way to perform this trick is to use a worn rotor that has a reduced thickness. With this rotor (or piece of, pictured left), you slip it into the caliper, pull the brake to advance the pistons, re-install the wheel, and then hope you haven’t gone too far that your brake pads now rub.
The Crest Tool uses this exact concept but takes it a step further by offering various thickness plates based on the existing rotor thickness and your preferred lever feel. The red piece is used to first measure your rotor thickness, while the black pieces are the dummy rotors.The tool offers a profile that makes it easy to slip into the confined space of a brake caliper.Overall the concept is great, however the 3D-printed PLA+ material does feel a little basic for the US$20 asking price (US domestic shipping included). The compact size is great for stashing in a small toolbox, and assuming you keep it away from excessive heat, then it should prove durable for home mechanics. Though I suspect many professional mechanics will still lean toward using old rotors of varrying thicknesses that freely come their way.It wasn’t my birthday, but I simply couldn’t help myself when UK-based Noble Wheels sought to create a better bearing puller.
These fancy tools were created for smoothly pulling bearings trapped by a central spacer tube (such is often found in freehub bodies). They also work on any bearing that has a flat outer surface to pull against, such as those found on most hubs and many full suspension frame linkages where a blind hole bearing puller is traditionally needed.
My previous go-to tools for hub bearing work were the expanding collets from Wheels Manufacturing, and while those still have their place, they can work against you by expanding and further-tightening the bearing you’re trying to remove (or they just lock onto the spacer tube). By contrast, these Noble tools capture the bearing race, add no expanding force, and do it all without a hammer.These bearing extractors sit at the advanced-user and premium end of the tool world. To use them, you need to match the corresponding tool sizes with the bearing dimensions. You’ll also need a small pair of external circlip pliers, 2x 4 mm hex wrenches, and a 13 mm spanner.
The full kit (£160, approx US$200) covers bearings with common internal diameters of 12, 15, 17, and 20 mm. Meanwhile the six sizes of receiver cups are sized to the outer diameter of the bearing. Combined, the kit can pull 28 common bearing types. Noble also offers individual sizes for £40 (approx US$50), with the necessary receiver cups adding a further £7.50 each.Sizing to the bearing height is done with the circlip. It’s a bit of fiddle, but realistically most mechanics will set-and-forget this for a certain common bearing size.Capturing the bearing is a split collet, a design inspired by the exquisite hub overhaul tools from Chris King.First you lock the appropriate collet into the bearing to be removed. Then you add the correct size receiver cup. And now you’re ready to thread the two together, removing the bearing in the process.Shown here is an old freehub that had a tight fitting centre spacer tube and a rusted bearing. The Noble extractor pulled it out with ease.
Those keen on this style of bearing removal tool should also check out the Alt-Alt Drift kit covered in the previous edition of New Tools Day. By comparison, the Alt-Alt kit costs a lot less, but only works when the spacer tube between the bearing can be shifted off-centre slightly (or if no spacer tube is present).The Noble Hub Axle Extractor Conversion Kit (£35, approx US$45) is a simple idea done well. It consists of a few basic parts to convert Hope’s Hub Support tool (HTT167) to work with a bearing press to allow for hammer-free removal of hub bearings with captured axles (such as DT Swiss).The Hope Hub Support tool offers a non-marring surface that’s designed to sit against the hub shell while you hammer out the bearings. Noble’s conversion kit merely adapts this to work with common 8 and 10 mm threaded bearing presses.
It works well, but I quickly ran into an issue where my Enduro hub press (not shown) wasn’t long enough to pull the axle of a DT Swiss thru-axle hub (142mm axle). This one element may prove problematic for users who own common length (short) presses. It’s worth noting that the concept of using a puller to remove such bearings isn’t unique to Noble. The Alt-Alt kit I covered in the previous edition of New Tools Day does this, as does CeramicSpeed’s fancy hub bearing kit. And then there are an increasing number of kits on AliExpress that use the concept too. Choice is a good thing, and Noble’s clever add-on stands out for how it uses tools quite a few mechanics already own.
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