I cut my teeth as a mechanic wearing a blue Shimano shop apron with a Park Y-wrench in my right hand. Somewhere along the line I figured out how not to wind up slathered in buff-colored Campy grease or (worse) the black of road grime chain lube sludge. The upshot is that I outgrew the need for a shop apron, though they never really stopped being handy for keeping tools within reach at all times.
What I didn’t think would ever change was the usefulness of the Park Y-wrench. Of course, it’s not that 4-, 5- or 6mm Allen bolts are no longer used (well, the 6mm has gotten rather rare); rather, the materials from which those bolts are made and the objects they seek to secure have gotten as delicate as the attitude of a two-year-old child shy on sleep. I’m just sayin’.
I still have two Park Y-wrenches; one has got to be nearly 20 years old. It’s still useful, but the need to use a torque wrench to secure most of the bolts on my bikes means that when I’m doing bike work I keep the Effetto Mariposa Giustaforza torque wrench in my back pocket with the 4mm bit inserted and the 5mm bit in my pocket as well.
That I struggle to secure seat binder bolts to arcane torque ratings such as 5.4Nm seems ridiculous. I don’t fault the torque wrench which seems reasonably precise. I just wonder who came up with these crazed ratings and why. I mean, aren’t they using all the same torque wrenches as the rest of us? I can barely tell the difference between 6- and 7Nm, but it doesn’t stop me from doing my diligent best.
I’ll admit $175 is a lot to spend on a tool that doesn’t require an electrical outlet. However, I see the tool not for its expense, but its savings. What this could save a rider in frames, seatposts, handlebars and stems (and even some saddles these days) is far more than the cost of this one tool. Think of it as an insurance plan with a single payment.
A few years ago I reviewed the Effetto Mariposa Giustaforza for BKW. Absolutely nothing has changed since I reviewed it, but I came to the conclusion that if I plan to offer as many gear reviews as possible between now and the end of the gift-buying season, I ought to include a few items whose usefulness transcends their newness.
For riders doing even modest work on their bikes, I believe the versatility of the tool and education in just what constitutes tight makes it as indispensable as a water bottle.
If you’re shopping for the cyclist in your life, this thing isn’t an extravagance, but the clearest possible way you can find to tell your loved one that you care that he or she rides on a properly maintained (read safe) bicycle.