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It would be hard to argue that hex wrenches (also known as allen wrenches) aren’t the most important bicycle tools for both mountain bikes and road bikes. Hex bolts hold together nearly every component on a modern bike. From handlebars to drivetrains, if you plan to do some mechanic work on your bike, you are going to need a metric set of hex wrenches. Here at JensonUSA, we have a wide selection of hex wrenches for bikes from premium brands like Park Tool and Foundation.

One thing to keep in mind when tightening a bolt with a hex wrench is torque. Many parts in the cycling industry feature torque specs, especially carbon fiber components. Torque specs are used to ensure that you don’t damage any components by overtightening them and that you don’t crash because a part of your bike wasn’t tightened enough. Aluminum is pretty resistant to being overtightened, but a carbon fiber component can easily be damaged if you tighten it beyond the torque recommendation. This can lead to that components failing during a ride and causing you to crash and potentially get hurt.

A lot of hex wrenches come in an “L” shape and feature a ball-shaped head on the long arm end of the “L” and a flattened head on the short arm. The ball head is there to be used when you are first tightening a bolt that is in an awkward location. A good example of when to use a ball head is when first threading bolts into a frame to attach a water bottle cage. Since the cage is in the way, the standard head of the hex key might not fit into the bolt very well. The ball head allows you to spin the bolt with the wrench when the wrench is at an awkward angle. It is not recommended to use the ball head unless it is necessary. The ball head can easily strip out a bolt if not used properly. When tightening down a bolt completely, the short arm will give you more torque.

If you have any questions about hex wrenches for bike repairs, hop on a call or chat with one of our expert Gear Advisors today at 888-880-3811. They are always happy to help you with any questions you may have. Keep Pedaling!