MXA TEAM TESTED: SUPERLITE TITANIUM T-HANDLE TOOL SET
WHAT IS IT? The Superlite Titanium T-handles were made for factory mechanics looking to lighten their race-day backpacks and for the guy who likes to have the coolest setup in the pits. Superlite started by making titanium bolt kits in the UK, and now it’s breaking into the American market with factory Pro Circuit Kawasaki mechanic Olly Stone importing its products to the USA. Olly, who wrenches for Austin Forkner, was born and raised in England and came to the States to live his dream of being a factory mechanic.
WHAT’S IT COST? $400.00
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Superlite titanium T-handle toolset.
(1) History. Superlite titanium was created by Rob Walters, a life-long industry insider from the United Kingdom who has worked as a race mechanic and is known in the USA as the Smith goggle rep in AMA Supercross and motocross, as well as the MXGP World Championship. Rob, better known as “Doc Wob,” builds one-off vintage race bikes in England, and he often had trouble finding all the bolts he needed for his exotic projects. Consequently, Superlite titanium was born. Originally created to complete special projects, it now provides titanium bolts for top teams like the Factory Yamaha MXGP teams, and many factory mechanics use its T-Handles in both Europe and the USA.
(2) Concept. The Superlite titanium kit has 6mm, 8mm, 10mm, 12mm, 13mm and 14mm T-handle wrenches to cover all the bases on Japanese and Austrian brands. The 6mm and 13mm T-handles are required for European bikes. Every decent mechanic already has a set of T-handles, but factory mechanics want the $400 Superlite Titanium T-handles for two reasons: (1) They’re lighter, thus easier to carry in a tool bag with spare goggles, a water bottle, pit board and other miscellaneous parts mechanics carry to and from the track, and (2) they’ve got the factory style that matches the titanium axles and bolts on their bikes.
(3) Construction. The Superlite titanium T-handles aren’t only lightweight and cool-looking, they’re constructed using the highest-quality aerospace materials and welding procedures as well. Made from Grade 5 Ti6-4 (Ti6AL-4V) titanium alloy, they have CNC-machined tips and are welded together to aerospace specifications (AWS D17.1).
(4) Weight. The 10mm Superlite T-handle weighs 133 grams (4.7 ounces), which is 183 grams (6.4 ounces) lighter than a Motion Pro chrome vanadium T-handle at 316 grams (11.1 ounces). The 13mm Superlite T-handle weighs 220 grams (7.8 ounces) compared to 334 grams (11.8 ounces) for a chrome vanadium version.
(5) Options. Currently, Superlite offers titanium bolt kits and titanium T-handles but is already working on custom aluminum T-handle holders; half kits with only 8mm, 10mm and 12mm T-handles for mechanics who only work with Japanese bikes; and stubby-version 8mm, 10mm, 12mm T-handles per request from factory mechanics who want to store smaller T-handles in their race-day backpacks that they take to the starting line.
(6) Performance. If your bolts are on tight, the titanium T-handles will flex when trying to break it loose. Some picky mechanics didn’t like this, others didn’t mind the flex because they were enamored by the fact that they were using $400 T-handles.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? The lightweight T-handles don’t carry the same momentum when rapidly spinning them to install or remove a bolt. They also flex more than aluminum T-handles. It didn’t bother us, but it took some time to get used to.
MXA RATING: The Superlite titanium T-handles won’t give you the knowledge of a factory mechanic, but they’ll certainly give others the impression that you’re a top-grade technician. Some MXA test riders love them; others scoff at the idea of paying $400 for a set of T-handles. Love ’em or hate ’em, it’s a great marketing tool for a new company trying to make a splash in America.