Tyre levers have had more or less the same design for as long as we’ve been riding bikes, but UK outfit Tru-Tension has a unique take on this essential tool.
The premise behind the Tyre Monkey is rotating the handle 90 degrees, to allow a dual-sided head profile aiming to offer better ergonomics.
One side of the head is designed for removal, and the other is for installation of the tyre bead. A lip and channel on the head of the tyre lever holds the tool in place as you slide it along the rim during removal and installation, respectively.
The thicker profile of the Tyre Monkey gives the tool a bit more surface area to hang onto and feels robust as you’re trying to wrestle a tyre off. We had no trouble getting tyres on and off using one lever, and it didn’t feel like it was going to snap. The Tyre Monkey also has a 45-degree Presta valve core remover and Schrader valve deflator on the bottom end.
The head sees a ramped leading edge, and the hook will accommodate rims up to 4.5mm thick. So far, we’ve only tested it on hookless rims, and the lever slipped out about the same a regular tyre levers, but we imagine on hooked rims, these would be much better.
So far, we’ve pitted the Tyre Monkey against a few different tyres, both gravel and MTB, and found there was a technique for keeping the tool moving when the bead starts to get tight. The key is to make sure the bead doesn’t catch and is lined up to go up the ramped edge — rocking the lever whilst keeping it hooked in. That said, we have not tried it with a brand new super tight tyre, and insert, or a stiff DH casing — your mileage may vary in these situations.