A tire iron (also tire lever or tire spoon) is a specialized metal tool used in working with tires. Tire irons have not been in common use for automobile tires since the shift to the use of tubeless tires in the late 1950s.
Bicycle tire irons are still in use for those tires which have a separate inner tube, and can have a hooked C-shape cut into one end of the iron so that it may be hooked on a bicycle spoke to hold it in place.
Tire irons, which usually come in pairs or threes, are used to pry the edge of a tire away from the rim of the wheel it has been mounted on. After one iron has pried a portion of the tire from its wheel, it is held in position while a second iron is applied further along the tire to pry more of the tire away from the wheel. This allows enough of the tire to be separated so that the first iron can be removed, and used again on the far side of the other iron. Alternating in this way, a person can work all the way around the tire to fully remove it from the wheel, in order to reach the tube that sits inside.
In the first half of the 20th century, they became a colloquial term of strength, as in "I couldn't get rid of him with a pair of tire irons," and frequently appeared in cartoons in similar situations. The usage is now considered passé.
Tire irons for bicycles are usually referred to as "tire levers", as they are often made of plastic, not metal.
Tire levers for bicycle tires have one end that is tapered and slightly curved. The other end is usually hooked so that it can be hooked around a spoke to keep the tire bead free of the rim at one point, allowing a second lever to be manipulated forward, progressively loosening a larger segment of the tire bead from the rim.
A common feature of tire levers is the lack of sharp edges. The slightest pinch of an inner tube by a lever can weaken or puncture the tube. It is good practice to examine a set of tire levers for any sharp edges and to file them smooth and round. Another problem, though less critical, is that a steel lever would scratch aluminum rims.
Classically, tire levers were made of metal. However plastic ones are now manufactured which are even less sharp and less likely to puncture the tube. There are also some single-lever varieties, which can be inserted under the bead at one point then quickly pushed around the rim to pop the bead off.
Tire levers are not necessary or desirable in all cases. In some cases, the tire can be reinserted on the rim, and sometimes removed from the rim, without the use of tire levers. This reduces the chance of puncture caused by pinching the tube between the rim and the tire bead. Sometimes they are used to fit the tire back on, but this can be done without the levers.
A tire or tyre is a ring-shaped component that surrounds a wheel's rim to transfer a vehicle's load from the axle through the wheel to the ground and to provide traction on the surface over which the wheel travels. Most tires, such as those for automobiles and bicycles, are pneumatically inflated structures, which also provide a flexible cushion that absorbs shock as the tire rolls over rough features on the surface. Tires provide a footprint, called a contact patch, that is designed to match the weight of the vehicle with the bearing strength of the surface that it rolls over by providing a bearing pressure that will not deform the surface excessively.
A mountain bike (MTB) or mountain bicycle is a bicycle designed for off-road cycling. Mountain bikes share some similarities with other bicycles, but incorporate features designed to enhance durability and performance in rough terrain, which makes them heavier, more complex and less efficient on smooth surfaces. These typically include a suspension fork, large knobby tires, more durable wheels, more powerful brakes, straight, extra wide handlebars to improve balance and comfort over rough terrain, and wide-ratio gearing optimised for topography and application. Rear suspension is ubiquitous in heavier-duty bikes and now common even in lighter bikes. Dropper posts can be installed to allow the rider to quickly adjust the seat height.
A spoke is one of some number of rods radiating from the center of a wheel, connecting the hub with the round traction surface.
A bicycle brake reduces the speed of a bicycle or prevents it from moving. The three main types are: rim brakes, disc brakes, and drum brakes.
A bicycle wheel is a wheel, most commonly a wire wheel, designed for a bicycle. A pair is often called a wheelset, especially in the context of ready built "off the shelf" performance-oriented wheels.
A bicycle pump is a type of positive-displacement air pump specifically designed for inflating bicycle tires. It has a connection or adapter for use with one or both of the two most common types of valves used on bicycles, Schrader or Presta. A third type of valve called the Dunlop valve exists, but tubes with these valves can be filled using a Presta pump.
A racing bicycle, also known as a road bike is a bicycle designed for competitive road cycling, a sport governed by and according to the rules of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).
A cyclo-cross bike or cyclo-cross bicycle is a bicycle specifically designed for the rigors of a cyclo-cross race. Cyclo-cross bicycles roughly resemble the racing bicycles used in road racing. The major differences between the two are the frame geometry, and the wider clearances that cyclo-cross bikes have for their larger tires and mud and other debris that they accumulate.
The term bicycle tools usually refers to specialty tools only used on bicycles, as opposed to general purpose mechanical tools such as spanners and hex wrenches. Various bicycle tools' have evolved over the years into specialized tools for working on a bicycle. Modern bicycle shops will stock a large number of tools for working on different bicycle parts. This work can be performed by a trained bicycle mechanic, or for simple tasks, by the bicycle owner.
ISO 5775 is an international standard for labeling the size of bicycle tires and rims. The system used was originally developed by the European Tyre and Rim Technical Organisation (ETRTO). It is designed to make tire sizing consistent and clear. It replaces overlapping informal systems that ambiguously distinguished between sizes. For example, at least 6 different "26 inch" sizes exist, and "27 inch" wheels have a larger diameter than American "28 inch" wheels. The Japanese Industrial Standards Committee also cooperates with ISO 5775. The corresponding Japanese standards are JIS D 9112 for tires and JIS D 9421 for rims.
The rim is the "outer edge of a wheel, holding the tire". It makes up the outer circular design of the wheel on which the inside edge of the tire is mounted on vehicles such as automobiles. For example, on a bicycle wheel the rim is a large hoop attached to the outer ends of the spokes of the wheel that holds the tire and tube. In cross-section, the rim is deep in the center and shallow at the outer edges, thus forming a "U" shape that supports the bead of the tire casing.
A flat tire is a deflated pneumatic tire, which can cause the rim of the wheel to ride on the tire tread or the ground potentially resulting in loss of control of the vehicle or irreparable damage to the tire. The most common cause of a flat tire is puncturing of the tire by a sharp object, such as a nail or pin, letting the air escape. Depending on the size of the puncture, the tire may deflate slowly or rapidly.
A tubeless tire is a pneumatic tire that does not require a separate inner tube.
In the automotive industry, alloy wheels are wheels that are made from an alloy of aluminium or magnesium. Alloys are mixtures of a metal and other elements. They generally provide greater strength over pure metals, which are usually much softer and more ductile. Alloys of aluminium or magnesium are typically lighter for the same strength, provide better heat conduction, and often produce improved cosmetic appearance over steel wheels. Although steel, the most common material used in wheel production, is an alloy of iron and carbon, the term "alloy wheel" is usually reserved for wheels made from nonferrous alloys.
A bead breaker is a tool used for separating tires from rims. The innermost diameter of the tire that interfaces with the rim of a wheel is called the tire bead. The bead is a thicker section of rubber, and is reinforced with braided steel cables, called the bead bundle. The surface of the bead creates a seal between the tire and rim on radial and bias-ply tires.
A bicycle tire is a tire that fits on the wheel of a bicycle or similar vehicle. These tires may also be used on tricycles, wheelchairs, and handcycles, frequently for racing. Bicycle tires provide an important source of suspension, generate the lateral forces necessary for balancing and turning, and generate the longitudinal forces necessary for propulsion and braking. Although the use of a pneumatic tire greatly reduces rolling resistance compared to the use of a rigid wheel or solid tire, the tires are still typically the second largest source, after wind resistance, of power consumption on a level road. The modern detachable pneumatic bicycle tire contributed to the popularity and eventual dominance of the safety bicycle.
A tubular tyre, referred to as a tub in Britain, a sew-up in the US, a single in Australia, or just a tubular is a bicycle tyre that is stitched closed around the inner tube to form a torus. The combination is then glued onto a specially designed rim, referred to as a "sprint rim" in Britain, and just a "tubular rim" in the US, of a bicycle wheel.
Mountain bike trials, also known as observed trials, is a discipline of mountain biking in which the rider attempts to pass through an obstacle course without setting foot to ground. Derived from motorcycle trials, it originated in Catalonia, Spain as trialsín and is said to have been invented by Pere Pi, the father of Ot Pi, a world champion motorcycle trials rider. Pi's father had wanted his son to learn motorcycle trials by practicing on an ordinary bicycle.
An inner tube is an inflatable torus that forms the interior of some pneumatic tires. The tube is inflated with a valve stem, and fits inside of the casing of the tire. The inflated inner tube provides structural support and suspension, while the outer tire provides grip and protects the more fragile tube.