Reverence: Lezyne Tyre Levers

Tyre Tool
Tyre Tool

Two summers ago my wife and I had the pleasure of visiting friends in Switzerland. The country is so expensive that I took home only two souvenirs: white Assos socks and a pair of Lezyne tyre levers. I assumed Lezyne was a European company. It was in this Swiss bike shop and I’d never seen the brand in an American store, ever. “Ewwww, exotic Swiss tire levers, I can afford these.” The levers were white “composite matrix” with a natty neoprene sleeve but really I bought them because I could fit them in my luggage and they were affordable ($4 US). Switzerland wisely (for them) never joined the EU but the Swiss franc makes buying swag painful. As a side note, the Assos socks are really well made. They look a tad less white now but have retained their essential Assos sock essence in every other respect.

Two years on and these levers have earned and kept the coveted number one position in my mobile rear pocket man-sachel. They are superior levers. Their hook design works better than levers made by Park, Pedros or King. I haven’t tried the Mavics Bretto has revered. I don’t know what the “composite matrix” is but it is strong as hell. Should it be so hard, designing an effective tyre lever? These are like medical instruments. Nurse, Lezyne tyre lever please. The thinness and specific curve of the bead hook makes these the levers used atop Mt Velomis.

Michelin tyres and Campagnolo rims (my favorite pairing) are at opposite ends of the clincher fit tolerances. They are wicked tight, harder to get off and on than the recently abandoned tubeless Hutchinsons. No other levers so easily get under the Michelin bead and take the horrible strain like these Lezynes do.

Sitting on the edge of the road in Kuala Lumpur, sweat pouring down your face as you bend to the task of switching inner-tubes, the sounds of snapping stalks from the jungle getting closer. Do you want the best tyre levers in your sweaty trembly hands? For you tubular riders, these might be excellent for husking that punctured tyre off the rim. At 26 grams, it would not be a bad bet. Hell, if you have to defend yourself against the enraged Malaysian monkey, a mini-pump in one hand and an unbreakable Lezyne medical instrument in the other might work out for you.

There, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve written an article singing the praises of a tyre lever and I can’t stop spelling tyre with a “y”. It’s what we do here. We obsess.

Disclaimer: Velominati has a friendly relationship with Lezyne and we have received some very well designed and well executed products of theirs, as have Keepers Tour riders from the 2012 Belgian love-fest. As I stated at the begining of this post, I bought these tyre tools when I didn’t know the first thing about the company. I admit that I was so impressed by their tyre levers I was inclined to try more of their products but my dirty Schleck love for these levers is not influenced by our relationship with Lezyne.

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75 Replies to “Reverence: Lezyne Tyre Levers”

  1. I have a pair of the sexy forged aluminum ones.  In order to keep pockets clear AND to comply with Rule #29, my levers are discreetly attached via Velcro under my Selle San Marco Aspide saddle (I only have 1 road bike, so moving them from bike to bike isn’t a concern of mine).  Never have budged and I rarely need them.  They work so well, I’m not even sure if I have other levers outside of my MTB, much less where they may be ….

  2. @Tartan1749

    I have a pair of the sexy forged aluminum ones.

    I was going to ask about the alloy levers since everything else Lezyne makes out of aluminum is just plain gorgeous.  I’ve never been a huge fan of my ParkTool levers – they don’t seem to be easy to get fitted under the tire bead – always slipping off.  I’ve heard good things about Pedros, but I may give the Lezyne levers a try although, like everything else I seem to like, none of my LBSs stock them.

  3. @VeloVita REI carries Lezyne, and I actually got my set of ebay for a few bucks less than retail, all in.  Amazon is also another choice.

  4. @Tartan1749  yeah, I know they’re available online (there are no REIs near me) which admittedly, contrary to Rule #58, is where I do much of my bike-related purchasing.  I’d love to find a local shop willing to cater to the discerning rider, but sadly I’ve yet to.  The best I can do is the shop where I got Bike #1, but its an hour away and I’m not going to drive two hours to pick up tire levers.

  5. That neoprene sleve makes them. I still use Park, and while durable, I find the hook portion of them to be of less-than-perfect design

  6. @Gianni Im gonna guess “composite matrix” is just a marketing device. Matrix generally refers to the resin used to bind fabric to make them stiff, such as Carbon fiber and fiberglass. the more matrix:fabric ratio the stiffer.

    I have a few sets of the Park tools levers and always found it a pain in the ass to remove Conti tires from the Mavic wheels. I just thought it was that wheel/tire combo, but maybe its the levers. I may need to track down some of these bad boys.

  7. I have the aluminum and the plastic ones. While the aluminum is beautiful, the plastic are what I carry with me.

    Aluminum doesn’t slide well on aluminum rims when trying to remove the tire. The plastic slides nicely and the pointed edge is easy to pry the bead off with.

  8. while i agree that these are indeed great levers, i actually prefer the pedro’s ones.  usually, i can get a tire on and off a rim with my hands.  but when i can’t, i definitely prefer the beefiness of the pedro’s lever over the miniscule lezyne or awkward park ones.  however, the pedro’s are annoyingly large.  and while i don’t *need* a tire lever in general, it does make life easier.  so i leave the pedro’s levers at the shop bench and throw a single lezyne composite lever into the ride tool kit and that, so far, has done the trick.  it’s almost invisible, it’s so small and light; while still keeping up to the task.  and for that, i agree, they are great levers.

  9. @Gianni:  You are not a pom, thank goodness.  Perhaps your state flag is causing a bit of confusion in that dept.  It is “tire.”

    That said, these are excellent levers, although when I need to change a clincher I can usually get my Vittorias on/off a rim without resorting to a lever.

  10. @Dallas

    That neoprene sleve makes them. I still use Park, and while durable, I find the hook portion of them to be of less-than-perfect design

    There are some Park levers in my shop and I can’t figure out why they designed them so. They just can’t get under a tyre bead easily. They make bike tools, ffs, they should work better.

  11. @G’rilla

    I have the aluminum and the plastic ones. While the aluminum is beautiful, the plastic are what I carry with me.

    Aluminum doesn’t slide well on aluminum rims when trying to remove the tire. The plastic slides nicely and the pointed edge is easy to pry the bead off

    agreed.  The alu on alu wheels will have you cussing in no time.  They unfortunately sit in the bottom of “that” box now.  Maybe its my sissy hands though, so disregard.

  12. Nice work, Gianni! Ha, I was lucky enough to visit Japan for a graduate school trip and due to loans and Budgetatus the only thing I brought home was…a hat I found! But, it’s now my beach hat, which many school children wear around, maybe even part of their uniform for some. Anyway, the hat is great and a small tag inside tells me it was made in…Italy! How about that? Thankfully I’ve got a small head (wear small in most helmets!) and thus, a children’s sun hat fits me just fine.

    Hmm, I really like Pedros levers but I have not tried these. Always room for improvement, right? And, if these work with Campa rims, yes, sign me up. The Campa rims on my Tommasini are a true nightmare to mount tyres on, I think because something has changed between 1990, when the rims were made, and now, which is when my new tyres were made.

    Have always wondered about this – do metal levers not damage the rim? Always been a fear/misconception of mine.

    VeloVita – LBS doesn’t have them. That brings up an important point for discussion: I now have four LBSs and they each kind of cater to a certain cyclist, none of them being a Velominatus. Sometimes I’ll give it a go and stop into all four to see if they have what I’m after. Sometimes I’ll call. Usually this results in wasted time. Where does one draw the line between supporting & saving time/money?

    Last week I was after some CX shoe cleat bolt plates. (I think they have a more proper name. The 4 hole plate that goes into the shoe sole that the cleat is screwed into.) Stopped at two, neither had them. I know, a kind-of-odd part, but not really.

    And gotta ask – end of the world is coming. Will the Velominati in New Zealand be the first to get their last bike ride?

  13. @Ron

    And gotta ask – end of the world is coming. Will the Velominati in New Zealand be the first to get their last bike ride?

    Nah, you’ve seen all the disaster movies and tv shows Ron, the end of the world always starts in the US!

  14. I really like the design philosophy of Lezyne stuff, and these levers show why, their stuff works, and people love them more than they really should love a tyre lever. I’d love their caddy products to have dedicated C02 pockets, their wallet is sick, but just missing that one extra pocket before I could buy. The Caddy sack looks the goods for now.

    As for the LBS question, as with Rule #58, just be prepared to fit stuff you buy online yourself. I found a couple shops around, one on my commute is more expensive for parts, but the mechanics are excellent, and being on the commute is convenient when I can’t be bothered with an extra trip to another one so sometimes I will spend more on the parts there. But I am a Velominatus Budgetatus, and buying things like the bottom offered wheels (although a better spec) at most stores is double what you can get the cheapest offerings for online. If I had the disposable income like most of the guys on the group rides who make fun of my bike and whos bikes cost more than my car, I might just support one, but with young family and one income, spending on the bike must be low as possible. And you can’t be apologetic for doing all you can.

  15. Ah yes, right. Disaster always starts in the U.S. I haven’t seen too many of those movies though; I’m still catching up on plenty of classic movies I’d like to see. Same with books – I don’t understand how so many folks can read current best sellers when there are so many great older books out there.

    Caddy Sack just got better, the zipper has been replaced with a roll top design. Hmm, I’m thinking somewhere in their Lezyne Design department commutes with Ortlieb roll top panniers…

  16. @Nate

    The Keepers have been a-grueling on our book for a Pommy publisher so I got in the habit of spelling it that way. Do you have any idea how many times the word “tire” comes up in a cycling book? Shiet-loads!  Spell check is not happy and I’m confused, do our antipodal friends spell it with a Y too?

  17. @Gianni

    @Nate

    The spelling of Kilometre in Rule #26 always stands out to me. If you are going to have a rule encouraging the use of a non American measure then you may as well also spell it the non American way to confuse your co-workers further.

  18. And, being a geek, wiki delivers. There is actually a section devoted to the spelling of tire/tyre in the article discussing the physical object itself! It states that as late as the 1920’s the British spelling was officially ‘tire’.

    Speaking for the antipodes, they tend to use British english (It’s all about the Commonwealth old chum!), so tyre is the accepted spelling. The ‘s’ vs ‘z’ always used to lose me marks…

    I have always wondered, if you are from a country where English is a second or lower language, do you learn British or American English? Would our European, Middle Eastern and Asian Velominati like to comment?

    And finally, this search resolved for me what I had always wondered, a Billion is One Thousand Million (from American English, that superceded the British English One Million Million).

  19.  

    @Gianni

    @Nate

    The spelling of Kilometre in Rule #26 always stands out to me. If you are going to have a rule encouraging the use of a non American measure then you may as well also spell it the non American way to confuse your co-workers further.

    sorry, Rule #24

  20. My story about the L levers is almost the same, I bought them a couple of years ago in London because I love ‘small’ objects.

    And still love…

  21. THE CORRECT SPELLING IS “TYRE” AND “KILOMETRE” …..  AND YES, I AM SHOUTING.

  22. “Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote…,” etc.

    Spell it correctly.

  23. Here’s something about cycling in Scotland in the 18th Century for instance:

    We think na on the lang Scots miles,
    The mosses, waters, slaps, and styles,
    That lie between us and our hame,
    Where sits our sulky sullen dame.
    Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
    Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

    A “sulky sullen dame” of course being the VMH abandoned when a ride on “that fucking bike” went on a bit longer than expected.

  24. @the Engine

    @brett

    It’s called ‘English’ for a reason.

    Except in Scotland where its called Scots

    Except in the U.S. where it’s called Insane Gibberish.

  25. @motor city

    @Gianni

    @Nate

    The spelling of Kilometre in Rule #26 always stands out to me. If you are going to have a rule encouraging the use of a non American measure then you may as well also spell it the non American way to confuse your co-workers further.

    No. We are confused enough here. No need compound the troubles.

    @the Engine

    Here’s something about cycling in Scotland in the 18th Century for instance:

    We think na on the lang Scots miles,
    The mosses, waters, slaps, and styles,
    That lie between us and our hame,
    Where sits our sulky sullen dame.
    Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
    Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

    A “sulky sullen dame” of course being the VMH abandoned when a ride on “that fucking bike” went on a bit longer than expected.

    That is beautiful. We have been whipped for centuries.

    Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
    Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

    Gold.

  26. This is a good article, one we can all relate to and one where the object of reverence does not involve the need to sell a kidney or a time machine to obtain. I have Michelin levers which while incredibly flexible seem thin enough to slip between my tyres and the Campy rims and do an awesome job of unseating the bead. I also have some Maxxis levers which while stronger than Thor’s hammer are also so thick they can only have been designed for unseating tractor tyres. (See, tYres, not tires which is something riding does to me).

    Thank you for the information on aluminium rims vs aluminium levers (see there’s another letter snuck in there too, to correct the spelling), these are the only Lezyne ones I have seen to date.

  27. 20some years after their intro, i still like the quikstick. i do carry some levers similar to these lezynes as well, albeit prefer to use bare hands.

  28. @Giles

    Yeah, $4 US for Lamborghini of tyre levers!  That is a deal. One can’t even buy a damn inner-tube for that and the levers may last until you lose them.

  29. I’m with Giles. I  too use Campag rims and Michelin training tyres. The Michelin levers have been my favourites for as long as they’ve been available but when I went to my LBS recently to buy some to give to a group of kids I was training for the Great Victorian Bike Ride here in Aus I was told they don’t make them anymore. Lezyne may be as good, but I struggle to accept that they could be better.

  30. @Pistolfromwarragul

     Lezyne may be as good, but I struggle to accept that they could be better.

    Fair enough, don’t struggle.  I don’t think the Michelin levers are available too often in the US. Tyres yes, levers, not so much. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them. 

  31. Nicely done. I’ve never put much thought into levers (leavers?). I’ll check ’em out, they’re probably lighter than what I’m carrying now.

    Kidding aside, I’ve never lit on a pair of levers I liked. They break, have bad lips or are flimsy. Metal ones are great for the shop, but on the bike versions; I’ve not been happy. I’m gonna get a set.

  32. @Beers

    I have always wondered, if you are from a country where English is a second or lower language, do you learn British or American English? Would our European, Middle Eastern and Asian Velominati like to comment?

    It depends. Here in the UAE and I think the Gulf generally what you learn depends on what school you go to and which curriculum they follow. So there are British schools, American schools, Australian schools, French lycee etc who will all follow the curriculum of their affiliation.

    At a British school you would do GCSEs and A levels, and I assume the others do their respective examination courses and learn the appropriate spellings, formulae and shit like that.

    Many kids come in and out of the system at some point from or to their home countries so it has to be transferrable.

    In terms of general spelling in public on shops, labels, brochures, even road signs… frankly you’re grateful if the writer has managed to convey the meaning with some approximation of syntax and grammar. Spelling is the cherry on top of the cream on top of the icing on the cake.

    Even the transliterations from Arabic are not standardised or  standardized. You can see the same place name spelled differently on three consecutive road signs. And names… it could be Mohammed, Mohamed, Muhamed, Mohamad and I’m sure I’ve left a couple out.

    That said, their English is a lot better than my Arabic. Arabic is a hard language to learn and a very very difficult language to write. I know a few people who speak reasonably good (if non-standard) Arabic but couldn’t read or write it to save their lives. The letters change depending on the word.

    So where English uses combinations of letters to change a sound, Arabic uses the same letter but the sound depends on the shape and position, not unlike Pitman shorthand if anyone has ever done that.

    Plus there are many words for the same thing. The way it has been explained to me is that the word and the adjective are combined. So  we have a noun like Lion and then use an adjective to modify it such as old, angry, fierce etc. In Arabic the word for an angry lion is different to the word for an old lion.

    Which I know is a lot more than you asked but I’m just putting in context that whether it’s tire or tyre really doesn’t show up on the radar.

  33. Mixed views on this one…I bought their puncture patch kit which I think is fabulous…especially because it even contains a tyre boot in case you shred your tyre.  However on second use one of the levers snapped….completely failed.

    This is a brilliantly designed item so I was really disappointed.  The good news is that I bought it from my LBS.  I took it back to them and they sent it off to Lezyne who immediately issued instructions to give me a new one, so I can’t fault the company…maybe I just had a duff one.

  34. That was a good lil’ read on something which seems so benign. A timely article for these seeking xmas stocking filler inspiration.

    On English, well I grew up in Canada, so my colleagues at work seem to expect me to speak and write like a ‘murican, as they think they are similar (which is of course utter tosh, like saying Scots and English are the same) however, I dont dissapoint them, so liberally sprinkle my reports with ‘murican spellings and of course I write the date the other way round. That said, the ‘murican date is lazier as it uses less words to say (‘December 25th’ as opposed to the laborious ‘the 25th of December’ )

  35. @the Engine

    @frank

    @the Engine

    @brett

    It’s called ‘English’ for a reason.

    Except in Scotland where its called Scots

    And in ‘Murka where its called “talkin'”.

    Which reminds me – “lever” rhymes with “fever” not “ever”

    Rarely has a lay up cross in to the box been quite so perfect…. He shoots….he scores!

  36. @ChrisO

    Which I know is a lot more than you asked but I’m just putting in context that whether it’s tire or tyre really doesn’t show up on the radar.

    Clearly! Thanks for the info ChrisO

  37. @Deakus

    Mixed views on this one…I bought their puncture patch kit which I think is fabulous…especially because it even contains a tyre boot in case you shred your tyre. However on second use one of the levers snapped….completely failed.

    This is a brilliantly designed item so I was really disappointed. The good news is that I bought it from my LBS. I took it back to them and they sent it off to Lezyne who immediately issued instructions to give me a new one, so I can’t fault the company…maybe I just had a duff one.

    Are the levers that come with the kit the same as the levers you buy on their own?

  38. @strathlubnaig

    That was a good lil’ read on something which seems so benign. A timely article for these seeking xmas stocking filler inspiration.

    On English, well I grew up in Canada, so my colleagues at work seem to expect me to speak and write like a ‘murican, as they think they are similar (which is of course utter tosh, like saying Scots and English are the same) however, I dont dissapoint them, so liberally sprinkle my reports with ‘murican spellings and of course I write the date the other way round. That said, the ‘murican date is lazier as it uses less words to say (‘December 25th’ as opposed to the laborious ‘the 25th of December’ )

    Hell, I was talking to a wummin on the phone yesterday. I’m from just outside Glasgow (Bishopton) and she asked me if I was Canadian. WTF? I mean to say, I’ve been over in the midwest for 22 years but I’m pretty sure I don’t sound like I’m Canadian. Mind you, I do live in Wisconsin which is kinda close to Canada.

  39. @the Engine

    @frank

    @the Engine

    @brett

    It’s called ‘English’ for a reason.

    Except in Scotland where its called Scots

    And in ‘Murka where its called “talkin'”.

    Which reminds me – “lever” rhymes with “fever” not “ever”

    “Fever” and “ever” don’t rime?

  40. @Gianni

    are you in KL?  My time somewhere in S. Germany is almost up and I am likely heading out to the far east next. With my bike :-)  I’d be grateful for a heads up if you have the time.

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