We continue our 25 Days of Sickness with a deep dive into some Park Tool P-Handle wrenches. Park Tool is a staple in the bike industry and inside we take a look at their hex wrench set and torx wrench set.
If you go into just about any bike shop today you will see these Park Tool P-Handle wrenches in their mechanics tool area and it’s for a good reason. The Park Tool P-Handle wrenches are often a go-to tool for shop mechanics and we’ll explore them more below. Check out our toolbox tour tag if you’re into mobile toolkits.
The P-Handle wrench sets are available in Hex/Allen format as well as Torx. Sizes include most everything you’ll find on a most bikes today
The Park Tool P-Handle sets include pegboard mounting hardware and a holder for the wrenches with labels for each size. The holder has been improved and is much easier to read now. The holder is also available separately (HXH-2P and HXH-2T).
The three holes on the front of the holder also allow you to install 3 additional wrenches like a 3 way, or other hex multitool.
The nylon handle is ergonomic and comfortable in the hand for all day use. Additional leverage can be placed on the long end and braced with your hand to provide good torque through the head for additional leverage if needed.
I have had a set since 2004 that are still going strong after all this time and are still well within spec.
The long end of the Hex/Allen is a ball end which allows you to maneuver the wrench into a fastener if it’s hard to reach.
You can get a good amount of torque this way but the straight end of the hex is a more ideal end to use for final torquing or initial release on a allen bolt in our experience.
Torx bits have become more common on bikes lately and Park Tool makes a similar style wrench to suit those fasteners as well (T6-t40 included).
Looking at the Torx wrenches in detail they take similar queues to the Hex/Allen set in form and function. Unlike the Hex set however, the torx bit on the long end of the wrench is straight and not a ball style.
There are a lot of hex wrenches to pick from today. They all offer benefits that vary depending on your needs. Beta, Craftsman, Husky, Silca, Tekton, PB Swiss, Feedback Sports, and many more.
A longer length hex wrench will give you more leverage / torque in a given situation and that can be good or bad depending on your needs so it’s not uncommon to want different types if you wrench on bikes a lot.
The ergonomic P-Handle wrench isn’t as easy to spin bolts as quickly as a traditional T-handle style wrench. The overall balance and ball-end of the tool can make it trickier to spin bolts quickly with the long end comparatively but you can spin bolts nicely by using the short end if there is ample room.
Park used to include a plastic sleeve on their P-handle wrenches that helped spin them a little bit but it also had its flaws as the rubber o-rings eventually fail and the sleeve can fall off. Check out the video for how that used to work above.
We love using these Park Tool wrenches as they are very useful in the workshop and in the field. They give good leverage in most every situation. The ball end has it’s plusses and minuses but works quite well for bikes.
The ball end is great for getting into tough to reach spots due to their ability to work off-center of the bolt but are not as confident for high-torque situations. To finish torque or release torque I often revert to the straight champfered end of the tool if conditions allow for it.
Tolerances on these P-Handle wrenches are still good on my set from 2003. The new ones measure evenly as well for the ones I checked. For example my 2003 4mm measured 3.97mm and the new ones I got measured 3.98mm on each of the 3 sides of the allen. If the tool is too big it won’t fit in the all bolt and if its not evenly spaced or too small across the 3 sides of the hex then you can round out a fastener.
Park Tool also makes their HT-6/ HT-8 (pictured below) / HT-10 that are more comfortable for torquing pedals and cranks easier compared to the P-Style wrenches you see here. Often bolts/pedals can benefit from the extra length of a deeper allen.
As far as updates to future Park’s P-handle wrench sets we wouldn’t mind seeing these updates in future revisions
Check back daily throughout the month of December as we post more content in our 25 days of Sickness!
Visit www.parktool.com to see their full range of tools