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The Knipex Pliers Wrench M-Grips might sound better in German – the internet tells me it's Knipex Zangenschlüssel – but none of the typically German engineering gets lost in translation. This is basically a very well-made adjustable spanner crossed with waterpump pliers, with clever sliding jaws that always stay parallel. The 10:1 leverage means you can exert some serious torque with it, both as a spanner and as an impromptu vice.
These are hardly vital for bicycle use – you can get very nice spanners for less than £80, should you even need them – but if you like to tinker and maintain things in general, they're extremely useful to have around.
Having a ratchet for adjusting the width (press the button, slide the lower jaw, release to lock) isn't really any quicker than using an adjustable spanner's worm drive, but the plier handles do give you a much tighter fit. These are far less likely to slip and round off your bolts.
The head is smaller than an adjustable's too, if you're working in limited spaces... though the correct spanner would be smaller still. Still, you can really crank on bolts and nuts extremely hard without just levering your fingers apart – the gearing makes it very easy.
One downside is that working with long threads is fiddly: you have to release and re-grip with the handles each time you reposition, and with no spring to push the jaws apart/the handles into your fingers, that requires some dexterity. An adjustable or a regular spanner is easier.
The 'M-Grip' part refers to the handles, because there are two choices: these big, shaped ones or a simpler thin plastic coating. I tested the thinly coated ones too (shown below), and while these ergonomic M-Grips are comfier under heavy pressure, I actually found the thinner ones easier to manipulate. There's more room between the handles to curl a little finger in as a return spring. The non-M-Grip version is £5 cheaper, too.
These are excellent as a vice just for holding things you're working on, and because the jaws are smooth and sit parallel, they won't leave marks the way vice grips will (or let objects twist, the way regular pliers will). They're particularly great for holding and bending small pieces of sheet metal.
The construction is lovely: the components are very strong and don't bend, the shaping is very crisp, and the colourful handles are entirely secure – there's nothing worse than sleeves that slide and spin under pressure. You can even buy the locking mechanism as a spare. Overall quality is great.
As well as wishing for a return spring, I found these just slightly too small for my hands. Still, Knipex doesn't mess around (it is really German, in case you were wondering, based not far from Düsseldorf in Wuppertal) and also supplies these in 180, 200, 250, 300 and 400mm lengths. It does 100mm and 125mm versions if you want smaller.
There is also, because Knipex is nothing if not exhaustive, a 150mm version with roughened jaws if you do want grip that's more like regular pliers. And we also have the Mini Wrench Pliers on test – full review to come.
At £79.99 via Knipex's UK distributor, Chicken CycleKit, these aren't cheap. You can get a decent 150mm adjustable for a lot less; the RS PRO Adjustable Spanner is £13.03, for instance, while the King Dick Black Phosphate 6in is £16.48 (yes, really... funny name, but they're British and extremely good).
Alternatively, you could buy a decent set of spanners, such as the 11-piece Draper Expert Hi-Torq Metric Combination Spanner Set, for £29.87, plus the Imperial version for £38, and still be under the asking price of this Knipex.
Obviously, you're not getting the handy vice function with these options, though you can use an adjustable to bend sheet metal. It's not nearly as secure or easy, however.
Despite this, I don't personally feel the value here is bad – this tool is extremely well made, it does what it's supposed to do extremely well, and in reality it's available for a lot less money. Plus it has the quality to last a very long time.
At the time of writing, Knipex was selling them direct for £61.50 via its UK Amazon store, then discounting that to £49.99.
Though arguably of only very occasional use on a typical bicycle – especially a modern road bike – this plier-handled wrench is a very handy tool to have in your garage, workshop or shed. It's effective, very well made and the sort of thing that, on those occasions you need it, is an absolute boon.
Clever, high-quality adjustable spanner with a great high-leverage grip, but expensive for its niche use
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road.cc test report
Make and model: KNIPEX Pliers Wrench M-Grips 150mm
Size tested: 150mm
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Knipex says: "Pliers and a wrench in a single tool.
Replaces the need for sets of metric and imperial spanners
Smooth jaws for damage free installation of plated fittings - working directly on chrome!
Also excellent for gripping, holding, pressing and bending workpieces
Zero backlash jaw pressure prevents damage to edges of sensitive components
Push the button for adjustment on the workpiece
No unintentional shift of the gripping jaws and no slipping of the joint
Parallel jaws give a more solid grip; its design allows flexible adjustment of all widths up to the specified maximum
The ratchet type principle allows quick and easy tightening and release of all bolted connections
Lever transmission greater than 10 : 1 for strong gripping power
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Handles: plastic coated
Weight: 175 g
Dimensions: 150 x 50 x 25mm
REACH compliant: does not contain SVHC
RoHS compliant: not applicable
Jaw thickness (joint) (B2): 7.0 mm
Joint thickness (B3): 10.5 mm
Tips thickness (B1): 4.7 mm
Adjustment positions: 14
Capacities for nuts: Ø 1 Inch
Capacities for nuts: 27 mm
This chunkily-gripped version is worth the extra £5.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well - these bite down securely and with considerable force on fasteners or anything else, and don't leave marks.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The quality and leverage.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Could use a return spring.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
We haven't reviewed many adjustable spanners or pliers, but this is expensive compared to most typical versions of either.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes - at the current discount.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
This spanner is very well made and does what it's supposed to do very well. Really the only things going against it are the price, its slight ungainliness if you're winding a long bolt in or out, and – in our case – just how rarely you'll need it on a road bike.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,