I would never use the those steel Eldi levers on Aluminum rims, particularly road or standard MTB rims. Even the dealer says they are for DH use only.
The plastic coated steel insert levers do sound like a good choice.
My favorite levers are no longer made. Specialized used to sell sets of three "Pry Baby" plastic levers that were thin enough to fit even under tight beads but strong enough to horse a reluctant tire off without breaking.
I don't have any experience with the Pedro's stuff but I have the Park levers and they are good.
i prefer 3 levers over 2 because sometimes you come across a stubborn bead and you need to fasten two of them to the spokes while the 3rd does all the work. ...or maybe i'm doing things wrong??
+1 on the specialized ones, then the parks
My favorite levers aren't available any more either: aluminum cycle pro levers I've had since I was 10. They're strong so they've lasted all these years, yet thin enough they don't cause interference from their own thickness like plastic levers often do. They're also light enough to carry with me on the bike.
In the shop my all-time favorite levers are a pair of these:
Works for 99% of tires. When those don't work you're dealing with a very tough bead that may require a steel lever...up to and including the Eldi DH lever. They won't cause rim damage if you know what you're doing.
I've bent a park lever trying to mount schwalbe marathon plus tires before.
Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
Park or Maxxis levers but mostly I use none.
We use the $3 Pedro's levers at the shop where I work, and I would reccomend them. They're amazingly tough, and Pedro's waranties them. They come in pairs but I rarely use more than one at a time. For the price you can't go wrong.
I have a bunch of pairs of the Pedro's, and they've always been very easy. I recommend buying two pairs (like with socks); in case you lose one, you can still have a pair available (I find two handier than one, personally.) They're cheap and get the job done--why buy something costlier?
Standard tire levers work well, and some even can do it without the use of a lever. But I use http://www.rei.com/pwr/product-revie...eed-Lever.html
Just wedge between bead and rim, swing down, open to full length and slide end onto wheel spindle. Pull the unit completely around the bead, like the hands on a clock. It is a little long to fit into an under-the-saddle bag, but it does fit neatly into a jersey pocket. I have mine attached to the rear of my seat post by the saddle bag strap.
Well, I listed 4 different tire levers in my original posting, since I'll be at EMS shortly and only those ones they carry according to their website.
Ooops! Just checked the "in store" availability. They have only the PARK TOOL one this Pedro's one. I'll take both of them, just to be on the safe side.
Giant Cypress 2009
If you have difficult to install tires (it happens), the VAR high pressure levers are just the ticket. Not too bad for taking the tires off either.
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.
No tire levers are necessary on any of my 6 bikes with maybe 8 different sets of tires and 4 makes of rims. I can't remember the last time I needed a lever. I have a cheapo plastic one in the workshop and I carry one in the under saddle bag for possible need on others' bikes. Leverless R&R is usually all in the technique.
The best and portable:
http://cgi.ebay.com/VAR-Super-Tyre-Tire-Tool-New_W0QQitemZ310141789105QQcmdZViewItemQQptZCycling_Parts_Accessories?hash=item4835e423b1&_trksid=p4 634.c0.m14&_trkparms=|301%3A0|293%3A1|294%3A30 <EDIT> <EDIT> Note: These are now out of stock - but I suggest ask Al (the owner of the eBay store) when he'll be gatting more. They are worth the wait.
For home use - Kool Stop Tire Jack:
For shop use:
The Park ones work fine for me. I like the hooks. Once in a while, it's convenient having three.
Park levers are too thin, I prefer the Pedro's levers.
I can mount just about any tire with my own two hands. When I come across an exception I reach for my Park TL-10... It saves me from making poor language choices.
On the road a single plastic lever can make the difference between frustration and ease. Does anyone still make those skinny steel levers from the old days?
In the past year I've bought 2 wheelsets w/Rhyno lites, and just bought 2 individual Rhyno lite rims for my first attempts at wheelbuilding. They were cheap and (so I heard) durable, but I certainly have been using tire levers at least a bit when starting and finishing. Then again, I've never been to my local climbing wall, so my wimpy finger muscles could use some bulking.