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review

Knipex Pliers Wrench XS

8
£67.99

VERDICT:

8
10
If your bike's covered in nuts and you need to repair on the road, this may be the tool for you
Tiny
Light
21mm capacity
Capable of applying decent torque
Expensive
Doesn't always lock where you want it to
Best used with gloves
Weight: 
70g

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Knipex Mini Wrench Pliers (with Steel Handle) are a tiny, lightweight answer to pretty much any nut-tightening ask on your bike, up to 21mm. Being able to act as a crimper, plier and adjustable spanner makes the high price somewhat easier to swallow – though to be honest, Knipex itself sells these direct for half the price.

> Buy the Pliers Wrench XS from Knipex for £35 here

These may be called pliers, but really this is a 21mm adjustable spanner – with plier-type handles – that weighs far less than your phone and, at just 100mm long, is able to slip into a tight jeans pocket. And while they're expensive and don't seem all that necessary, they really are a justifiable investment covering a multitude of uses on your bike.

You may think that these days there are very few nuts on bicycles (make your own World Naked Bike Ride joke here), but during the review I racked up a long list of applicable uses for bikes new and old:

  • SKS mudguard nuts
  • 15/17mm Shimano bearing cone locknuts
  • Thumb Shifter pod bolts
  • Downtube shifter band-on bolts
  • 15mm Pedal flats
  • Axle nuts
  • Pedal cone nuts
  • City bike saddle clamps
  • Seatpost bolts
  • Pannier bolts
  • Kickstand / centre stand bolts
  • Hose Clamp nuts
  • Any nut needing holding still whilst tightening a screw / cap screw / bolt

And in addition to all that, they're brilliant for crimping cable ends.

Probably the easiest way to describe how the pliers work is to say they are like a tiny set of vice grips, except they don't lock closed, and they adjust at the pivot point in ten steps. As you move the jaw's pivot point you change how close the handles are when gripped, so you can have a wider or narrower grip to suit how much force you want to apply. A critical point is that the jaw surfaces remain perfectly parallel, so force is applied evenly, reducing the chance of slipping or marking the edges.

2023 KNIPEX Mini Wrench Pliers Steel Handle - 3.jpg

Knipex says these are good for up to 21mm, but at that point the handles are a fair distance apart and you may feel them hard to lever against. If you want to be able to wrap your fingers around the two handles clamped as close as possible, you're limited to 15mm.

Obviously with 10 different locking positions but a range of 21mm, you can see how by going smaller or larger in starting jaw width, you can then decide how closed or open the handles are when applying force. Wearing gloves improves your ability to apply pressure without the bare steel handles digging into your palm.

Small torque

I tried this version on a number of traditional 15mm axle nuts, a width that also matches the flats on most pedals. As 15mm is the distance at which you can have the handles fully closed, it's possible to apply a fair amount of welly to an axle nut or pedal – certainly enough to get you home, and close to a serious spanner or 6-8mm hex key (I know because I tested it on an e-road bike with a rear hub motor that had 15mm nuts inset with 8mm hex sockets; I tried both methods on the same fastener). I was comfortably able to apply around 15-20Nm of torque, more than enough to secure the wheel in place.

The cycling utility of the Knipex Mini Wrench Pliers comes in the combination of the 0-21mm range, low weight and small size, plus the narrow (2.5mm wide) jaws. They're narrow enough to deal with fiddly applications like cup-and-cone hubs, threaded pedal nuts (where you remove the endcap from a pedal and tighten the nut) and shifter pod nuts.

Complete tool

If you need to grab the end of an inner cable to pull it taut before tightening a pinch bolt, there's more than enough force to do so. You can also pair the pliers with an assortment of hex bits, and use it as a bit holder to tighten or loosen cap screws. Again, the force with which you can hold a hex bit is quite sufficient for most tasks, meaning you don't need a separate tool.

Value

Which brings us to the alternatives. For the size, weight and utility, I'm hard pressed to think of anything that can replicate the exact function. Yes I could quote any number of adjustable spanners as alternatives, but they really aren't the same.

Really the only comparison is with Knipex's own alternatives, such as the longer (150mm), chunkier 'M-Grip' handled version of the same tool, for £12 more. if you suffer from grip challenges and weight/space is less of an issue, this might be the version to go for.

Alternatively, the plastic-dipped-handle version of the 150mm tool is £39.95 on Knipex's Amazon store, and offers a bit more comfort without any meaningful extra bulk. This bare metal 100mm option is £35 in the same place.

Overall

No, I don't think it's a tool for a commuter, or couple-of-hours-ride-from-home cyclist. But if you're planning a trip or expedition where self-sufficiency is critical, or have a bike well-festooned with racks and whatnot that get shaken loose from time to time, this might well be one to suggest goes under the Christmas tree or on that Significant Birthday list.

Verdict

If your bike's covered in nuts and you need to repair on the road, this may be the tool for you

road.cc test report

Make and model: Knipex Mini Wrench Pliers Steel Handle

Size tested: 100mm

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 able to tighten nuts or parts up to 21mm in width, and a tiny, lightweight tool.

Knipex says:

"Pliers and a wrench in a single tool: Plier wrench's combine many functions, they replace an entire set of wrenches in metric and imperial sizes, and can be adjusted very quickly at the touch of a button. With an enormous gripping, the parallel jaw opening grips up to 21mm width across flats. Brilliant for confined spaces with optimum accessibility."

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

Knipex says:

Optimum accessibility, even in confined spaces: particularly compact design, very slim head

One-handed fine adjustment by pushing for the simplest adjustment to different workpiece sizes

Enormous gripping capacity with a tool length of only 100 mm; parallel jaw opening grips continuously up to 21 mm width across flats

Robust sliding joint offers high stability and resilience

Smooth jaws for the gentle assembly of sensitive fittings and parts with delicate surface finishes: can be used directly on chrome due to the smooth full-surface contact

Versatile areas of application: precision engineering, plumbing, an essential part of any bicycle or motorcycle toolkit, EDC (Every Day Carry), model making

Pinch guard prevents operators' fingers from being pinched

Fine adjustment with 10 adjustment positions

Technical Attributes

Article No: 86 04 100

EAN Code: 4003773087281

Pliers: Chrome plated

Head: Chrome plated

Handles: Embossed, rough surface

Dimensions: 100 x 31 x 10mm

REACH compliant: Does not contain SVHC

RoHS compliant: Not applicable

Adjustment positions: 10

Capacities for nuts: 3/4 inches or 21mm

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Knipex's quality is a thing to behold.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

It would be great if the 'lock' was more positive, but for the weight and size it's more than good enough.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

Still looks like new, but I wouldn't be using a cheat bar with it.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10

Amazingly light for the function.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
7/10

With gloves on, not an issue. Otherwise the narrow handles can dig into your palms under force.

Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

If you need to be able to tighten any nut on your bike without carrying a large number of spanners, or a heavy adjustable, this could be the thing for you. Comes at a price mind.

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

Works really well for odd jobs around the bike, and as a disaster recovery tool for pedals and wheel nuts.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The weight and size. So tiny, so many uses.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The lack of padding, and increasing width of the grips when working on fasteners over 15mm.

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

There's no real comparison except with other Knipex products - and yes, it costs a fortune compared to individual tools. In reality, the most basic of the two padded-handle options can be had for £40, however.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes-ish

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

Use this box to explain your overall score

These are really well made and very cleverly designed. If you've ever been caught out with a loose pedal, wheel nut or pannier, then the value of the Knipex pliers is high - especially if you buy them via Knipex's own Amazon store.

Overall rating: 8/10

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

Living in the Highlands, Mike is constantly finding innovative and usually cold/wet ways to accelerate the degradation of cycling kit. At his happiest in a warm workshop holding an anodised tool of high repute, Mike's been taking bikes apart and (mostly) putting them back together for forty years. With a day job in global IT (he's not completely sure what that means either) and having run a boutique cycle service business on the side for a decade, bikes are his escape into the practical and life-changing for his customers.

Add new comment

13 comments

Avatar
Cugel | 9 months ago
0 likes

I just realised that these chickenskitters that the review references as a source are selling this tool for twice the price that even the manufacturers are selling it for! Why does the review reference these rascally spivs? Has a bung occurred?

The practice of listing the price of things that's the RRP but is a price actually charged by no one, or a price that's inflated by some rip-off retailer, is not a good look. Why not list the best price and its retailer up front, rather than somewhere in the review (as the reviewer has rightly done in this case - well done).

Avatar
Cugel | 9 months ago
2 likes

Poof - it don't weigh less than my phone as I haven't got a-one.

Still - its a tool I haven't got so tool-lust wells up in me. Out to the shed to find bike nut it can caress! Hmmm - only the 8mm on the mudguards and the brake hose ends. Alas, the little bag of Weras I take out on rides has an 8mm socket and a mini-ratchet in it, along with the various hex bits that every other bike fitting I have take. Can't imagine mending a brake hose nutted connection out on the road ..... No knipex requirement, then. Aaah shucks.

I used to have some Shimano wheels with cup & cone including the lock nuts. I did tens of thousands of miles on those and don't remember ever having to do a lock nut whilst on the road. Anyway, I sold them ..... Are the knipexers thin enough to go on lock nuts? Won't you need another (cone) spanner to keep the cones from turning too?

I suppose I could buy another Coventry Eagle like the one I had as a bairn, 528 years ago. It had loads of nuts of the kind mentioned in the review's "list of nuts for Knipexers". Do such bikes still exist, with those fittings? Won't they all be rusted on by now?   1 But no - getting a wheel aligned in the frame with them big axle nuts was a right PITA. It's how I learnt to swear long and profusely, aged 10.

Avatar
chrisonabike | 9 months ago
3 likes

I come here for the reviews of the reviews.  Not disappointed...

Avatar
KiwiMike replied to chrisonabike | 9 months ago
3 likes

At some point this traffic only here for reviews of reviews of reviews achieves critical mass, and then who knows what happens.

Maybe it turns into Pinkbike  1

Avatar
LookAhead | 9 months ago
2 likes
Mike Stead wrote:

Knipex Pliers Wrench

Mike Stead wrote:

The Knipex Mini Wrench Pliers

Mike Stead wrote:

Being able to act as a crimper, plier and adjustable spanner

Mike Stead wrote:

These may be called pliers, but really this is a 21mm adjustable spanner

Mike Stead wrote:

Probably the easiest way to describe how the pliers work is to say they are like a tiny set of vice grips

Mike Stead wrote:

You can also pair the pliers with an assortment of hex bits

Always a pleasure to watch a master at work😂😂😂

Avatar
KiwiMike replied to LookAhead | 9 months ago
2 likes

.

Avatar
Pot00000000 replied to KiwiMike | 9 months ago
2 likes
KiwiMike wrote:

Wait till you see my next review. Is it a Jacket? Shirt? Shacket? Jirt? If a garment of challenging description falls in a forest, does a hipster die? Does anyone care? stay tuned...

 

or Jack-sey as Castelli eloquently name them 😂 ffs 🤦🏼‍♂️ 

Avatar
KiwiMike replied to LookAhead | 9 months ago
4 likes

Wait till you see my next review. Is it a Jacket? Shirt? Shacket? Jirt? If a garment of challenging description falls in a forest, does a hipster die? Does anyone care? stay tuned...

Avatar
David9694 replied to KiwiMike | 9 months ago
4 likes

We're just glad you were able to upload it Mike, it's more than the rest of us can do. 

"Verdict

If your bike's covered in nuts and you need to repair on the road, this may be the tool for you"

Picture caption : hawkinspeter "don't worry, David I'll have you out of there in no time - Nom Nom, Nom"

Avatar
David9694 replied to KiwiMike | 9 months ago
0 likes

Duplicate 

Avatar
David9694 replied to KiwiMike | 9 months ago
1 like

another duplicate 

Avatar
David9694 | 9 months ago
3 likes

Knipex...spanner or plier? 

Avatar
mark1a replied to David9694 | 9 months ago
0 likes

I have one of these, and I would say it's a spanner, the jaws are too thin (2.5mm as Mike mentions) really for any decent purchase on anything that needs to be pliered. 

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