Topeak’s Ratchet Rocket Lite NTX+ takes all of the goodness found in its Ratchet Rocket series of multi-tools and throws a very useful TorqBit into the mix. While it’s a bit spendier than most pocket-sized torque wrenches, few carry the outright functionality of Topeak’s offering which has earned itself a rightful spot as one of the best bike multi-tools and torque wrenches you can buy. It’s also become the one tool I use before almost every ride.
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Topeak Ratchet Rocket Lite NTX+ - Technical details
The Ratchet Rocket Lite NTX+ gets much of what we’ve seen included in the Ratchet Rocket Lite DX+ but loses the tyre levers for Topeak’s TorqBit, a multi-torque version of the preset Nano TorqBit. This particular TorqBit offers a torque range of 2 to 6Nm, which covers most of the small cockpit and touch point bolts. As you can imagine, this tool shouldn’t go near pivot bolts or anything that requires a greater torque value.
As a part of the Rachet Rocket family, this version gets a very similar collection of tools with Allen bits ranging from 2 to 8mm, T10, T15, and T25 Torx bits, and a CrMo steel chain tool. All of which, apart from the chain tool is constructed from chrome vanadium steel.
Driving all of these bits is a small ratcheting handle. All of this sits in its own nylon carry pouch and weighs 248g. The pouch with everything contained measures 130 x 65mm.
It must be noted that the chain tool is compatible with all chains apart from hollow pin Campagnolo chains and that the torque adapter has a +/- 10% tolerance that's guaranteed for 5000 cycles.
Topeak Ratchet Rocket Lite NTX+ - Performance
The Ratchet Rocket NTX+ is best seen as a solid multitool but with a little more because there’s a capable torque wrench adapter included in the pack. But as it’s derived from the whole Ratchet Rocket formula, it’s actually an incredibly useful bit of kit.
During my time with this tool, I’ve primarily used it to torque stem bolts ahead of a ride but, because each of the Allen bits and the ratchet handle can be used independently of the torque unit, it can be used for anything, including unfastening bolts. This alone is seriously useful because generally, torque wrenches shouldn’t be used to unscrew bolts as it could cause premature damage to the tool.
And, as a standalone Allen key driver, the ratchet tool is excellent, offering ergonomics and speed of use that can’t be found on traditional hinged multitools. It’s small, too, so it can reach tough spots around the bike. But furthering this feature is that the chain tool’s handle is held in place magnetically, meaning that it can be removed and used as an extension for the ratchet handle, either on the end or in the mechanism to offer more leverage, or a longer reach respectively.
The tool’s exceptional leverage then stretches towards the use of the chain tool, where the ratchet handle, equipped with the 5mm Allen moves the chain tool’s pin. It’s great to see a big Allen used here as it can put up with the extra forces required to shift pins from a chain.
But this tool is really all about that TorqBit and while it has a bit of a niggle, it’s a super handy bit of kit to have, especially when combined with the rest of the pieces. The TorqBit sits in the ratchet handle’s head and the other end is magnetic, so it securely holds any Allen, Torx, and screwdriver bit you need.
Similar to more budget torque wrenches, to achieve proper torque using the TorqBit, you turn a screw, rotating the bit until a line marked on its body lines up with your chosen torque, marked alongside. This comes with two downsides: firstly, you’ll need to be careful not to over torque any bolts as there’s no break system or click built into this unit. The second, and the most irritating (though definitely too strong a word) is that it rotates with the ratchet system, so you’ll need to carefully engage the bolt in the right place in order to get a clear reading, without twisting your neck around the bike. This is a very minor bugbear, however, as the overall convenience of this tool more than makes up for it.
Topeak Ratchet Rocket Lite NTX+ - Verdict
With a price tag of £75, the Ratchet Rocket Lite NTX+ is pricier than many portable torque wrenches such as Lezyne’s rather lovely Pocket Torque Drive which is £65. However, the extra tenner is well worth spending as the Pocket Torque drive is more of a faff to assemble before use and it requires a tool to set the desired torque. It comes with a slimmer range of Allen bits and isn’t useful as a standalone multitool. On the other hand, it reaches its torque rating with a distinct click and there’s no chance you’ll over-tighten.
Similarities can be seen with Birzman’s Pocket Torque Wrench in that its torque is reached by sight and without a click but you’re getting less for your money. It has far fewer bits and doesn’t come with a chain tool. It can't be used as a standalone multitool either. Though it is small and compact, so it’ll definitely be handy in a home toolbox, or to keep in the glovebox.
Even though it costs more than its competitors, the Topeak Ratchet Rocket Lite NTX+ excels with its increased functionality and ergonomics. To call it just a torque wrench doesn’t do it any justice as it’s a multi-tool with a torque wrench function that’ll make it as useful a home in a guide’s backpack as it would in the back of the car. While it’s an excellent bit of kit, it’s not without a couple of small but forgivable quirks.