Which Vernier caliper?

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by winjim, 10 Jan 2018.

  1. winjim

    winjim A youth of interminable age

    2018 brings with it a burning desire to measure things with a greater level of precision. In fact, you could say it's a new year's resolution. To that end, I'm going to buy a Vernier caliper. But which one?

    My initial thoughts are that a range of 0-150mm and a precision of 0.05mm should be fine for bike work. Does that sound about right? Any brands I should look out for / avoid?

    Advice welcome, although obviously recommendations for dial or digital calipers will be met with the contempt they deserve.
  2. Profpointy

    Profpointy Guru

    The top makes are arguably Mitutoyo and Moore and Wright.

    Although I've only got traditional ones, there is a lot to be said for the digital ones apparently.

    Alternatively sets of 3 micrometers covering 0-25, 25-50, 50-75 come up on fleabay from time to time - same makes recommended
    winjim likes this.
  3. smutchin

    smutchin Cat 6 Racer

    The Red Enclave
    I got a £20 own-brand digital one from Halfords some years ago. It works well enough for my needs.

    Probably depends what you want it for - mine gives readings to 100ths of millimetres, which is a greater level of precision than I ever need, so it doesn't matter if it's not 100% accurate.
    winjim likes this.
  4. Leaway2

    Leaway2 Guru

    Manchester (Sale)
  5. smutchin

    smutchin Cat 6 Racer

    The Red Enclave
    Gravity Aided and gbb like this.
  6. OP

    winjim A youth of interminable age

    I put them on a par with electronic gearsets. They are an abomination and must be destroyed with fire. I can see why some people like to use them but they're not for me. I like to keep things mechanical.

    Yes, I've seen the prices of the Mitutoyo ones. I noticed M&W do a three piece set with Vernier calipers, micrometer and steel rule which they market as being value for money, but it seems to me that it's more expensive than buying each tool individually. That kind of puts me off them as a brand.

    I do have a nice micrometer but it's rather old and measures in inches.

    I enjoy tinkering with bikes as much as riding them, so I'll get a lot of pleasure from using a nicely made tool. And the Vernier scale is a lovely elegant piece of engineering.
    Alan O, Dogtrousers and Leaway2 like this.
  7. Pale Rider

    Pale Rider Guru

    I have a CK branded vernier which must be about 30 years old.

    I've long since forgotten how to read it, but it still comes in handy for comparison.

    Last time was a seat post, which I 'measured', took the tool to the shop and used it to find the correct one.

    Still made and available for about a tenner.

    winjim likes this.
  8. wonderloaf

    wonderloaf Über Member

    Ajax Bay and winjim like this.
  9. smutchin

    smutchin Cat 6 Racer

    The Red Enclave
    Yes, elegant is definitely the right word.

    I mainly use mine for measuring seatposts and tyre widths; and hub dimensions when wheelbuilding. Very handy thing to have in the toolbox.
    Ajax Bay and winjim like this.
  10. Profpointy

    Profpointy Guru

    Whilst a handy thing for measuring bits of timber or bolt heads it's not really a proper vernier caliper. Not being poohy but it is more a rough and ready tool, though does have a place
    Last edited: 10 Jan 2018
  11. youngoldbloke

    youngoldbloke The older I get, the faster I used to be ...

    Lidl sell digital ones every so often. Around a tenner IIRC. I don't know how accurate, but it has served well to measure seatpost/steerer/h.bar/seat tube etc diameters. If you're not in a hurry might be worth waiting for them to turn up again.
  12. Reiver

    Reiver Legendary Member

    Absolutely, there is just a pure joy using the vernier gauge. a clever and simple concept that works so well.

    what ever one you get make sure it has a depth gauge.
    Alan O and winjim like this.
  13. flake99please

    flake99please Make mine a '99'

    The ones which crop up in Lidl/Aldi from time to time will be more than accurate enough to take measurements for wear from chains, disc brake rotors, et cetera.
    Ajax Bay and raleighnut like this.
  14. slowmotion

    slowmotion Quite dreadful

    lost somewhere
    I've had a Mitutoyo 150mm Vernier caliper for thirty-five years. I also have a Screwfix Forge Steel one that costs £13. I can't tell the difference in terms of accuracy but the Mitutoyo one is far nicer to use.

    BTW, both have a stated accuracy of 0.02mm, not that I ever need it.
    Last edited: 10 Jan 2018
    keithmac and winjim like this.
  15. C R

    C R Über Member

    I was looking for the same, and found this on ebay:


    The non-digital one is only £4.99, but it isn't clear if it has a case, and is only metric, the digital versions have also imperial. I think for the price it is worth a try, and I have ordered one.

    I am not a luddite by any means, but the beauty and elegance of the vernier system is lost when using a digital caliper.
    winjim likes this.
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