A surprisingly useful tool that does an excellent job of getting even the toughest tyres into place, but it’s a bit bulky for transporting around
- Easy to use
- Makes light work of tough tyre fitting
- Lifetime warranty
- It's quite large, so it's not exactly going in your pocket, but there is a compact version available as well
This story begins with an Instagram ad. I was mindlessly scrolling through post after post one morning, when this advertisement popped up and caught my eye. The Cycle Pal Tyre Seating Tool, designed to save your thumbs when wrestling with particularly tough tyres, had my full attention, and I decided to invest in one to see if it really worked.
Cycle Pal is a little-known brand based in Cheshire, UK, dedicated to innovating cycling tools and accessories. Alongside this particular tool, the brand sells a Disc Brake Aligner Tool, a Chain Holder Tool, and its own twin set of tyre levers.
The Tyre Seating Tool was by far the most intriguing, and so I’ve been carrying it about on group rides, which have provided the perfect opportunities to try it out on a variety of rims and tyres. Here’s how it works, and whether it’s worth your pennies.
Design and aesthetics
The Cycle Pal Tyre Seating Tool sort of resembles a pair of pliers, with uneven prongs at the end to serve different purposes. The handles are long enough to get a firm grip with your whole hand, a thin metal latch attached to one handle and loops over the other to keep the tool ‘closed’, and the whole thing pivots around a central spring-loaded mechanism.
The two uneven prongs are where the magic happens. The top prong is longer, and shaped sort of like an elephant’s trunk, curling back on itself, forming a flat hook. Beneath it, the shorter prong is about three quarters the length, and ends with a forked design.
The tool itself is mostly made of plastic, with metal components, and while it doesn’t feel the most premium, it is pretty light and feels surprisingly durable.
It is pretty large though, with a slightly awkward shape, meaning it’s not exactly going to sit flat in a jersey pocket, however there is now a compact model available that can easily fit in a saddle bag.
It serves one simple purpose: to seat a tyre on a rim with little effort, and in short, it does it exceptionally well. To use it on a tight tyre that’s a killer on your thumbs, you simple hold it by the handle, rest the forked prong against the edge of the rim where the tyre is already seated, and use the longer prong to hook over the loose tyre bead. From here, it’s a simple squeeze of the hand and a slight pulling manoeuvre to guide the remaining tyre bead into place. It couldn’t be any easier.
As a ride leader, I’m well versed in dealing with multiple punctures on a group ride, especially since many of the rides I lead are attended by people who are relatively new to cycling and who either don’t know how to fix a puncture, or aren’t confident doing it themselves just yet. I always end up chipping in, and have found the Cycle Pal tool not only makes light work of tough tyres that would normally have my thumbs screaming but also saves us a lot of time in the process, meaning the group can get back on the road sooner.
Taking advantage of these opportunities on group rides, I’ve managed to try this tool out on a wide variety of tyre and rim combinations, including aluminium and carbon rims, road tyres, mountain bike tyres, Schwalbe Marathons, Continental Gatorskins, and many more. So far, it’s not failed once.
As an inexpensive tool, I can’t recommend the Cycle Pal Tyre Seating Tool enough. Whether you’re a professional mechanic, a ride leader, or someone who dreads getting a puncture because of stubborn tyre beads, I can guarantee that having this tool in your repertoire will be a thumb-saver. Yes, it’s a bit bulky and too awkward a shape to easily slip into a pocket, but if you’re carrying a mini-pump, it’ll likely fit in the same space as that, and it’s worth it just for the time, effort and expletives you’ll save.
Tech Specs: Cycle Pal Tyre Seating Tool
- Price: £34.95 / $49.95
- Weight: 118g
- Dimensions: 24x6cm
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Mildred joined as Reviews Writer for Cyclingnews and BikePerfect in December 2020. She loves all forms of cycling from long-distance audax to daily errand-running by bike, and does almost everything on two wheels, including moving house, and started out her cycling career working in a bike shop. For the past five years she's volunteered at The Bristol Bike Project as a mechanic and session coordinator, and now sits on its board of directors.
Since then she's gone on to write for a multitude of cycling publications, including Bikeradar, Cycling Plus, Singletrack, Red Bull, Cycling UK and Total Women's Cycling. She's dedicated to providing more coverage of women's specific cycling tech, elevating under-represented voices in the sport, and making cycling more accessible overall.
Height: 156cm (5'2")
Rides: Stayer Groadinger UG, Triban RC520 Women's Disc, Genesis Flyer, Marin Larkspur, Cotic BFe 26, Clandestine custom bike