With plenty of leverage and tough nylon construction, Lezyne's Power Lever XL tyre levers are well worth adding to your toolbox, especially if you have a tight tyre and rim combination.
What you get here is extra leverage. Had he been a cyclist, Archimedes would probably have said, "Give me a lever long enough and I shall remove any tyre." The Power Lever XLs are about 3cm longer than regular tyre levers and that adds up to a lot of extra oomph for persuading reluctant tyres off rims.
The only longer levers I'm aware of are Park Tool's TL-5 steel levers, but their size and weight makes them strictly a workshop item. At just 57g, the Power Lever XLs are light enough to carry around.
They're a pleasure to use, insofar as fettling tyres is ever a pleasure. The slight taper at the business end makes it easy to get them under the bead, and the curve grabs the bead well as you pull it over the rim.
The plastic has a slightly slick feel, which seems to help it slide along the rim; none of the tyres I tried gave the Power Lever XLs any trouble.
They're also good for fitting tight tyres. I used them to help get the last few centimetres of bead into place fitting some tubeless-ready knobblies to my partner's hybrid for winter trail duties. The leverage and slipperiness of the levers helps push the bead into place then slide along the rim for the next segment.
For those who are thinking, "Noooo, you should never use tyre levers to fit a tyre!" there's a knack to it, and it helps to have the tube very lightly inflated so it stays away from the bead. And sometimes there's no other choice, however strong your thumbs and however good your technique.
Back in the 1980s, Mavic made a mountain bike rim called the Rando M4. Rando M4s were light for the era and tough as nails, and that made them the rims of choice for some racers who were unusually hard on equipment. But they had one drawback: they were a swine to get tyres on and off. You needed steel tyre levers, strong hands and any friends in the area needed broad minds about swearing. I wish we'd had Lezyne Power Lever XLs back then; they'd have saved us a world of hassle.
Great levers; extra oomph for tight tyres, but light enough to carry around
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Make and model: Lezyne Power Lever XL
Size tested: Yellow
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Lezyne Power Lever XL is made of fiber reinforced Composite Matrix for increased strength and durability. It is designed with a large handle for comfort, and an integrated spoke hook for versatility. The aggressive hook geometry provides ideal leverage when dealing with difficult tire beads.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Composite Matrix is a high-strength, fiber reinforced material used in durable components.
I've not found a tyre/rim combination that's defeated them.
They seem extremely tough.
Unlike most high-leverage tyres levers, they're light enough to carry around.
The curved back makes them comfortable to use even when you're having to push hard.
£5/pair is expensive for tyre levers, but it's hardly going to break the bank. Given how well they work, they're worth the money.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Superbly. The easiest-to-use portable tyre levers I've encountered.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The extra leverage over regular levers and the ease with which the material slides along a rim.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
I can't find anything to complain about, and the Power Lever XL's combination of massive tyre-shifting oomph and low weight compared to metal or metal-cored levers makes the the perfect carry-along tyre levers.
Age: 48 Height: 5ft 11in Weight: 85kg
I usually ride: Scapin Style My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, mtb,
Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.