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Best Vintage Tire Lever

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Best Vintage Tire Lever

Old 08-29-20, 09:43 AM
  #1  
bikemig 
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Best Vintage Tire Lever

Best vintage tire lever ever made is the German made Eldi tire lever. It's thin and strong and it's steel. 'Nuff said.





Last edited by bikemig; 08-30-20 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 08-29-20, 09:48 AM
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I completely agree!
I've still got a handful of these Eldi levers, and jealously guard them. There are still times when plastic levers can't fit under a really tight tire bead, or aren't stiff enough to lift the bead.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 08-29-20, 10:11 AM
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I missed one a few days ago, has anyone tried these?
https://www.ebay.com/itm/3pcs-Bicycle-Cycle-Bike-Mountain-Road-Steel-Tyre-Tire-Levers-Tyre-Bar-Tools-Kit/262867722325?

or these?

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Old 08-29-20, 10:14 AM
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I've got a Wheelsmith that I use (with Kool Stops) on my alloy rims. Seems like I've had it forever.
I also have this "Terrys Made in England" steel lever that I used to use all of time on steel rims when I worked in a Bike Shop a long time ago in a State far, far away.

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Old 08-29-20, 10:55 AM
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I kind of like those little ones that come in a MAFAC tool kit.

There was an aluminum tire lever that looked exactly like the ones in post no 3 that was common ~ late 70s. They'd be vintage correct I suppose. I used them during my brief foray into clinchers. Plastic levers go back further than you'd think, though the early ones tended to break.

I can't seem remember what type of levers got most used in the LBS BITD. I think there were a few kinds at hand. The plastic ones I think. Grab another if it breaks.

Last edited by Salamandrine; 08-29-20 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 08-29-20, 11:53 AM
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I have to amend my earlier post... I've got some earlier steel tire levers that I like better than my Eldi's. They are a bit smaller than the Eldi version.



edit: here's a shot of the working ends of these levers. The Eldi lever is much blunter, which makes it a bit harder to get under a very tight tire bead (i.e. Continental and some others). I prefer the thinner edge of the unmarked lever. Both are still much better than the plastic tire levers that I have.


(end of edit)

I got these from Cyclo-Pedia back in the 70's, I think. The catalog doesn't offer any hint as to who might have made them...


by comparison, I got my Eldi levers from Rivendell back in the 90's.... which is also a long time ago... <sigh>

Steve in Peoria
(getting old much faster than I expected!)

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Old 08-29-20, 01:37 PM
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I stopped using steel levers many years ago after pinching a few too many tubes. Now I'm all about plastic speedsticks and the like. The only thing I use a steel tire lever for is to tighten a crank dustcap.
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Old 08-29-20, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
I stopped using steel levers many years ago after pinching a few too many tubes. Now I'm all about plastic speedsticks and the like. The only thing I use a steel tire lever for is to tighten a crank dustcap.
I'm with you on that. I never liked steel levers to be honest. Some are OK. I switched to plastic in like 1980.
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Old 08-29-20, 09:49 PM
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Terry. Much smoother and better finished.
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Old 08-30-20, 04:10 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
I stopped using steel levers many years ago after pinching a few too many tubes.
Yeah, I don't know why anyone would currently use them.

The only thing I use a steel tire lever for is to tighten a crank dustcap.
I use a penny or dime. It's the only time the coin is worth more than it's worth.

"Worth more than it's worth"? Does that make sense? That's like saying, "be yourself." How am I not myself?
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Old 08-30-20, 09:46 AM
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Don't metal levers gouge aluminum rims?
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Old 08-30-20, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
That's like saying, "be yourself." How am I not myself?
Tried ayahuasca?
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Old 08-30-20, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
I stopped using steel levers many years ago after pinching a few too many tubes. Now I'm all about plastic speedsticks and the like. The only thing I use a steel tire lever for is to tighten a crank dustcap.
I use a kool stop tire bead jack to mount a tire but I like a quality steel tire lever for prying off a tough tire.

Last edited by bikemig; 08-30-20 at 10:15 AM.
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Old 08-30-20, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by sced View Post
Don't metal levers gouge aluminum rims?
Not really. I wouldn't use them on carbon-fiber rims, though.
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Old 08-30-20, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
Yeah, I don't know why anyone would currently use them.



snip . .
If you have a set of eldi tire levers lying around, I'd be happy to buy them from you,

But yeah I use a kool stop jack for installing a tire. I still like my steel levers for prying a tough tire off. There's no doubt that plastic tire levers have gotten better over time though if that's your thing. BITD steel ruled the roost for bikes and tire levers.
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Old 08-30-20, 10:53 AM
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my favorite is the English made Gripfast. the "spoon" section is thinner and wider
than the Eldi. I just think it grabs more tire during the all important first "lift".
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Old 08-30-20, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
I use a kool stop tire bead jack to mount a tire but I like a quality steel tire lever for prying off a tough tire.
and it's probably worth noting that some rim/tire combinations have achieved legendary status as being a very tight fit.
The ones that come to mind are Continental tires on Sun or Ambrosio rims.
I'll admit that I've got some Veloflex Master 23mm folding tires that are really tight on Ambrosio rims too. The steel tire levers are my preferred tool for getting under the bead when removing the tube.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 08-30-20, 11:08 AM
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Only a fan of metal if matched to an old era correct bike.
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Old 08-30-20, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by sced View Post
Don't metal levers gouge aluminum rims?
I found that they do. That's why I use the Wheelsmith and Kool Stops. I saved my steel ones from when I used to work on steel rims as a mechanic just in case and they're cool
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Old 08-30-20, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
If you have a set of eldi tire levers lying around, I'd be happy to buy them from you.
I've kept a couple metal levers for some unknown reason. They're Specialized branded. Next to those in the pic below are old Park levers that came with a Trek I recently bought. They're not as thick like the yellow Pedro's lever next to them. There's only one Pedro's lever, 'cause I broke one, probably on an Ambrosio rim. Not pictured are two new Park levers in my patch kit I carry. They're wide like the Pedro's.


.
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Old 08-30-20, 03:17 PM
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I've been using VAR tire levers for around forty years. Took about 35 years to break one; bought another set (they're blue now).

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Old 08-30-20, 04:02 PM
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I've got this yellow thing that I bought about 30 years ago. I don't even know the brand as it wore off. It works great for pulling stubborn tires off. I use it in concert with some park copy tire levers that performance used to sell (these are also about 30 years old). The plastic on the yellow thing is kind of crappy and I hate that it always looks chewed up but it works. That koolstop tire bead jack looks neat, kind of like the baja no pinch I've got for changing dirt bike tires.

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Old 08-31-20, 01:57 AM
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I believe the yellow thing is called a Quik-Stik. They are great for installing really tight rim tire combos. They seem to last a long time too. I bought one off Amazon last year for a friend, but they don't seem to be listed anymore. Maybe they stopped making them.
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Old 09-02-20, 12:24 PM
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Here's a vintage set from Holland that came with a Miyata I bought yesterday. The three levers fit inside the red piece which has a tube scuffing surface on one side and script reading "Sport" on the other.


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Old 09-04-20, 04:50 PM
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I mostly use plastic Park levers, which are well over 25 years old.

For "hard cases", I have a pair of steel Dunlops (made in England). These have a very thin spoon and work well on tight s.o.b.s

I would guess they date from the early 70's, since I inherited them from my dad.

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