As motorcycle technology has advanced, the tolerances to which they are manufactured have gotten ever tighter. While torque wrenches have always been important, modern motorcycles, and particularly their engines, depend on the exacting tightening specifications allowed by a torque wrench. Every motorcyclist should have one to assist them in their home-mechanic efforts.

When looking for a torque wrench, it’s easy to get lost in the woods of specifications and prices. To ease your buying decision, look for these attributes: brand, size of ratchet drive, type of wrench, quality, and price. When choosing a brand, go with one that has a good reputation. You may save some money with a no-name brand, but the quality and durability may be suspect. The size of the square drive on the ratchet will determine what sockets can be mounted to it. Larger, higher-torque fasteners will usually require a 1/2-inch drive, and smaller, a 3/8-inch drive. (In my toolbox, I have both a 1/2-inch and 3/8-inch drive for foot-pounds and inch-pounds, respectively.) 

As you choose the type of torque wrench you buy, stay away from the cheap bar-type, which is hard to use and easy to misread. While I have always used click-type torque wrenches, which briefly release with a click when the specified torque is reached, digital torque wrenches, which use a beep and/or vibration to let you know when proper torque is reached are increasingly popular. Since quality and price often go hand-in-hand, you should avoid the cheapest ones but the average user doesn’t need to go out and buy the most expensive one, either. Look for calibration accuracy of around 4%-5%.

Below, you will find a listing of some of the best torque wrenches we can find, based on the manufacturer’s reputation, specifications, and reviews. 

CDI (Snap-On) 1503MFRPH 1/2-Inch Drive Adjustable Micrometer Torque Wrench – $146

While you may not have heard of CDI tools, if you know anything about mechanics’ tools, you’ve heard of Snap-On, and CDI is a subsidiary owned by Snap-On. Consider this click torque wrench for those who want quality tools but don’t want to sell their first-born child to get them. Depending on the motorcycle you own, you can buy a 20-150 lb-ft or 30-250 lb-ft model. You’ll get a 25-inch long wrench to assist with higher values, while the ratchet itself allows for use in either direction. The laser-etched scale is easy to read, and the setting has a positive lock with spring-loaded pulldown lock ring. A calibration certificate is included with the wrench. CDI also makes torque wrenches with 1/4- and 3/8-inch drives.

Bottom Line/For those who want Snap-On tools but don’t want the Snap-On price

GearWrench 85077 1/2-Inch Digital Torque Wrench – $144

This digital torque wrench offers five different torque unit measurements: Nm, ft lb, In lb., kgf m, and kg cm. Once set to a value, the “Target torque alert” warns as you approach the target torque, and tells the user when the value is reached with a vibrating handle, buzzer, and solid LED light. The 72 tooth ratchet allows for ratcheting increments as small as 5°. The certified accuracy is an astounding +/- 2% between 20% and 100% of the wrench’s minimum and maximum torque values.

Bottom Line/2% accuracy!

TEKTON 1/2 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench – $60

As the name implies, this 26-inch torque wrench uses a click to tell you when the desired setting is reached. The 1/2-inch drive wrench includes its own storage case. The desired value is set via a high-contrast dual-range scale. Although the ratchet rotates in both directions, torque is only measured for clockwise rotation. The all-steel wrench is calibrated to +/- 4% accuracy.

Bottom Line/A value-focused torque wrench

ACDelco Tools ARM601-3 3/8” Digital Torque Wrench – $98

Torque wrenches with a 3/8-inch drive are ideal for smaller bolts with lower torque requirements. This 12.25-inch torque wrench measures values between 2-37 lb-ft with an accuracy of +/- 2% clockwise +/- 3% counter clockwise of indicated value within a range  of 20% to 100% of full scale. The LCD screen displays kg-cm, N-m, in-lb, and ft-lb. The built-in buzzer notifies the user when the desired value is reached. Meets or exceeds ASME B107.14-2004, ISO 6789 standards, individually serialized with matching certificate of calibration traceable to N.I.S.T.

Bottom Line/Ideal digital torque wrench for smaller fasteners

eTORK Click-Style Torque Wrench (3/8-Inch Drive) – $55

This 3/8-inch drive torque wrench features a 45-tooth ratchet that allows for torque measurement in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions. The wrench is calibrated to +/- 3% accuracy in a clockwise direction. The hardened alloy steel housing features a soft-grip handle for comfortable use. A lifetime personal use guarantee is included with the eTORK wrench. Meets the requirements of America National Standard ASME B107.300-2010.

Bottom Line/An inexpensive 3/8-inch click torque wrench

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