At eight quid each, the Silca Tyre Lever Premio Set are possibly the most expensive tyre levers you can buy. There Will Be Letters. This, however, is to the miss the points that: 1. They work, even on stupidly-tight tyres, and 2. They save you damaging a wheel that likely cost over a grand.
Silca has a well-earned reputation for sublimely-functional tools and accessories engineered to perfection, with price tags to match. Suffice to say no cyclist will ever look disappointed to unwrap a Significant Birthday present and see the red-and-black Silca logo peeking out from under the paper. Its Titanium-spindle T-Ratchet kit and Seat Roll Premio cross a border between engineering and art that brings a smile to one's face with every fondle. Ahem.
So how to bring such magic to the humble tyre lever? By setting out to solve a specific problem – in this case, the damage-free removal of b*stard-tight tubeless tyres from expensive carbon rims, and doing so more-or-less flawlessly.
If you have carbon rims from a reputable brand, chances are they cost you a grand. Possibly a lot more. But not much less. So you don't want to be getting out the cutlery in order to remove a tubeless tyre with a bead apparently containing strands from Odin's beard, so unyielding you could hang a Boris Bike made from depleted uranium.
What Silca has done is to use a forged alloy blade and wrap a 'reinforced nylon rim shield' around it. The alloy bit extends to the hook you insert under the bead, while the surface touching the rim is nylon-coated. Completing the feature list are the 'wings' that tuck in behind a spoke to hold the first portion of bead off while you deliver the denouement with the second lever.
My test carbon rims were a pair of Borg 50C, which highlighted one possible shortcoming of the design – in their aero profile, the rim widens by a few mm from the brake track toward the centre, making for a hellishly-tight effort to tuck the barely curved lever behind a spoke. On the curved inside of the lever there's an exposed section of alloy, which could mar the surface of a bulging rim in a cosmetic fashion if moved while under tension. You could use the wee neoprene sleeve that holds the lever set together, to protect the rim during use of the first lever in this fashion.
That said, they did work and showed little sign of actually bending. Unlike my go-to tyre lever, the excellent Crank Bros Speedier, the Silca isn't great at holding with one hand and sliding around the rim quickly to remove the tyre, so don't expect super-fast roadside tube changes. Possibly this is because of the narrowish hook – only half the width of other assorted levers kicking about road.cc labs right now.
Suffice to say, it does the job, and indeed the narrow tip does facilitate getting underneath extremely tight beads. Coming in a pack of two held together by the neoprene band (no, they don't click together), at 105mm short they occupy less space in a toolroll than any other levers I use.
Silca goes to some length to state: 'Tire Levers Premio should ONLY be used to remove the tire. Never use a tire lever to aid in tire installation. This is not the intended use case for the tool and could result in damage.' This is because if used to install, the metal hook will be directly in contact with the rim. An easy roadside error to make – you've been warned. Either carry a plastic lever as well, or get your bead-centre-channel-work-around-rim-Hulk-thumbs technique honed.
Are they 'worth' £16? Depends how much you value your carbon rims, and whether your rim-tyre combo is tight enough that you're snapping regular plastic levers. They won't be for everyone, granted. But if you do find yourself staring at your carbon wheelset while holding halves of broken plastic, maybe give the Silca Tyre Lever Premio a shot.
Expensive but compact and effective and a damage-free way to remove tight tyres from carbon rims
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Silca Tyre Lever Premio Set
Size tested: Black
Tell us what the product is for
They're for people with carbon rims and tight-fitting tyres.
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.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
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 EOLO Wallet)
Net weight (Two levers and neoprene sleeve) = 36 grams
Tire Levers Premio were designed for safe use on carbon fiber rims if used properly, and as intended. To ensure proper use on your specific set of wheels, you MUST refer to your wheel manufacturer's guidelines on using tire levers.
In the meantime, here's some general advice from us.
1. Tire Levers Premio should ONLY be used to remove the tire. Never use a tire lever to aid in tire installation. This is not the intended use case for the tool and could result in damage.
2. Make sure the orientation of the blade of your tire lever is correct before use. Using a tire lever that is upside down is not only more difficult to use but it could result in damage.
3. We don't recommend using tire levers if you're using latex inner tubes.
Bombproof. As they need to be.
They get really stiff tyres off carbon rims when nothing else will do the job damage-free.
I imagine these will outlast you.
Reassuringly hefty for the size.
You can, of course, buy tyre levers for a lot less than £16, but if you want to guarantee damage-free removal of stupidly-tight tyres...
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Aside from the challenge of clipping under a spoke on a wide aero rim, and allowing for the fact the tip is small for a reason, they work flawlessly.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Hefty in the hand – they aren't going anywhere.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
They don't clip together, but hey, possibly there's no way to do that in the design.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they had carbon rims and snapped plastic levers.
Use this box to explain your overall score
They do their job very well, but could perhaps have more backside protection for when fitting under a spoke. And they're pricey as all get-out.
About the tester
I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling.