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Park Tool Sliding T-Handle Torx Set

Words Cam MRae
Photos Cam MRae
Date Jun 17, 2020
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Initially this was going to be an article about two items that were totally unrelated to one another. Working title; Odd Couple.* But as I began writing about this beautiful set of tools from Park, I realized I had too much to say; they couldn't share the spotlight.

Park Tool may wish I had less to say, but here we are.

*probably kidding

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It was exciting opening these up for the first time.

Sometimes things arrive without any preamble or request. That was the case with this 8-piece set of sliding T-handle Torx tools from Park Tool. These things are ridiculously beautiful and oozing with quality. A detent and ball keep the sliding section centred and a stopper at each end prevents each from sliding off. A green-anodized aluminum sleeve allows the tools to spin in your hands to reach the friction point of the fastener, or once you've overcome it if you are removing. So much to love. In theory.

Here are the features, as related by Park Tool:

  • Carefully selected combination of Chrome Vanadium and S-2 tool steels
  • T6, T8, T10, T15, T20, T25, T30 and T40 Torx compatible wrenches included
  • Unique anodized aluminum Speed Spinner makes running long bolts in and out quick and effortless
  • Sliding T-handle creates increased leverage and multiple access positions
  • Tool holder is included with the set and mounts to any wall, bench or tool box, perfectly positioning each wrench for easy access and storage
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These work best in T configuration when spinning a long Torx bolt to or from its friction point.

The funny thing about an 8-piece Torx set for mountain bikes is that I can't recall using more than 3 sizes ever. Generally only 1. Occasionally 2. Very rarely 3 on the same bike if you happen to be bleeding SRAM brakes. So that's T8, T10 and T25, the last being relatively common. Which leaves 5 tools I will never use on a bike unless something changes drastically and pedals start to accept a T40.* Etc. We've had these for several months and the tool holder looks really good, but I can't bring myself to mount it. I may not be an accomplished mechanic, but I certainly don't want to be a poser displaying tools for which I have no use, simply because they are pretty. But let's move on.

*In my limited experience these are the only Torx tools required. Exceptions are inevitiable. I'm sure my error, if I'm in error, which I likely am, will be pointed out by diligent bike mechanics. Thanks in advance!

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When you use these in T formation, the handle becomes the business end. Unfortunately there is nothing to prevent the handle from sliding on the driver. There are only stoppers to keep the small end from sliding through, but nothing at all to hold it in place unless it's in the centre.

The tools work quite well for certain tasks. If you're assembling a bike from the bare frame and are without a bit driver of some sort, the green aluminum spinners speed tasks that involve long bolts, but for most tasks I don't like them nearly as much as I expected.

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There is no denying quality or commitment to task here.

One issue is that the sliding T-handle isn't great for applying downforce whether you are using the tool as a T or as an L. As a T you can apply some pressure relatively well, but not nearly as much as a traditional t-handle or a screwdriver-style handle. And as an L, which would theoretically only be used when lots of leverage, and thus even more downforce, is needed, it's not possible to apply much pressure at all. An L might be needed when space is limited as well and in this situation having stability between the lever and the pointy end is even more helpful.

A detent does a good job of keep the T in the middle, but there's no such support when you need it as an L. Rather than detents on the ends, there is simply a stopper, with nothing preventing the shaft from sliding down if you apply pressure in that direction. It doesn't seem like it would have been difficult to have a detent at least at one end, which would not have precluded having stoppers at both ends, and perhaps even a small handle at the end that is without a detent. The beauty of the way Park has made the tool is that it's evenly weighted so it spins like a turbine, but I bet there are sharp engineers there who could figure out the balance to preserve the smooth spin even with these improvements.

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There really is so much to love here.

The true test of a tool is whether you reach for when you are in a hurry. 10 out of 10 time for me that's my cheap, Mastercraft by Canadian Tire, screwdriver-style Torx drivers with nice beefy handles. Because downforce is so easily applied, it's easy to get lots of leverage. I don't recall ever failing to remove a rotor bolt, in fact. They came in a variety pack of screwdrivers that was discounted 60%. I think it was 39 different screwdrivers for 29.99 or something ridiculous. I didn't think much of the Torx drivers at first, and they weren't factored in when I bought the set, but once I started using them it became clear how great they are. For some reason I don't see this style of Torx driver in bike shops very much. In fact, a bike shop-owning friend once said something like, "look at you with your fancy tools," when I wielded mine.

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The wall-mounted stand is a highlight to be sure. But not so much that I was tempted to mount it.

My lack of affection for lovingly designed and crafted bike tools brings me no joy. Park Tool makes some excellent products and I admire their tenacity with which they chase the ever-shifting niche market that is professional-level bike tools. At the same time, this is just one guy's opinion. Please apply salt as necessary.

There are many screwdriver sets available online. My bike mechanic comrades used to call the aforementioned retail outlet, "Crappy Tire" and they sell these items for about 7 bucks apiece. A tiny tool (included with SRAM bleed kits) is more than adequate for dealing with a T8, which means you need two max; T20 and T25. You can find good complete sets online, even with a T40 for the pedals of the future, for a pretty good price.

Universal Cycles sells this beautiful but flawed set for 110 USD.

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If bike mechanics were teamsters, this article could put a price on my head.

Some context for those of you from beyond the Canadian border is that Mastercraft tools are nothing to write home about. At least not at regular retail, but they are great value on sale. The quality is generally in the mid range but can be inconsistent. In fact I'd love it if this entire set became useful on a bike, because hex heads often suck.

I will reiterate that the bike industry is lucky to be blessed by Park Tools' commitment to quality specialty tools, as well as consumer level pieces that exceed expectations.

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Comments

fartymarty
+1 danimaniac
fartymarty  - June 17, 2020, 1:44 a.m.

Out of interest what is peoples preference Hex or Torx?  I would prefer everything to be Torx as they are less prone to hamfisted damage.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - June 17, 2020, 9:30 a.m.

I totally agree.

Reply

Tjaardbreeuwer
+1 Cam McRae
Tjaard Breeuwer  - June 17, 2020, 11:17 a.m.

The benefit of hex might be the ability to use ball head tools?

For example, waterbottle bolts and brake lever reach adjust screws seem to never allow a normal tool acces.

For everything else though, it would seem to me that Torx is a better ‘bite’?

And one huge, non bike related benefit of Torx:

there is only one F##@#&in’ size system! No trying to guess if that tiny six sided hole is metric or imperial, or whether your wrench or the bolt are worn a bit.

Reply

andy-eunson
0
Andy Eunson  - June 17, 2020, 12:47 p.m.

I just wish all my bolts were the same size. I like torx but it seems like the purpose of solid tool grip is partly defeated by the shallow heads. On one of my bikes, the shifter clamp is 5mm and brake is 4. On the other side is a torx on the dropper. Bleeding brakes it seems I’m always grabbing the wrong tool. I have some callipers belted with bolts with a 4 mm head and others a 5 mm. I like the ability to spin a tool though to run long bolts. I have a ratcheting screwdriver that takes small bits that I use for that. Or my cordless drill for rotor bolts.

Reply

jt
0
JT  - June 18, 2020, 6:29 a.m.

Personally, Torx all day. But I've worked with Junior Mechanics who didn't RTFM and used a smaller size Torx wrench than the fastener was, screwing up both tool and fastener. Obviously user error, but that same kinda mistake is pretty damn hard to make with a hex set, aside from mixing English and Metric. And even then, let's not forget about German autos and their liberal use of Torx and triple square bits, so depending on your proclivities it is possible to use the wrong type of driver on accident. But that's definitely reaching on my part.

Reply

Harris
+2 Pete Roggeman Cam McRae
Harris  - June 17, 2020, 2:40 a.m.

Torx for sure. As they wear, they engage deeper, resulting in no slop over a long lifetime of the fastener. It is just a superior design in almost every way, except perhaps cost to manufacture, which really isn't a consideration when you're buying bolts.

Reply

uglyamerican
0
uglyamerican  - June 17, 2020, 8:50 a.m.

Torx is great in just about every way, but is a bit harder to clean out dried up mud from the tiny crevices.  Generally simpler to improvise something to clean out an obstructed Allen out on the trail.

Reply

FLATCH
+3 Pete Roggeman Cam McRae Tjaard Breeuwer
flatch  - June 17, 2020, 4:24 a.m.

I like that you ended with an olive branch. 😇

Reply

shoreboy
+2 Cam McRae Pete Roggeman
Shoreboy  - June 17, 2020, 8:55 a.m.

I was eyeing up the hex equivalent to replace my aging Park P-handle set (the ones with the blue grip), as some of the heads are rounded out a bit with use. To my surprise, there is no 'ball-head' end on the new tools. I find the ball head end useful for getting those bolts out that you cant always get to at a straight shot. As pretty as they are, I think they missed the mark on the hex ones too. Ill likely look elsewhere to replace my set, or replace it with the same set, which Park still sells as well.

PS I still own a bike that uses T-40 for some of the pivot hardware, so those fittings are out there!

Reply

Tjaardbreeuwer
+2 Pete Roggeman Cam McRae
Tjaard Breeuwer  - June 17, 2020, 11:13 a.m.

I find that if I need a ball head, I much prefer a screwdriver handle:

  • If you need a ball head, space is often at a premium, so the much smaller handle works in way more places
  • Since you should not be applying much torque anyway with a ball head at an angle, the reduced leverage is no problem
  • Screwdriver handle is much easier to spin for many revolutions.

In short, at home I much prefer a set of T-handle regular hex, and screw driver style ballhead hexes.

The only benefit to the mixed T style is can see is for travel, if you want to bring fewer tools along.

(BTW, I have the Pedros version of the mixed type, with the offset T handle, but bought the regular, centered T hexes and screwdriver ball heads, several years ago, and much prefer them).

Reply

Tjaardbreeuwer
+2 JVP Pete Roggeman
Tjaard Breeuwer  - June 17, 2020, 11:15 a.m.

Reply to the PS:

for pivot hardwear, I use a torque wench. A set of Torx bits is a lot smaller and more usefull(for non bike use on drills and ratchets), than a full size run of handled Torx.

Reply

mrbrett
+3 Pete Roggeman Cam McRae JT
mrbrett  - June 17, 2020, 1:14 p.m.

If your Park p-handles are worn on the flat ends, a few minutes with a flap disc on a grinder can bring them back to life. Just knock a bit of material off the end, and then gently add a little chamfer to the rough edges.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - June 17, 2020, 11:20 p.m.

I keep looking forreasons to pick up a bench grinder and that's a pretty good one.

Reply

cyclotoine
+3 Shoreboy Cam McRae Pete Roggeman
cyclotoine  - June 17, 2020, 9:01 a.m.

Thanks for this. I immediately wanted the Allen version when these came out and while I’m sure they have a use case I pretty much always teach for my Wera keys since I got them a year ago. I know I don’t need them and after this review my desire has been taken down a notch. I have one black t-25 park p-handle that handles most torn duties and is entirely adequate. I also have master craft ratchet driver and tire bits that works great on rotor bolts.

Reply

cyclotoine
0
cyclotoine  - June 17, 2020, 9:01 a.m.

Thanks for this. I immediately wanted the Allen version when these came out and while I’m sure they have a use case I pretty much always teach for my Wera keys since I got them a year ago. I know I don’t need them and after this review my desire has been taken down a notch. I have one black t-25 park p-handle that handles most torn duties and is entirely adequate. I also have master craft ratchet driver and tire bits that works great on rotor bolts.

Reply

Marcel
+1 Pete Roggeman
Marcel Almeida  - June 17, 2020, 9:52 a.m.

I also 99% of the time use a screwdriver T25 as well as T10 (only when bleeding my brakes). I don't quite understand the need for down force, I find this to be irrelevant once the bolt treads are engaged, at least that's the case with the hex t-handle I use (which btw are the ones I always reach out to). The park set is nice, but you can get other quality tools for less money buying only the sizes you need.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - June 17, 2020, 11:31 p.m.

Downforce is essential if you are working on a tight disc bolt or if the access is compromised. In some situations its much less critical. The nice thing about Torx, unlike hex, is that more downforce means more secure engagement because of the tapered interface.

Reply

kekoa
+2 Pete Roggeman Cam McRae
kekoa  - June 17, 2020, 10:43 a.m.

Funny how sometimes cheap tools just hit the spot. I have a folding set of hex keys I bought in Japan twenty years ago and I end up using them very often.  Though I do love my Wera zyckops ratchet.

Reply

Tjaardbreeuwer
+3 Pete Roggeman Cam McRae Sandy James Oates
Tjaard Breeuwer  - June 17, 2020, 11:06 a.m.

My other complaint about this set:

All of them are green! My biggest issue is grabbing the right size tool, so I want each size to be a different color.

Printed sizes wear of quickly. In this case, they have an anodized sleeve, why not make each sleeve a different color?

Reply

JVP
+2 Pete Roggeman Tjaard Breeuwer
JVP  - June 17, 2020, 12:16 p.m.

Bit sets for the win. Srewdriver style driver for much of what I do, 3/8" drive socket for the big stuff. I've got a small CDI torque wrench for the common small bits, and a huge torque wrench plus long 3/8" ratchet handle. Combine that with a basic Park 4,5,6 Y-handle that lives on the stand and I'm super efficient.

To make things even easier, I paint a stripe of florescent orange on all 5mm hex tools and bits so I can instantly grab the correct bit or choose the right end on the Y. This is surprisingly effective when you're doing contortions holding a part together and reaching for the right tool that always seems to be just barely in reach.

Another plus of bits is that the heavily used 4, 5, 6 and T25 are cheap to replace as they wear out without extra waste. Too many of my friends have tools that should have binned long ago.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - June 17, 2020, 11:27 p.m.

I like bits with a ratchet for some applications, and I've even got the nice Silca set, but in most situations, I prefer a solid handle - either T or driver. Obviously driver bits double to be used with a power tool FTW.

Reply

kekoa
0
kekoa  - June 17, 2020, 11:47 p.m.

Do you use the torque tube? I’ve got the first generation one and never use that piece as I can’t see the marking clear enough make it accurate. Much prefer my effeto mariposa for when I need to actually torque to value.

Reply

JVP
0
JVP  - June 18, 2020, 12:09 p.m.

Once past screwdriver tight I almost always use a torque wrench.

Reply

mrbrett
+2 Pete Roggeman Tjaard Breeuwer
mrbrett  - June 17, 2020, 1 p.m.

T30 for Shimano crank bolts! Or, T27 if someone tried a T25 in there already

Reply

velocipedestrian
+1 Pete Roggeman
Velocipedestrian  - June 17, 2020, 3:29 p.m.

T30 on the pivots of my 2004 5spot... What do you mean, obsolete? Where are you going?

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - June 17, 2020, 11:25 p.m.

Finally!

Reply

ReductiMat
+2 Cam McRae Endur-Bro
ReductiMat  - June 17, 2020, 9:49 p.m.

Zee Germans for any tools you can buy that you can use.  Park Tools for truing stands and weird bike tools no one else makes.

The Wera hex set is a billion times better than any of the crap I've used to date.

Reply

Endur-Bro
0
Endur-Bro  - June 24, 2020, 12:32 a.m.

Doesn’t the old FOX 36 RC2 with internal adjustable travel via the air spring use use a T6 fastener? 

I have a Park 1/4” torque wrench and socket/bit set that sees usage when assembling bikes. But will go for the Wera L wrenches until torqueing

Reply

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