Autonomous Motion

Crank Brothers Speed Lever

Best bicycle tire iron

This tool makes removing and replacing a bicycle tire quick, easy and safe — and it does it much better than conventional bike tire irons.

Ever watch an auto tire shop mechanic mount a tire onto a rim? He’s got this big power tool that runs around the bead of the tire and pops it onto the wheel. Shrink that to pocket size, a little over an ounce, and you’ve got the Crank Brothers Speed Lever for bike tires. It reduces the major hassle of a flat tire to a few seconds’ effort. You work the speed lever under the bead of the tire, extend it and clip it to the axle. Pull on the end near the tire and zip the tire off the rim. It can take a bit of pull to get started, but this tool is worlds above conventional tire irons. And I’ve never pinched a tube using the Speed Lever.

One side of the head looks like a conventional tire iron and is used to remove the tire. The other hooks over the rim to lever the tire back on after you patch it. The long handle portion is actually three telescoping sections that extend to allow snapping one end onto the axle to hold it in place while you rip the other end along the rim.

In more detail, dismounting a tire with old conventional tire levers goes like this:
– Insert one tire lever under the bead, lever it down and hook it on a spoke.
– Insert a second tire lever under the bead a few inches away. Harder this time because the first one has the bead stretched. Lever it down and hook it on a spoke.
– Usually, insert a third tire lever, do the same thing. From that point you can pull the bead over the rim with your hands, being careful not to nick your hands on stray rubber or bead threads.

With the Speed Lever,
– Insert the front side of the Speed Lever head under the bead and lever it down
– Extend the sliding sections and hook the end opposite the rim onto the axle
– Grab the end of the Speed Lever nearest the rim and pull it along the rim. The other end is hooked to the axle, so pulling the rim end moves it along the rim, levering the bead over the rim. Less force required, and it keeps your hands out of the tire.

The key is that one end of the Speed Lever is on the rim, the other is hooked to the AXLE. This allows the user to pull it along the rim to mount or dismount the bead. Remounting goes in reverse, and is just as easy. You insert the back side of the head of the Speed Lever over a portion of the rim where the tire is already in the rim, extend the sliding sections and hook onto the axle. Then grab the end of the Speed Lever nearest the rim and pull it along the rim. The tire is levered back over the rim and seated.

-- Dave Shaw 10/24/05

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