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BUYER'S GUIDE

Best tyre levers for cycling 2024 — make light work of puncture repairs and tyre swaps on your bike

Got a puncture and need to shift some stubborn rubber? These are the best tyre levers for the job to get you back on the bike

Tyre levers are a humble but essential part of any cyclist's toolkit. We've pulled hundreds of tyres off wheels over the years to figure out which do the job well, and which don't. These, we reckon, are the best tyre levers you can buy.

Tyre levers aren't a big investment, but it's worth making sure you choose the best tyre levers so when your ride is interrupted by a puncture you can get back underway quickly and easily. Most tyre levers nowadays are plastic, and you might never need anything tougher; but steel or alloy options do still exist for really stubborn tyre/rim combinations.

Starting from around £2, there's no excuse not to have some tyre levers stashed on your bike or person whenever you head out of the door. Forget them and the rest of your puncture repair kit, and unless you have fingers of steel you could find yourself walking home if you get a flat.

The best cycling tyre levers you can buy

Best tyre levers overall: Schwalbe Tyre Levers — Buy Now for £3.79 from eBay

schwalbe tyre levers blue

 

Tough, a perfectly shaped bead hook and some nifty built-in clips that help mount tyres... there's pretty much nothing to dislike about Schwalbe's classic tyre levers, so they got a 10/10 review score from us. 

These levers have a small but clever extra wrinkle that makes mounting tyres a breeze. They're also super tough and can deal with the tightest tyre/rim combinations. They're among the best tyre levers you can buy, and they're also compact so very easy to stash away.

Any negatives? Only if you don't like the blue, because that's the only colour!

Read our review of the Schwalbe Tyre Levers

Best long tyre levers: Lezyne Power Lever XL — Buy Now for £5.00 from Tredz

Lezyne Power Lever XL - open-2

With plenty of leverage and tough nylon construction, Lezyne's Power Lever XL tyre levers are well worth adding to your toolbox if you have a tight tyre and rim combination. They're about 3cm longer than regular tyre levers and that adds up to a lot of extra oomph for persuading reluctant tyres off rims. You can get longer metal levers, but the size and weight makes them workshop items. At just 57g, the Power Lever XLs are light enough to carry around.

Read our review of the Lezyne Power Lever XL

Best money-no-object: Silca Tyre Lever Premio Set — Buy Now for £17.00 from Sigma Sports

silcatyreleverpremioset2

Silca has a well-earned reputation for sublimely-functional tools and accessories engineered to perfection, with price tags to match. These tyre levers set out to solve a specific problem - the damage-free removal of b*stard-tight tubeless tyres from expensive carbon rims, that is. To achieve this, Silca has used a forged alloy blade and wrapped a 'reinforced nylon rim shield' around it. The alloy bit extends to the hook you insert under the bead, while the surface touching the rim is nylon-coated. Completing the feature list are the 'wings' that tuck in behind a spoke to hold the first portion of bead off while you deliver the denouement with the second lever.

Due to the high strength full-metal blade, Tire Levers Premio are 25-30% narrower than other lever designs, making them ideal for very tight tyres and tubeless setups where access to the tyre bead is very tight.

Read our review of the Silca Tyre Lever Premio Set

Best budget: Tacx Tyre Levers — Buy Now for £1.79 from Certini Bicycle Co.

Tacx tyre levers.jpg

Available in numerous colours, the secret to these Tacx levers is good, ergonomic design. There's no gimmicks, and no clever marketing: just reliable and inexpensive performance. Supplied in sets of three, their banana profile might raise eyebrows but is surprisingly effective compared with traditional models and makes short work of stubborn rubber.

Read our review of the Tacx Tyre Levers

Best heavy duty: Park Tool TL-5 — Buy Now for £24.74 from Amazon

2021 Parktool TL-5 - Heavy-Duty Steel Tyre Lever - Set Of Two

Sometimes there's just no substitute for a lengthy slab of metal to get the leverage needed to shift a really stubborn tyre from the rim. That's where Park Tool's 20cm-long steel tyres levers come in, providing the oomph needed to separate even the tightest tyre and rim combination. They're heavy, and if your daily ride needs levers this beefy to shift the tyres you might consider a change of tyre and wheel combination, but if you sometimes encounter hard-to-shift tyres, it's worth having a pair in your toolbox.

Find a Park Tool dealer

Topeak Shuttle Levers 1.2 — Buy Now for £4.80 from Tweeks Cycles

2021 Topeak Shuttle Levers 1.2 - apart 1.jpg

Made of 'high strength matrix polymer and engineering grade reinforced plastic', Topeak Shuttle Levers feel stiff in the hand and up for a proper wrestle with a recalcitrant tyre bead. The tips of both levers are finely pointed, with a nice curvature perfect for getting between a tight-fitting bead and rim.

Clipping together into a neat set, they pop easily into a saddlebag or hang on a toolboard. The larger black lever is a good 15cm long, so not a contender for a small saddlebag – but that huge leverage spread across the broad, rounded hand-end is very welcome when things need to get 'persuasive'.

Read our review of Topeak Shuttle Levers 1.2

Birzman Wedge Tyre Lever Set — Buy Now for £2.99 from Prendas Ciclismo

Birzman Wedge Tire Levers 2

Birzman Wedge Tyre Levers work well and come in searing green so they're easy to find in your tool bag. These radioactive green nylon levers are rigid, and their 110mm length offers enough leverage to get all but the most stubborn wire beaded tyre off without bending or snapping. The nylon composite is kind on carbon and on painted or anodized rims, and don't scratch the surface when running the lever along the beading of the tyre. Hooks on each lever help it cling to a spoke while you prise off the next section of tyre away from the wheel.

The set of three neatly stack together to take up less space in your tool kit. The moulding also has a bit to help you deflate Shraeder valves, which is handy.

Read our review of the Birzman Wedge Tyre Levers

Park Tool TL-1.2 Tyre Levers — Buy Now for £3.49 from Rutland Cycling

park tool TL-1.2 tyre levers

Upgraded to be stronger, smoother and more versatile according to Park Tool, the TL-1.2 features a new material and redesigned tip for easier entry - Park Tool also says these will work on stubborn tubeless rim/tyre combos, and the design should lift the tyre away from the rim hassle-free. There's also a spoke hook for when multiple levers are needed.

Find a Park Tool dealer

Pedro's Tyre Levers — Buy Now for £4.50 from Merlin Cycles

Pedros Tyre Levers.jpg

A firm favourite of many cyclists for roadside tyre fitment and removal, Pedro's Tyre Levers appear to be compatible with most tyre/rim combinations and will last you for years (a lifetime warranty adds further peace of mind in case longevity is a worry though)

They're available in several fairly lurid colours such as these pink ones, so you won't have any problems locating them in a grassy verge. There's nothing particularly exotic about their composition – we're talking beefy, reinforced plastics – but good engineering separates them from otherwise capable competition.

Read our review of Pedro's Tyre Levers

Muc-Off Rim Stix — Buy Now for £4.60 from Merlin Cycles

2020 Muc Off Rim Stix 1.jpg

The Muc-Off Rim Stix, while a little bulky, are very strong tyre levers that can help get even the most stubborn tyres off the rim. Key to the design is a very slim hooked profile on a fairly wide overall shape. It's easy to fit this under the tyre bead and make that initial pull off the rim.

The Rim Stix are longer than most tyre levers and the extra leverage is useful. They also have a moulded shape on the inside that helps keep the lever in shape, almost matching the shape of the rim.

Read our review of Muc-Off Rim Stix

Crankbrothers Speedier Tyre Lever — Buy Now for £5.50 from Merlin Cycles

Crank Brothers Speedier tyre lever complete - 1 (1).jpg

The Crankbrothers Speedier Tyre Lever makes the fitting and removal of tyres quicker and easier for not a lot of outlay, according to reviewer Stu Kerton. It works on the majority of tyre and wheel combinations while also removing the risk of pinching the inner tube.

How it works is simple. At one end you have a standard looking curved hook, like any other tyre lever on the market, for removing the tyre. Tuck it in under the bead of the tyre and whizz it around the rim, popping the tyre over the outside edge of the wheel. The lever is designed so that you wrap your fingers around the bottom flat section and the D-shaped section protects you from scraping the bark off your knuckles should the lever slip.

Read our review of the Crankbrothers Speedier Tyre Lever

Everything you need to know about tyre levers

Topeak Ninja Pouch - tyre levers 2.jpg

Tyres are of course designed to fit tightly with the rims they're meant to work with... the trouble is that the bike industry has so far been unable to definitively make tyres or rims to a dimensional standard and tolerance so that every 25mm, 700c tyre will fit a 19mm wide, 700c rim in a uniform way, to give one example.

Every now and then it's possible to find a tyre/rim combo where the fit is either so sloppy that the tyre simply falls into place, or one that is so tight that it takes an army of burly tool-wielding mechanics to get the last few inches of bead over the rim edge. It's a good idea to have a combo that can be fitted entirely by hand - most tyres can be fitted to most rims with good technique and some decent hand strength. So why bother with a tyre lever?

tyre levers vid 1.PNG

Well, that one time you get a flat and you have to fix it in the middle of nowhere and you don't have a tyre lever to hand, you're going to look pretty silly if you can't do it when it's wet and cold and your fingers are going numb. Tyre levers weigh practically nothing, and rather than being the thing you have to rely on to fit your tyres, it's something you should have to hand to get that last few inches of tyre bead on easily.

If you're really bending and forcing your levers to do the job, it's probably time to look again at the tyres you're running. Your tyre-mounting technique could also be a root cause of the problem, so it's worth going over your technique to make sure you're doing it right.

tyre levers vid 2.PNG

Assuming you're happy with your tyre/rim combo, the next thing to consider is the material of your rims. Carbon rims need to be treated with a bit of extra care compared to alloy wheels, so it's definitely not a good idea to scratch or gouge them. To avoid this, we'd recommend avoiding the use of metal tyre levers if you can, on carbon rims especially. Metal tyre levers are largely a thing of the past, although thermonuclear like the Park Tool TL-5s are still sometimes the only way to remove really, really tight tyres. But nowadays, there are lots of tough plastic options that should remove all but the most stubborn tyres.

Of your plastic options, some are harder and less flexible and occasionally brittle. It is possible to snap them, but you have to try pretty hard to do that.

On the other end of the spectrum are bendy and flexible levers. Sometimes they can be so flexy that they fail to offer enough leverage. Some are made flexible by the poor plastic production, others start out stiff but soften after repeated use.

var-rp42500-tyre-levers-apart

So, the styles to choose from are pretty limited; sort of like pencils, the design is tried and tested and hasn't really changed much over the years. Because they're cheap and won't break the bank, most seasoned cyclists tend to build up a solid collection of levers to cover all bases and any tyre/rim combination.

tyre lever hooks.PNG

You'll notice that some (but not all) tyre levers have a hook on the opposite side to the tongue. This feature allows you to use multiple levers on the same tyre without running out of hands. To achieve this, work a lever under the tyre bead and cantilever the lever over the edge of the rim to lift the bead. Then, carefully place the hooked end around the nearest spoke and allow the tension to hold it in position.

levers 3.PNG

You can now take a second lever, place it under the lifted bead to the side of the first lever and work it a few inches along, before repeating the cantilever procedure. With both levers lifting the bead, you should be able to grasp the lifted section of the deflated tyre carcass between the levers with a firm jolting motion, and roll it off with your hands.

This is just one method, and not all tyre levers have hooks on them. Some mechanics swear by putting both levers under the bead before using them to lift the bead, and the hook method sometimes isn't possible if the tyre is too tight. More often than not you'll probably find that one lever does the job, and as we've already reiterated, it's worth doing some trial and error to find your ideal tyre/rim combo that's neither too tight nor too slippy - and tyre levers themselves are usually cheap, so take a look at our recommendations and find the perfect set for you.

About road.cc Buyer's Guides

The aim of road.cc buyer's guides is to give you the most, authoritative, objective and up-to-date buying advice. We continuously update and republish our guides, checking prices, availability and looking for the best deals.

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road.cc buyer's guides are maintained by the road.cc tech team. Email us with comments, corrections or queries.

Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.  

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31 comments

Avatar
Scunnypaul | 2 years ago
1 like

This is the best tyre tool you will ever use.

it's from tyre glide, and you will never buy tyre leaves again.

Image: 
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ktache replied to Scunnypaul | 2 years ago
0 likes

Please tell us more.

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Scunnypaul replied to ktache | 2 years ago
0 likes

It's really easy to use and is a game changer, well made and small enough to carry. Nothing else on the market like it. Check the link.

https://tyreglider.co.uk/

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Drinfinity replied to Scunnypaul | 2 years ago
2 likes

It looks like it could open tins of ham as well...

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stomec replied to Scunnypaul | 1 year ago
1 like
Scunnypaul wrote:

It's really easy to use and is a game changer, well made and small enough to carry. Nothing else on the market like it. Check the link.

https://tyreglider.co.uk/

Hmm having seen the video if you tried this with Marathon Plus tyres the bead would pop off behind you as you slid it round - looks like it still needs a tyre lever to stop this. 
 

At the weekend I fitted a new set of Marathon Plus to my wife's commuter.

I obviously set aside the whole afternoon. 

I used the cyclepal tool https://cyclepal.co.uk/products/cycle-pals-compact-tire-seating-tool I'd bought last year to get a tyre on a gravel bike wheel with a foam insert ; it took 5 mins!  It's a bit bulky for a seat pack or jersey pocket but I think invaluable for the home/garage.
 

(Still needs a tyre lever to brace however as you lever it on)

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Fignon's ghost replied to stomec | 1 year ago
0 likes

The tyre glider is an easy tool to use. As soon as you have the pinch point, any tyre will go on using your body weight. As described in the video. Deffo helps my mood when I've got to change tyres!

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hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
1 like

The best tyre fitting tool that I've got is a pair of tyre pliers:

//cdn.road.cc/sites/default/files/2021-vittoria-air-liner-tubeless-road-insert-tool.jpg)

They let you grip the tyre and manipulate it with one hand whilst jamming in tyre levers with the other. Unfortunately that pair comes with the Vittoria air-liner insert and don't seem to be available separately. (They're not really sized to carry with you on a ride though)

Edit: found that they are sold separately though they're still expensive for what they are: https://www.highonbikes.com/products/vittoria-air-liner-tubeless-tyre-fitting-tool

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Sriracha replied to hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
0 likes

Is that grappling iron for getting the tyres on, or off?

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hawkinspeter replied to Sriracha | 2 years ago
1 like
Sriracha wrote:

Is that grappling iron for getting the tyres on, or off?

Yes

(it's made of plastic though, not iron)

Avatar
Flintshire Boy | 2 years ago
2 likes

Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres - never mind a lever, you need a ruddy crowbar!

Still, they are so hardwearing that - touch wood - you'll be very unlucky if you get a flattie.

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chrisonabike replied to Flintshire Boy | 2 years ago
3 likes

True - though I'm clearly a wuss as I struggled with their Pro-one variety too. Good side is if you should get a nail stuck through one tyre you can use the other to hammer it back out again.

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Flintshire Boy replied to chrisonabike | 2 years ago
0 likes

I must out-wuss your wussness, I'm afraid!!!!

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SaveTheWail replied to Flintshire Boy | 2 years ago
0 likes
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wtjs replied to Flintshire Boy | 2 years ago
1 like

Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres - never mind a lever, you need a ruddy crowbar!

Each to his own technique, but the 'sit first bead wholly in the central well and get the second one on with your hands' one is a worthy alternative. Can't disagree about the puncture resistance and durability

Image: 
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Sriracha replied to wtjs | 2 years ago
0 likes
wtjs wrote:

 'sit first bead wholly in the central well and get the second one on with your hands'

100%. When I'm blue in the face and swearing trying to get the final 6 inches of tyre over the rim, guaranteed the 'other end' of the tyre is sitting on the shoulder of the rim or, worse, the bead has engaged. Persuade it back into the well - somehow keep it there - and the swearing is no longer required.

Getting the bead to disengage to remove a flat tyre, that usually gets me swearing again!

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Flintshire Boy | 2 years ago
0 likes

This comment needs a lot more likes. I have them on my commuter and is one of the few adverts I have seen where they get a variety of people including a child riding over a sea of broken glass. 

But fitting them.......They should have fitting these with hands as part of the Worlds Strongest Man Contest. 

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Hirsute replied to Flintshire Boy | 2 years ago
0 likes

I found you need a short luggage strap to get them on - it holds the tyre in place until you get most of it on.
After that pushing it into the centre well, then one hand either side moving both hands away from the starting point, along the circumference. As you repeat, more of the tyre gets on. Although the last bit needs a sturdy lever.

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Sevenfold | 2 years ago
1 like

I like the VAR tyre lever - VERY helpful with tight tyres at the roadside as it enables you mount the tyre without the risk of snagging the inner tube. 

Image: 
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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Sevenfold | 2 years ago
0 likes

After last nights match, I can't be having anything to do with VAR for quite a while. 

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wycombewheeler replied to Sevenfold | 2 years ago
2 likes
Sevenfold wrote:

I like the VAR tyre lever - VERY helpful with tight tyres at the roadside as it enables you mount the tyre without the risk of snagging the inner tube. 

the VAR lever, where you review the footage and decide to disallow the puncture?

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andyp | 2 years ago
0 likes

an image of the brilliant VAR lever but no mention of it?

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Ride On | 2 years ago
0 likes

Decathlon ones work fine.

I used to use a teaspoon when I was a kid and punctured the tube again everytime i put the tyre back on. Doh.

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wycombewheeler replied to Ride On | 2 years ago
1 like

you needed cutlery with rounded ends and no corners, nver had that problem.

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OnTheRopes | 2 years ago
0 likes

What is it with some tyres/rims these days? not sure if it's the tyre or the rim or a combination but I never had this much trouble getting a tyre on in years gone by. Conti GP4000 on Zonda rim for example I had to use a lever to get it back on the rim last time I punctured, absolutely impossible without.

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I love my bike replied to OnTheRopes | 2 years ago
0 likes

It must be your technique, as I have Zonda wheels with GP4000s & have always fitted & removed them by hand. They aren't the easiest, but I don't have extra strong hands/thumbs either.

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maviczap replied to OnTheRopes | 1 year ago
0 likes
OnTheRopes wrote:

What is it with some tyres/rims these days? not sure if it's the tyre or the rim or a combination but I never had this much trouble getting a tyre on in years gone by. Conti GP4000 on Zonda rim for example I had to use a lever to get it back on the rim last time I punctured, absolutely impossible without.

I concur GP4000 is the hardest I've ever had to mount on a rim, Ultegra wheelset in my case. Shifted the outer skin on my thumbs!
Then I got one of these,
https://www.merlincycles.com/kool-stop-tyre-bead-jack-232166.html?utm_so...
Never had a problem since. Although once they've been on the rim and ridden the GP4000s are much easier to take off and refit
Never tried fitting Schwalbe Marathons though

Avatar
froze | 2 years ago
1 like

The author may not like steel levers, but if he lived where I live and where the temps get below freezing and he has a flat and whips out his plastic levers and at the first pry the levers break, he'll switch fast to steel!  Soma makes a steel core plastic levers, I've used these well below freezing without fail and without damaging the rims, no plastic one will endure being frozen, I've even had Pedros levers snap in two.

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Simon E | 2 years ago
0 likes

I really like the Park 1.2.

Have used classic black Cyclo nylon levers for years at home but black is far too easy to lose at the roadside and can be difficult to find in a large bag.

Schwalbe (both old and new shape) are OK but ergonomics are not the best and don't clip together.

The Weldtite Cyclo curved salmon-coloured resin ones don't clip together and the lip is a bit fat for tight-fitting tyres. I'm not a fan.

Am intrigued by the Tacx, seeing philly's comment I might buy a set.

Avatar
philly | 2 years ago
0 likes

The Tacx levers are hands down the best levers on the market. However, if you need to get a GP5000 tubeless tyre onto a carbon rim, the Cycle Pal Tyre Seating Tool is a life saver... TyreKey is pretty good too 👍

Avatar
ktache | 2 years ago
1 like

Not that they are available anymore, but I love my mid 90s Pedros Milk Levers, made from recycled plastic milk bottles.

Still going very strong, never let me down, slightly flexible, and with a little lip on the "other" end that gets that last little bit of the bead onto the rim.

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