Fresh, cleanly cut cables are essential for safe braking and slick shifts, particularly on increasingly sensitive derailleur systems. Bikes that are worked hard everyday should have their cables replaced each season. With the right tools this needn’t be a chore though, which is why good-quality wire snips are worth their weight in gold.
Made in Germany from hardened steel, these are capable of cutting soft cable up to 6mm, Bowden cable to 4mm diameter and even piano wire to 3.6mm, making them well suited to other applications, too. As expected at this price, cutting is precise, helped by what Knipex describes as a transmission system. Basically, this is a heavy-duty metal concertina spring that, aside from providing silky smooth movement, requires little force for a clean cut. Attention to detail is excellent, with coated handles offering a precise and comfortable grip, even with greasy hands, and a locking clasp which keeps the jaws closed and compact when not in use.
Tested on a variety of inner and outer wires, they executed a perfect cut on every occasion, although for best results outers should be placed square in the jaws and scored prior to cutting. Following these simple rules saw even cheaper outers crisp and burr-free.
The bottom line is they’re a precision-made workshop tool and a joy to use, but some other respected brands cost around a tenner less and might be a better value.