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REVIEW

Silca T-RATCHET + TI-TORQUE KIT Reviewed

Words Cam McRae
Photos Cam McRae
Date Aug 1, 2018

The days of investing of quality parts that migrate from bike to bike over the years appear to be gone. Anybody want to buy some non-boost 650b wheels? How about a non-tapered headset or fork? Some riders still throw down for Chris King headsets and other Gucci parts, even more so for wheels currently, but without the expectation that you'll be able to use them on your next new bike. When I look around my workshop, hunting for a black SRAM matchmaker clamp that I'm sure is around somewhere, it's easy to see where investing in quality has borne fruit; tools. Most well-made tools will last longer than that Chris King headset if you take good care of them, and working with quality makes the wrenching a pleasure. 

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The modular system can be configured several ways. The T handle can become an L when more leverage is needed. One side just pulls out and then inserts magnetically on the other side. 

Silca will happily take your dough. The brand best known for pumping roadies tires was founded in Milan in 1917 but was purchased in 2013 by former ZIPP wheels lead engineer Josh Poertner. Since that time Silca has expanded and elevated their product line to include ultra premium products - like an $800 floor pump or even a 185 USD centennial tool kit with some hex keys and Torx bits.* While the T-Ratchet and Ti Torque Kit is clearly a premium product, it isn't priced astronomically to find some space in the market. 

*To be fair it comes in a walnut box adorned with a hand-painted stainless steel badge. 

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The tool selection is good but I would have preferred to see an 8mm over the T10 Torx.  Maybe it's a roadie thing?

This tool isn't easily categorized. It's a little big for many riders to take along for the ride at 232g but it's not as robust as most dedicated shop tools. And yet it will work fine in both of those environments, or as a stay in camp tool when you are out of town with your bike. It could also make great sense to throw in a jersey pocket when you are making changes to your setup and want to be sure you get the torque settings correct out on the trail. 

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The tiny ratchet switch moves easily to reverse direction. Despite its size it feels relatively durable. 

The tool comes in a styling "SILCA Duck waxed canvas carrying case" that holds all parts securely and closes firmly and easily with some magnetic sorcery. When it comes time to turn some fasteners everything goes together quickly and easily.  The handle ends are knurled and circled with rubber inserts for comfort and grip and more magnets keep everything together while in use aside from the ratchet itself. Because the torque fitting is titanium which isn't magnetic so a clip spring is used in that location. . 

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The three piece T-handle can be configured several ways to increase leverage when needed.

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Material quality feels very good but fit tolerances could be better. The 72 tooth ratchet feels smooth and solid. 

The Ti-Torque insert works with a titanium spring that shows you live readings in newton metres. Silca recommends not going beyond the 8 N m measurement because you could damage the spring. This all sounds great in practice but the scale on my example is almost comically difficult to read. The attractive shine of the surfaces of both the scale and the indicator making seeing either difficult and the gradation lines are less than a millimetre apart. Silca recognized this criticism and made three separate scales for newer versions - 2-6, 3-5 and 4-8. This is a huge step forward because the scale on my example is all but useless. 

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If your eyes are young this may work for you. Even with my glasses on and the light is good I have a little trouble. The new scale configuration will likely address this issue. 

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The aluminum and ti construction of the torque mechanism keeps the weight down to 32 grams - slightly less than the smaller steel extender. 

When working at home having a ratchet is a godsend. If you are changing bars and you have lock on grips you could be dealing with 10 fittings or more and the ratchet speeds things up significantly. When the fitting isn't tight enough to require leverage you can use the knurled disc atop the ratchet to spin that loose fitting to the bite point in a flash. I particularly like the fact that extra fittings can be stored on either end of the T handle. Many bar swaps will require a 2.5 or 2mm for trips, a 4mm for the stem's faceplate, and a T25 or 4mm for lever and shifter/dropper clamps. You can have three fittings at a time in the handle rather than returning to the bench to swap them out. 

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Bit storage in the end of t-handle is very handy. 

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The T-handle is swapped to an L here which is useful for accurate torque settings. 

I love the way the ratchet eases the workload and the ease with which you can carry most tools you need for minor maintenance and component swapping in your pocket. I was less pleased with the tolerances on our test example. The removable portion of the t-handle stays together well thanks to magnets but the fit is a little jiggly for my liking. It actually rattles in your hand. This doesn't impair function but it fails to feel as solid as a tool of this level should. The fittings themselves seem to be well made and I haven't had any issues with poor tolerances for these. 

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Can you read this? I could just barely make it out with my glasses on when the light is good. The new configuration with three different scales should alleviate this. 

An obvious comparison here is Topeak's Ratchet Rocket Lite NTX. Both tools weigh 232g and hold similar tools, while Topeak's kit includes two tire levers to go along with the fittings and three torque bits. I also reviewed the Ratchet Rocket Lite DX without torque bits and liked it very much. It's not a t-handle but that almost never seems to impair efficiency. It also weighs only 155g (non-torque version), includes an 8mm bit, a quality feel and the case is more compact with a more easily stowable shape. Without the Ti-Torque tool the T-Ratchet weighs 200g and retails for 50 USD while the Ti-Torque version is double that. Prices are slightly less for the Topeak tool without torque bits and similar with torque bits. 

All in all this is a great tool to have in the workshop. I sometimes take the Topeak tool when I ride but the bulk and increased mass of the Silca version means it's not a trail tool for me For more info head to Silca.com.

Comments

shoreboy
0
Shoreboy  - Aug. 1, 2018, 8:12 a.m.

Ive always seen these online and wondered what they were actually like.  Thanks for the review! Im not sure an 8mm allen would be at all useful with this.  Are you actually going to use this tiny ratchet to tighten/loosen down anything that uses an 8mm hex head?  Cranks are the only thing that come to mind, and I dont think I would use it for that application.

It is definitely aimed at the roadie market I would agree, as are most products from this company.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+2 Bogey Cam McRae
Andrew Major  - Aug. 1, 2018, 8:49 a.m.

I’d suggest that while the tool, with 8mm, doesn’t have enough leverage to properly install a crankset or to remove a properly torqued crankset - and so wouldn’t be usable in the shop for that application - any 8mm is better than no 8mm out on the trail. 

I once tightened a friend’s crankset back on with an oblong rock and a Leatherman. Since then I’ve always carried an 8mm adapter cap for a 6mm hex.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Aug. 1, 2018, 9:39 p.m.

Pedals! I am forever swapping pedals from bike to bike or putting them in my luggage to go somewhere. If you've had them installed for a year or more this wouldn't be of great use, although the ratchet feels burly enough to handle a decent load, but I put mine on 0.1 N m more than finger tight so it would be perfect.

And exactly what Andrew said about cranks.

Reply

shoreboy
0
Shoreboy  - Aug. 1, 2018, 10:23 p.m.

Pedals are 6mm hex last time I checked no?  Dont need a ratchet for that as all mult-tools usually have a 6mm.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Shoreboy
Andrew Major  - Aug. 1, 2018, 10:25 p.m.

Almost all clip-in pedals are 8mm hex. A lot of flat pedals are now 8mm hex but there are certainly still many that use a 6mm hex.

Reply

shoreboy
+1 Andrew Major
Shoreboy  - Aug. 2, 2018, 8:14 a.m.

I am out of the loop on that one then :(  The only clips I have are 20 year old TIME ATACs, and I ride flats (OneUp, NukeProof) the rest of the time. All 6mm. This is why I come here to learn these things!

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
+1 Shoreboy
Cam McRae  - Aug. 2, 2018, 11:50 p.m.

LOL! If the last time you checked was 20 years ago you are correct!

Thanks for the laugh!

Reply

shoreboy
0
Shoreboy  - Aug. 3, 2018, 3:56 p.m.

I only ride clipless on my commuter, so havent paid much attention to the clipless pedal market to be honest :(

Reply

cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - Aug. 1, 2018, 9:09 a.m.

I've got one of these, in the original Kickstarter. 

I do very much like it, but the torque tube on mine has died (and no, I didn't overtorque it) - it seems like riding in really cold weather permanently deformed it, so its now useless. :(

Reply

kekoa
0
kekoa  - Aug. 1, 2018, 1:39 p.m.

I too, bought on on the Kickstarter deal. I use it at home but I have to agree, can't see the markings for crap. A friend has the updated tool and it's better. I was thinking if taking a sharpie and coloring in the settings but ehhhh, that requires work. 

I also have noticed that the bit heads fit very snug into the ratchet (which I do when I'm distracted) and it's hard to get out. While I love me some tools, this one left me disappointed. I carry a different little ratchet set out on the trails and use a different torque wrench when needed.

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