What’s a tire lever?

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The tire lever is a fundamental tool for bike repair, designed to remove a tire from a bicycle rim. It has a tapered end and a small hook, with no sharp edges to avoid punctures. It can be used with a second lever to loosen the tire around the rim. A good quality tire lever can be purchased at any bike shop.

Among the necessary tools to keep on hand for bike repair, the tire lever is one of the fundamental elements. Designed to enable quick removal of a tire from a bicycle rim, the tire lever has qualities that make the job easy to handle. Here are some facts about the tire lever and how to use the device.

The typical tire lever is a flat tool with a slightly curved tapered end. At the opposite end of the lever is a small hook. Although the tire lever has a hook on one end, it is important to note that there are no sharp edges on the device. The reason for this is that any small puncture in the tube of the bicycle tire would ruin the tube and require a replacement or at least an additional patch to the bicycle tire. The body of the tire lever is usually made of plastic, although there are still some models of tire levers made of stainless steel. More and more people are choosing to include the plastic models in their bike tool case, as they are less likely to cause a puncture than the metal versions.

Using a tire lever while working on bicycle tires is relatively easy. The tapered end of the tire lever is inserted between the rim and the bicycle tire. Once in place, the lever is used to lift the tire rubber off the rim, snapping it over the edge. The hook end of the tire lever can then be hooked through the spokes to hold the lever in place. Using a second tire lever, crimp the tapered end near the raised edge and begin working around the rim, loosening the tire as you go.

While it is possible to remove bicycle tires using a single tire lever, applying leverage to hold the tire off the rim as it moves around the perimeter ensures that the tire cannot snap back into place during activity. This simple fact helps explain why many avid bikers make sure to carry several tire levers in their bicycle repair tool kit.

A good quality tire lever can be purchased at any bike shop. Bike tool kits often include at least one tire lever, but these can also be purchased separately. Some sporting goods stores will also offer a selection of both plastic and metal tire levers. While a very simple tool, a tire lever can make the process of removing and repairing a flat bike tire much easier and much quicker.

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