First Impressions: Morningstar Drumstix Rotor Tools

We regret to inform GRAVELBIKE’s readers that Paul Morningstar passed away recently in Bodfish, California. Our sympathies go out to Paul’s friends and family.

If you ride a disc brake-equipped bike, eventually you will encounter a warped or–worse–bent rotor. The offending blip could be the result of overheating, an unexpected dismount (aka, crash), or poor manufacturing tolerances. Regardless of the problem’s origin, a bent rotor can lead to brake squeal, accelerated brake pad wear, and in some cases, inconsistent braking.

Fixing a bent or warped rotor is a relatively simple process. You identify the problem area, and then adjust–or tune–the rotor in the the desired direction. If that sounds like a fancy way of saying bending, you’re right. While the process may sound simple, having the right tools for the job definitely reduces the likelihood of error and frustration. MorningStar Tools’ Drumstix III tuning forks are an effective and affordable ($29) alternative to the pliers and adjustable wrenches used by many home mechanics to true their rotors.

MorningStar Tools’ Drumstix III rotor tuning tools.

Introduced in 2003, the patent-pending Drumstix tuning forks feature precision, heat-treated construction, and are compatible with rotors up to 2.1mm thick. The tools’ unique jaw design provides a secure, slip-free grip, but won’t scratch or mar the rotors’ braking surfaces. For maximum versatility, MorningStar includes a built-in bottle opener to enable the enjoyment of liquid refreshments.

To test the Drumstix tuning forks, I installed an older pair of rotors that had seen their fair share of abuse. With the aid of the Drumstix’s instructions and helpful photos on the MorningStar site, I was able to true both rotors in about 10-15 minutes. Tuning the first rotor took a bit of trial-and-error, but once I was familiar with the tools’ use, the procedure took only a few minutes. For on-the-trail/road repairs, MorningStar offers the compact T/Rale Tool ($16) which doubles as a tire lever.

Disclosure: MorningStar Tools provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation for this review.

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