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Are metal tyre levers necessary for my tyre?

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Are metal tyre levers necessary for my tyre?

Old 05-04-22, 05:23 AM
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Ev0lutionz
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Are metal tyre levers necessary for my tyre?

I'm riding a foldable, 16inch Schwalbe Marathons. I realised the LBS who installed it for me used metal tyre levers. Say I had a puncture on the road, is it necessary I get metal tyre levers just in case or will plastic ones be fine ?
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Old 05-04-22, 06:33 AM
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Take the tire off at home and see what you need. You will soon decide which kind you need. Roger
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Old 05-04-22, 07:37 AM
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Plastic ones can work but need to be sturdy. Schwalbe Marathon tires are notorious hard to get on and off the rim. I have them on most of my bikes and I use Pedro's plastic tire levers. They are sturdy but I have managed to snap one while trying to get a Marathon off the rim. But you need more than 2. At least 3. I found it best to use at least 3 tire levers at the same time to pry a tire off the rim.
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Old 05-04-22, 07:39 AM
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If you break or bend the plastic levers you have, then you'll either need a stronger plastic lever or a metal one. But even metal levers can be just as lousy as plastic levers. It all depends on the type of metal or plastic or used to make them and their design.

Some plastic is pretty stout stuff and will take blows from a hammer without denting or fracturing.
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Old 05-04-22, 08:08 AM
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"Steel Core" tire levers have plastic on the outside to protect the rim but still very strong. Here's just one example but there are other brands available. Super B TB-5566 Bike Tire Lever Set 880009 (homedepot.com)
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Old 05-04-22, 08:26 AM
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The few times I've used plastic levers I've managed to snap them. I stick to the metal levers that came my way 30-40 years ago. That said, I prefer to not use levers at all. Even my Schwalbe Marathons that I just put on my 26" wheels I can get on and off without them. The trick is to not do the last bit opposite the valve but at 90 degrees to it, and have the opposite side as far into the middle groove as possible to give you just a little more length to get over the rim, and that goes for taking off or putting on. The valve prevents the tire's bead from going into the center groove.

On the left is the correct way, with the blue tire all the way in the groove and slightly stretched, on the right the tire is in the bead and can't stretch over the rim. Green is outer rim, red is the bead channel and the black is the inner groove. And the stem is at 90 degrees on the left. Not all rims are like this though.

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Old 05-04-22, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by rhenning View Post
Take the tire off at home and see what you need. You will soon decide which kind you need. Roger
+1. Always best to practice in the comfort of your home, and then you will be much more prepared for the road.
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Old 05-04-22, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
The trick is to not do the last bit opposite the valve but at 90 degrees to it, and have the opposite side as far into the middle groove as possible to give you just a little more length to get over the rim, and that goes for taking off or putting on. The valve prevents the tire's bead from going into the center groove.
So you are saying that doing the last part 90 deg to the stem gives you a bit more slack to finish? Makes sense. I'll try it that way next time I mount a tire. I've always done the last bit 180 deg from the valve and have only rarely had to resort to my VAR tire jack so I've either been lucky with tire/rim combo or I have strong thumbs. Nevertheless, I look forward to encountering a difficult mount so I can try your method. I volunteer at our local bike co-op and typically do a couple of mountings each week.

Thanks for the hint.
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Old 05-04-22, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Moe Zhoost View Post
So you are saying that doing the last part 90 deg to the stem gives you a bit more slack to finish? Makes sense. I'll try it that way next time I mount a tire. I've always done the last bit 180 deg from the valve and have only rarely had to resort to my VAR tire jack so I've either been lucky with tire/rim combo or I have strong thumbs. Nevertheless, I look forward to encountering a difficult mount so I can try your method. I volunteer at our local bike co-op and typically do a couple of mountings each week.

Thanks for the hint.
Yep. We were all taught to do it opposite the stem but this gives you more wiggle room.
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Old 05-04-22, 11:02 AM
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I'd avoid using levers at all, if at all possible.

Probably won't use the 90 degree trick, since I've had no problem with rolling the bead over at 180.
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Old 05-04-22, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Ev0lutionz View Post
I'm riding a foldable, 16inch Schwalbe Marathons.
Ah, a Schwalbe Marathon on a 16" rim - the big wheel guys just won't understand!

Here's a video on how to mount one without tools:


Cool! Of course, you'll note she kneaded and massaged and fussed with that thing for over two minutes to get it to pop on, while seated comfortably in pleasant weather.

I talc my tubes and use three coated steel levers for removal and a VAR tire jack for reinstall and make flats my #^%$*@.
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Old 05-04-22, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Cool! Of course, you'll note she kneaded and massaged and fussed with that thing for over two minutes to get it to pop on, while seated comfortably in pleasant weather.
"The advantage of these tires is they're really easy to take on and off."

A seasoned mechanic would have that tire installed in 30 seconds. A work bench to lean against would have helped her, but kudos to her for doing it seated.

Last edited by smd4; 05-04-22 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 05-04-22, 12:33 PM
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If you have nice aluminum wheels, and you need a lot of force to get them on uncoated metal tire levers will dent the rim.
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Old 05-04-22, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
A seasoned mechanic would have that tire installed in 30 seconds. A work bench to lean against would have helped her...
I'll remember to bring a seasoned mechanic and a work bench on my next ride!
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Old 05-04-22, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Moe Zhoost View Post
So you are saying that doing the last part 90 deg to the stem gives you a bit more slack to finish? Makes sense. I'll try it that way next time I mount a tire. I've always done the last bit 180 deg from the valve and have only rarely had to resort to my VAR tire jack so I've either been lucky with tire/rim combo or I have strong thumbs. Nevertheless, I look forward to encountering a difficult mount so I can try your method. I volunteer at our local bike co-op and typically do a couple of mountings each week.

Thanks for the hint.
It's even better if you start 180 degrees from the valve and work towards it when installing. When removing the tire always start at the valve.
I don't know where the conventional cycling technique of always starting at the valve came from, but it's bogus.
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Old 05-04-22, 02:16 PM
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smd4
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
I'll remember to bring a seasoned mechanic and a work bench on my next ride!
Well, at least the nice lady in the video didn't need tire levers to remove the tire. That should answer the OPs question!
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Old 05-04-22, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by freetors View Post
I don't know where the conventional cycling technique of always starting at the valve came from, but it's bogus.
Nope, it isn't bogus. You can get more space to work by manipulating the valve stem in or out to get more "slack" to work with. But hey, whatever works for you.
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Old 05-04-22, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
"The advantage of these tires is they're really easy to take on and off."


You do realize that's the Schwalbe One Tan Wall she's talking about at that point, not the OP's Marathon, right?


Well, at least the nice lady in the video didn't need tire levers to remove the tire.
You do realize that's the Schwalbe One Tan Wall she's talking about at that point, not the OP's Marathon, right?
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Old 05-04-22, 04:19 PM
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I like KMC Missing Link Levers. They are stouter than most plastic levers, and they turn into a chain quick-link breaker that really does work.

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Old 05-04-22, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by freetors View Post
It's even better if you start 180 degrees from the valve and work towards it when installing. When removing the tire always start at the valve.
I don't know where the conventional cycling technique of always starting at the valve came from, but it's bogus.
That's why 90 degrees works. The valve is now out of the picture whether you start or end there.
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