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Verdict: 
Expensive but compact and effective and a damage-free way to remove tight tyres from carbon rims
Weight: 
18g
Silca Tyre Lever Premio Set
8 10

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.

  • Pros: Won't damage your expensive carbon rims if used correctly, compact, strong, easy to get under tight beads
  • Cons: Price, shouldn't be used for fitting tyres

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.

> Find your nearest dealer here

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_tyre_lever_premio_set.jpg

silca_tyre_lever_premio_set.jpg

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.

Verdict

Expensive but compact and effective and a damage-free way to remove tight tyres from carbon rims

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

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.

Silca says:

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?

From Silca:

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.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
10/10

Bombproof. As they need to be.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

They get really stiff tyres off carbon rims when nothing else will do the job damage-free.

Rate the product for durability:
 
10/10

I imagine these will outlast you.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10

Reassuringly hefty for the size.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

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.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 183cm  Weight: 72kg

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.

15 comments

Avatar
hawkinspeter [2369 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

Hmmm - completely unnecessary (I've got loads of tyre levers) and expensive? I'm interested, but they could do with looking a bit more bling. They should have made them out of titanium and carbon fibre, but that would have at least doubled the price.

Avatar
billymansell [42 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

I'm old school so still carry the VAR tyre levers as they're excellent for refitting tight tyres and for avoiding pinch flats from the levers.

Avatar
Spangly Shiny [212 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Haven't needed to use tyre levers since the advent of folding tyres.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkPbGfZoZCY

Avatar
hawkinspeter [2369 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
Spangly Shiny wrote:

Haven't needed to use tyre levers since the advent of folding tyres.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkPbGfZoZCY

I watched that video with a measure of disbelief. That might well work on some rim/tyre combos but not on others. I've snapped tyre levers on some particularly tight set of tyres which is why I tend to go for metal-core tyre levers (plus I tend to be heavy-handed with bike components).

My current go-to levers are the Topeak Shuttle levers which feature a long and a short lever and can cope with awkward tyres but they can be fiddly to use and are just slightly too long for my saddle bag (they fit in diagonally though).

Avatar
OrangeRidley [34 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

I find a "tyre key" is excellent for getting tight tyres onto carbon rims but not as good for removal (although still good for all bar the tightest tyres) so maybe these could be of use for the part that cannot do as well

 

How extravagant. One tool for tyre removal; another for tyre fitting.

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds [2294 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Is really compact but you might need two more levers to put a tyre on, making the compactness a joke really as it can't do the proper job of a tyre lever.

the narrow end you can get from the EKIP tyre levers, they're 25p each if you buy 3-6 from PX, they also clip into each other so are very compact. Personally I take a single park tools and a single pedro and have a 'set' in two bags

Sounds like yet another reason not to use tubeless tyres, you have to spend a shit load of time getting your tyre off when it punctures and worry about not breaking tyre levers or even if you can get the tyre off at all, oh then the mess and hassle of fitting a tube to your poorly tyre. 

Avatar
hawkinspeter [2369 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

Is really compact but you might need two more levers to put a tyre on, making the compactness a joke really as it can't do the proper job of a tyre lever.

the narrow end you can get from the EKIP tyre levers, they're 25p each if you buy 3-6 from PX, they also clip into each other so are very compact. Personally I take a single park tools and a single pedro and have a 'set' in two bags

Sounds like yet another reason not to use tubeless tyres, you have to spend a shit load of time getting your tyre off when it punctures and worry about not breaking tyre levers or even if you can get the tyre off at all, oh then the mess and hassle of fitting a tube to your poorly tyre. 

Fitting a tyre shouldn't really need a tyre lever let alone four! of them. (Edit: realised that you're making the point that you'd need another set if you wanted to install a tyre using levers).

Needing to fit a tube would be the worst case puncture of a tubeless set up (it's happened to me once when a bit of glass cut a big inch cut into a brand new Schwalbe Pro One). Not all combos are difficult to fit/remove and I've had issues fitting non-tubeless tyres in the past, so you pays your money, you makes your choice.

To my mind, the valid reasons to not use tubeless include extra cost and sometimes faff involved with fitting them and inflating them. Having tried both, I'm now a fan of tubeless.

 

Avatar
Spangly Shiny [212 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

 

[/quote]

I watched that video with a measure of disbelief. That might well work on some rim/tyre combos but not on others.

[/quote]

Maybe I've just got strong hands after 40some years of physical work.smiley

Avatar
hawkinspeter [2369 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
Spangly Shiny wrote:

Maybe I've just got strong hands after 40some years of physical work.smiley

Quite possibly. I'm impressed with myself if I manage to put on a tyre without resorting to levers, but then I'm more of a mouse-pusher.

Avatar
maviczap [225 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes

H'MMMM

Shimano Ultegra 6700 wheels + GP4000 = impossible. I seperated the top layer of skin on my thumb trying to fit this combination. Only with the stimpson tyre tool was I able to get the tyre on, without resorting to tyre levers.

Same wheel + Vitoria Corsa cx folding, piece of piss

Same wheel + Hutchinson Fusion tubeless tyres, almost as hard as the Conti.

Fulcrum racing 4 (Specialized OEM wheels) + Hutchinson Fusion tubeless, again a piece of cake.

Some rims ARE difficult to fit SOME tyres to.

Avatar
srchar [1002 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
road.cc wrote:

1. They work, even on stupidly-tight tyres, and 2. They save you damaging a wheel that likely cost over a grand.

Struggling to see either of those as a USP.

Avatar
don simon [2530 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
Spangly Shiny wrote:

Haven't needed to use tyre levers since the advent of folding tyres.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkPbGfZoZCY

I thought this was just the normal way of changing tyres.

Avatar
KiwiMike [1372 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
srchar wrote:
road.cc wrote:

1. They work, even on stupidly-tight tyres, and 2. They save you damaging a wheel that likely cost over a grand.

Struggling to see either of those as a USP.

The alternatives are:

1. Levers that don't work on stupidly-tight tyres

2. Damaging expensive wheels.

 

Strugglight to see why these benefits delivered by the Silca levers aren't selling points, where plastic or metal levers would fail one of either requirements?

Avatar
hawkinspeter [2369 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
KiwiMike wrote:
srchar wrote:
road.cc wrote:

1. They work, even on stupidly-tight tyres, and 2. They save you damaging a wheel that likely cost over a grand.

Struggling to see either of those as a USP.

The alternatives are:

1. Levers that don't work on stupidly-tight tyres

2. Damaging expensive wheels.

 

Strugglight to see why these benefits delivered by the Silca levers aren't selling points, where plastic or metal levers would fail one of either requirements?

How about carbon fibre levers?

https://www.cyclomonster.com/stique-ml14cf-tyre-levers-injection-moulded...

Avatar
srchar [1002 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
KiwiMike wrote:

The alternatives are:

1. Levers that don't work on stupidly-tight tyres

2. Damaging expensive wheels.

Strugglight to see why these benefits delivered by the Silca levers aren't selling points, where plastic or metal levers would fail one of either requirements?

Yes I've seen the light, Silca have invented the only tyre lever in the world that is both strong and gentle. Like Fairy Liquid or Bruce Willis.