Over the weekend I was swapping my front wheel on my motorcycle. I ran into a problem though. The right disc’s bolts were on a bit tighter than they were supposed to be. I’m thinking the bolt holes were a a touch undersize, maybe a few thousandths of a mm.

The thing is that the bit I was using — and had used bunches in the past — had a couple problems. These bits were from Lisle Tools. First off, and way more importantly, it snapped and ate the head of the bolt it was working on. The bit just fractured in two. Secondly I think it’s a bit undersized and it chewed up another one of the bolts as well.

Eventually I was able to Vice-Grip and torch the two stuck bolts off the wheel. That’s the marks you see on the side of the bolt. Look in the middle and you see the Torx pattern quite a ways from looking right.

That’s how it looked to start with. That’s one of the bolts I purchased this morning. (Yes, I tend to get spares…)

Re-assembling I was able to get proper torque with one of the bolts but the one that snapped the bit needed to get Vice-Grip-ed back on. They all had jam-nuts on the other side so I was rather un-worried about any of these bolts backing out on me. (BTW: that would be almost definitionally a Bad Thing)

On a Home Depot run for something unrelated I decided to pick up some low-budget Husky brand bits.

Looking at them closely it just looked better. It was no more than half the price of the Lisle set.

Today I got replacement bolts from Ride West BMW and after I got home I replaced the two jibbered bolts. I took the Vice Grips out with the expectation that I wouldn’t be able to pull them off without them.

But nope. It worked!

The Husky T-30 drive took it out no problem. While the Lisle set had no purchase on the bolt head the Husky set had no problems at all. Taking them off it didn’t even seem to struggle at all.

Comparing them in detail, the Husky set just seems to have sharper angles and less slop in general. The Lisle set seems second-rate at best.

The strangest thing is looking into the socket end, it just seems like porous metal.

The difference seems even bigger in the larger-sized T-55:

Neither of those T-55’s had any use on them at all. The shape and surface are straight from the factory. The angles on the Husky just seem more deliberate. It also seems to have more metal in general.

Of course if I could afford it (or at least justify it) I’d be all over a set of Snap-Ons.  :-D

(In case you were wondering why I have two sets of Lisle Torx bits — one set was my dad’s that I brought back from Hungary. In Lisle’s defense, they are sending me a new T-30 to replace the one that shattered.)