I won’t say that I enjoy changing bicycle tires, but it is something that I seem to do a lot of. Not only do I go through a couple sets of tires every year due to normal use, but I also have to swap-out the tires on three of my bikes due to the changing of the seasons (winter tires). Sometimes tires are easy to install or take off by hand, but most of them need a tire lever to help you get the edge of the tire over the rim. This past summer I was talking with the guys at the local bike shop and noticed that all the mechanics used the Quick Stick to change tires, so I bought a pair to try out.
Quick Stiks are made of molded nylon so they won’t scratch your rims or pinch your inner tubes. While no tire lever is going to be perfect for every tire, I believe this is the best all-around tire lever I’ve ever seen. Most people are only going to need a single lever to change a tire (though it wouldn’t hurt to carry a second one just in case).
The Quick Stik is six inches long which makes them longer than the levers you will find in your typical bicycle multi-tool, but smaller that the steel levers some of us have hanging on the wall in the garage. This tire lever has a wonderful grip which makes it so much easier to use than most of the other levers on the market. Weighing in at only 14.2 grams this lever can make even the most ardent Weight Weenie happy. One of the biggest benefits of the Quick Stik is that they will not nick your rims—some metal tire levers will shave off a bit of the rim as you are using them.
I wish I could tell you this lever will work with every tire/rim combo on the market, but that is not the case. Last week I was trying to remove a road bike tire and I couldn’t get it to budge with this lever—but then again, two other brands of tire levers didn’t work either. I think the problem was that the Mavic rim was very narrow and when combined with the Kevlar bead of the tire it seemed like nothing was going to work! Another part of the problem might have been that I had been riding in 19 degree weather and cold tires are always harder to remove—after I let the tires warm up in the garage I was finally able to remove the tire and patch the tube.
The Quick Stik retails for under $6 each and are available at just about any bike shop in North America—you can also find them at places like REI and on Amazon.com. The product is made in the U.S.A. by California Bike Gear. If you use this tool long enough (like daily use in a bike shop) you are going to wear a small grove in the plastic and will have to replace the lever—but at this price that really is not a problem.