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Park Tool TL-5 Heavy-Duty Steel Tyre Levers



Excellent, super-beefy levers to shift the most stubborn tyres
Very rigid

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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  • Quite good
  • Average
  • Not so good
  • Poor
  • Bad
  • Appalling

The Park Tool TL-5 Heavy-Duty Steel Tyre Levers are the mack daddy of wheel removal tools, providing huge amounts of leverage to shift even the tightest tyres.

These are the levers to reach for when you encounter a tyre that just doesn't want to come off a rim. The tightest combination in my stable is a pair of SRAM S60 aero wheels and Giant P-SL2 tyres – both are over a decade old, and therefore from the era when tyre/rim compatibility was the Wild West. The rims don't have a very deep well, and the tyres are more than a little undersized.

Just getting them on the rim in the first place requires levers and very careful deployment of brute force. In fact, it's a set-up I've never actually ridden, because I wasn't at all confident of being able to refit the tyre out on the road if I got a puncture.

Considerable swearing

So I dug the tyres out of the box where they're been lurking for a decade or so and, with a bit of sweating, considerable swearing and very cautious use of my favourite plastic Lezyne Power Lever XLs, I got a tyre on the rim.

The TL-5 levers certainly provided the necessary oomph to make the job of getting it back off relatively easy, though getting the spacing between them exactly right takes a bit of trial and error. Too close together and they don't lift the tyre far enough off the rim that you can start to slide one along to fully remove it; too far apart and they don't move the section of bead between them enough.

Compared to the Lezyne Power Lever XLs, the TL-5s require a bit of care to grab just the one bead and not both. It's 15mm from the tip of the TL-5 to the curve where the rim sits. With an old-school narrow rim, that makes it easy to grab both beads and make life very hard for yourself.

Lends itself to hooking

That's also why I didn't use the TL-5s to fit the tyres. The Lezyne levers have a shorter tip, with a tighter curve that better lends itself to hooking tyres on to a rim.

In fact, that's my single major criticism of the TL-5s. A tighter, shorter hook at the tip would make them more versatile, and by moving the fulcrum when you lift a bead would increase the leverage you can exert.

Nevertheless, even with tyres that aren't unreasonably tight, the TL-5s have become my go-to workshop tyre levers over the past few months because they're so easy to use. As well as their length, their big advantage is their rigidity. I'm not especially strong, but I can flex a Power Lever XL by a couple of millimetres with my bare hands; I can't achieve any visible flex in the TL-5s at all.

Notoriously tight

It shouldn't need saying, but these aren't really tyre levers for your seat pack. If the tyre and rim combination on your daily ride needs these, then you should consider changing tyres. Of course that may not be an option if you're running a notoriously tight combination like Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres on a Brompton, in which case fill your boots; when you need them, their heft isn't going to matter to you at all.

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Mooch around retail sites a bit and you do find criticisms of the TL-5s, but most of them seem to come from people missing the point. No, most people don't need this beefy a tyre lever, but if you do they're absolutely vital. Yes, they can damage rims, tyres and tubes – what do you expect, they're 8in-long steel levers. With great leverage comes great responsibility, and a bit of finesse is required to use them.

Much as I like using the TL-5 levers, I probably don't need them. Tyre and rim standards have become more consistent in the last few years. None of the tyres I've bought recently need this much leverage to get off a rim, and the deeper well of a tubeless-ready wheel provides more slack to make tyre removal easier.

Even excellent plastic levers like the Lezyne Power Lever XLs are hugely cheaper at £4.99.

But if for whatever reason you have to handle very tight tyre/rim combinations, get a set of Park Tool TL-5 levers into your armoury.


Excellent, super-beefy levers to shift the most stubborn tyres test report

Make and model: Parktool TL-5 - Heavy-Duty Steel Tyre Lever - Set Of Two

Size tested: 8 inch long

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?

Park Tool says: "The TL-5 Heavy Duty Tire Lever Set is designed for use on the toughest tire and rim combinations. Made of forged steel, these beefy levers are a full 8" (20.3 cm) long for superior leverage. Specially designed tip engages tire bead so it can be removed with just two levers. Ideal for difficult to remove downhill and freestyle tires. Set of two."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

This is a pair of 5mm-thick forged steel slabs in the shape of tyre levers. They're 203mm long and 28mm wide at their fattest point.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)

Exceptionally heavy...  1

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)

The wide blade means they sit in the hand really nicely.

Rate the product for value:

Quite probably the most expensive tyre levers you can buy, but the function justifies the price.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Extremely well; the combination of length and rigidity gets the job done.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The sheer beefiness.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes. I mean, insofar as anyone enjoys using a tyre lever

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

Great tyre levers, but they lose half a point for a slightly unsophisticated tip shape compared to Lezyne's.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 55  Height: 5ft 11in  Weight: 100kg

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,

John 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 Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for 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 before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

Add new comment


brooksby | 2 years ago

My LBS always told me not to use metal tyre levers...  I use those blue plastic Park ones.

John Stevenson replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
1 like

And in general, I think that's good advice. But there are tyre/rim combinations where plastic tyre levers just aren't up to the job, like the SRAM/Giant set-up I mentioned. That's where these levers really come in handy.

brooksby replied to John Stevenson | 2 years ago

That's fair comment, John.  TBH, when I've had to take my Marathon Plusses off I need to go away for a cup of tea and a nice lie down  4

OnYerBike replied to brooksby | 2 years ago

I managed to snap one of those blue plastic park ones  2

Luckily they come in sets of three so I could manage (with a bit of extra care) to get the tyre off with the remaining two.  

EK Spinner | 2 years ago
1 like

always the Schwalbe levers for me, the hook for helping to get them back on is brilliant, and lets face it Schwalbe know more about tyres and thier fitting than most companies that make tyre levers

John Stevenson replied to EK Spinner | 2 years ago

Those look good, but the tyre/rim combination he's demonstrating them on is really slack. You can tell this because he is able to clip a lever to a spoke and then still insert another lever under the bead. On tight tyre/rim combinations the first lever pulls the bead so tight it's impossible to get a second lever in there; the trick is to put both lever hooks under the bead and then lever up the bead.

I've not used the Schwalbe levers, but given they're a mere three quid I've ordered a set. Review when I get round to it. Oh damn, that means I have to get that Giant tyre back on my SRAM wheel.

EK Spinner replied to John Stevenson | 2 years ago
1 like

John I have used them for a few years now, tyre removal is just a you would expect, I use 2 at the same time about 100mm apart to get under the bead, I and have never used the spoke hook.

Refitting though these are a game changer, fit the tyre by hand, then fit 2 levers onto the hooks at either side of the last bit tyre to get over the rim, then as you push the tyre over the rim slide the nearest lever along to hold it in place. The other lever stops you chasing the job round the rim and I have never need to lever the tyre on which I find can nip a tube too easily.

kil0ran replied to EK Spinner | 2 years ago

Yeah, this is my technique with the Schwalbes, use two at a time and lift the bead simultaneously using your thumbs to push them down. Works every time, even with Conti GP5000 tubeless. Schwalbe designed them for Marathon Plus users so they're up to most things a tight tubeless setup can throw at them. 

Xenophon2 | 2 years ago

How comes this gets 4.5 stars while the Lezyne sabre metal tire levers which the author here admits are more versatile, have a 15 mm spanner at one end and are  cheaper to boot get 3.5?

See Review:


mdavidford replied to Xenophon2 | 2 years ago
1 like

It's a different reviewer for a start - opinions and standards may vary.

John Stevenson replied to mdavidford | 2 years ago
1 like

Yep, and I probably tend to score things higher than Big Dave does — or at least higher than he used to, given that review of the Sabres is 13 years old.

If I could, I wouldn't give a score at all, but rather list the use cases and rider types and styles that a product works best for. 

When we started giving scores out of 5 on Mountain Biking UK in 1991, there were plenty of deeply dodgy products out there. I broke a handlebar, saddle rails and a seatpost in normal use in the early 90s. But standards have improved dramatically and the five point scale is a blunt instrument that's well past its use-by date. 

Xenophon2 replied to John Stevenson | 2 years ago
1 like

OK, fair enough.  Contrary to most, I've only used metal levers (the Lezynes) since 5-6 years.  That was after snapping a pair of Schwalde plastic ones while trying to unmount a Marathon plus on a Brompton 349-35 rim.  Easily the worst rim/tire combo I've come across, LBS later cut the bead to dismount the tire and used some kind of hydraulic contraption on it to mount a new one, almost like mounting a car tire.  The metal levers never damaged my rims (carbon and alloy) and they do travel with me whenever I ride, so essentially daily.  

RoubaixCube | 2 years ago
1 like

I used to use a set of metal tyre levers. They now sit in a draw and havent been untouched for years.

Not keen on the damage they do to rims especially if the tyres are on there real tight.

-- But this is just me of course. Everything is subjected to wear and tear all year round but if i can avoid scratching or scuffing something up unintentionally, then thats what i'll do otherwise it just annoys the hell out of me.

Shouting expletives at a tyre or set of tyres while trying to take them on or off is 120% less likely to damaging rims

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