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The Topeak Power Lever X is a clever idea – it's a set of quick-link pliers that separates to become tyre levers, and it has a couple more little extras tucked away too. It's sturdy, does a good job and is ideal for either your workshop or your saddlebag.
The main role of the Power Lever X is removing or fitting the quick links supplied with the majority of chains these days.
Swapping chainsets fairly often on my bike for testing purposes means I have developed a selection of chains to cover the various sizes of chainrings. Depending on the time of year the quick links can be stubborn to move (I'm not the most fastidious chain cleaner or luber...) and found this tool really quick and simple to use.
Because the two sides are separate entities, you can spin them round to make the pliers either open or close when you squeeze the handles. Locating pins keep everything in position. The bit that actually moves the quick link is hardened steel for strength, as are the locating pins. Everything else is engineering-grade polymer.
Stored inside the grey handle is a chain hook to keep the chain together when the quick link isn't in place, and there's room to store a quick link in there too. It's worth pointing out that if your chain actually snaps while you're out riding, you will need a separate chain tool to remove the pins/snapped link before fitting a quick link.
By day they may be mild-mannered pliers, but by night the Power Lever X is secretly a pair of tyre levers. Or by day – that's actually fine.
Their shape works well and they're definitely stiff enough to ease a bead off its rim. They're actually so stiff I sometimes found it difficult to bend the tip in and under a tight-fitting bead. That was pretty rare though.
If you are not wearing gloves, the shaping where they locate against each other really digs into your hands, so they aren't the most comfortable to use on stubborn rubber.
The other thing the Power Lever X is capable of is removing or tightening Presta valve cores, which is ideal for those with tubeless setups.
Price wise we're talking £14.99. That's half the price of the Wolf Tooth Components Master Link Combo Pliers at £33 – Mike reviewed the £76 8-Bit version here – though Wolf Tooth uses 7075-T6 aluminium alloy rather than plastic.
Lezyne's Multi Chain Pliers are more expensive at £41, but they also include a chain breaking tool, a valve core tool, a bottle opener, a rotor aligner and magnetic sections for spare quick links.
The Power Lever X works really well, and even though it's plastic – unlike some expensive rivals – it's plenty stiff enough. The tyre levers aren't as comfortable to use as standalone ones, but they do work well and the whole package is well priced.
Strong, stiff quick-link tool that cleverly doubles as tyre levers
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Topeak Power Lever X
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?
Topeak says, "Modular master link pliers separate to form tire levers.
"An ingenious master link tire lever tool! Two levers connect to form heavy-duty pliers for removing or installing all types of chain master links. An integrated chain hook keeps chain from separating while removing or installing master links. One complete master link stores within a compartment. Tool separates for use as two tire levers for quick flat repairs and also features a Presta core tool for removing valve cores."
It's a quick-link tool that does its job well.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
TOOLS: Master link pliers, tire levers and stainless steel wire chain hook
TOOL MATERIAL: Hardened steel / Engineering grade polymer
ADDED FEATURES: PCT (Presta Core Tool), Chain hook / master link storage compartments
SIZE: 15.3 x 3.4 x 2.5 cm / 6in x 1.3in x 1in
The handles aren't the most comfortable I've used.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It does the job its designed for, and it does it well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
They make removing quick links really easy, even stubborn ones.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Tyre levers can dig in uncomfortably.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
You can pick up a set of workshop quick-link pliers for around £8, so with the extra features here I'd say it's competitive. It certainly is against the alloy Wolf Tooth and Lezyne offerings mentioned in the review.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is a quality tool which makes removing and refitting quick links a breeze. For the money you are getting decent materials and it's easy to use – but as tyre levers they're not the most comfortable things.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for road.cc, off-road.cc and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!