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How tight should handlebar components be?

Here it's said 6-8Nm. However, I don't own a torque wrench at that range.

Should the brake levers and commands be tight, or should they be able to twist, so that in the event of a crash, they do not break?

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Tight enough that they don't move under normal circumstances. I doubt that you'll find anyone who routinely uses a torque wrench on them. – Daniel R Hicks Mar 21 '14 at 15:32
I found a torque wrench to be a great investment, whilst it was quite expensive I use it pretty much universally when it comes to adjusting things on the bikes. 6-8Nm sounds about right, and gives you a very precise value. What kind of answers do you expect from your question? quite tight? pretty tight? very tight? They're all meaningless. – PeteH Mar 21 '14 at 18:02
@PeteH I am expecting answers on the Why-s. It is true or a myth that levers should rotate in a crash? – Vorac Mar 24 '14 at 9:08
up vote 5 down vote accepted

It depends.

On a road bike you'll want them fairly tight to be able to ride on the hoods without the brake levers turning away or moving downward on the bar.

On a mountain bike, at least the brake levers should be able to rotate away in case of a crash. But they still should be relatively tight such that they don't turn away while braking or because of bumps. Depending on where you ride, I'd rather have them a little too tight than lose the ability to brake because the levers are somewhere they're not supposed to be. As a rule of thumb, you shouldn't be able to rotate them without applying some force, similar to opening a pickle jar.

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I don't you want your brake levers loose enough to rotate, even in a crash. For one, it'd be a pain to move them back, especially if you don't have a tool, and second, they'd be loose enough to move if you had a hard landing off of a drop or jump. – Aaron Mar 21 '14 at 14:47
@Aaron: Mine rotate away in a crash -- hydraulic disc levers are expensive and unnecessary bleeding is a PITA -- and I think a multitool should be a must-carry for every mountain biker. I never had them rotate as a result of landing. In fact, my index finger barely touches the levers while riding, not exerting any force on them. So why should they move? – arne Mar 21 '14 at 15:09
@Aaron: On a mountain bike, when your lever hits the ground, if it can't move out of the way it breaks. This is expensive and stops you braking for the rest of the day. If the lever has moved, it's normally possible to get it back in position with some elbow grease. I've never had mine move during riding, and they always seem to move on crashing... – Byron Ross Mar 26 '14 at 0:16
@ByronRoss and arne: Huh, you guys must crash pretty hard! I've never had mine rotate or break. I'll concede that perhaps rotating is better than breaking, but from experience I've yet to see it happen. – Aaron Mar 26 '14 at 13:07
@Aaron or if you go very slowly over the front on a technical descent...doesn't need to be fast :) – Byron Ross Mar 26 '14 at 20:46

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