Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

VAR tyre lever – an end to tubeless struggles?

Posted by Matt | February 4, 2011 | 7 comments so far

Getting tyres on and off rims is something we’ve all struggled with at times. Maybe we’re just blessed with the soft hands of the modern day office worker, but you never know when the curse of the tyre gods will strike.

VAR Tyre Lever RP42500

If you’re out on a cold, wet trail somewhere it can be quite an issue, having seen many people struggle with puncture repairs over the years.

With modern tubeless tyres, things seem to have got even worse. My Nobby Nic UST 2.25 tyres proved to be near impossible to fit on my 819 rims without me having to resort to an hour-long gurning exercise. Not a pretty sight, especially when you’re out in your front garden with a soapy bucket, some latex, a red face and two still-unseated tyres.

On the plus side, they don’t seem to lose any air!

Over on Bikeradar I may have discovered the answer not only to fitting tubeless tyres but also to my tyre fitting woes in general. The VAR tyre lever is an example of applying the power of levers – and an intelligent mind – to the problem of fitting a tight tyre to your rim.

From time immemorial, pre-dating myself even, tyre levers have been sticks of varying lengths with a flat end (to save you puncturing your inner tube, yourself or from being tempted to use them as screwdrivers) and a hand grip.

With the VAR tyre lever, things have been turned on their head somewhat so that instead of applying a lever to one side of the tyre and rim and trying to prise the tyre on, it braces itself against the rim on one side and hooks under the bead on the other. This means the two components are pushing against each other while being held securely. As you lever the tool over it pulls the bead up and over too.

I’ve just ordered the VAR tyre lever from Geoffrey Butler (GB Cycles) for £6.70 plus P&P – there’s a discount at the moment – and will let you know how it performs…


About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Pace RC-627.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

There are 7 comments on ‘VAR tyre lever – an end to tubeless struggles?’

We love to get comments from our readers - if you've spent a few moments to comment, thank-you.

If you haven't had a chance yet, jump to our comments form if you have something to say.

  1. Lee says:

    Matt, this looks very interesting indeed and something I’d be interested in hearing your reviews on at a later date.

    Perhaps the ultimate test of this will be for me to try it with my Tubeless Ready rims (yeah, right!) on the Trek and see if once and for all I can get them to seat and work properly. I know Tony feels my pain.

    • Matt says:

      It’s on order as I write Lee so will let you know.

      I just had a thought that if it works as well as it appears to it could be especially useful to our lady riders but we’ll see how it pans out.

      I could just have ordered the equivalent of a long-handled Betterware shoe horn for my bike!!

  2. Dandy says:

    It was great to see this used in anger today, though KevS was less than impressed at having to use it 3 times (that will teach him to ride through thorn clippings). It certainly seemed to make fitting the tubeless-ready Mud-Xs a doddle. Yet to be tried out on the Trek tubeless rims that everyone is whinging about, but looks like it could be pretty useful.

    Tubeless is the way to go, Kev 😉

  3. Dave Smith says:

    I have always struggled to fit my Vittoria Rubino’s so I thought i’d give these a whirl
    Tried them yesterday and they were useless.
    Back to my Crank Bros levers.

Leave a comment…

Have your say – we'd love to hear what you think.

If you have something to add, just complete this comment form (we will not publish your email address).

*Required information.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.