Silca Tire Levers: Quick Review- by Grannygear
Silca raises the bar on a simple but necessary tool.
From the Silca website:
Ultra-Premium Levers Optimized for Carbon Rims Modern carbon rims and tires create a real challenge for traditional tire levers, and the new wave of tubeless setups have take the challenge to the next level. Tire fits are tighter than they’ve ever been, while carbon rims require non-metal levers to resist damage to the bead or brake surface during use. Previous solutions to this problem have involved using a metal core inside of a plastic lever, however this solution has its own challenges as the core of the lever is where you can add the least stiffness and strength. This leaves metal core levers both less stiff and heavier than they need to be.
Tire Levers Premio, pair a high strength forged aluminum lever with a semi-rigid Nylon Pad on the rim side of the lever only. This allows the overall lever to be thinner, yet stiffer and stronger than either full plastic or metal core designs. Even better, Tire Levers Premio utilize a designed in Flex-Core Zone which allows the Nylon Pad to conform to the curvature of the rim during use for maximum distribution of load.
Due to the high strength full-metal blade, Tire Levers Premio are 25-30% narrower than other lever designs, making them ideal for very tight tires and tubeless setups where access to the tire bead is very tight.
Forged Alloy blade
• Reinforced Nylon Rim Shield Safe for Use on Carbon Rims
• Integrated spoke-hook wing
• 105mm x 25mm x 7mm (Perfect for Seat Roll Premio or
• Net weight (Two levers and neoprene sleeve) = 36 grams
Ah!, the tire lever. What a simple and easy to understand thing it is. I have heaps of those little plastic goodies laying around in packs and in singles, in tool kits and in saddle packs, and quite likely in forgotten places in my garage. They are cheap to buy and are a favorite thing for SWAG giveaways at trade shows and benefit rides where they are tossed out into the crowd like party favors. In the past, quite often did not need a tire lever to get a tire onto or off of a rim. If you had good technique and strong fingers you could wrassle most tires off a typical MTB rim, although a road rim could be a different issue. Even then, one lever might be all you needed.
But with the advent of tubeless, and now especially with road tubeless, the fit of a tire to a rim is often much more precise and snug and while you might be able to get a new fangled tubeless road or gravel tire onto a rim without levers….maybe….getting them off again is much harder and frankly, any tire/rim combo that would allow a lever-less install or removal would get a skeptical look from yours truly.
Carbon rims add a bit of fragility to the process. The rim tape can be delicate too, and if the tire lever is a clumsy lout of a tool, then pranging that rim tape is a sure way to make an easy tire change into a much longer process.
I have a Topeak tire lever set that I covet and protect like a mother bear. Get away from my cub there buddy. It has a longer lever paired with a shorter one and the killer app here is the very thin and shaped tip that lets you get under a tight fitting tire. I have heard of folks extolling the virtues of the Pedros levers and for five bucks, they are very nice. But the tips are a bit wide to my liking for surgical work. No, the Topeaks (which are not in their catalog anymore) are my fav but they are too big to carry in a saddle pack IMO.
Now we have the Silca Premio levers. They are tiny enough to fit into any pack. They have a fabulously thin and narrow shaped tip, and will hook onto a spoke if you need to do that in the process. When I saw them, I was pretty interested and after using them, I am sold. I had to do some tire changing work on two carbon rims combined with a good fitting tubeless tire.
Using the Premios was a delight really. I could get right under the tire bead, easily avoiding the rim tape, and place the next lever within the right distance to lever the next section of tire over the rim in a smooth motion. Very nice.
But they are basically 20 dollars retail. They are, if I were to toss out another premium brand name, the Rapha of tire levers. Is that silly, pricing a tire lever at 4 times what another capable version of this simple tool typically sells for? Well, it depends on how you look at it. For general MTB use, I would say these are over the top. The finer points of the design would be lost there, but for the growing market of road tubeless, or in any situation where the fit is reallllly tight, these are the best I have seen. And what should the ‘best’ cost? Likely more than the average does. Duh.
So you can decide if the features and performance is worth 20 bucks to you. As for me, I am already searching the web for another set to put in my wife’s saddle bag as her new road bike is tubeless on carbon rims with what I hope will be a stubborn tire fit. When she has to deal with a tire issue, I want her or whoever is helping her to struggle as little as possible. And at that point, another 15 bucks spent one time only will not be on my mind.
Note: Grannygear received the Silca tire levers for test and review at no charge. We were not bribed nor paid for this review and we strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.
About The Author: Grannygear hails from SoCal and spent most of his cycling days as a mountain biker from the formative years of mountain biking all the way up to the present day. His day job is in the tech sector, but he has spent time writing about off road 4X4’s, 29″ mountain bikes, and cycling in general. Grannygear and Guitar Ted have worked off and on together since 2009 after a chance meeting at Interbike. With gravel cycling on the rise, Grannygear has been exploring how this genre’ works in SoCal and now does guest pieces for RidingGravel.com in his spare time.