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Please recommend a tire bead jack!

Old 08-31-20, 05:02 PM
  #1  
Papa Tom
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Please recommend a tire bead jack!

My new 26" Specialized tires are a little tight on my rim and need a little love to get on and off. I have seen Kool Stop's Tire Bead Jack advertised for $13.50 accompanied by glowing reviews, but then I've seen Kool Stop's Tire Bead Jack "With Handle" advertised for almost twice the price. To add to the confusion, the photos of both look exactly the same.

I am not married to the Kool Stop version of this tool anyway, but can anybody tell me A) if a tire bead jack is worth having, and B) if there are any that are "better" than the rest?
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Old 08-31-20, 05:07 PM
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Can you post links for the two Koolstops? The only one I've seen has a short handle. I had a very nice Park Tool jack once. Was too big to carry on the bike but worked great. I don't think they make it anymore, though.
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Old 08-31-20, 05:27 PM
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Someone's been shopping on Amazon... But the answer is there is only one version.. Buy the one that's sold by Amazon and has Prime shipping..
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Old 08-31-20, 05:30 PM
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I’ve seen what you are talking about but I’m not sure what they mean by “with handle”. Koolstop only list the KS-TJ as the “ Kool Stop Tire Bead Jack”. QBP lists it as “with handle” but it is the same tool at the same price. I have one of them and they come in handy for road tires. They are less useful for wide mountain bike tires.

Park’s PTS-1 isn’t really a tire jack. It’s meant to seat tires properly. You might be able to use it as a tire jack but it’s not meant for that purpose. It’s a bit of a limited use tool.

This one looks like it might handle a wider tire (says up to 45mm). I don’t know about it’s durability, however.

This one looks interesting but very limited. I don’t think it would work for much wider than 35mm wide tires.

The VAR tire tool works well for on bike but like the TyreKey, it is limited in what width tires it can be used on.
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Old 08-31-20, 05:36 PM
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Is a tire bead jack worth having? Absolutely yes. They are a huge advantage when seating tight tires.

The Koolstop tire jack is definitely the one to get. I have one and it's great. I did a Google search and all of the sources I found sell it for about $15 and that's the model I have.

The Park took looks like it's intended for large tires and I don't know how well it works on thin road tires. It's also a lot more expensive and heavier. It's really a shop grade tool primarily for LBS use.

I had the VAR tool Cyccocommute linked to. It's small and light but I found it too flimsy and lacking in leverage for really tight tires.
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Old 08-31-20, 06:04 PM
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I've had one of the VAR tools for decades, but have found that I rarely need it. Still, it's comforting to know that it's both available and functional when necessary.
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Old 08-31-20, 06:12 PM
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Iíve used VAR levers for decades. They work very well and Iíve used them with mountain bike tires. They are flexible. So much so that I am amazed that they have not broken. The flexibility is good and bad. They seem to hook on the bead a little better but there is less leverage. At times you are really bending it to mount the tire. It does fit easily in a medium under saddle bag.

I find the Kool Stop gives more leverage but staying hooked on the bead is sometimes a problem. It is not a hook, just a 90 degree shoulder. Iíve cut the handle down on mine to fit in a larger bag. I have only used the Kool Stop mounting mountain bike tires and you definitely have to hold the jack to the bead, which kind of renders the length of handle useless. It does work well. I think I like it better than the VAR.

John
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Old 08-31-20, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Parkís PTS-1 isnít really a tire jack. Itís meant to seat tires properly. You might be able to use it as a tire jack but itís not meant for that purpose. Itís a bit of a limited use tool.
Good to know. Pretty sure that's what I had. It was given to me and I passed it along to someone else. Now that I think about it, it did sort of slide the bead on as opposed to actually "jacking" it in one spot. Got the tire on easily, nevertheless.
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Old 08-31-20, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by hillrider View Post
is a tire bead jack worth having? Absolutely yes. They are a huge advantage when seating tight tires.

The koolstop tire jack is definitely the one to get. I have one and it's great. I did a google search and all of the sources i found sell it for about $15 and that's the model i have.

The park took looks like it's intended for large tires and i don't know how well it works on thin road tires. It's also a lot more expensive and heavier. It's really a shop grade tool primarily for lbs use.

I had the var tool cyccocommute linked to. It's small and light but i found it too flimsy and lacking in leverage for really tight tires.

...+1
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Old 08-31-20, 06:46 PM
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The handle length is more than adequate for the tightest of tyres.

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Old 08-31-20, 07:07 PM
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A friend carries one of the Koolstops in his jersey pocket. He's become known as the "guy with the big tool." Funny because he's a septuagenarian gnome
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Old 08-31-20, 10:32 PM
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I have arthritis in my hands, comes and goes in intensity, but always present so critical for me. I always look for a better design but until then a Koolstop in the shop and Koolstop with a shortened handle on the ride with a newish tire set.
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Old 08-31-20, 11:31 PM
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Get the Kool Stop bead jack. The first time you use it you'll know it was $12-$15 well spent.

I'd have been walking the final five miles home Saturday, or sitting there slowly turning into a skeleton, if I hadn't brought my Kool Stop bead jack. The temperature had peaked close to 110F and I was finishing a 50 mile ride, totally exhausted, and quickly running out of water due to being delayed by punctures.

I'd switched to Continental Ultra Sport II, which are notoriously tight fitting tires, but, for me so far, reliable and rarely puncture. Until Saturday. I had two punctures in the final five miles home. Broken glass hiding in fresh chipseal, down the road from a couple of stripper bars -- worst stretch of road on my usual route. Impossible to see because the fresh chipseal glittered like glass in sunlight. Cut right through the tread. It would have been impossible to seat those tires without a bead jack.

Or switch to tires that don't need a bead jack.

I'm switching my road bikes back to Continental Grand Prix Classic skinwalls. Really nice tires for the money and I don't need gorilla hands to remove them or a bead jack to seat them. They cost about twice as much as the Ultra Sport, around $30-$35 each vs $15-$20 each for Ultra Sport II, and worth it for the reduced hassle.

I'll save the Ultra Sport II for the trainer. They're incredibly durable on my Cycleops trainer, so I don't need special trainer tires. And I can ride them outdoors if I want to. As long as I remember to shove the bead jack in my pocket.

The only other tires I've used that practically demanded a bead jack was the original Schwalbe One V-Guard, the 2014 or so version before they switched to the tubeless design. It *could* be seated with just my hands and maybe a plastic tire lever, but it was difficult and risked a pinch puncture.
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Old 09-01-20, 10:16 AM
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I have (since the 80's) a few VAR tire jacks in my on-bike puncture repair kits .. they're still made..
Kool Stop's is a shop tool ..



Last edited by fietsbob; 09-01-20 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 09-01-20, 12:39 PM
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OK, I am convinced that the Kool Stop jack is what I want, although we don't seem to have resolved the "with handle" and $10 more expensive issues. I will contact Kool Stop about that.

Just to clarify, my tires are Specialized Nimbus 26" X 1.5" and they are installed on a rim that is designed for fatter mountain bike tires. The Specialized 1.5's fit very tight. Will the Kool Stop jack help seat and remove them?
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Old 09-01-20, 12:53 PM
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Kool Stop lists only one model for their bead jack -- it has a handle. It sells for around $12-$15.

I suspect that any differences in vendor descriptions may be due to a language barrier, or a seller just making things more complicated than necessary.

My widest tires are 700x45 and the bead jack works fine on those. Customer reviews indicate they've used the Kool Stop bead jack successfully on everything ranging from 700c to 26" to 20" to wheelchair tires. If I'm recalling correctly a Facebook friend uses the KS bead jack for his wife's 26" wheelchair tires.

The bead jack is only for installing tires. You'll still need sturdy tire levers to remove tires. My favorite are these Bontrager tire levers from Trek dealers. They are massively sturdy compared with most levers, almost overkill but very effective. I gave a set to a friend who used them to change tires on a commercial dolly. They didn't break.

I've also used thinner and narrower plastic levers that also worked fine even on really tight tires. I picked them because a pair will more easily fit inside the tiny Lezyne Road Caddy minimalist bag I use on one road bike. Haven't managed to break one yet.
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Old 09-01-20, 03:26 PM
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+1 for the VAR.. works on narrower tires/rims (ie. road standards). However, if it breaks, not sure where you can buy these any more in the US. Because of its rounded shape, it's not at all bad in a rear jersey pocket.
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Old 09-01-20, 05:11 PM
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Just spoke to a techie at Kool Stop. There is only one model and it's the $13 one. He was totally puzzled by the "with handle model" and its $22 price.

I am ordering mine tonight.

Thanks for all the input, including the suggestions about VAR and other models.
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Old 09-01-20, 05:31 PM
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You might add Schwalbe tire levers to your arsenal for dealing with challenging tire-rim combinations. They add different functionality than the tools discussed so far. Namely, they provide clips to hold the tire bead inside the rim, so that the bead that you already put on stays on.
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Old 09-01-20, 05:34 PM
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Thanks, 2_i . I have a case of Park tire levers that I bought several years ago. They work great!
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Old 09-01-20, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
Thanks, 2_i . I have a case of Park tire levers that I bought several years ago. They work great!
I believe, so but they lack the specific clips for putting the tires on. Check
, towards the end.
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Old 09-01-20, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by 2_i View Post
I believe, so but they lack the specific clips for putting the tires on. Check this video, towards the end.
Cool feature. Maybe I will pick up a set after I have either given away - or lost - all of my Park Tool levers!
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Old 09-06-20, 06:48 PM
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Update from the OP: Hey, all. I have ordered the Kool Stop Tire Bead Jack, but for the second order in a row, Amazon has lost it in shipping. I don't know what's up with them, but I re-ordered it from Nashbar and should have it soon. I will let you all know how it worked out once I have it in my hands.
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Old 09-07-20, 10:58 AM
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F Amazon! try another source..

phoning your favorite bike shop tried .. thru their wholesale distributors like QBP?
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Old 09-07-20, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
F Amazon! try another source..

phoning your favorite bike shop tried .. thru their wholesale distributors like QBP?
My two favorite local bike shops closed last year, and the remaining few in the area are "boutique"-type stores that seem to stock only Park Tools, so I find that I am using online sources more than I want to these days.

It's a shame that these high-end shops seem to be missing a golden opportunity to "kill it" with so many newbies on bikes right now, and so many others (like me) whose COVID employment situation is shaky enough that we can't afford better-quality gear anymore.

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