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The arrival of these Meqix ST tyre levers coincided with my decision to swap the Ilpompino's narrow section slicks for something buxom given potholes are breeding like the proverbial in these parts. Minimalist and extremely chic with their lazer etched graphics and powerful retaining magnets to prevent loss/ separation, they come with designer pricing and despite the smooth surfaces, I'm not convinced steel and relatively soft alloy rims are a match made in heaven.
Contrary to popular misconception, stainless steel is highly corrosion resistant but can still succumb to tarnish-especially in harsh coastal climates, so these have been treated to a process known as passivation. This basically involves depositing a microscopic oxide layer atop in sterile conditions, thus retaining their cosmetic allure and structural integrity. Being a double-ended design, they're immediately ready for action, theoretically saving precious moments should a flat strike in the heat of competition.
Their softer ends seem less effective compared with composite siblings but burrowing beneath most sidewalls proved pretty straightforward, confidently hooking the bead away from the rim without risking tube damage. However, modest length and flat profiles demands gently prising the bead away with the first lever before introducing the second, nibbling round in a sweeping, clockwise motion to avoid scratching anodised finishes.
This method works a treat on 1.5-inch street slicks to 25mm training rubber-particularly those with Kevlar, as distinct from steel beads. However, super tight 23mm sections proved their nemesis. Several minute's concerted effort couldn't purge the demon, inducing only plumes of agricultural language so I reverted to one of the Uber long bike hand levers and peeled it free in a matter of thirty seconds.
Swish looking lever set but performance doesn't match composite types.
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Make and model: Meqix ST Levers
Size tested: n/a
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 ST levers have been created as a durable and reliable tyre lever. Levers made from engineering plastics will eventually bend over time and cheap options can even snap. The magnetic levers will not only remain in 1 piece but remain together so they are not misplaced over time nor will they rattle around in your saddle bag". Understand the reasoning but remain unconvinced metal levers and alloy rims are bosom buddies.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
"Stainless Steel construction designed and manufactured (using a tumbling process) to have a very smooth surface with no sharp edges or spots that would increase risk of damaging the rim".
Finished to a high standard.
I would be very surprised if someone managed to break a set under normal use.
Pricing might reflect the materials and processes involved but decent composite models are markedy cheaper and genuinely kind to rims.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Undeniably pretty, the rounded noses require more effort to burrow beneath/prise tightly fitting tyres from the rim and bijous dimensions compromise leverage. Smooth machining largely eliminates scratching and other damage to soft aluminium but composite types are kinder, cheaper and seemingly more efficient.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Finished to an excellent standard.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Expensive and with little practical advantage over composites.
Did you enjoy using the product? Not as much as I had anticipated
Would you consider buying the product? On balance, no
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)