On and Off
More often than not, we take what we’re given. Take for instance, tyre levers; we’re told how important they are, but how often do we take a moment to check if they’re the right tools for the job?
I’m guilty of this: I simply grab what is the least expensive, compact and most attractive looking pair of levers. Place them in a saddle bag and forget about them. Only to pay the price later down the line – in the middle of nowhere, struggling to change a tyre, in the rain.
Why the change?
Park Tools make good tools. However, I had two snap on me in one go. This gives me a chance to check out the alternatives in this seldom visited item of kit.
In the Pink Corner
To be fair, I’ve owned a set of Pedros tyre levers before. They were a gift, but unfortunately they were lost. Hands down they were the best at removing tyres, but not necessarily helpful in putting a tyre back on. Their advantage is found in their size; more specifically, compared to the standard, their expanded width. This provides greater leverage when tackling a tricky tyre.
In the Black Corner
There seems to be something new and revolutionary coming out of the cycling scene regularly. And why not?
Crank Brothers ‘Speedier’ tyre lever looks to be one of these products. Not limited to simply removing a tyre efficiently, it also aims to help one put a tyre back on with ease.
In the Blue Corner
Park Tool levers are the tried-and-tested set. Probably my first set and until recently, the only set I would consider. Just like any trusted brand, the build quality, snap-on-bond, and appealing blue finish kept me going on for years.
How does it work?
Pedros provide two wide tyre levers. The process is the same: insert and if necessary, position the other end onto a spoke to create space. Add the second lever to continue removal of tyre. Fix the puncture. Finally, if needed, use the lever, this time – face down, to help sit inner-tube and tyre.
Crank Bros. ‘Speedier’, utilises both ends of the lever. On one side there is a seemingly standard shaped removal end. Whilst on the other, is an inverted lever, almost like a hook, which aids in returning the tyre home.
Park Tools levers come in a pack of three. Like traditional levers their rounded edge helps slip under a tyre and release the rubber from the wheel.
Rolling on DT Swiss 50cm wheels are a lot of fun. What isn’t is replacing a flat or tyre on them. At 16mm internal width, these are not part of the current landscape of wide wheels we are told make all the difference. For now I have to make do. And, once the rubber is on, they do ride very well.
Do they work?
Crank Bros. ‘Speedier’ have a handy visual instruction print on the packaging. The ‘remove’ end slips under tyre and helps start the removal process.
However, it doesn’t provide the leverage that I need to complete the job. Enter the Pedros selection. With the assistance of at least one othe lever, the job is made a lot more straight forward. It’s still a challenge, but one that takes less effort and saves time.
Having replaced the inner tube, re-installing the tyre is given an extra hand by the ‘Speedier’. The hook system in reverse sits on the rim and eases the rubber into place as one turns the lever. A handy video by Tony Marchand points out helpful techniques to getting the most out of the ‘Speedier’ lever.
What could be improved?
On paper the Crank Bros. ‘Speedier’ tyre lever looks the business. An all in one tool to remove and install a tyre, but it isn’t all that simple for my needs.
With my wheels being narrow they need a helping hand. The Park Tools option would probably do a fine job of helping out, but being down to just the one lever, I have opted for a Pedros pair.
Size is also a factor worth considering with the ‘Speedier’. The tool requires extra room to accomodate the space for the open handle one requires to grip the device. And unlike regular levers, one can’t pack them down. It can work – using my medium sized Lyzene saddle bag, I managed to pack the ‘Speedier’, a pair of Pedros, an inner tube, mini-tool and patches.
The low down
For my needs I require more than a single lever. The ‘Speedier’ is a good working tool, but for that all important leverage when it counts, it helps to have a pair of Pedros, or Park Tools at hand.
Just this week, I got a flat. Having done two hundred-milers previously, I was glad this occurred on a training ride. I was late, but not as late as I would have been without these two sets of levers. Job done.
:: The review is independent and the club does not have any involvement with Crank Brothers, Pedros nor Park Tools. We simply like what they do. You can find a range of reviews here ::