Wolf Tooth Pack Pliers join a growing number of handy tools which make short work of unlocking master links. That, in itself, does not make Pack Pliers notable, but wait, there's more.
Besides being shiny, aluminum and anodized black, the business end is machined on both the inner and outer sides so the pliers can reassemble the master link. One side of the pliers has a magnetic holder for two master links (just in case one of your bikes is an 11 speed and the other is 12, I guess), and the other has a Y-shaped slot which fits every removable Presta valve known to man. Pack Pliers wouldn't be competitive without a tire lever function, which it has - but the best function is its "dammit" clamp. (More about that later.) Pack Pliers' pivot on a color-anodized chainring bolt. You can choose from black or red handles, and five anodized pivot-bolt colors. MSRP is $29.95 USD.
Pack Pliers Details:
• Fits 9, 10, 11, and 12-speed master links
• 7075-T6 aluminum, laser graphics
• Magnets retract pliers and retain two master links in handle
• Presta valve stem remover
• Valve stem nut tool
• Tire lever (not recommended for carbon rims)
• Colors: Black or red handles. 5 color options for pivot bolt
• Weight: 38 grams
• Designed and made in Minneapolis, MN USA
• MSRP: $29.95 USD
• Contact: Wolf Tooth Components
So, I have (with much fiddling) successfully unlocked a SRAM master link with my bare hands, but that may have been a lucky day. Most recently, the few times I have needed chain-link pliers, I used these
, which double as tire levers and cost less than half the price of Pack Pliers. That said, Pack Pliers weigh a scant, 38 grams and in its primary role (to pop master links apart), it's like using a pro shop tool. No fiddling, just a squeeze and a click. After replacing the master link, you can snap the link closed by pulling the handles outwards. I didn't think I'd use that feature, but as long as I was on the ground, it made sense to finish the job instead of rotating the cranks until the master link was on the top side and depressing a pedal to lock it in.
One tire lever was all anyone needed to work a stubborn tubeless tire off or onto a rim, but times are changing. If you run 1000-gram tires with anti-flat inserts, you'll need two levers to wrestle with them. I found that the Wolf Tooth lever was very handy to get the last bit of the bead up and over the rim when installing a tire. Wolf Tooth machined a groove that catches the bead close to the tip of the lever, which greatly reduces the amount of force needed to get a stubborn tire mounted...but I carry a spare lever, just in case.
Valve issues are not so common, but the day you need to remove a valve core to add some sealant, or fuss with a bubbly valve seat that keeps leaking down, the right tool can be a great help. Pack Pliers'
Y-slot fit my valve core, but the length of the tool made it useful only to initially loosen it or give it a final tighten. If sealant had gummed up the threads, it would have taken a while to thread it the whole distance with the tool.
Pack Pliers' rainbow unicorn moment occurred when a tubeless valve refused to seat properly on the rim. It was an intermittent fail that would start bubbling Stans from under the stem-nut when I was far away and packing minimal spares. This week, I remembered my Pack Pliers had that feature and went after the nut with a vengeance. My trail-side fix is still holding, so I'll call that a win.Pinkbike's Take: