Torque About Tools | New tools from Birzman, Park Tool, Pedro’s and Wera
Get your new-tool fix
Torque About Tools is our new semi-regular round-up of the latest workshop tools to land at BikeRadar HQ.
It will range from everyday options that make your life easier to tempting exotica.
I have appreciated nerding out over workshop tools since I started working in the cycling industry, and have spent my fair share of time in workshops.
After breaking a cheap chain tool on its first use, I realised buying cheap tools is uneconomical and counterintuitive. High-quality tools are more durable and enjoyable to use. They are also usually better designed and will incorporate functions to make tasks as straightforward as possible.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the latest tools to appear on our radar.
New brake tools from Birzman
Birzman has brought out three new tools to help with brake caliper alignment and identifying when your pads and rotors are worn.
Birzman Brake Pad Wear Indicator
- £19.99 / €39.90
Birzman’s Brake Pad Wear Indicator measures your disc brake pads to determine if they need replacing.
The tool features laser-engraved minimum thickness indicators as per the manufacturer guidelines and is compatible with Shimano, Tektro/TRP, Hope, SRAM and Magura brake pads.
If the pad material either slots into the tool completely or measures less than the minimum thickness, it’s time for replacing.
SRAM and Magura brake pads fit into a slot cut into the indicator arms because the minimum thickness measurement includes the backing plate.
Shimano, Tektro and Hope brake pads suggest a minimum thickness of 0.5mm for the braking material. The third arm of the tool is 0.5mm thick and you can measure the braking material against this.
Rather than slotting the pad in between the gauge, you place the tool on the top of the pad and if the gauge hits the backing plate, it needs replacing.
There isn’t a fitting for Campagnolo. However, Campagnolo brake pads feature a wear groove that, when worn away, indicates the pads are ready for replacement.
Of course, rather than using a specific tool, you could use a vernier caliper to manually measure the rotor thickness and compare it against the recommended minimum thickness.
Birzman Rotor Wear Indicator
- £31.99 / €39.90
The Rotor Wear Indicator does a similar job, checking the thickness of your disc brake rotors.
The rotor is often neglected when it comes down to maintenance. Much like a chain or cassette, disc rotors and brake pads wear in tandem, and should be inspected periodically.
The tool comes with four indicators to measure Shimano, Hope, SRAM, Magura and Tektro/TRP rotors.
To use the tool, you slot your rotor into the relevant brand hole to check for wear.
It’s worth noting rotors don’t wear down evenly, and the central braking surface of the rotor is what’s most important to check, rather than the upper tip. Unfortunately, this is a limitation of the Rotor Wear Indicator because it measures the upper tip.
Again, there isn’t a Campagnolo option. The brand recommends its rotors be replaced when they measure 1.65mm or less.
Birzman Razor Clam
- £7.99 / €9.90
The Birzman Razor Clam is designed to make aligning disc brake calipers easier.
Like the similar Hayes Feel’r gauge, the Razor Clam works by creating even spacing between both pads so the caliper can be centered.
An update over the original Clam, the Razor Clam features a folding handle and is said to work with both two- and four-piston calipers.
To use the tool, you loosen the brake caliper mounting bolts slightly and fit the tool over the rotor and into the pads of the caliper. Then, apply the brake and tighten the bolt.
It’s best to fully torque the mounting bolts at this stage because they can move if you torque them retrospectively.
Remove the tool and check your work – hopefully that’s job done.
New brake tools from Park Tool
Park Tool has also got some new tools to keep your brakes in full working order.
Park Tool Metric Flare Nut Wrench MWF-3
- £12.99 / $12.95
Park’s MWF-3 is designed to be used either as a standalone tool or as an attachment to its torque wrench to torque hose compression nuts and other fittings found on hydraulic disc brake systems.
Historically, there haven’t been many bicycle-specific tools to torque compression nuts – you’ve either had to go by feel or invest in a crow’s foot attachment, but they’re often not slim enough for bicycle use.
One side features a 7mm wrench fitting and the other an 8mm fitting. The flared head is five-sided, which Park says is to reduce any risk of damaging the bolt.
The tool is suitably slim and low-profile to allow for low-clearance design and it’s built around a ⅜ fitting, which conveniently fits Park Tool’s torque wrenches and ratchet drivers.
Park Tool DTD-8 and DTD-10
- £32.99 / $25.95
These typically over-engineered precision T8 and T10 Torx drivers are designed for working on hydraulic disc brake systems. T8 and T10 heads are often found on delicate bleed screw or hose barb fittings, including SRAM’s Stealthamajig.
The handle is CNC-machined from hard-anodised 6061 aluminium. They have a satisfying weight in the hand and feel as though they’ll last the test of time.
Pedro’s Tutto II chain tool
- £138 / $149.99 / €179
Pedro’s latest Tutto II chain tool is the brand’s shop-quality, flagship option and is designed to work with all the latest drivetrains on the market.
The previous-generation Tutto wasn’t compatible with 12-speed SRAM FlatTop or Campagnolo 13-speed chains.
The Tutto II is designed to work with everything from singlespeed to 13-speed chains and has a number of tricks up its sleeve.
Firstly, there’s a spring-loaded retracting guide pin. This ensures perfect alignment so the tool doesn’t push the pin out at an angle. This is the downfall of many chain tools.