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The Topeak Power Lever Pro fits an excellent chain tool into a lightweight package barely larger than the two tyre levers included. When you add in the master link pliers for both opening and closing your stored replacement link, the result is a compelling choice for long or short rides.
It's pretty much a given that everyone carries – or should carry – tyre levers when out riding. Even if you're a 100% tubeless convert you should pack a lightweight back-up tube from the likes of Tubolito or Schwalbe, plus a tyre boot (or a five quid note) and a set of levers. You don't want to be left hailing a taxi or calling a partner when the comes-to-us-all Sidewall Cut Of Doom arrives.
So if you need to carry levers, why not use them as – er – levers, to drive other tool functions. The last few years have seen the appearance of slimmed-down, high-quality tools that incorporate tyre levers from the likes of Wolftooth, Granite and others. And here in the Power Lever Pro we have Topeak's latest trail- or road-side get-me-running offer, using the tyre levers to good effect as chain pliers and chain tool.
The Topeak Power Lever Pro has three core functions: tyre levers, a chain tool, and master link pliers. Two additional minor functions are storage for a spare master link, and having a chain hook to make chain breaking or assembly easy.
As tyre levers, the Power Lever Pro are okay. The way they're angled and the thickness of the body can make some tyre and rim combos a bit of a faff, but there was no setup I wasn't able to manage – on or off. Being plastic you shouldn't use these to tackle extremely tight-fitting beads, so best try on your own setup before committing to the carry. Topeak explicitly mentions this 'No-Stiff-Beads' caveat out in the manual. The black lever has a spoke catch to keep it in place while you wrestle the second lever into place – although on thick or deep rims this is sometimes impossible to bend far enough to fit under the spoke.
The master link plier function takes a bit of practice to assemble at the correct pivot point, but once working in either open or close modes, the action is smooth and strong. In either direction, as you engage the pliers the two halves are held together by guides, so there's no risk of the tool slipping sideways. Many link pliers only deliver the compressive 'open' functionality to crack the link in half, and rely on running a kinda-in-place master link through the mech and onto the top chain span to then be snapped tight by holding the rear brake on while stomping the pedals. In my bitter, cold and wet trailside experience this is a recipe for losing half or all the link in the mud and grass, never to be seen again. Much better to be able to replace the link and set it locked while on the lower half of the chain run, still held in place by the chain hook.
The chain tool is a work of miniature art. The tool is permanently fixed to the green lever, pivoting to ninety degrees on a beefy bushing. The opposite lever uses its 4mm hex to then drive the pin. It's rated for every chain on the market – including SRAM's new 13-speed flat-top chains. The wee chain hook slots securely into the black lever until needed, and has a decently deep curvature to hold both ends of the loose chain securely.
The pin assembly is actually in two halves. The pin itself, with its 4mm hex head, is threaded inside a thicker threaded tube with a knurled outer and a cutaway window you can look through to check a new pin is properly aligned. To use the tool, you first back the inner pin out until the tip of the pin is level with the window and tip of the outer. Then you wind the outer back against the chain plate until its finger-tight, with the window slot vertical to allow visibility of the pin's alignment.
Finally you drive in the pin using the black lever's 4mm hex. Getting this alignment correct is critical to avoid damaging the pin or chain, and I recommend practising breaking and reassembling a few links to get it right. The window serves as a good guide to check pin-pin alignment, if you are using repair pins instead of master links to rejoin a chain. It also helps hold the pin square with the chain, so as you apply force it doesn't drive in crookedly.
Some chain tools require inordinate amounts of force, particularly when there's little leverage available. The Topeak Power Lever Pro laughed at all my test chains and snapped them open like twigs. One thing to be aware of, though, is the possibility to overdrive the pin into the threaded outer while separating a link. If this happens you will need strong fingers or possibly a plier of sorts, to hold the outer still while you back the pin outwards. The pin is deep, so there's really no need to keep turning it once the chain is broken. Topeak doesn't yet list the pin as a spare part on its website, but as pretty much all its other chain tools have spare pins available, it must just be a matter of time.
It's a tiny niggle, but if you store your master links as shown in the instructions you won't be able to snap the tool closed. As the link holders are stepped one above the other, someone clearly thought about their design, but maybe didn't actually try it in practice before writing the instructions. If you insert the links the other way, with the female toward the tip of the tyre lever, it's fine and they don't come loose.
For £30 and costing just 62g, the Power Lever Pro feels like a premium piece of kit that's well worth the price.
Wolftooth's Pack Pliers are £1 dearer but they don't have a chain tool and only feature a single tyre lever. And the £87 8-Bit Pack pliers that I reviewed a while back don't have either a chain tool or lever, but they do feature an assortment of bits. Oddly, Wolftooth does make a £65 8-Bit chain tool – but then pairs it with a Stanley-like utility knife. Go figure.
Granite's Talon Tyre Levers are just £10.95, but they only open a link, not close it – and obviously no chain tool.
Looking about the internet I'm stumped to find anyone offering the combo of levers, pliers and chain tool. No doubt a knock-off will be available next week, but at just £30 for the real Topeak deal with a two-year warranty, going for the genuine article is not a hard budgetary ask. So long as your tyre beads aren't excessively tight, the Topeak Power Lever Pro is a pretty compelling option for your on-bike toolkit.
A light, compact and high-quality tool for modern chains, with tyre levers as a bonus
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Topeak Power Lever Pro
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
This is for riders wanting a compact, lightweight combo for chains and tyres.
An ingenious compact combination tool of tire levers, master link pliers and chain tool! Two levers connect to form master link pliers for removing or installing a chain master link. Power Lever Pro easily separates into two pieces for use as two tire levers and built-in chain tool is compatible with single and multi-speed chains up to 13 speed. Integrated chain hook holds chain steady while removing or installing master link.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
TOOLS Master link pliers, chain tool*, tire levers and chain hook
* The chain tool is compatible with single and multi-speed chains up to 13 speed, including Sram® Flattop chains.
TOOL MATERIAL Hardened steel/Engineering grade polymer
SIZE 12.5 x 3 x 1.85cm / 4.9 x 1.2 x 0.7in
ADDED FEATURE Chain link storage compartment
This has a premium build and finish.
Only marking this down on the flexible levers. Everything else is great.
Seems well-made and durable, so long as you don't go crazy with the leverage. No spare pin part listed - yet.
For what you get the weight is strikingly low.
The power is easy to apply on the wide lever bodies.
So long as the tyre levers work on your setup, it's fabulous value.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tyre bead wrangling aside, the operation of the pliers and chain tool are great.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The power of the chain tool.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The flexibility of the levers.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
For the combo it's a very compelling package.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, but with caveats
Use this box to explain your overall score
The weight, size and price are bang on. If the levers were stiffer, I'd be tempted to give it 10/10.
About the tester
I usually ride: Sonder Camino Gravelaxe My best bike is: Nah bro that's it
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, general fitness riding, mtb, G-R-A-V-E-L
Living in the Highlands, Mike is constantly finding innovative and usually cold/wet ways to accelerate the degradation of cycling kit. At his happiest in a warm workshop holding an anodised tool of high repute, Mike's been taking bikes apart and (mostly) putting them back together for forty years. With a day job in global IT (he's not completely sure what that means either) and having run a boutique cycle service business on the side for a decade, bikes are his escape into the practical and life-changing for his customers.