Tyre levers & tyre repair kits

Contents


2016-2-5: Maxxis orange tyre levers and Crankbrothers Speedier lever vs. Specialized (from ca. 1993)

I did the test of removing and putting back on a Schwalbe Marathon 37-622 on a LX-17 rim multiple times with all tyre levers. This rim/tyre combination is a very tight fit, hard to get off and hard to put the tyre back on at the final stage.

Maxxis orange tyre levers vs. Specialized

The orange Maxxis levers are strong, slightly more blunt than the Specialized tyre levers and thus slightly harder to insert between tyre and rim. 2 tyre levers is NOT enough! Also the reason for the warning on the back of the packaging, which says that you need to wear eye protection, becomes clear when using them: They tend to spring away because they often don't properly stay behind the spoke! ;-) So this is a design flaw, I never had any such issues with the Specialized levers.

Conclusion: (1) You need 3 tyre levers. (2) The old Specialized levers are better.

Crankbrothers Speedier lever vs. Specialized

The Speedier lever actually does something that we likely all do (at least I always do it, and it seems natural) when removing a tyre: After the first bit with tyre levers, just go around the tyre with 1 finger behind the bead and this removes the entire tyre. Putting the tyre back on again is however easier than by hand though not much. And actually, the time you gain you lose at the start by putting the tyre lever onto the rim... Further: Removing a tyre was actually impossible because the tyre lever was squeezed so hard between tyre and rim, that I could not move it. After I had used the Maxxis or Specialized to get the tyre across the rim for enough length, I tested the further removal of the tyre by sliding the tyre lever along the rim. This was nice, but as I said, not new, it's what I've always done by hand. This tyre lever could be useful for more loose fitting tyres, usually MTB that are intended to be run at lower pressure, but for touring or road bike tyres, it is absolutely useless.

Conclusion: Interesting in that it does what is natural for tyre removal, and extends the practice by applying it to tyre fitting (but it's not a new idea, I've seen this method before, especially for cars where it's the standard way to put tyres on a rim). For touring/road bike NOT suitable. Perhaps it works well with MTB tyres, if so then it would be cool that you only need 1 tyre lever. I will test with an MTB another time.

Pictures to come.


Tyre levers

Tyre levers
Tyre lever Comment Material Mass Standard tyre Tight tyre Very tight tyre Rating
Lezyne aluminium (dd 2008)
You can't put the lever behind a spoke so you have to keep pressing it with your hands Aluminium
Mainly good for stainless steel rims, watch out with aluminium rims, they can get damaged.
14 g each
(28 g for 2 levers)
ok ok Can't get it under the tyre bead 4 / 10
Specialized ('pry babies'?) (dd. 1993, still available in 2010)
They don't bend and can be inserted between tyre and rim with most tyre/rim combinations, and can be put behind a spoke so you don't need to keep it pressed yourself while inserting the other tyre levers. Plastic 15 g each
(44 g for 3 levers)
Very good good impossible 7 / 10
Simson, steel ca. 2008
-- Steel
Mainly good for stainless steel rims, watch out with aluminium rims, they can get damaged.
25 g each
(74 g for 3 levers)
Very good Very good Very good 8 / 10
(Simson?) steel, old version, ca. 1960s or earlier.
-- Steel
Mainly good for stainless steel rims, watch out with aluminium rims, they can get damaged.
22 g each
(65 g for 3 levers)
Very good Very good Very good 8 / 10
Simson, plastic (sport version, i.e. for road bikes/mountain bikes, from ca. 1993)
-- Plastic 6 g each
(18 g for 3 levers)
Very good Reasonable. Useless. Very tight fitting tyres such as old Conti Top touring are impossible to get off. There is too much force required which bends the lever instead of getting the tyre off. 6 / 10
Simson, plastic (super sport version, i.e. for road bikes/mountain bikes, dd 2010)
The old Simson sport version was slightly better because of its shape which defines a lever rotation point... (more on this later) Plastic 5 g each
(10 g for 2 levers)
Good Reasonable. Useless. Very tight fitting tyres such as old Conti Top touring are impossible to get off. There is too much force required which bends the lever instead of getting the tyre off. 5 / 10
Park tool TL-1 (dd 2007)
-- Plastic 13 g each
(40 g for 3 levers)
Poor
(very hard to get between tyre and rim, never mind under the tyre bead!)
Useless
(impossible to get between tyre and rim)
Useless
(impossible to get between tyre and rim)
0 / 10 (throw away!)

In general it's not a good idea to use metal tyre levers with aluminium rims, they will be damaged! If you're careful that won't be much, just some small marks, that you won't really notice on rims used with rim brakes. They can get noticed though when used on black anodized rims for disc brakes. Metal tyre levers are mostly of use with stainless steel rims.

Other tyre levers that might be of interest


Tyre repair

Other tyre repair kits that might be of interest

Perhaps Rema (Tip top).

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