Jim’s Tech Talk
By Jim Langley
Product: Ez-Clincher Pocket Tire Tool
Fits: Tires up to 28mm wide
How acquired: Purchased from EZ-Clincher
RBR advertiser: No
- A ride-saver for too-tight tires
- Small, flat and thin to easily fit in a pack or pocket
- Only 32 grams
- Easy to use
- Tool won’t pinch the tube or damage tires/rims
- With the trend toward wider rubber, a tool for those tires is needed, too
One of the most frustrating things about fixing flats and changing out tires today is that not all tires are user-friendly to install. Some simply fit way too tight or don’t fit at all. And, even when a tire is an easy fit, it’s possible to mess up during the installation and make it difficult to install.
For example, if you run a too-thick rim strip or a tube a little too wide for the tire, it makes installation much more difficult. Also, if you don’t know how to easily install a tire, you can end up with the tire cockeyed on the rim, which turns the install into a wrestling match you’ll lose.
Another issue is flatting on a cold day when your hands are so numb you can’t work the tire on. Or maybe you have weak hands or arthritis that limits your grip and dexterity.
Risks of Using Tire Levers for Installation
For all these reasons, you might reach for your tire levers to force on the tough tire. Even though you’ve probably heard or read the old adage, tire levers are only for removing tires not installing them.
The reason for that rule is that tire levers, because they get slid beneath the tire, may contact the tube during tire installation and puncture it again or pinch it and pop it. And on tubeless tires, forcing a tire on with sharp edged prying tools can damage the tire and cause a leak that sealant may not fix.
Safe Tire Tools
Fortunately, inventors have been working on the problem of safe tools for tight tire installation forever. One of the most famous and highly regarded tire tamers is Kool Stop’s Tire Bead Jack. https://amzn.to/33yfLW4
I’m pretty sure that tool has been around since the 1970’s and it’s a great one to have in your home shop. The thing is that it’s about 9 inches (23cm) long so you probably won’t want to carry it in your pocket or pack (though you could if you had the space).
The Pocket Tire Tool
This is where the new Ez-Clincher Pocket Tire Tool comes in. It’s only about 5 inches long (13cm) and 0.5 of an inch (11mm) thick. It weighs only 32grams. It’s the perfect miniature tire jack to carry in your pocket or pack.
According to Ez-Clincher, their tool is made of a high strength engineered resin and it’s designed to provide a significant mechanical advantage to let anyone mount stubborn tires.
The way it works, it only touches the tire and rim. It can’t puncture the tube and it’s designed to be safe for tires, too, so you don’t have to worry about harming the bead on tubeless tires.
Using the Ez-Clincher
Operating the tool is easy, but it didn’t come with directions in the package, apart from the illustration on the front. So I visited their site and watched their short video/animation. That video can’t be embedded, but here’s one on YouTube that shows it in action.
The tool is only for tires up to 28mm wide. If you try to use it on wider rubber it probably won’t fit inside the tool’s jaws. I tried it on a 35mm tire and the rubber was so wide it kept pushing the tool away from the bead I was trying to get onto the rim.
Before using the Ez-Clincher you mount as much of the tire onto the rim by hand as you can. Depending on your tire and technique you might only be able to get the first side of the tire partly onto the rim. Or maybe you can get the first side on and most of the second but get stuck with just a short amount of tire that simply won’t make it up and onto the rim.
The tool works for both situations. To use it, you open the jaws to get the tool’s “legs” straddling the tire with the handle above. The tool’s fixed leg has a notch in it. That goes on the side of the rim that you’re pulling the uninstalled tire bead toward to get that bead on.
The other leg of the tool (the one that pivots in and out) has a hook on its end that goes underneath the tire bead that you’re lifting up and onto the rim. When you push or pull the Ez-Clincher handle (depending on how you’re holding the tool), the hook slips underneath the tire and gives plenty of leverage to pull that small area of the tire up and onto the rim.
You only put a small section of tire on with each push/pull of the tool. Then you slide the tool just a little to the next small tire bead section you want to pull up and on. As you move the tool, you keep both legs in position, one on top of the rim and the other with the hook slides on the side of the rim and under the tire bead you’re pulling on. Moving it like this and pushing/pulling you can quickly get tight tire sections in place to finish putting tires on.
Easier to Do Than to Explain
It may sound complicated but I found it intuitive and easy to do. Overall, I think it’s a very nice new tire jack tool that you’ll want to have if you ever struggle with too tight tires. I suspect the gravel gang will see these reviews and Ez-Clincher will decide to come out with a version for fatter tires, too, which will be just as well received I’m sure.
In the hopes Ez-Clincher is reading this (or Kool Stop, too), I’d love to see someone come out with a clever leverage tool like this that breaks the locked beads that can make it near impossible to remove tubeless tires.
It seems to me that the pliers-like action of this tool could be tweaked to force something between the rim and tire to break tubeless tires free. That would become a popular addition to the Ez-Clincher in my opinion.
Ride total: 9,997
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. He has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check out his “cycling aficionado” website at http://www.jimlangley.net, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim’s streak of consecutive cycling days has reached more than 10,000. Click to read Jim’s full bio.