Reverence: Mavic tyre levers

The saviour of many a skinned knuckle

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.

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31 Replies to “Reverence: Mavic tyre levers”

  1. Brett, its the little things in life and riding that make the difference between a good day and a bad.
    I wish I had those puppies with some Continentals I rode for the last year that were just a bitch to get on and off…

  2. Park levers my friends are all that and a bag of chips….love’m too!

  3. @all
    I have to admit, I am of the finer things in this sport, but I have never realized the other end of these fucking levers are a goddamned tire lever. I use these fucking cheap shit fuckers that such ass like nothing else and I bring three with me everwhere in case one or two snap off.

    It’s funny you bring this up right as I’m starting to think maybe I need to reconsider my tire lever selection. I had to fix Michelle’s fucking 700x20c tires on her fucking Zipp 404’s and had blood blisters as a result of the fucking struggle. I fought like sweet baby jesus against babylon on those fucking things.

    I’ve also had a few beers and may have gotten that last analogy wrong.

  4. frank :I fought like sweet baby jesus against babylon on those fucking things.

    That’s two sweet baby jesus’ in less than twenty-four hours, and I don’t get either analogy. Especially the one about the baby on the cross. I’m pretty sure that’s not the way it went down. But I’m an atheist (thank God), so I wouldn’t know for sure.

    I’ve also had a few beers and may have gotten that last analogy wrong.

    This all makes more sense, now. Carry on.

  5. I broke two damned nashbar levers trying to install a tubeless tire on UST rims for *cough* a 29’er….

    Eventually I got as much as I could onto the rim, then zip tied it in place while prying the rest on. My elderly neighbors thought I smashed my hand with a hammer or something, as much as I was cursing at the damned wheel……

  6. Rule #5 boys. I haven’t used tyre levers for about 15 years. I will admit to the lovely campag rims I ran being an utter bitch to get tyres off, but I had these levers made from recycled plastic milk bottles (I think) that came free with a cycling mag. You could bend them double without them snapping or losing performance, they were brilliant. In the end I think I lost one, so hardened up and used my hands. I probably still have the other one at the bottom of the toolbox

  7. A Rule #5 breaking recidivist I know of (who may or may not have been me) has opted with the following: For ease of messing with tyres at home (particularly those on Campag tubeless 2-way rims), said recidivist uses the Park Tool Shop Tyre changer. The mark of a true pussy, but gee they make things easy…

  8. @Jarvis
    Pedros Milk Levers they were.

    Hands usually work best, but sometimes they are no match for particularly stubborn Kevlar beads. My Specialized tyres virtually fell off those rims, yet the Kendas weren’t giving in without a hell of a fight.

    Touch wood, no flats…

  9. Ugh, some rim/tire pairs just suck, no matter what you try, what levers you use, and how drunk/sober you might be.

    I have some nice, small SKS levers that I picked up recently. They are nice to carry because they are so small, but the first time I used them they didn’t work so well. I eventually got them to work, but it took a few tries, and that isn’t cool when you are out on the road.

    I haven’t tried any levers better than the Pedros ones. Come in a set of two, very strong, always do the trick. They are a bit big in comparison to others, but work so well I’ll put up with it. Yep, I too lash one lever to my spare tube and throw both in a jersey pocket.

    Here’s to the damned skinned knuckles that always seem to happen when mounting new tires!

  10. @brett
    I am pulling my old tire levers out of the kit and replacing it with my Mavic one. One question, before I find out the hard way: Is one enough to get a stubborn tire off the rim? Or should I pack two?

  11. I love that Mavic lever. It’s been my go-to for 6 years until I broke it last week on a Continental UST tire – drowned my tears with beers.

  12. @E_nice
    I love conti tires, mate, but those damn things are HELL to get off. Try ’em on a pair of Zipps. Zipp builds their wheels to the largest size allowed within the 700c spec; Conti makes their tires to the smallest. Combine them, and you have two extremes of the size range, and a nightmare for your thumbs and tools.

    My Velomihottie rides 20mm Contis on her 404s (don’t bother, she doesn’t care that 23’s are more efficient) and my thumbs had blood blisters after mounting them for the first time.

  13. A few years back I scored about 120 pairs of Mavic hubs at an unbelievable price. I sold off all but a few pairs but kept all the tIre levers that came with them. I’m set for not only life, but for however long I must languish in purgatory afterwards.

  14. For you namby-pamby types who need tyre levers the Michelin ones are great, as are Campagnolo ones (naturally!). The Mavic ones are also good I will admit.

  15. Obviously i use my teeth like Binda. What the Rule-5ing hell do you lot need tyre levers for?

  16. Yeah, you pretty much cant go wrong with anything that has “Mavic” printed on it (except that crazy electronic shifter arrangement from a few years ago). My choice of tyre levers though, those yellow Michellens. Don’t waste time with anything else. Same goes for Jettox rim tape and Vredestein Fortezza Tri Comps.

  17. I know its a bite late to respond to this one… but I have a tire (not tyre) story.Unfortunately my mechanical engineering background, common sense and plenty of experience mounting tires did not help me on this occasion because for some odd reason I faithfully followed the instructions.

    I got some Campagnolo rims with Conti GP 4000 S II tires and mounted the tubes and tires on it, messed up my thumbs and hands forever getting them on…. and read somewhere that I should pump the tires up to 20 psi ( 1.4 bar) to see that they are correctly seated. I had a look, and what do you know the wheel/tire combination is now out of round mainly around around the valve area. So after some surfing on the web and mind searching, tires off (using park tool tire levers), get soap and water…. repeat process with even more damage to my poor thumbs…. pump up to 20 psi and still the same issue.

    More soul searching, thoughts of bringing my failure to the local bike shop for help… then it occured to me and I tried pumping up to 60 psi…. all of the sudden nice popping sound with the beads going perfectly into place all around and tires perfectly round. Beautiful… except then I noticed that I had aligned the front valve to the “CONTINENTAL” and the back valve to the “GP 4000 S II” logo, so that’s going to bother me for the rest of my life…. so repeat process with now irreversible damage to my fingers…

  18. @1860 Nice thread bounce.

    Your thumbs and fingers will heal, but you’d never get over that misalignment.

  19. @DeKerr

    @1860 Nice thread bounce.

    Your thumbs and fingers will heal, but you’d never get over that misalignment.

    perfect timing indeed, a combination of HED’s wider rims & unforgiving Contis was the end for one of my Lezyne plastic levers last night, might see what else is around.

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