20g Red (as tested) £12.99
Intended to save your thumbs and make blade-type tyre levers redundant, the Tyre Glider is a lightweight and effective addition to your toolkit. Has it succeeded? Well, read on, but for the moment suffice it to say that there’s no doubt that it does what it claims, even if there are scenarios where it will sit alongside more traditional levers.
Pros: easy to use, reduced physical effort, cleanliness.
Cons: may need traditional assistance occasionally.
Made from glass-filled nylon and weighing in at just 20g, the Rehook Tyre Glider is simple in concept and easy to use. Glass-filled nylon offers much greater stiffness than regular nylon, which is perfect for insertion and slide.
Fundamentally the Tyre Glider does what other tyre levers do. Hook the bead with one side to lift the tyre off, use the other side to put it back on. However, it can take two trad levers, or three, to lift some tyres, the tyre Glider, with its broader blade, should do it alone and then glide – with your help – around the tyre to lift the bead clean off – and back on. It should also put an end to the pesky pinch punctures when a bit of over-enthusiasm squeezes the tube between rim and lever.
Ergonomically designed to be gripped in the palm of the hand and finger and thumb, it comes in red or blue. The irregular shape may make it harder than a flat pack set of three, such as the Lifeline Tyre Levers, to fit in a tiny seat pack, but that should not be a deal-breaker, in my opinion.
Fundamentally, this is simple. It is pretty intuitive, but there are diagrammatical instructions on the back of the card which the Tyre Glider is mounted on when it arrives. However, it is worth, first time, scanning the QR code or following the link to take a run through the video.
With the tyre deflated, lift the bead with your thumbs. You need to get a sufficient gap to slide the whole breadth of the blade under it. This done, push the handle down and the bead will lift off the rim. Next, just push the lever around the rim and the tyre, well, glides off. To get started you may need a bit of a push, but I generally squeeze a tyre away from both sides of the rim prior to removing a tyre – especially if it has been in situ for many miles. If things get tough, place the wheel on the ground and push down.
To mount a tyre, flip the blade over, push the handle up, and glide it around the tyre wall. Things may need a bit of a shove over the last few centimetres. You can start anywhere, although there is something to be said for the notion of starting just in front of the valve. Before inflation, check that the bead is properly seated all the way around.
First up came the Pirelli Cinturato (700x28) tyres mounted on a Mavic A217 rim. The job could barely have been easier, and even beat the relatively easy task of lifting them off with traditional tyre levers and replacing with thumbs only. Running the Glider around the rim certainly took less effort than doing the same thing with a traditional tyre lever. That’s quite a compliant tyre, despite being tubeless ready, so it was no surprise when it went off and on a Ryde Sputnik rim with equal ease.
Now, Schwalbe Marathon tyres have, in my opinion, lost their reputation for being grim opponents of the tyre lever, holding firm with gritty determination, and causing guttural grunts and groans with thumb only replacement, if allowing it at all. Even so, it was a pleasant surprise to feel the Schwalbe Marathon Racer(700x32) tyres easing away from the Son H rims on my tourer.
Would the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres on the old Brompton cooperate as happily? Or the Maxxis Hookworms on the Surly Ted Trailer? The answer is in the affirmative. True, the Brommie tyre needed some coaxing to allow the tyre glider under the bead during removal, but it did it. This was especially true on the back tyre – a relative new-comer - compared to the older more compliant front tyre.
Although I have not tried any really wide rims, it looks to me as if the design may be problematic on very oversized rims. Worth checking out before relying on it. There’s also the possibility that on really tight tyres you may need a trad lever to assist with particularly stiff tyres – maybe tubeless or high-pressure road racing set-ups.
I run Tannus Armor inserts on some machines. These have proved a tad problematic, especially when the tyre size is toward the lower end of the Tannus specification. For that reason, I’ll be keeping a traditional lever in the commuter’s tool pouch. I’ll need it to get the Tyre Glider inserted. However, I’ll keep the tyre glider for cleanliness and ease!
Are they quicker than traditional tyre levers? Well, not doubt in my opinion. Even better, they are cleaner, too. When replacing tyres with thumbs only – I have always avoided using levers for replacing tyres except in dire circumstances – I’ve often had to hold the wheel against my rib cage for the final push. No more dirty tyre marks on my nice jerseys for me. Hip, hip ….
These look pretty indestructible. Famous last words, no doubt, but set-ups which have chipped or bust cheaper levers have not seemed to put the Tyre Glider under too much stress.
On a slight fussy-sounding safety note, it’s worth giving the Glider a wipe with soapy water to remove grime and oil: you will be running it against the wheel rim.
Tyre levers? Well, having moved away from tea spoons – as old tourers of my acquaintance recommended – through sturdy, but cheap flat-packs threes such as the Lifeline Pro Tyre Levers, to even tougher models, such as Pedros, tyre levers are, well, tyre levers, aren’t they? Different sizes and shapes, colours, materials, and almost all 20-50% cheaper than the Tyre Glider. Even when discounted – as I have seen it on-line – the Tyre Glider is still pricier. However, how much are ease, speed, and relative cleanliness worth? In my opinion, this is a few quid well-spent.
Some things are genuinely life changing. The Tyre Glider will not make you handsome, wealthy, and happyo or give you eternal life; but it will revolutionise the those cycling moments when your heart sinks as the hiss of death sounds. Will it see the demise of tyre levers from my tool kit? Well, on rim-tyre combinations I am confident with, I do not see why not. When doing group ride mechanic duties, I may keep a tyre lever or two handy. Mind you, unlike those old-time touring teaspoons, you can’t eat your rice pudding with a Tyre Glider!