Wolf Tooth Master Link Combo Pliers: One Rad Little Tool.
Despite its awkward name, the all new Wolf Tooth Master Link Combo Pliers might just be the coolest little multi-tool we’ve ever seen. We had a chance to try all six of its functions for this initial review…
I’ve always admired intricate metal gadgets. I think it comes from my father who has a penchant for well-built pocket knives. The man will pick up a new knife and study it closely for five minutes or more. I didn’t realize I inherited that gene until the new Wolf Tooth Master Link Combo Pliers came in the mail a few days ago. There I was, opening and closing it and intensely analyzing all its bevels, contours, and recesses… for more time than I care to admit.
The name itself doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue — Wolf Tooth Master Link Combo Pliers — and it certainly doesn’t do justice to the tool’s compact, elegant, and precise design. But at least they gave it an acronym (MLCP). Either way, when you look at all the MLCP can do, and compare that to its weight (a measly 38 grams), it’s quite impressive. So what all does it do?
1. Magnetic Closure
First off, the two CNC machined 7075-T6 aluminum halves pivot on a single anodized bolt, on that’s very similar to a two-sided chainring bolt — befitting given Wolf Tooth’s legacy in cogs and gears. And, the mechanism that keeps it folded also closes it automatically. Each half has a circular rare earth magnet embedded towards the opposite end of the pivot bolt. These attract when they get close to one another and keep the tool folded to the size and shape of your average tire lever. This function works extremely well; as seen in the video below, it’s even kind of addictive. It also stays closed. I probably wouldn’t leave it bouncing around all by it’s lonesome at the bottom of a bag, as there is a little play and it might rattle a bit. But it’s perfect to stash in a side pocket, inner tube bundle, tool roll, or other such kit.
2. Remove and Reset Quick/Master Links
While it’s a rare day when chain tools must surface from the depths of the frame bag, it does happen. As such, a chain breaker always makes the toolkit, as does a couple pairs of quick links. The convenience and strength provided by modern chains’ master links are great, but as most of you know, they’re often hard to install and even more difficult to remove without a dedicated set of master link pliers…
The pliers built into the MLCP are excellent. They have an intricate pattern of machined bevels and tapered ends that fit between the links of 9, 10, 11, and 12-speed chains. I tested it on the smallest case scenario, an Eagle chain. It clicked the link right open. This particular chain’s master link was stubborn from day one, so I needed the pliers assistance to get it back on as well. That took a little finesse, but sure enough, snap. On first use, this is the best set of quick link pliers I have used, I might add. That includes my shop pair of Bike Hand link pliers, which are fine when breaking the quick link, but don’t fit to engage it.
3. Quick Link Storage (2 pairs)
As you probably assumed from the photos, the Wolf Tooth Master Link Combo Pliers holds two pairs of most brands’ replacement links — including those odd kidney-shaped SRAM Eagle master links. Each quick link is inserted into a hole and held in place by the magnet embedded in that side of the tool. It’s an elegant solution and it works; enough said.
4. Multi-purpose Plier Jaws
The next function is slightly nebulous. Wolf Tooth states the larger part of the pliers close to the pivot bolt is for removing or tightening a valve stem nut. While it works for that as tested, I’ve never had a problem loosening one with my fingers. That said, I can see this coming in handy for something like the thru-bolt/locknut combo used on the Porcelain Rocket Mr Fusion Seatpost clamp, or similar bolt/nut configurations on racks that don’t require too much torque.
5. Tire Lever
I’ve always been a little timid about metal tire levers. It seems like they’d just gouge and deface aluminum or carbon rims. However, the Wolf Tooth Master Link Combo Pliers tool has a delicate bevel along the all of its edges. This not only makes the tool comfortable in hand, but it creates a soft edge for the tire lever spoon.
As shown below, I unseated this tire and levered it out to test. No real issues to speak of, but if you look closely at the third photo in the triple series, you will notice a tiny bit of anodizing rubbed off in a very small 1cm section. A non-issue for me, but if you are really concerned about it, there’s nothing stopping you from filing the lever spoon to a completely rounded surface.
6. 3-way Valve Core Removal
For tubeless aficionados, having a tool to remove a valve core is equally as important as carrying a tire lever. I’ve always used my Leatherman for the task, but having it with the tire lever is a nice touch for the MLCP. It’s pretty straightforward. The three-way design allows you to get leverage no matter how the core is rotated. Wolf Tooth states that it’s compatible with most tubeless valve and presta tube locknuts. It worked fine as shown below…
- Material CNC machined from 7075-T6 aluminum
- Weight (just tool) 38 grams (confirmed)
- Colors Type II anodized in red or black (with 1 of 5 bolt colors)
- Place of Manufacture Minneapolis, MN USA
- Price $29.95
- Manufacturer’s Details Link
To conclude, the Wolf Tooth Master Link Combo Pliers tool is sincerely one of the neatest little gadgets I’ve seen. At $30 — and made in the USA — it’s hard not to love this 38 gram repair arsenal. Functions include quick link pliers, storage for two spare link pairs, a valve core tool, pliers for random locknuts, and a tire lever. This is obviously a first look/initial review, and although I tried out each of its functions — and studied it closely for longer than I care to admit — I can’t yet speak to its long term durability. However, given the quality of other Wolf Tooth products I’ve tested, and their choice of quality materials such as 7075-T6 aluminum and rare earth magnets, I expect it will last a long while. We’ll update this if anything changes…