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Topeak Power Lever X review: a solidly made multi-use tool

Topeak’s cunning combo tool can shift stiff chain links and stuck tires with ease

Topeak Power Lever X review
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Bike Perfect Verdict

Topeak’s Power Lever X is fiddly at first, but combines reversible chain link pliers and extra leverage tire irons into a packable but workshop-tough design

Pros

  • +

    Tough, stiff tire levers

  • +

    Smooth and effective chain pliers

  • +

    Packable but workshop-tough

  • +

    Combination tool efficiency

Cons

  • -

    Can take some figuring out

  • -

    Heavy

You can get a set of Topeak tire levers pro-grade ‘magic’ chain link pliers for about $50, or you can buy this cunning double-duty clip-together two-piece Power Lever X puzzle that’ll work in the workshop but still fit in your bike pack. I’ve been spending a bit of time with it to find out whether it’s worth including in your best mountain bike toolkit, and whether it, along with the best bikepacking multi-tools, will be sufficient enough to get you out of a bind even in the most remote areas. Read on for the answers.

Design and aesthetics

Topeak’s Power Lever X is a clever and modular gadget that performs two very important functions. It’s made up of two tire levers which, when clipped together, form a pair of master link pliers. If that’s not nifty enough, it also has storage for a couple of extras that are really useful.

The Power Lever X uses a steel bar tang with chain hooks, and pivot stubs also made from steel. A tough, textured plastic overlay adds comfort as well as the link guides and the hooked tips for the tire lever ends.

Within the handle there’s storage for two magic links / quick links, and a steel chain-joining hook, designed to hold the chain in place so you can focus on squeezing the links into place without sending it flying.

Performance

The Power Lever X pliers clip together neatly in a mirrored double deck, so you need to pull them apart and work out which peg goes into which hole to make them work as pliers. Squeezing the links together for removal needs a different configuration when pulling them into place to fit, so it can be a puzzle at first. Once you’ve got it though, they’re super simple, smooth and easy to use, especially as the hook takes the tension out of the chain as you remove and refit the link.

The steel core does make them relatively heavy for packing, but the long, stiff levers made short work of any tire and rim combo I tried them on, and they’ve become my default workshop levers when they’re not tucked into my ride pack.

Verdict

Not light and quite bulky, but that’s what gives these tire levers their welcome toughness and stiffness. Once you’ve worked out the assembly arrangement, the chain pliers work really well, too.

Topeak Power Lever X review

The Topeak Power Lever X comes with a steel chain-joining hook, designed to hold the chain to tension, and two magic links (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Tech Specs: Topeak Power Lever X

  • Price: $TBC / £14.99
  • Weight: 45g

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg