The battle of getting tight tyres onto a rim
It’s easy to see where the TyreKey got it’s name from – it looks much like a large key. There are two versions of the TyreKey, and I was given the newer version to try, which was redesigned to cope better with fatter tyres and wider rims.
The main attraction
The big attraction of the TyreKey is that it uses a hook to pull the tyre back onto the rim, and one of its main selling points is that this practically eliminates the risk of pinching the inner tube with the tyre lever. I tested this on both my road bike, and on my tourer/everyday bike. Remember, the people from Tyre Key gave me the newer version, specifically designed to cope better with bigger tyres. The rims on my road bike are quite narrow, and that’s a problem for the version of the Tyre Key I was given: the part that presses up against the rim would slip off, and I’d end up with the Tyre Key clipped over the tyre and rim. On my tourer, with chunkier rims, it works really well, and I really like the bit that grabs the tyre and pulls it onto the rim.
I tested the TyreKey on my main bike, a Genesis CdA, with Alex Rims wheels and Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres, and also on my road bike. My road bike has severely troublesome Maddux rims, with Michelin Power Endurance tyres, and I originally broke five tyre levers when I first fitted tyres to the wheels. This is an issue with those rims, not with the tyres, but they’re near-impossible to get a tyre on. I bought them for a bargain, practically brand new, with the previous owner muttering something about tyres being “a bit difficult” to get on. He wasn’t wrong!
Would I recommend the TyreKey? Absolutely! Using leverage, it makes it easier to get stubborn tyres onto the rim. The downside is, it doesn’t work quite as intended on my road bike, with it’s severely problematic rims. Despite that, in addition to having the unique hook, the TyreKey also functions well as an oversized tyre lever, and this proved to be a godsend! You see, despite being troublesome, and the TyreKey slipping off the rim, I was able to use it as a normal tyre lever, and got the tyre back on the rim easier than ever before. That alone means I simply won’t take my road bike out on the road without taking my TyreKey along.
For context, my road bike lives on my turbo trainer, as I’ve always felt that – though the Michelin Power Endurance tyres offer a decent level of puncture protection, if I actually had a puncture, I’d probably end up walking home (potentially a long walk!) as I genuinely didn’t think I’d be able to get the tyre off the rim, or back on the rim by the road side. Yes, those tyres are that hard to get on, and off the rim, and as I said, I believe the rims are to blame. This is certainly not the position most people who have clincher tyres on their road bikes have, and represents a severe challenge to any tyre lever.