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Bicycle parts tightening torque (N⋅m) specifications

This is a list of recommended bicycle parts tightening torques that have worked well for me so far. Briefly put, I’m answering the question: “how much should I tighten the bolts on my bicycle?
A separate article explains the recommended bicycle maintenance service intervals.

If you have any questions (or additions and corrections), please use the BikeGremlin forum:
www.bikegremlin.net

Follow manufacturers’ instruction – this list is primarily for my own reference and I’ll take no responsibility for any readers using it.

Table Of Contents (T.O.C.):

TL/DR

  1. What is a tightening torque?
  2. Recommended bicycle part tightening torques
    2.1. Frame, seatposts, saddles, stems
    2.2. Handlebars and levers
    2.3. Wheels, cassettes, hubs
    2.4. Brakes
    2.5. Derailleurs
    2.6. Bottom brackets
    2.7. Pedals, cranks, front chainrings
  3. Gates Carbon drive – belt systems


TL/DR

Here, I’ve explained how much you should tighten each bolt on your bicycle, how to measure that (before cracking your expensive carbon parts or stripping any threads), and why that is important.

– T.O.C. –


1. What is a tightening torque?

And why does it matter?

When we are pushing something, we can talk about force (force, work, and power explained – video). However, tightening nuts and bolts requires some force applied in a circular direction, so there we are talking about torque.

I’ve made a video explaining what torque is:
Torque and power – basics explained

What happens when we are tightening a bolt? It stretches, acting as a kind of a rubber band, as it presses the joined parts together, creating what’s called a preload.

Too much preaload can damage a bolt, while too little preload can lead to a bolt loosening due to vibrations and other forces. In this video I’ve explained the bolted joints, and the importance of having an optimal preload and tightening torques:
Bolted connection and tightening torque basics

Now, when we are tightening a bolt, we can’t directly measure how much preload is created, but what we can measure is the tightening torque. We can feel the torque by hand, and a precise way to measure it is using torque wrenches.

In detail video about torque wrenches:

How to use a torque wrench and do you really need it?
How to use a torque wrench and do you really need it?

Update, November 2023:
Most of the topics from the above-linked videos are covered and explained in my article:
Tightening torque and torque wrenches explained – 101

When we apply the same torque to a lubricated bolt, it will create more preload compared to a dry, non-lubricated bolt. In the article about mounting (anti-seize) pastes, I’ve explained how the use of mounting pastes affects the recommended tightening torque. All the tightening torques shown in this article are given for joints lubricated with mounting paste.

– T.O.C. –


2. Recommended tightening torque list

The torque list is logically sorted by the parts of a bicycle where the respective components are located. All the values are given with a consideration that mounting (anti-seize) paste is used.

Follow manufacturers’ instruction – this list is primarily for my own reference and I’ll take no responsibility for any readers using it.

The torques are provided in Newton-metres (N⋅m), and here’s an online N⋅m to inch-pound converter.
1 N⋅m = 8.851 x in-lb (N⋅m to inch-pounds)
1 N⋅m = 0.74 x ft-lb (N⋅m to foot-pounds)
1 ft-lb = 12 x in-lb (foot-pounds to inch-pounds)

Adjusting a torque wrench to a specified torque (5 N⋅m in this case)
Adjusting a torque wrench to a specified torque (5 N⋅m in this case)

– T.O.C. –


2.1. Frame, seatposts, saddles, stems

Component (part)N⋅m
Threaded fork headset locknut15
Quill-stem fixing bolt (on threaded forks)16
Ahead (threadless) stem steering column pinch bolts *5 *
Stem to handlebars interface with 4 bolts *5 *
Stem to handlebars interface with 1 or 2 bolts *14 *
Seatpost pinch bolt *4 *
Saddle to seatpost mount *16 *
* There are great variations for different models and manufacturers – check the manufacturer’s instructions or look for a torque specification on the component


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– T.O.C. –


2.2. Handlebars and levers

Component (part)N⋅m
Road bike STI (brake/shifter levers)6
Flat bar brake levers5
Flat bar shifters4.5
MTB bar ends *7 *
Handlebars to stem mount – see chapter 2.1.
* There are great variations for different models and manufacturers – check the manufacturer’s instructions or look for a torque specification on the component

– T.O.C. –


2.3. Wheels, cassettes, hubs

Component (part)N⋅m
Quick-release camVideo
Full axle wheel nuts25
Cassette lockring35
Cup-and-cone hub lockring12
Freehub body to hub mount35

– T.O.C. –


2.4. Brakes

Component (part)N⋅m
Road bike brake calipers to frame mount8
V-brake and cantilever brakes7
Disc brake caliper to frame7
Brake pads – threaded mount (V-brake, road etc.)6
Brake pads – smooth stud mount (old-style cantilever)7
Disc brake pads retaining bolt3
Disc (“rotor”) lockring mount40
Disc (“rotor”) 6-bolt mount5
Cable pinch bolt6
Hydraulic hoses – olive, and caliper end mounts with 3 mm hex-key
Caliper end mounts with 4 mm hex-key
6
8

– T.O.C. –


2.5. Derailleurs

Component (part)N⋅m
Front derailleur clamp5
Front derailleur to clamp/brazed-on mount5
Front derailleur shifter cable pinch bolt5
Rear derailleur hanger to frame5
Rear derailleur to hanger8
Rear derailleur shifter cable pinch bolt5
Rear derailleur pulley wheel bolt3

– T.O.C. –


2.6. Bottom brackets

Component (part)N⋅m
Cup-and-cone cups – right30
Cup-and-cone cups – left, locknut25
Square-taper, Octalink, ISIS, and Power Spline cartridges50
Hollowtech II cups40
Campagnolo Ultra-Torque cups50

– T.O.C. –


2.7. Pedals, cranks, front chainrings

Component (part)N⋅m
Pedals into cranks35
Square taper, Octalink, ISIS, and Power Spline crank mounting bolts40
Race Face right crank mounting bolt50
Hollowtech II, and FSA MegaExo left crank mounting cap1.5
Shimano left crank mounting bolt on BBs with adjustable preload
(like XTR M9100)
45
Hollowtech II, and FSA MegaExo left crank pinch bolts10
Race Face right crank cap for self-extraction15
Chainring mounting bolt – steel10
Chainring mounting bolt – aluminium8
Chainrings with a lockring mounting system (like cassettes)40

– T.O.C. –


3. Gates Carbon drive – belt systems

Here is a chart with optimal belt tensions:

Optimal belt tension for Gates belt drive systems
Optimal belt tension for Gates belt drive systems

This is a tool suitable for measuring the tension:

A tool for measuring Gates Carbon Drive belt tension
A tool for measuring Gates Carbon Drive belt tension

Here is where you can buy this tool (Germany, where else? 🙂 )

If you have any questions (or additions and corrections), please use the BikeGremlin forum:
www.bikegremlin.net

– T.O.C. –



4 thoughts on “Bicycle parts tightening torque (N⋅m) specifications”

  1. Relja, is there any, or specific, reason you did not discuss “dial gauge” torque wrenches? Given all things equal (care and maintenance) do you have an opinion regarding the use dial gauge torque wrenches over “click” type wrenches? I assume click will inherently go out of calibration easier and faster, due to internal design, than dial gauge units.

    • Hi Christian,

      Well noticed. 🙂

      Those are not very popular among mechanics in my city – I suppose the local pricing and availability of remotely-decent ones plays a big part in that (very few bike shops have any kind of torque wrench for that matter). Out of sight – out of mind as they say. It’s a mistake on my part for overlooking to discuss and explain the pros and cons.

      If I manage to source one for demonstration, I’ll make a follow-up video on dial gauge torque wrenches.

      Relja

  2. Hi Christian,

    I have a Contoura AL12 bike with a Gates Carbon Drive. The belt temsion is adjusted by slackening 2 sets of allen bolts which then allow the wheel to move backwards or forwards accordingly.

    I cannot find a torque setting for these bolts anywhere, can yo help please?
    Kind regards
    Phil

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