The Modern Tire Lever Problem
The mainstream use of carbon rims and the ever increasing popularity of tubeless means that the wheel systems of today are lighter, faster, more comfortable, and more versatile than they've ever been. While these technologies have addressed the needs and wants of riders, their development mandates advancements from the surrounding systems and those used in conjunction to ensure effective, reliable, and safe use. Nowhere is this cause/effect relationship more evident than in the tools that we use on the different systems of our bikes.
Let's examine tire levers for a minute as they relate to carbon rims and tubeless setups. Deeper rim walls and more robust beads mean that tire fits are now tighter than ever and therefore require more leverage to displace. Yet at the same time, your carbon rims still require solutions that protect the surfaces from damage. The most common carbon safe solution out there are plastic levers. While these protect your rims, their lack of durability is problematic. Plastic tire levers are prone to snapping and so the solution is often to make them thicker. Not only does this add bulk to the tool but it also makes it very difficult to get the blade under the bead. Another common solution to the problems associated with plastic levers has been to insert a metal core into them but this adds stiffness where you don't really need it.
We've spent over a year thinking about these issues, possible solutions out there, and are pleased to introduce Tire Levers Premio.
Tire Levers Premio
This set of ultra-premium tire levers is optimized for carbon rims and features a blade that was designed tubeless first; meaning that it's thin profile will work on any tire/rim combination on the market. In classic SILCA fashion, we've spent over a year thinking about the issues and pain points associated with using tire levers then set out to solve them. The solution features dual material construction, Flex-Core technology, and a profile that's smaller and more narrow compared to other designs. With carbon rims coming at a cost of thousands of dollars, Tire Levers Premio represent an extremely small investment that help ensure that the large investment you've made remains safe, enjoyable to use, and continue looking like new.
Dual Material Construction
Tire Levers Premio are constructed using a forged alloy blade and a reinforced Nylon Rim Shield. The alloy blade is the foundation of the tool and runs the full length of it for strength and durability. We then designed the Nylon Rim Shield around the blade which allowed us to integrate this material nicely into the design. That integration means that all of the contact points between the tool and your rim are made of the carbon safe Nylon Rim Shield. The end result of this dual material design means you have the strength of a metal tire lever with carbon safe contact points.
A tire lever, as the name suggests, uses leverage to lift the bead of the tire over the top of the rim. The top of rim then being where the bulk of the load is, will be the most likely point of contact to sustain damage. We significantly reduced the probability of that thanks to some innovative technology we've introduced called Flex-Core. The inspiration for Flex-Core came from studying how windshield wipers function in conjunction with the contour surface of a windshield.
Flex-Core technology allows the the Nylon Rim Shield to flex and more effectively conform to the curvature of the rim. We were able to achieve this by creating a negative space between the alloy blade and Rim Shield. It's a small detail but the ability to better conform to the rim vastly reduces the likelihood that your rim will be damaged at the point of maximum load.
Tire Levers Premio are tire levers that are predominantly metal with the purposeful points made of plastic. This allowed our engineers much more freedom with the design profile than if the tool were mostly made of plastic as seen in a lot of modern designs commonly used in conjunction with carbon rims. That added freedom of choices in profile decisions is visible on these tire levers from front to back. To start with, the blade profile is 25-30% narrower than other lever designs which makes it much easier to get the tool under the bead of the tire. This makes Tire Levers Premio much easier to use in with tubless setups. We've also given the blade a contour shape that runs the length of the tool to evenly distribute pressure over the surface.
The materials used also allowed us to make Tire Levers Premio much smaller overall. Measuring 105mm x 25mm x 7mm, this set of levers weighs in at 36 grams. This small profile makes them easier to carry in our Seat Roll Premio or other bags.
We've asked ourselves a lot of questions and put a lot of thought into tire levers and how they well they're able safely and effectively work with the different wheel systems they're used with. Tubeless ready carbon rims create the biggest set of challenges for the modern tire lever and so Tire Levers Premio were designed Tubeless ready carbon first. However, these tire levers are compatible with any wheel and tire combination on the market. Whatever your skill level and type of wheel system you ride, a good set of tire levers makes the unfortunate event of getting a flat not only easier to fix but also easier on your equipment as well.