Simple Machines: FORGE+BOND’s $50 Recycled Carbon Tire Levers vs. $5.50 Pedro’s


Simple Machines: FORGE+BOND’s $50 Recycled Carbon Tire Levers vs. $5.50 Pedro’s

By now, you know that the carbon fiber used in rims from Revel, Evil, Chris King, and most recently FORGE+BOND is recyclable. And maybe you know that the first product being made from that recycled material is tire levers. What you probably don’t know is that a pair of those tire levers cost $50. When you consider they’re made in a U.S. factory built to churn out $2,500 wheelsets, that’s almost reasonable. But Travis Engel wanted to see how they stacked up against his go-to levers from Pedro’s, a pair of which only cost $5.50.

There was a time when I would avoid using tire levers whenever possible. It was probably a holdover from my tour of duty in bike shops, when I had to worry about pinching inner tubes. But now that I’m a private citizen living a tubeless lifestyle, I’ve embraced tire levers. Specifically, I’ve embraced Pedro’s tire levers. Subsequent copies from Unior, Quik Stik and Muc-Off weren’t quite right. The only lever that I might pick up first is the Cush Core Bead Dropper, but it’s a big, bulky, home-use-only affair. I never had a reason to look further until I heard stories of some classy new sticks made from recycled Fusion Fiber. The shape didn’t look all that special, but the concept of a durable, low-friction lever intrigued me. Then, when I got my hands on one, I saw that the business end was functionally similar to that of Pedro’s. Now that FORGE+BOND is finally selling Fusion Fiber levers, I wanted to see if they could shake my decade-long loyalty to Pedro’s.


Pedro’s Levers were a revolution when they first hit shelves. Original Quik Stiks were too thick, Park Tools were the wrong shape, Kool Stops broke easily, and metal levers wouldn’t slide. But Pedro’s nailed it. Plus, believe it or not, Pedro’s will warranty them for life. That sounded too good to be true the first time I heard it, but you actually can just email Pedro’s a few details, and they will not require the lever back to ship a replacement to you. They prefer it to be done through a shop, which is a bit of a pain but—from my experience selling these—not very common. Though I’d always mention it, a lot of Pedro’s customers just won’t know or won’t bother. But that’s kinda okay, because a lot of these levers will last a lifetime.

Sure, they can break. But the easy-to-use shape helps keep you from having to push them too far. The relatively thin “scoop” is long and deep, and the gentle wedge encourages the bead towards its stronger, thicker base. You get a positive purchase as you start to lift that bead out of the rim bed, which stays positive as you slide it off. Other levers are tipped with a steep wedge, which a tight bead will constantly try to spit out. Once a Pedro’s lever is in there, it’s in there.

When installing a tire, the deep scoop can be a bit of a pain. It can be awkward to get a Pedro’s lever oriented correctly underneath those last few stubborn inches. I like a flatter lever for tight installs like the Park TL 4.2, but the Pedro’s levers are still above average. That deep scoop and stiff structure gives you the confidence that you can brute-force any install. But of course, you shouldn’t try. If you can only manage to get the lever’s tip under the bead, it’s not hard to snap it. That’s a scenario where the Forge + Bond levers may actually outshine Pedro’s.


  • Not $50
  • Thoughtfully shaped for easy use
  • Actual lifetime warranty…
  • …that you may never actually need


  • Will break if abused

See more at Pedro’s


I don’t think the folks behind the FORGE+BOND levers were looking to revolutionize tire lever design with these. In a lot of ways, they’re more classic than the Pedro’s. The narrow tip feels like a holdover from the days when tire levers were all skinny, black, and sold in packs of three. Same goes for the subtle “shoulder” on the back surface of the lever. I kinda like the freedom of the flat-backed Pedro’s, but that edge does make tough installs a little easier because it keeps the bead at the tip where you get the most leverage.

I also like that these are big. 6 inches long compared to the Pedro’s 4.5. These are simply more comfortable to hold onto, and offer more freedom to keep my knuckles out of harm’s way when sliding one past the spokes. And the lever body’s gentle outward taper meant that, when putting pressure towards the tire, I didn’t have to grip quite as tightly. They just feel good.

There’s a unique spoke hook at the base that does the job, but is a little more picky about angle than the Pedro’s. You have to be mindful about where you’re starting if you’ve got a tire that’s stubborn enough for the hook-and-hold method. But stubborn tires really bring the best out of the FORGE+BOND levers. The pointy tip is easier to get under a tight bead than the broader Pedro’s tip. More importantly, it’s very thin, and only gradually gets thicker. That makes it easy to get a solid hold of the bead before you start to lift it out. The only lever in my collection with a more optimal shape is the all-steel Park TL-5, which I avoid using at all costs. It galls up aluminum rims, and could probably damage some carbon ones. But the FORGE+BOND levers seem to offer the strength of a metal lever with the subtle softness and low friction of a plastic lever. That makes these feel less like an expensive novelty and more like an actually useful solution for tight tires.

Pro tip sidebar: If you ever have a tough tire removal or installation, go around and make sure the tire bead is sitting in the very center of the rim bed. It’s deeper there, so a few nudges with your thumbs around the circumference is usually all you need. Putting pressure on the tire lever while you do this will help keep any slack you’ve gained. Ok, sidebar over.


  • Uncommonly strong
  • Lower friction than steel levers
  • thinner than plastic-coated steel levers
  • A step in the right direction for carbon manufacturing


  • A little big
  • A lot expensive

See more at Forge + Bond


Pedro’s tire levers will probably remain the benchmark in good tire lever design for years to come. They’re the best choice for the most people. And at $50 a set, I doubt FORGE+BOND expected their levers to gain much of that market share. But the remarkable thing here is that they have successfully made levers that feel like they’re worth $50. Partly because of their thoughtful, functional design. But also because their carbon construction actually solves a real problem. It isn’t just a novelty. If you regularly encounter tight-fitting tires that can break traditional levers, FORGE+BOND has come up with the best solution I’ve ever used. And of course, also this is a luxury item. Like Silca pumps or eeWings cranks, they’re simply cool. They make me want to organize my Stan’s-stained tire-tool drawer. FORGE+BOND also has their sustainability angle (no, I haven’t forgotten the Pedro’s Milk Lever). These levers represent a small step reducing our sport’s impact. And nowadays, I’m not even throwing away an inner tube every time I use a tire lever. Win-win.