Wolf Tooth 8Bit Pack Pliers NSMB AndrewM (1).JPG
REVIEW

Wolf Tooth's 8-Bit Update - Blade, Breaker, & Black Bits

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Nov 4, 2021
Reading time

Modularity

Instead of reinventing, and enlarging, their fantastic 8-Bit Pack Pliers, the folks at Wolf Tooth decided to go modular in adding important functionality. Riders who have already invested in their high-leverage trailside tool system will be happy to know that the new add-ons are backward compatible and available as a complete kit or individually as needed. For folks like myself who like to carry the kitchen sink of repair options but keep it light and compact, this is beautiful.

It means that riders running carbon rims or aggressive inserts don't need to purchase or carry the new rim-dent remover and tire lever combo in order to add a chain breaker, utility blade, and tire plugs. And the 8-Bit itself hasn't become unwieldy to use thanks to added features as is the case with many multi-tools. It also means that adding functionality to your existing 8-Bit is a more affordable option. No need to purchase a replacement to add features.

I've been carrying the original 8-Bit Pack Plier system in my pack for a year now. It features an abundance of bits, excellent leverage for tightening and loosening bigger bolts, and a great pair of quick-link pliers in a lightweight package. It's not an inexpensive tool but it's something I feel that most folks will have and happily use forever. As an added benefit, if the bike industry splits the difference between T-25 and T-30 and just makes most of the bolts on every bike T-27, it will be simple to update. Half joking.

In keeping with that lifetime ownership plan, my favourite update here, even more so than the chain breaker, is the black coating on all the steel bits. It rains a lot here and I don't always remember to take my moist tools out of my saturated backpack. I've experienced no issues with functionality at all, but the coating will keep everything looking fresh.

I suppose it's a luxury of choice, but on my personal bikes, I pair the 8-Bit system with a OneUp EDC Lite tool in my steerer tube. The EDC Lite is very quick to remove, use, and install and has all the functionality I need to straighten a stem or tighten a buddy's obviously-loose lock-on grip (ugh), or for quick micro-adjustments of the tension on my grom's quick-release lever. When more involved bicycle surgery is called for I leave the EDC in place and pull out my self-contained 8-Bit toolbox.

Wolf Tooth 8Bit Pack Pliers NSMB AndrewM (2).JPG

Black coated bits are a nice cosmetic update for a tool that is going to last forever. The corrosion on the quick-links is a good reflection of the horribly moist life that tools live in my backpack.

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The second section includes a chain breaker, plenty of bacon storage with fork, and a utility blade. The body acts as a big handle for the bacon fork, which is handy when it comes time to feed a tire.

In addition to the magnetically-attached second section with its chain breaker, tire plugs, and utility knife, the functions for the 67-gram 8-Bit remain the same:

  • Spoke wrench
  • Valve core wrench // Valve Reamer
  • T10 and T25 Torx
  • Flathead #3.5 and Phillips #2 screwdriver
  • 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, and 6mm hex bits (plus the 8mm hex head unit)
  • Quick link pliers and valve lock-nut tightener
  • Quick link carrier (links not included)
  • Valve Reamer AKA rasp for clearing dried sealant

I've been a believer in Dynaplug's tire plug system and I've long carried one of their machined aluminum Micro-Pro kits even when testing tools like Wolf Tooth's EnCase that include bacon-style inserts. I've given that up and the next few tires I plug - mine or someone else's - I'll be using the 8-Bit. The way the bacon-fork inserts into the tool to use it as a big handle and the more economical cost of using the bacon, or rope plugs, makes a lot of sense and it simply means carrying one less thing.

And when I hit the road it's going to mean packing a lot less stuff. The 8-Bit setup provides enough leverage and is nice enough to use that I'll happily leave the tool roll at home. Just add my Knipex pliers and a floor pump, and I'm dialed. More room for beer and snacks! Or, if you're into bike-packing, more room for fresh underpants.

Wolf Tooth 8Bit Pack Pliers NSMB AndrewM (3).JPG

The quick-link function remains unchanged. I've also used this tool to straighten (ish) several annoyingly bent rotors on a couple of occasions now.

Wolf Tooth 8Bit Pack Pliers NSMB AndrewM (7).JPG

The chainbreaker works well - I've used it in the shop with 9-spd and 12-spd chains - and is actuated by a 3mm hex key, or the other end of the bacon-fork.

My initial reaction to the utility knife is that I wished it was twice as long but to date, it's been great for the little projects I've set it to including cutting zip-ties and trimming a tire plug. The locking action is very easy to manage, even with my thicker winter-weight Brisker gloves, and I love that the tool includes a second blade. The best way, after all, to guarantee you won't break a utility knife blade is to have a second one on hand.

Wolf Tooth, of course, supports the tools by selling replacement parts including chain pins and the mini-utility blades. Blades are available as a 10-pack for 7 CAD from Wolf Tooth but they use a standard 28.5mm x 9.5mm blade that is available elsewhere.

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The utility knife blade slides out smoothly and locks in place. A little bit of pressure on the screw makes it easy to retract but it stays firmly in place in use.

Wolf Tooth 8Bit Pack Pliers NSMB AndrewM (6).JPG

At first, I wished the blade was longer, but I like that Wolf Tooth uses a standard-sized utility knife and in usage, it's handy enough that I stopped carrying my full-size folder.

Canyon'sLux Trail is the first bike I've ridden in quite a while that doesn't have a quick, or at least quickish, access tool in the steerer tube. Relying exclusively on the 8-Bit I do notice myself always reaching for my stem cap first. It's just so convenient to have my EDC Lite. But forced to choose, the 8-Bit brings as much wrenching capability to the trail as any multi-tool I've tried and it's lovely to use. For those that don't wear a pack or are doing short rides from the car the trade-off in size versus function is going to raise questions and - relative value aside - no one is arguing this isn't an expensive setup. So it's not an example of something that every rider's going to spend for but I never leave home without it and I doubt I'll be the only one in that well-prepared camp.

The 8-Bit setup is available as a complete system for 180 CAD | 140 USD or for anyone who already has the 89 CAD | 70 USD 8-Bit Pack Pliers you can add the 8-Bit Chainbreaker for 89 CAD | 70 USD and the Dent Remover & Tire Lever combo for 26 CAD | 20 USD. The top-quality tools are made in Minnesota, USA. Wolf Tooth has a lot more information in the 8-Bit section on their website.

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Comments

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
11 months ago
+5 ZigaK Zero-cool Dan Velocipedestrian Sean Chee

Looks like a well made tool. I've just got a hodge podge of tools in a zip lock bag in a frame bag on each bike. Ugly, but functional. I tend to focus on not needing my tools 99.9% of my rides so I'm okay with the ghetto setup I have as it serves its purpose if there is a rare emergency repair needed.

That said I love that people are making sweet sweet tools like this. They are beautiful to look at and appreciate even if I am not going to own them.

Reply

mhaager2
Moritz Haager
11 months ago
+5 ZigaK Brad Sedola Andrew Major Pete Roggeman Sean Chee

That looks like a fantastic tool actually.  The master link tool is so important to have on trail IMO. As a tangential sidebar rant, when master links first came out they were easy to remove and install with bare fingers which was awesome. While I get these new ones are more secure, IMO needing a specific tool to install and remove it pretty much nullifies any advantage of a quicklink. Rant over.  It's too bad, I just bought a similar looking tool by  Topeak. It has much fewer functions.  I think I would have bought this instead had I seen this review before.  Hell. I still might. Christmas is just around the corner and at my age,  I'm my own best Santa.

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velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
10 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Sean Chee Andrew Major AlanB

Send a zip tie around the quick link pins, half a twist so you don't engage the teeth, pull.

Generally this is enough extra once you have the tension off the chain etc.

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Bad-Sean
Sean Chee
10 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

This is an awesome piece of advice. Thanks for sharing. I tried it this morning on some of our bikes after you posted it. Works a charm with eagle, hyperglide+, and linkglide. I’m surprised I’ve not come across this method, but I’ve seldom needed to split a chain on the trail. Touch wood of course.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
11 months ago
+1 Sean Chee

It would be interesting to know why they've gotten tighter on the SRAM front. Just managing narrower and more precise chains?

Shimano has always been very tight since they started making them. 

Wippermann's were very, very easy to remove and install by hand but they put a lot of energy into convincing folks they wouldn't pop apart on the trail (I did have one snap once but that was a singe issue over years of using them).

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mhaager2
Moritz Haager
11 months ago
0

Yup. I run a SS Wippermann chain on my fat bike which has a 10s drivetrain and it's the best quicklink by far.  I have been told that anything other than Shimano chains suck on Shimano 12s drivetrains so I have not strayed from them there.  That would be an interesting article on fact. The effect of using different chains on drivetrain performance.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
11 months ago
0

HG+ needs an HG+ chain. For now, at least, that means Shimano 12spd w/ Shimano 12spd and a Shimano 12spd compatible ring.

I have not played with this, but I have done troubleshooting for folks who have and it’s not worth your time (or money paying for someone else’s time) to stray from Shimano 12spd integration.

If you (the Royal you, not you-you) don’t like it go with SRAM Eagle or Shimano 11spd for much more inter-compatibility (for current 2021 options - lots of awesome 9 & 10 drivetrains out there in world).

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Bad-Sean
Sean Chee
10 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I agree, I was disappointed when I had to buy link pliers a couple of years ago. When my current chains are getting towards the end of their life, I might take a file to the links to see if I can improve the action without compromising strength/shifting.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I would love to hear how this works for you. I have a friendquaintance who was doing it from new with SRAM quick links and beak-beak-beaking about how he’d outsmarted the SRAM engineers until he had a failure. I’ve snapped a couple quick-links without help (single speeding) and chains failing under load sucks.

If you haven’t tried Wippermann links I’d check them out if only to see some cool engineering in action. They come apart one-handed. I carry pack pliers and never need them for my own bike (knock on wood) because I change my chains before they’re a liability so I’m happy enough with the current snap of the ShiRAMano versions. 

It sounds like Wippermann is what you’re seeking though!

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Bad-Sean
Sean Chee
11 months ago
+2 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman

I have one of these on its way to me for an upcoming trip/tour. I had a hard time stomaching the price but nothing seemed as comprehensive as this without taking up a lot more space. 

My normal riding tends to not involve a pack however. It doesn’t come with any mounting accessories, does it? Do you foresee any issues strapping this under my top tube when I’m back to my usual riding? I will probably 3d print a small cradle for it to prevent the tool scratching my frame.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
11 months ago
+1 Sean Chee

It hugs together nicely and hasn’t come apart in my pack, but bouncing on the bike I’d want that cradle to be a tight enough fit to ‘hug’ the tool a bit. 

That may be me being silly but the magnets both hold everything together and don’t act a bother at all when it’s time for tool action.

——

No doubt expensive. No doubt beautifully made and unique on the market.

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Bad-Sean
Sean Chee
11 months ago
+2 Andrew Major Dogl0rd

Thanks. I guess I’ll just see how I find it when it turns up. The actual holding on it would be done by a Velcro strap. A bit of a shame they don’t have an external mounting solution for it.

Reply

Dogl0rd
Dogl0rd
11 months ago
+1 Sean Chee

I have had the little magnetic bits fall into the dirt more than once, still like the tool though if I'm careful

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
11 months ago
+1 Sean Chee

Certainly everyone has different experiences with different products. I have one friend who was going to sell his original 8-Bit because the magnets made it too hard to remove the bits (he wasn’t thinking through the process and removing the center but first).

This is the first I’ve heard a complaint of the bits coming out too easily but always your experience may vary.

It’s certainly a deliberate tool. Which is why on my own bike I have an EDC Lite in the steerer for quick-quick adjustments. The 8-Bit I use for repairs usually, or more finicky adjustments.

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Bad-Sean
Sean Chee
10 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I’ve received my 8bit tool. I’m not sure it’s for me, given that I prefer to not use a pack. It’s brilliant but I probably should have bought bar end plug tools. I will see if I can swap the bits around enough to make it useful to carry on my dirt bike. I should also see if I can actually plug a mx tyre leak with it. If either doesn’t work, I will return it for an encase or similar.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
10 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Sean Chee

The only time I’ve had any long term success riding packless was with EnCase. Then I played with a lot of setups…

[aside] including the brilliant little waterproof Porcelain Rocket hip pack with extra shock cord to hold a jacket externally - that my wife then fully raccooned from me [/aside]

…before ending up riding with a pack again. Water in bottles on my frame most the time but having the ability to bring an extra shirt, emotional support jacket, more gloves, 4/3 camera etc.

I love the 8-Bit but it requires a storage solution (I wasn’t surprised until you brought it up, but since they make some AWESOME bags I’m surprised they don’t make a water proof sleeve to strap in on bikes). Another option that a fair few of my friends use now is to use a small frame bag for tools. Waterproof (which matters a lot around here) and then it’s not a question of carrying a proper pump / tools / etc.

Interested in hearing what you end up with!

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Bad-Sean
Sean Chee
10 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I’ve found a waterproof/padded pouch that fits in my cupboard. Given its from a now defunct local outdoors brand it must have been for something to do with hiking originally. I’m still on the fence about keeping it. I’ve ordered encase and the granite designs version. I will keep the one I like more and put the other one on my GF’s bike for this trip.

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ackshunW
ackshunW
11 months ago
+1 Andrew Major

I am so precariously on the fence with this one. Looks exceptionally well-made and useful, but then I’m left wondering—-

Really, why a black coating on the bits? Any color easier to lose in the mud? Why not a nice gold??

Soo expensive for the full kit!

Why do I wanna this over the setup where tools go in both sides of the handlebars?

Do I really need so much pack space given over to quick link pliers??

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Bad-Sean
Sean Chee
11 months ago
+2 ackshunW Andrew Major

I have similar thoughts regarding the bits. TiN gold would have been a better choice IMO. I have plenty of spares in all colours to swap in if I think I will lose them.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
11 months ago
0

This adds more functions - pack pliers & knife - and is generally faster and more intuitive but, of course, at the cost of not fitting in a handlebar. The EnCase tools are great - if you want to take the whole tool box & not wear a pack - but having used both, if you’re a pack guy this is the way to go.

It’s a lot more compact and usable than anything I can think of with a similar amount of functions.

——

Can’t disagree. No doubt expensive. No doubt nicely made (in the US). No doubt a unique piece. Value is going to be 100% in the eye of the purchaser though.

I’ll plan to do a five or ten year follow-up on this one maybe.

——

Interesting point on the bit colours. They have a few options for the steel bolts for their CAMO system including blue and gold. 

They’re all held by individual magnets so I don’t picture losing any but at the same time if I did drop a bit the ground is dank and dark this time of year.

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ackshunW
ackshunW
11 months ago
+1 Andrew Major

You’ve maybe answered my main question.... but let me ask for sure. And apologies for using you as the Wolftooth customer service line. But you’re very good at that job!! :)

If you get the both-sides handlebar tool, it has everything this kit has, except for the knife and pliers?

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
11 months ago
0

No stress. You are correct - I mean, there’s also the valve reamer, but aside from the knife and packpliers, and a bit of leverage on the 8mm hex, you’re not losing any functionality.

The EnCase chain breaker is even at least as nice to use.

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Dogl0rd
Dogl0rd
11 months ago
0

I have the original one and I don't see myself buying this new add on. The bits are just so easy to lose, it's very fiddly. 

I can't imagine buying such an expensive tool and losing little bits of it in the dirt and then not having a complete set anymore

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
11 months ago
0

You mean the chain breaker add-on? No extra fiddly bits there if you already own the 8-Bit.

I replied to your other comment re. bits.

Reply

Zero-cool
Zero-cool
10 months, 4 weeks ago
0

I was thinking the same thing, while I love black kit and equipment as it looks cool. Wouldn’t a bright and/or garish colour make more sense when you’re fumbling around in the muck and undergrowth looking for it?

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Sethsg
Sethsg
11 months ago
+1 cornedbeef

If you are having problems with easily bent rotors you should get some Magura MDR-P rotors. ever since putting them on my bike I have had zero problems and no bent rotors even after a couple of crashes. 

The only difficulty is there is less than 1mm between the pads and rotor so it takes a while to align everything.

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cheapondirt
cheapondirt
11 months ago
+1 Andrew Major

Would one not buy space to align the caliper with a few lever squeezes to reposition the pistons outward?

I keep hearing about thicker rotors and how they reduce pad clearance. But I don't understand how that could be: surely there must be room for each piston to move 0.1mm outward without bottoming out. Or, with a well bled system and brand new pads, maybe you'd have to let out a drop of brake fluid to buy the space?

I think I have a good grasp of how brakes work, but am also not the most logical person to ever touch a bike so I'm hoping to learn!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
11 months ago
+1 cheapondirt

You’re correct.

Thicker rotors reduce caliper clearance (which doesn’t matter if they’re straight use), but as long as the pistons are reset they don’t introduce any additional pad clearance issues.

Magura doesn’t use any magic to position the pads away from the rotor initially so they always have limited rotor clearance v. ShiRAMano but it’s really not a big deal. Takes a touch more thought to setup drag free.

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cheapondirt
cheapondirt
11 months ago
+1 Andrew Major

Thanks Andrew!

The "thicker rotors change lever throw" idea has been repeated enough times I was almost starting to believe it.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
11 months ago
+1 cheapondirt

Cheers, one aside though as I spent too much time thinking about this…

It’s true for Formula and Magura and I’ve not noticed a difference with SRAM, but I haven’t set up Shimano with anything thicker than 2mm. 

It’s possible with Shimano that 2.2mm rotor v. ServoWave may make the brakes feel like they’re engaging sooner. The obvious solution is to just match up rotor thickness front and rear but it’s food for thought.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
11 months ago
+1 DancingWithMyself

The MDR-P rotors are great until they’re not straight. Then the two part design sucks to try and straighten back. Not as bad as the top-end Shimano Centerlocks but bad enough.

I always recommend sticking with one piece rotors.

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morgan-heater
Morgan Heater
11 months ago
+1 Andrew Major

Would it fit nicely in your pocket?

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
11 months ago
+1 Dan

The 8-Bit? The pack pliers themselves may be fine. The whole tool too thick? I don’t ever ride with anything in my pockets so I can’t make a super informed statement on how it would be, sorry.

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