Urban Velo

Ask B Rose 1 – Torque Wrenches, Sticky Grips and Popped Saddle Rails

brose Welcome to the first installment of our new Q/A tech column, Ask B Rose. Industry tech legend and long time friend of Urban Velo, we are proud to be able to bring you his wisdom of all things bike tech. In this column we touch on if you should use a torque wrench even without carbon parts, how B Rose makes grips stick and how to replace a saddle rail that has come loose. You ask, B Rose answers.

Submit your own questions in the form at the end of the column.

Q: I don’t have any carbon parts, should I use a torque wrench anyway?

B Rose: In a word, yes. (You probably won’t anyway.) There is no nut or bolt that isn’t better served by using a torque wrench. And some grease on the threads will make any torque-ing of any bolt more reliable and give a more accurate reading if you decide to use a torque wrench (I still don’t think you will). Face plates and seat collars are two places I always double check for grease on the threads and always use a torque wrench. A torque wrench is like a wrench with “pain in the arse” built in but they are the only true way to know how much force you are applying. If you torque and lube the bolts of your stem and seat collar properly (go ahead ask me about torque pattern) you can solve 90% of the slipping seat and slipping handlebar problems in the world. Case in point, a Surly Constrictor seat clamp will almost always allow the seatpost to slowly creep down if you do not pull the bolt, grease the threads, replace and bring to proper torque.

Q: How do I make my grips stick to the bar?

B Rose: This is a very old problem. Used to be in BMX you would use safety wire to wrap around your grips, just like your dirtbike. That is why Oury grips have such deep grooves. Then in the ’80s hair spray started to catch on, spraying hairspray on the bar and in the grip slimes it up enough to make installation easy and when it drys it gets sticky enough to hold it in place. But for me the best is nothing, clean the bar and the grip with alcohol, then wet both with alcohol again to push the grip on; final step is to just blow the grip into place with a compressor (hope you got one). As the compressor quickly drys the bar and grip (freshly cleaned and contaminant free) you should get a good strong fix. Some rough finished aluminium bars (a few Titecs come to mind) have such a porous surface that they lose surface contact; so rubber cement might be your only trust-able option. Just remember to use very, very thin layers and let them dry to the touch before installing the grip.

Q: I crashed and popped a saddle rail out. It seems like you need to be Hercules to put this back in. Help me.

B Rose: There have been, throughout history, tools made for this job. Archimedes said, “Give me a long enough lever and I can fix any saddle!” The down side to this is (particularly with new saddles) once the rail pops out, it will often pop out again after it has been fixed. I will give you my method anyway; it ain’t pretty. Rail pops out… ok, make sure the front of the rail is engaged, we want to fix a single rear rail as opposed to a double front. Put the good rail in a vice, long length is best because it will give you the most contact with the vice, therefore the most secure restraint. Next get an 18″ or better Craftsman breaker bar, in my experience for some reason these are reliably stiffer than most things in the world. Now if you are dealing with an average vice, your rails are facing the earth and the saddle is facin heaven. Three good quality hose clamps are usually enough to hold said breaker bar to said disconnected rail, and the bar is long enough to flex the rail back into place. An offering to a diety of your choice will not hurt, snapping the rail and loosing an eye will; so wear your safety squint.

Submit your question for a future Ask B Rose column:



Brief description of tech question (required)

Ask B Rose a question.(required)

Maybe a picture will help. 2 megabyte limit.

Sorry for the captcha, we hate these things too but we hate spam more.
Enter the above text in the box below.

About B Rose

B Rose: Industry tech misfit legend and excellent cook. B Rose has been in the bike industry since 1989 as courier and shop rat, spending half a decade at QBP before running suspension and hydraulic specialist shop Shockspital from 2007-2011. "I have argued over sausage with Sheldon Brown and argued with many more besides, I am immune to marketing and I cry when I watch Monk. I like to think of myself as the biggest outsider of the bicycle insiders and am proud to add my name to the b-list of bicycle celebrities."

View all posts by B Rose →


  1. Mike WilkinsJanuary 3, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Thanks B!
    You’re 3 for 3! I had all these questions in my mind before I clicked on the link! (and I will use my new-Christmas-present Fizik torque wrench!)


  2. DerekJanuary 3, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    What if I have practiced blinking really super fast. Should I still wear the safety squints?

  3. bergerandfriesJanuary 6, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    What should I carry with me on-the-bike to deal with maintenance issues while commuting? I know, maintaining the bike in the first place helps reduce this list, but let’s say I treat my commuter like crap except that I lube the chain every once in a while.

  4. BenJanuary 6, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    I am currently shopping around for a torque wrench and I have read about several brands/models that are either inaccurate or unreliable. I would like to know which Torque wrenches B. Rose recommends.

  5. MaxwellJanuary 8, 2013 at 2:49 am

    As for the popped rail, I’ve had luck just using a second seatpost.

  6. Charles DostaleJanuary 19, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    Both shops I worked at used dish soap and water in a spray bottle. Spray on the bar, spray in the grip, slide on. Let dry. The soap was sticky enough to hold the grip in place.

  7. ryanFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:45 am

    thanks for the info, just got myself a proper torque wrench. is there a general rule of thumb or some resource you can think of regarding amount of torque I should be putting on my bike?

  8. Ask B Rose 3 – More Torque Wrench Wisdom, Old Elastomers, Tight Rim and Tire Combos | Urban VeloFebruary 8, 2013 at 1:09 am

    [...] In an effort to completely befuddle your doubt’s that I won’t use a torque wrench (Ask B Rose 1), I would like to know what torque wrench to purchase. Mi amigo Julio has one from Ritchey, but is [...]

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


City Reports