The New Forager Cycles Link Wrench: First Look
Forager Cycles just released their new titanium Link Wrench, which combines three common box-end sizes and another unexpected trick in a lightweight and user-friendly package. Learn more about the Forager Link Wrench in this first look…
Back in 2013, I was rummaging around my father-in-law’s workshop for a tool I could take on an upcoming trip. I thought I struck gold when I found a tiny steel two-sided box-end wrench (pictured below). It was solidly made and still negligible in size. Better yet, it accomplished the two tasks I needed to account for: loosening/tightening the 8mm locknuts on a rack and the 10mm nut on my Porcelain Rocket Mr. Fusion. Yeah, I know, I could have just used Leatherman pliers to roughly accomplish both, but there’s something to be said about elegant simplicity and a perfectly fitting spanner.
I cherished that little wrench for its two-in-one perfection and stored it in my tool roll on many trips, all the while worrying that if it got lost there would be nothing that could possibly replace it… until a couple of weeks ago, that is. Forager Cycles, makers of the equally cool Cable Cherries just released the Link Wrench, as you may have seen yesterday as part of our Fill in the Map prize packages. The Link Wrench an ultralight grade 5 titanium wrench that has an 8, 9, and 10mm spanners built in, as well as an emergency master-link tool, as its name suggests.
Started by adventure cyclist and contributor to The Bikepacking Journal Dan Stranahan, Forager Cycles launched back in 2020 in Port Townsend, Washington. Their flagship product at the time was the Cable Cherry, an ingenious little part created to replace those pesky aluminum crimps that keep your cable ends from fraying. Since then, Dan and co. have released the excellent-looking Oyster Bar handlebar and accessory Crossbar Shims for mounting a bell and other accessories to the moto-style crossbar on the Oyster Bar. Today, they announced their third significant release.
At first glance, the Forager Cycles Link Wrench looks like a decently sized spanner made to access locknuts commonly found on racks, fenders, and other bags and components. As the polished/anodized print suggest, the Link Wrench has a 10mm span on one side and a stepped 8/9mm on the other. Most people who are rack and fender connoisseurs, or those who just like the feel and aesthetic of well-made tools, will appreciate the fact that it replaces stubby multi-tool wrenches and is made to work in hard-to-access and tight spaces. And, those of us who appreciate all of that but still want lightweight and small tools will love that it fits in any standard tool roll and only weighs about 21 grams—which, for the record, is only eight grams more than my tiny steel 8/10 wrench.
Further, the hex-fit on the Link Wrench is made to slightly tighter tolerances than other wrenches. According to Forager, most mass-produced locknuts are slightly undersized, so the Link Wrench is slightly undersized to give an optimum fit. If you want a looser fit, Forager suggests using a flat file and giving the flat sections a couple strokes.
The Forager Cycles Link Wrench also comes with a handy lanyard… but not just any lanyard. The cord is made by Samson Rope in Bellingham, WA, from 500lb Dyneema cord. The cord serves as an emergency master-link opener. For folks who haven’t heard of the shoelace hack used to accomplish this task, it’s fairly simple. You just thread the lace through either side of the link, tie a knot, use an object to twist and tighten the cord, and the force breaks the master-link. The Dyneema cord on the Link Wrench is far stronger and lighter than a shoe lace, and there are two dimples cut into the sides of the handle for the explicit purpose of holding the cord. As far as we know, this is the lightest trailside master-link opener on the market.
I haven’t tried the Forager Cycles Link Wrench for its namesake purpose, or handle, if you will. However, I’ve adjusted a couple racks for the sake of testing and appreciate its size, weight, and function. It’s not often something this simple comes along and makes such an impression. And perhaps its a glint of nostalgia, looking back on when I found that compact steel wrench that seemed perfect at the time. Either way, the Link Wrench has already become one of those novel little things that I’m scared to lose.
- Actual Weight: 21 grams
- Place of Manufacture: Nevada or Kentucky, USA*
- Price: $31
- Manufacturer’s Details: ForagerCycles.com
*The laser-cutting company that makes the Link Wrench has two locations and is large enough to have the buying power to get titanium at a low cost. According to Dan, this is how he’s been able to keep the wrench pricing fairly low. He added, “We would like to have them made in Washington, but most local shops don’t get near the volume discount, so we’ll see… Ideally I could find a consistent source of 1/8” leftovers from a bigger aerospace job or the like.”
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