Ask any mechanic, and they probably have a favorite set of allen wrenches they immediately head for when working on a bike. Having the right tools can mean zipping through a repair, or struggling to get it done, even when it comes to allen wrenches. The Birzman T-Bar could be considered more of a prosumer product due to the price, but if you’re looking to outfit your home workshop, the set is worth a look.
Made from Chrome Vanadium tool steel, each wrench is completed with a Satin Chrome finish. In addition to the labels on the tool cradle, each wrench is labeled twice, both on the shaft and on the ABS handle. Each set comes with a 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10mm allen wrench plus a T25 torx driver.
One of my favorite design features of the Birzman set is the shape. Usually I reach for my set of Allen T-wrenches, which have a true T shape unlike Park’s P-handle wrenches. I find the T shape to be more balanced, especially when spinning the wrench quickly to remove a fastener. The Birzman wrenches are closer in shape to the T-wrench than the P-wrench which means they are also a bit better balanced with the addition of the second wrench head.
Each of the Birzman T-wrenches lives up to its claim of being easy to use – the ball end makes getting into tight spaces a breeze, and the short end with a standard flat tip provides the necessary torque when needed, espeically on the 8 and 10mm. The form factor of the hand only adds to the experience.
Compared to most other ball end allen wrenches though, the Birzman wrenches can present an issue with the right fastener. Over the entire course of the review, the only time I ran into trouble was on the steerer clamp bolts for a RaceFace stem where the ball end wouldn’t stay seated. As far as I can tell this is due to the Birzman wrenches having a rounded tip instead of it being squared off like Bondhus or Park. This means that if the fastener’s hex socket isn’t deep enough, the wrench won’t properly engage with the bolt. As mentioned, this only presented itself as an issue with the 5mm wrench on a single bolt, but it’s something that could be easily remedied with a small design change.
We spoke with Birzman about the issue and they said it would be addressed. Also, our set of wrenches was a 2013 model and Birzman has an updated set on the way.
Bottom line is I really like these wrenches and will continue to use them, but the ball end is a bit of bummer. It’s actually incredibly easy to remedy – just pass a file over the tip to flatten the point, but you shouldn’t have to do that with a brand new wrench set. The wrenches retail for $169.99, but you can find this particular set selling for around $74-84.99.