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Wolf Tooth 8-Bit Pliers

7
£76.00

VERDICT:

7
10
A premium tool for chain and tubeless valve work, with a good selection of bits and a high-torque swivel head
Super-strong swivel head
All the tubeless valve functions
Compact
Lovely finish
Magnetic bits don't hold well
Weight: 
71g

The Wolf Tooth 8-Bit Pack Pliers are a quality bit of kit, as you'd expect from the high-end US brand. The unique pivoting bit head is able to act as both screwdriver and wrench – unfortunately, the magnetic bit retention and custom design detracts from what would otherwise be a great tool.

Wolf Tooth is based in Minnesota, USA, and makes pretty much everything locally to exacting specifications. This shows in the fit and finish of the 8-Bit Pliers – they feel every bit a premium product. With bike design and functions under constant evolution, it's hardly surprising that new tools are required to suit new needs. The almost infinite variability in requirement and rider use case makes for fruitful ground to grow a crop of unique tools, and the 8-Bit Pliers epitomise this trend.

> Find your nearest dealer here

The 8-Bit is best assessed as a combination chain quick-link and tubeless valve tool, with 11 fastener bits thrown in for good measure using a funky swivel head base.

Starting with the most obvious use, the chain pliers make short work of even a stiff quick link. Yes, there are various tricks you can use to remove a quick link such as a shoelace, pair of pliers (if you have them) or rock against your chainring if you can get the link set up just right. But the most couth way is to use a proper set of chain pliers, as we have here.

2021 Wolf Tooth 8-Bit Pliers 6.jpg

The pliers have curved outer edges so you can reinstall a link, but this is kind of superfluous as, if your link is still new, the amount of force needed to snap it into place will require that you resort to the tried and tested method of putting the link at the top of the chain run between cassette and chainring, and pushing down on the pedals to tighten it.

> Do you need a new chain? Find out the easy way to tell

The pliers feature a second section for tightening or loosening a tubeless valve locknut. This works well enough, with one caveat: the section that grips the locknut is recessed by just under 3mm on either side, meaning if your locknut is slim you might not be able to get enough purchase to do the job. Also, you might not be that keen on possibly scratching your rims, but that's a personal issue. Where I had slim locknuts I was able to get action using the front of the plier jaws intended for chain links.

Continuing the tubeless valve functionality, on the back of the pliers there's a tiny valve core tool that doubles as a 3.3mm spoke wrench, and can be used in the swivel head for more leverage. It's held in place with a pretty strong magnet that doubles to hold in place a spare chain quick link (not supplied) on the other side.

> Tubeless tyres: 14 hidden pitfalls you should try to avoid

Anyone who's lived with tubeless valves for a while is likely to have come across a blocked valve body, in addition to a blocked valve core. While less likely than a blocked core, such an occurrence could spoil your day out, so Wolf Tooth has included a knurled metal rod that can be held with your fingertips and used to clear out any obstructing sealant. The depth it's good for is about 40mm, so if you're running deep-section rims with, say, 60mm valves it might not be enough – in which case a slim zip-tie is an easy alternative to carry. Again the rod is held in place by a magnet.

2021 Wolf Tooth 8-Bit Pliers 2.jpg

The remainder of the 8-Bit pliers' functions are centred on the ball-jointed swivel head. This is an 8mm hex in its own right, and is capable of up to 40Nm of torque – likely more than enough to tighten or remove a recalcitrant pedal, or tighten an 8mm crank bolt if you're running that sort of setup. As the pliers are smooth and the same 10mm in width as many shop tools designed for leverage, it's possible to comfortably put a fair bit of force through them with your hand.

2021 Wolf Tooth 8-Bit Pliers 5.jpg

Set into the 8mm hex head is a 4mm hex hole, which the six supplied bits slot into. This is smaller than standard tool bits, which are 1/4in (6.3mm) drives, so you can't mix and match with other 1/4in bits if you want a size not provided, like a T15, T20 or T30 bit. However, 4mm is a standard drive size for low-torque tool bits used in fine engineering applications, easily found from brands like Wiha under its 'Micro Bit' label if you shop around.

Wolf Tooth has provided 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5 and 6mm hex bits, the first four being on double-ended bits to save space. Likewise, the T10/25 and Phillips #2/3.5 Flat Head bits are double-ended. If you need a bit that's not provided you're likely to find it without too much trouble. Whether it will be of the right dimension to fit into the 8-Bit pliers receptacle is another question. The bits are only 12mm long once inserted into the 8mm head – so if you have a rather deep fastener to reach, say inside a rear derailleur mounting, you might find it doesn't reach. In this case a 4mm bit extender would save the day, and a simple 4mm to 1/4in-drive adapter would let you use any bit you liked.

2021 Wolf Tooth 8-Bit Pliers 3.jpg

All six bits are retained using magnets, with a hole in the back where the 6mm one lives to aid popping it out. You then use that one removed bit to lever out any others you need. This is darn fiddly in the cold, with gloves on.

The bits are retained in the socket by yet another a magnet – that's six magnets so far, and I'd recommend keeping the 8-Bit pliers away from any compass you might be relying on for navigation. If you're using the tool for low-torque applications this is fine, but if you need to really crank down – for example, on a saddle bolt – you may find that the bit falls out as it's partially retained by the fastener you were cranking on. On one occasion adjusting a new saddle, I dropped the 6mm bit in the trailside mud twice. This obviously isn't an issue with actual hex keys, or with bits retained by mechanical means such as in the Feedback Sports Range tool. The one improvement I'd suggest Wolf Tooth makes is to ditch the magnet and go with a mechanical bit retainer.

If you lose a bit or two, Wolf Tooth sells replacement bit kits including the valve core/spoke wrench and a T30 bit for £20.

The ball-jointed swivel-head has spring-loaded detents to hold it straight or at either 90-degree angle. This makes for fast fettling, but there may be occasions where you need more clearance than afforded by the tool's 22mm-wide body in tight spaces. For stems, pedals, most bottle cages and saddles with the bolts angled away from the seatpost this shouldn't be an issue. If you needed a ball-head hex to get a fastener secured, it's likely the 8-Bit pliers won't work.

2021 Wolf Tooth 8-Bit Pliers 4.jpg

The 8-Bit pliers rack up 17 different applications for your £76, making it about £4.50 per tool. On the Bang-For-Your-Tool-Buck-O-Meter that's considerably more than the two tools I've recently used from Topeak that included both quick link and valve core removal functions – the Topeak Mini PT30 at £1.33/tool, and the larger Alien X tool with a few more add-ons for £54. Mind you, both are hefty beasts – and at just 71g the 8-Bit pliers are pretty darn light. The obvious omission in the 8-Bit is there's no chain breaker – if you have to remove a broken link or convert to single-speed you'll need a separate tool for that.

In terms of warranty, Woof Tooth offers just one year, which compares poorly with Topeak's two years and Park Tool or Feedback Sports' lifetime coverage. For such a premium product you'd be hoping for a longer warranty term.

> Buyer’s Guide: 12 of the best cycling multi-tools

The 8-Bit pliers are best summed up as a very nicely done, lightweight tool for quick link and tubeless valve work, with a selection of bits and the ability to apply far more torque than pretty much every other multi-tool around. If your use case matches and you're happy to pay a premium for a premium tool, you are only likely to be disappointed by the magnetic bit retention. If you keep aware of the bits when removing from a high-torque fastener, this becomes less of an issue.

Verdict

A premium tool for chain and tubeless valve work, with a good selection of bits and a high-torque swivel head

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Wolf Tooth 8-Bit Pliers

Size tested: n/a

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?

It's for people wanting to be covered for quicklink chain work or tubeless disasters, with extra fastener fettling capability.

Wolf Tooth says: 'The 8-Bit Pack Pliers is a lightweight multi-tool with 17 functions. Eight attachments nest inside the handles of master link pliers using magnets and a clever storage system. These attachments then fit into an 8mm ball detent swivel head that has a 4mm opening for hex bits, which adds functionality to the already-versatile master link pliers. This new multi-tool was created to solve almost any minor repair on MTB and road rides alike.'

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Wolf Tooth lists:

17 functions: spoke wrench; valve core wrench; flat head #3.5 and Phillips #2 screwdriver bits; 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8mm hex; and T10, T25 Torx-compatible bits; install and remove master links; clear tire sealant clogs from valve stem; tighten valve stem lock nut

Magnets keep all bits in place

Ball detent swivel head helps access hard-to-reach places

Handle doubles as breaker bar for extra torque when head is bent

8mm hex bit tested to over 40 Nm torque

Compatibility

Pliers works with 9-, 10-, 11- and 12-speed master links and chains (not compatible with Campagnolo 12-speed chains)

Master Link storage is compatible with SRAM PowerLock Link, Shimano Quick-Link, KMC Missing Link and other similar master links (not compatible with Connex Links by Wipperman)

Tech Specs

Weight: 68g

Size: 146mm x 20mm x 9mm

Material: 7075-T6 aluminum handles, CrV tool steel swivel head, S2 tool steel bits

Master links are not included

Patent Pending

Made in the USA

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
10/10

The fit and finish is excellent.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Let down by the magnetic bits. Otherwise great.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

Early days, but it's made from solid stuff.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
9/10

71g is pretty light, reflecting the premium alloy construction.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
10/10

The grip afforded for high-torque use is great.

Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

£76 is a lot of dosh for no chain tool.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Apart from the magnetic bits not being retained, it did the jobs required just fine.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The overall finish.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The weak magnet in the ball joint.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It's a premium price, no question. As noted in the review, the Topeak PT30 does a similar job for less money, but doesn't have the same potential leverage for pedals or cranks.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, but with caveats.

Use this box to explain your overall score

If the hex head magnet was stronger and a few more bits were available, I'd rate it higher. As is, the premium price and a few niggles mean it's good, but it could be very good.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 47  Height: 183cm  Weight: 77kg

I usually ride: Sonder Camino Gravelaxe  My best bike is: Nah bro that's it

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, general fitness riding, mtb, G-R-A-V-E-L

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