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The Birzman Torque Driver 5Nm is a rock-solid choice for working on bikes of any sort. Essentially the same as a Prestacycle TorqKey, with four of the most useful-sized cycling bits added, it's a good choice for accurate home and workshop use. Most of the options in our best torque wrenches buyer’s guide offer a range of torque values rather than just one, as you get here, but I think a single setting can be a bonus.
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and this Birzman Torque Driver is the spitting image of Prestacycle's excellent TorqKey, with the addition of a four-piece bit set to make it more practical for first time users.
The stubby T-handle tool has a standard quarter-inch drive bit socket with a strong magnetic retainer at the back, so that it doesn't drop any bits. Insert bit into fastener, turn to tighten, click, stop turning. Included are four bits: 3, 4 and 5mm hex, plus a T25 Torx.
As well as the 5Nm on test, there are two other value options, 4 and 6Nm. This differentiates it from the Prestacycle offering in that Prestacycle's go all the way up to 12Nm; the 4Nm version is Prestacycle's 'mini' tool and is physically smaller.
But 8, 10 and 12Nm are rather esoteric values for most cyclist's daily use, so I understand why Birzman has stuck with offering just 4, 5 and 6Nm.
The party piece of the Birzman (and Prestacycle TorqKey) is that you can undo fasteners quite safely with the tool still attached to the bit. For almost every other torque tool on the market that's a huge no-no as undoing against the direction in which torque is applied could invalidate and possibly damage irreparably the torque mechanism. Specifically, Birzman told us: "If it is to undo a bolt just tightened with the Torque Driver then yes it does have the ability to do so. However, the Torque Driver should not be the primary tool used to remove any bolt that was tightened by another tool to begin with."
The only other tool on the market I can think of with this functionality is Feedback Sports' Torque Ratchet, where, by holding the tool by the handle and not by the torque indication knob, you can undo without damaging the mechanism. But you need to remember to flick the ratchet mechanism into reverse.
I've been using the Prestacycle version of this Birzman tool for many years and have found it to be repeatedly accurate and reliable over thousands of uses in a commercial workshop.
The ability to immediately undo, readjust and retighten a fitting, for example a stem or seatpost, is invaluable and saves an awful lot of time swapping between a torque tool and a standard hex wrench.
The fact that these devices are single-setting only is a real bonus in my eyes, as adjustable torque wrenches mean you are constantly fiddling with a very small scale to try to work out exactly what setting to use, and if you get it wrong the results could be catastrophic. No such chance of that happening here.
One drawback of the Birzman offering is that there is no colour coding or significant branding on the outside or the top of the tool to show you exactly what the setting is, just a small figure printed on the side in rather small white letters.
This means if you have two or three of them sat on your workshop bench or slotted into holders on the wall, it can be challenging to work out which one to grab.
In use you get a very accurate and distinct cam-over once you've hit the required torque setting, which is extremely gratifying and safety conscious. It means there is no risk of missing the fact that you've hit the required torque setting and continuing to overtighten an already maxed-out fitting.
The movement of the cam-over action is around 20 degrees, and there is a fairly audible click as well when this happens.
I cannot overstate how wonderfully practical these tools are in real life. The fact that you can throw them into a bag or pocket, or have them hung up on a tool wall or sat on a bench without fear of damaging them, and yet get them into action very quickly without dropping any bits due to the strong magnetic retention, is an absolute winner in my view.
At 74g the tool feels robust, especially when you consider you only get a single torque value out of it. I wouldn't really recommend it as a tool to take in a pocket or gear bag out on the road, unless you were adjusting the setup of a newly installed component.
Which brings us to value. Birzman charges £24 for this set comprising the tool and four bits, whereas you can buy the original Prestacycle version for £20 without the bits. If you were going to buy multiple of these tools, obviously the extra bits will be superfluous, so you could save yourself a few quid.
However, if you're happy sticking with the Birzman brand and you like the idea of having some spare bit sets sitting around, it's not a bad shout.
Useful tool that speeds up adjustments in the workshop of torque-sensitive components
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Birzman Torque Driver 5Nm
Size tested: 5Nm
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
It's for cycle mechanics - either amateur or professional - who want to fasten and loosen torque-sensitive fittings very easily and quickly.
A 5Nm Torque Driver with interchangeable bits made from hard-wearing S2 tool steel.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Features an ergonomic handle and a Ø12 mm tube, the set includes four 1/4in Dr. bits: 3 / 4 / 5 mm hex / T25.
1/4in Dr. / 5Nm
Four bits: 3 / 4 / 5 mm hex / T25
S2 tool steel (bits)
80 x 65 x 23 mm (driver)
1/4in x 25 mm (bits)
Very well made from quality materials.
Rate the product for durability:
Early days for the Birzman, but if the Prestacycle one is anything to go by, these tools are indestructible.
For a single tool 74g is a bit heavy compared with the much wider-range options from Prestacycle and Feedback Sports that go from 2-10Nm in a 100g tool. So while it can be transported in a pocket for use on the road, there are certainly lighter and more compact options to do so.
Comfortable in the hand for repeated workshop use.
More expensive than the Prestacycle equivalent, but you do get four bits for that extra.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Cannot fault how it works. It's an excellent design.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The ability to unfasten and refasten fittings very quickly.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of clear Nm setting for easy grabbing.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is a good tool to have in your workshop. I can't fault how it works – though four extra pounds for four bits (if you don't need them) is a bit over the top compared with the Prestacycle TorqKey.
About the tester
I usually ride: Sonder Camino Gravelaxe My best bike is: Nah bro that's it
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, general fitness riding, mtb, G-R-A-V-E-L
Living in the Highlands, Mike is constantly finding innovative and usually cold/wet ways to accelerate the degradation of cycling kit. At his happiest in a warm workshop holding an anodised tool of high repute, Mike's been taking bikes apart and (mostly) putting them back together for forty years. With a day job in global IT (he's not completely sure what that means either) and having run a boutique cycle service business on the side for a decade, bikes are his escape into the practical and life-changing for his customers.