This seems to be my week to write about tools, and this minuscule ratchet is one mighty dragon slayer. It accepts the ubiquitous 1/4 inch bits, and makes inserting and extracting fasteners on a bike a quick and effortless process. It has become an indispensable tool in my armada, and I feel lost without it when I am on a ride.
The Prestaratchet is a reversible 1/4-inch drive mini ratchet wrench, and is made from steel with a plastic covered handle, weighs in at 28 grams, is approximately 110mm or 4 1/4″ long and retails for $12.95. The ratchet doesn’t come with any bits (bitless?), but they sell a chromed steel or professional hardened S2 steel bit set, which retail for $12.95 and $19.95, respectively. It is also available in kit versions, either as the Prestaratchet and normal bits for $19.95, and Prestaratchet and the PRO Bits for $29.95.
- Weight – 30.6 grams
- Length – 107mm
The handle has a nice shape and fit, and the plastic has a slight give and good tactile feel, and don’t slip during usage, even with wet and sweaty hands. There is a knurled wheel on the head, that can be used to apply precise and quick tightening, which is handy when the fastener is loose. There is a small lever to change the ratchets direction, and it worked well, although when swinging and rotating the tool around in your hands, it would occasionally revert to the other direction. The tool worked nicely, since its small size meant you can use it one handed, twisting things on with the knurled wheel and switching direction, both easily within your fingers reach, and use your other hand for holding components, etc.
This was my main go-to tool while out on rides, and although I still brought my multi-tool for backups, I rarely pulled it out unless I was breaking a chain. For the vast majority of the bolts on my bike, I found that only needed the 3, 4 and 5mm hex (maybe 6mm) and T25 Torx bits, so those are the ones I brought with me. I usually carry one bit in the ratchet itself, and the other three I place into a cutoff portion of the red rubber carrier that the bits came in. When I am using it in the field in this manner, I make sure the bits get swapped in and out properly from the carrier, and by following that scenario, I have yet to lose a bit. The tool comes in the handiest when you are making minor adjustments to the stem, handlebars and seatpost, especially the latter while on a ride. It has also been very beneficial when tightening up rotor bolts, as the shallow height makes it easy to fit between chainstays and forks. It’s not a torque wrench, so care must be taken when using it to tighten delicate parts, and it’s out of place for high-torque jobs, since the lever arm is too minuscule . I was amazed though at how much torque I could apply to big bolts on saddle clamps, and a lot of force could be applied for such a small tool.
I primarily use the Prestaratchet in the field, and in my home shop I tend to use my small battery powered screwdriver for extraction and insertion of bolts, and do the final tightening with my CDI Preset Torque Limiting T-Handle for precise torque settings. On occasion I will use the ratchet in-house, as it does make doing everything quick and simple. The extensions are quite useful when doing some convoluted tightening, such as back through the spokes or when something is deeply recessed. The chrome-plated hardened steel bits are well cut (much like me), and never tore or sheared any bolt heads, and have been durable and have stayed sharp without any round over. The bits were short, so it sometimes made extraction from the ratchet head difficult, especially when wearing gloves. The bit sets come with a great assortment of types and sizes, including 7 common metric hex, 7 Torx, 5 screwdriver, a 1/4 inch adapter, and 4 extensions. I really only used the hex, Torx T25 and the magnetic bit extension, so the screwdrivers and the rest of the Torx seemed superfluous?
Bit set – sizes and types:
- Hex: 2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 8mm
- Torx: T6, T8, T10, T15, T20,T25, T30
- 100mm extension arms: 4mm and 5mm hex ball head, T25 TORX, magnetic bit
- Screwdrivers: PH0, PH1, PH2, 1/8 flat, 3/16 flat
- Additional: 1/4 Socket adapter
The Prestacycle Prestaratchet mini ratchet is an excellent little tool, that is easy to use, and makes a fast job of fastener extraction and insertion. The small size makes one-handed use a no brainer, and the quick turning knurled wheel and reversing lever are within easy reach, though on occasion, I hit the lever, and it would revert to the other direction.
It has become an indispensable tool on my riding forays, and is also very handy in the home shop.
- Small – one handed operation
- Easy to use
- Quick fastener extraction and insertion
- Can apply an amazing amount of torque
- Reversing lever occasionally moves
- Bit set seems overkill
- Bits are too short and can be tough to extract
Prestaratchet Rating: 4.5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers
Bit Set Rating: 4 Flamin’ Chili Peppers
- Prestaratchet $12.95
- Bit set $12.95
- PRO bit set $19.95
- Prestaratchet and bits $19.95
- Prestaratchet and PRO bits $29.95