LIFELINE PROFESSIONAL TYRE LEVERS
12g (each) black 3pack £1.99
LifeLine Professional Tyre Levers are a nicely designed set of levers that won’t cause too much concern to your wallet if left on the verge, but offer a sound level of performance at a budget price.
Pros: cheap and cheerful and effective.
Cons: nothing significant, at this price.
Budget does not mean thoughtless. Splayed to the hand they appear to have an ergonomic-ish design for thumb and ball of hand. The splay also has two slots designed to slip over a spoke, taking the place of a larger notch common on many levers, and not just those of my youth. The tip looks slim, so should be easy to locate under the bead. Just make sure that you locate the first lever roughly half-way between a pair of spokes.
Plastic is what you’d expect at this price.
The levers clip together for storage.
Could they survive the Marathon Plus challenge? Well …. drum roll … in short, yes, they could. An old touring bike, well ridden, with notoriously sticky Marathon Plus tyres that have not been removed since Heaven knows when, was selected to provide a stern test. Of course, I squeezed the beading before getting to work. Well, they hooked easily under the bead and lifted it out without much as a flex. They put them back, too, with equal aplomb.
Performance overtime may turn out to be a different matter. I’ve lifted twenty tyres off now and there seem to be no ill-effects. Even the my Topeak Shuttle levers lost their point, literally, after too much heavy work. Steel reinforced plastic levers from Edinburgh Bicycles (bought many years ago) continue to do their duty well on all tyres. Bear in mind, too, that we are talking roadside, rather than workshop, duties.
I have not tried them on tubeless set-ups, but then, you hope not to have to. Moreover, we all know that some tyres are tighter fits on some rims than others: reality is not as neat as sizing suggests. However, they did lift LifLline Essential Armour tyres with Tannus Armour on and off very nicely.
What do you want for £1.99? Topeak Shuttle levers come in at over £7 – often discounted – whilst most other plastic levers, including from SKS and other reputable manufacturers can match £1.99, but (as far as my Googling goes) only with a discount. So, if you want a light, functional lever, with some nice design points, then you’ll probably not regret the outlay of £1.99.
Although the thought behind the design struck me immediately, my other first impression was of a set of levers that would do well to survive contact with the first heavily entrenched enemy. In fact. I’ve got a lot of confidence in their general performance. They seem reliable on all the tyres in my fleet. They are now in an on-board tool-kit.