Every mechanic has encountered a tyre/rim combination that has just been a real pain in the ass to work with. Remembering back to my early days in the shop, struggling to wrangle a particularly stubborn wire bead tyre off a wheel, my lack of experience and no doubt ham-fisted approach saw me snapping the ends off all of the plastic levers in the workshop. I can’t exactly remember the types or brands, but none of them were a match for me or the tyre. Finally after all other options were exhausted, I grabbed the levers that came with a set of Mavic Cosmic Elite wheels that graced my bike at the time. These levers didn’t shirk the task at hand, and had the rubber settled on the alloy in no time.
To look at them, you’d think they would be the most likely to snap, being long and fairly thin, but whatever material they are made from has nearly the strength of metal levers, but without the damaging properties of those bastards. There is a cool little hook at the lever end, which always grabs the bead just right, and runs around the rim in a smooth, fluent action. And at the other end, there are molded in pins so you can adjust the bearings on your Cosmics just so.
Luckily, even though there is always one bundled up with my spare tube, I haven’t had to use them many times in the ten years or so since discovering their magic qualities. That was until today when the new Kenda rubber I’m trying put up a spirited fight against my Roval rims, but the little Mavic soon stamped its authority and spared my curses; at least until I get a flat and am struggling with frozen knuckles on the side of the road, where once again it will step up and save the day.