Skip to main content

Topeak Torq Stick 4-20Nm review

Topeak’s new Torq Stick 10-24Nm is a bike-specific torque wrench that looks and feels great but how does it perform and what does paying extra really add?

Topeak Torq Stick
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Bike Perfect Verdict

Lovely looking and mostly solid feeling torque wrench that does all the small jobs really well. It sits in an awkward Nm coverage/size bracket though, and there are more operation and packaging flaws than we would like for the high price

Pros

  • +

    Looks great

  • +

    Feels great in your hand

  • +

    Bike specific small head design

  • +

    Quality bits in all useful bike sizes

  • +

    Direct magnet mount

  • +

    Super positive torque adjustment

Cons

  • -

    Expensive

  • -

    10-24Nm range is rarely needed

  • -

    0.5Nm settings are rarely needed

  • -

    No extender bar

  • -

    No case

  • -

    Many turns to change torque

  • -

    Head and torque collar feel mismatch

  • -

    Plastic packaging

Torque wrenches are a great way to stop you accidentally crushing components or stripping bolts and Topeak offers seven different options from the basic ‘torsion needle on wedge’ Combo Torq Wrench at $23.99 / £17.99 to the digital D-Torq Wrench DX at $299.95 / £255.99. The new Torq Stick 4-20Nm sits in the middle of the family as a top-quality, compact head, analog wrench with a range of easy-fit bits and solid, wider torque range operation. That puts it in a slightly awkward ‘not universal but not portable’ position though and it’s expensive too. We have been carefully torquing all our bike bolts to find out whether the Torq Stick earns a place in our best mountain bike toolkit.

Design and performance

Topeak loses eco points straight away as it’s disappointing to see a single-use plastic tray and cover for a new tool in 2022. Especially as that leaves the wrench unprotected in your kit bag or tool drawer. The tinted cover on the rubber bit holder means I nearly binned it accidentally once when chucking similar-looking plastic spare parts back into the box after building a bike. That’s pretty niche (or dumb) though, and otherwise, the knurled and color-coded 3, 4, 5, 6mm hex key heads are a cut above the normal pieces. There are larger 8mm and 10mm heads and you get T20, 25, 30 Torx keys as well. Because it’s specifically designed for bikes, not a general-use tool, they mount straight into the magnetic head without an adaptor too. The tiny head means you can get the tools into most awkward places, but you’ll have to add an extender for some recessed jobs. 

The reverse action dial is very light in action, which isn’t an issue in itself but it contrasts with the torque change collar which has a very solid detent and strong return spring action. You have to turn it a full rotation while pulling against that spring for every 1Nm change. While it allows 0.5Nm settings we’ve never seen a component that needs one. It also slows down the shift from tightening up something like a stem or seat clamp bolt to snugging up your Shimano crank arms. 

A quick scan through various bolts on the bikes I’ve got in the workshop shows that’s about the only bolt on a bike that requires between 8Nm and 50Nm. That potentially makes the $119.95 / £89.99 Topeak Torq Stick the more cost-effective option for most jobs. While the anodized alloy build makes it light for a workshop tool, it’s still too long and heavy to come along for a ride.

Topeak Torq Stick tightening a stem bolt

(Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Verdict 

With a lot of torque wrench options available now it’s easy to pick holes in the cost-effectiveness and design/operation detail of the Topeak Torq Stick 4-20Nm. If you’re not being professionally picky though it’s a great quality, obviously bike-optimized tool that works well on most bike fastenings, feels great in the hand and looks awesome on your workbench too.

Tech Specs: Topeak Torq Stick 4-20Nm

  • Price: $119.95 / £89.99
  • Weight: 188g
  • Tools: 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 8 / 10 hex bits, T20 / T25 / T30 Torx
  • Torque range: 4 - 20 Nm (Accuracy: +/- 4%)
  • Color: Black with color coded bits 

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg