Friday, July 25, 2008

Good stuff: The Kool-Stop tire bead jack

Behold the Kool-Stop tire bead jack.

My 1994 Cannondale road bike rolls on a set of Campy Omega Strada wheels. They must be a smidge larger than they should be because they absolutely do not play well with tires-- especially Continental tires. Most especially.

Over the years, in mounting tires to these rims, I've sprained both thumbs, broken several sets of conventional tire levers, ruined a QuickStik (yes!), and expanded my vocabulary of curses exponentially. I've herniated my eyeballs and frightened small children and grandmas that happened to pass by during my struggles.

Things improved slightly when I bought Park Tool tire levers and several additional QuickStiks and developed a weird, complicated technique involving three tire levers, two QuikStiks, spit, cornstarch, soap, and Astroglide and just a few of my very best expletives. By going slowly and pausing frequently for refreshments I was able to get the tire mounted with out injury and broken tools. And only one or two pinch flats. So, after only a couple of hours I was ready to roll.

Panaracer tires seemed to be the easiest. Why didn't I just stick with what worked? Why did I have to give Continentals another try? What made me think that, after 8 years, the Campy rims would like Conti tires any better?

This was the occasion that broke a QuickStik. When this happened, I knew I was in trouble. Serious trouble. I wasn't going to be cowed by some stupid disagreement between erzats German tires and snooty Itialian rims.

So I went shopping for a badass tire lever. Down at my LBS I expressed my desire for their baddest tire lever. The poor sales guy first tried to interest me in a set of standard tire levers. Those aren't nearly badass enough I told him. Then there was some funny tool from Crank Bros. I shook my head-- Not badass enough. The sales guy was ready to give up when I spied the tire bead jack. The glint of avarice in my eyes at that moment would have frightened Baptist preacher right off his pulpit.

I quickly threw down plastic and booked back to my home shop. The Conti gave in with a visceral POP! The tire was on!

The straight arm of the bead jack braces on the opposite side of the rim and the hook lifts the recalcitrant bead over the rim and drops it. Ka-pow!!

Awesome. Took like five seconds. No broken tools, sprained thumbs, or sailor-talk.

Go here for more info (scroll down a bit), or visit your LBS:

Note: Kool-Stop must just import the tool as it has "Simson" molded on the handle.

I hope I don't flat on the road. Crap. I probably just jinxed myself.

Oh crap. Now I probably really jinxed myself.

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