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Beta Editors’ Choice: Knipex TwinForce Diagonal Cutters

Get rid of your old cable cutters, there's a new boss in town.

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The cutters we’re typically used to snipping cables and housing on our bikes with—usually simply referred to as cable cutters but more specifically known as wire rope cutters—do a fine job. They’re actually technically the correct tool for the cable portion of the job, but they’re not really that great at cutting housing, are they? I’ve had many different cable cutters over the years, and all have disappointed at this task. I’ve even tried the Knipex ones. For the unfamiliar, Knipex is a German company that makes the world’s best pliers. All kinds. Cutting, circlip, crimping, stripping, gripping and like a zillion specialty types. If they have plier-like handles, Knipex makes them, and they’re likely the best you can buy. Knipex makes those cool parallel-moving, adjustable wrench-replacing Pliers Wrenches that everyone loves to love.

Those Channel Lock looking things second and third from the left are Knipex Pliers Wrenches.

I even knew a mechanic who had a pair of those things tattooed on his arm. Or maybe it was his leg. And who could blame him, it’s one of the coolest, most useful tools invented. I have at least four of them scattered around my life so there’s always a pair nearby. There are a couple in the toolbox, one in my riding pack, another in my moto kit, and a set in the truck.

Anyway, back to wire rope cutters. You know how they pinch the housing so that you need to go back in with an awl to open the lining of the housing back up? Isn’t that annoying? Perhaps if you’re just occasionally working on bikes, the pinching of housing liners isn’t your greatest concern. Perhaps even if you work on bikes all day every day, the pinching of housing isn’t your greatest concern. Well folks, that’s what I’m here for—to find solutions to problems nobody knew existed.

But hey, what if I told you there was one tool that could cut cables flawlessly, trim housing without pinching it closed, crimp cable tips on, and even cut wheels apart with ease? One tool. Would you be interested then? What if I told you they were just a pair of diagonal cutters, good for countless other shop and household jobs?

The Knipex TwinForce diagonal cutters take the form of an ordinary general purpose tool, but they’re anything but ordinary. The patented double joint creates a ton more leverage than typical sidecutters so they easily slice through tough shift housing, and as I mentioned above, even spokes. Like butter.


And I really am not certain how or why they don’t pinch housing liners closed, but they don’t. I used to basically automatically pull out the awl anytime I’d prepare my workbench for bike work, but I really don’t need them too much anymore. These days, I’m not working on bikes enough for the TwinForce cutters to save me boatloads of time, but I really appreciate being able to use one single tool for trimming housing, cutting cables, and crimping tips, without ever needing to pause to pick up another tool.

I’d recommend these to anyone in need of a pair of diagonal cutters, simply because they’re, by far, the best ones I’ve used. And for anyone who makes a living working on bikes, I’d go so far as to say they’re a must have. They’ll speed up your jobs and give you fewer headaches in the process. So chuck those old wire rope cutters in the bin and experience cable cutting bliss. Problem created, solution found. You’re welcome.