Cush Core Bead Dropper NSMB AndrewM (1).JPG
REVIEW

CushCore Bead Dropper Tire Lever

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Apr 27, 2020

Level-Up Lever

I apologize in advance that this review is going to be a snoozer. I don't have a single gnat-sized complaint about CushCore's new Bead Dropper tire lever. The big green tire shank fully institutionalizes the process of installing and removing tires with CushCore inserts and it won't take more than a couple of sessions for the average installer to justify the 20 USD price tag. Hell, I know some blue barking bastards that will save that in payments to the family swear jar on the first wheel.

It's not just for inserts either. As part of this process, one of my 2-ply 2.8" DH tires decided to form an impenetrable bond with my Gorilla tape rim liner. The Bead Dropper is easily stiff enough to handle the separation, using the same technique as forcing the tire under the insert, and the most ergonomic tool I've tried for the normally tedious job.


The stabbing action encouraged by its ergonomics actually makes the best CushCore installation and removal technique intuitive
Cush Core Bead Dropper NSMB AndrewM (7).JPG

The Bead Dropper is ultimately an ergonomic enabler of good CushCore installation and removal technique.

Cush Core Bead Dropper NSMB AndrewM (6).JPG

Push the bead all the under the insert on both sides to complete an easy install or facilitate removal.

If you're already a tire-installation wizard, the Bead Dropper is still a damn nice tool to use on stubborn tire beads. If you're already a CushCore wizard, the Bead Dropper is still going to up your speed and comfort. Especially if you're doing regular install and removals. The 'thumb flange' and rubberized handle save my hands over all the other tools and techniques I've tried. In a shop doing regular installs & removals, this would be a comfort must-have for me. However, in all these situations it certainly isn't a required purchase.

Where the Bead Dropper is a next level tool is for the apprentice. If you're not really confident getting tight tires onto rims to begin with, and downright nervous about installing inserts, the Bead Dropper is more than a tool, it's a technique upgrade. The stabbing action encouraged by its ergonomics actually makes the best CushCore installation and removal technique intuitive. Push, push, push, the tire bead under the insert all around on both sides and it replaces mechanic's purgatory with a process.

Cush Core Bead Dropper NSMB AndrewM (3).JPG

The telltale green valve. I'm addicted to CushCore 29+ inside big mean Plus tires. These 2.8" Vigilantes have a 2-ply DH casing.

Cush Core Bead Dropper NSMB AndrewM (10).JPG

I tried to split my 29+ CushCore inserts between two bikes but that lasted one ride. With the Bead Dropper, I actually didn't mind reversing the process.

So how good is the Bead Dropper really? I was totally overconfident after using it one time. After a single semi-greasy Shore ride without my front CushCore insert, I was more than ready to put it back in. It turns out 120mm travel isn't that much, go figure, and the CushCore insert makes a massive difference. Previously when I've swapped the 29+ insert between wheels I've been very diligent about installing fresh Gorilla Tape on my rim and triple-checking that my tire was oriented the correct way. Anyways, this latest go around it really wasn't a big deal to mount my tire thrice.

Twenty bucks US is a hefty sum compared to buying three crappy levers for a fiver, but it's on par with shop quality DH tire levers and the Bead Dropper is carbon rim friendly to boot. It also carries a lifetime warranty. Actually, it's a LIFETIME WARRANTY in bold and all-caps with its own bullet point, so reef away, ham-fisted friend!

CushCore has a limited supply available here on their site with more inventory stocking dealers in May.

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Comments

ehfour
+2 Pete Roggeman Andrew Major
ehfour  - April 27, 2020, 2:16 p.m.

I cant stop staring at your oil slick nipples...............

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - April 27, 2020, 3:37 p.m.

The elusive Dumpster Bear built me those wheels before roadies started down the path of trying to ruin oil slick for everyone else. They're TLC brass nipples - so pretty cool as they're brass and not boring!

Reply

craw
+1 Andrew Major
Cr4w  - April 27, 2020, 3:54 p.m.

How far are we from abandoning presta as a practical valve stem format for tubeless?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - April 27, 2020, 4:09 p.m.

Grab a drill and buy some Stan's Schrader Valves?

I think it would take a major bike brand with actual influence on the industry (Trek, Specialized, etc) going to Schrader on their performance bikes to create the aftermarket for it in terms of Schrader drilled carbon rims, valve stem options, and of course companies like CushCore offering their unique insert-friendly valve stems in a Schrader format. 

When Stan's used rubber rim strips for their tubeless setups I used to drill out my rims and purchase the Schrader version. The valve cores can still be removed for easy tubeless inflation and at the pressures I run there are zero negatives to Schrader.

Reply

mb
+1 Andrew Major
Mikey Bikey  - April 27, 2020, 5:02 p.m.

There is nothing more irritating than fumbling around trying to open, inflate and close  a presta valve on the side of a trail in the dirt, rain and at times oncoming dark. Fortunately it doesn't happen too much lately, but I usually screw on the Schrader adapters to any Presta valves I got so I can at least  use the ordinary air inflator valve. Older rims were narrower also, but these days I don't see what the problem is with the larger diameter Schrader.
Maybe it's the roadie/weight market.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - April 27, 2020, 5:28 p.m.

I don't think there was ever a structural issue between the hole sizes. I used to drill out all my rims pre-tubless and never had one fail at the valve hole though I killed more than a few. It's more a throwback to the perception that high-end bikes have Presta and cheap bikes have Schrader?

I wouldn't have guessed the apples:apples weight comparison was different but I'm not much of a weight weenie and I'm sure if it's more than a gram you're on to something. 

Can't stand those screw-on adapters! I do change the valve cores often in my Presta tubeless setups which I think solves half the reason folks dislike them but certainly drilling rims out for Schrader would be my winning strategy.

Reply

DanL
+1 Andrew Major
DanL  - April 27, 2020, 5 p.m.

What's a good set of tire levers then? I just broke the edges off of my park tool plastic ones, so I'm not 100% impressed with those

Reply

AndrewMajor
+3 Pete Roggeman Doug M. DanL
Andrew Major  - April 27, 2020, 5:19 p.m.

All plastic tire levers will lose their edge and I've broken plenty of good ones. Caveat's aside, I think the Schwalbe plastic levers are the best in the business. They're, or at least were*, made in Germany by SKS and hold up the best of any standard plastic levers I've used. I've been using them for maybe 15 years now and have never come across anything I like better in terms of a standard tire lever.

On one of my tires that was being stubborn, that's what I used to hold the tire in place while I worked the magic of the Bead Dropper.

*I do notice that they don't have 'Made In Germany' listed on their online marketing anymore.

Reply

DanL
+2 Pete Roggeman Andrew Major
DanL  - April 27, 2020, 5:38 p.m.

Excellent, between those and the disturbing Bead Dropper I'll be ready!

Reply

AndrewMajor
+2 Pete Roggeman Doug M.
Andrew Major  - April 27, 2020, 6:56 p.m.

MWA HAHAHAHA... I have received a couple of colourful messages today from my ‘friends’ about the general appearance of the Bead Dropper.

Reply

mammal
+2 Andrew Major twk
Mammal  - April 28, 2020, 7:01 a.m.

The PB comment section is, um, unbridled, lets say.

Reply

IslandLife
+2 Tjaard Breeuwer Pete Roggeman
IslandLife  - April 27, 2020, 5:21 p.m.

I use Pedros at home... local shop carries them and they're tough.  https://pedros.com/products/tools/wheel-and-tire/tire-levers/

Reply

253Nick
+2 Pete Roggeman Andrew Major
Nick Seavello  - April 27, 2020, 7:47 p.m.

I swear by these too. I watched multiple plastic levers break trying to get a tire off a carbon rim in the middle of nowhere of Nepal. The Pedros one finally did the trick. Replaced all my Park ones when I got home from the trip.

Reply

Tjaardbreeuwer
0
Tjaard Breeuwer  - April 29, 2020, 9:18 a.m.

Yep, the Pedros are good shape and pretty strong. With lightweight alloy rims and carbon rims, I figure I don’t need a metal lever(like Silca). I’d rather have my tire lever break than my rim.

Reply

mammal
+2 Pete Roggeman Andrew Major
Mammal  - April 28, 2020, 7:04 a.m.

Yes. Pedros are, by far, my preferred plastic lever. That said, I broke both of mine fitting DH tires last year, and needed to upgrade to plastic coated steel ones from Park Tool. Those worked for the horrible install, but the plastic coating wears off and you're left with levers that damage the rim.

Reply

lev
+2 Pete Roggeman Andrew Major
Lev  - April 28, 2020, 7:29 a.m.

Pedros for me too. I've only got one and can fit/remove a cushcore in a pretty respectable time.  It's mostly technique, but the pedros is the right tool for the job.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Pete Roggeman
Andrew Major  - April 28, 2020, 8:17 a.m.

This. It’s all technique and the Bead Dropper certainly isn’t required, but as so said it does make the technique more intuitive and it’s damn comfy.

It is a shop tool; however, no one is carrying it on a ride, so interesting to know so many folks love the Pedro’s. They’re fairly large, you folks carry them in your packs?

Reply

mammal
+1 Pete Roggeman
Mammal  - April 28, 2020, 8:46 a.m.

Yep. Pedro levers in the pack. They're the stiffest and toughest regular plastic one's I've found. I'm a tube/lever guy as opposed to a plug guy.

mrraulduke
+1 Andrew Major
mrraulduke  - April 29, 2020, 8:03 a.m.

i wrap my spare tube around the Perdos one and strap it to my frame. they are big levers, but i only need the 1.

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - April 29, 2020, 8:08 a.m.

Hang on... if you can ride around with a Pedro’s lever strapped to your frame I guess nothing is stopping riders from pedaling around with the Bead Dropper strapped to their frame?!

Tjaardbreeuwer
0
Tjaard Breeuwer  - April 29, 2020, 9:20 a.m.

Pedros are not that large. Slightly wider than the wimpy Park Tool ones, but not longer or thicker. For minimalist kit I bring one Pedro and one Park lever on my rides, also makes a good way to use up the Park Tool ones I have sitting around, since I don’t use them at home anymore.

Tjaardbreeuwer
0
Tjaard Breeuwer  - April 29, 2020, 9:22 a.m.

Maybe Crushcore will come out with a ‘take along’ version of this lever? They could easily whittle some material away to reduce bulk, and still have all of the function, it just would not be as comfy to use. 

So this one seems the way to go for home use.

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - April 29, 2020, 9:35 a.m.

I know, I know, they aren’t that large. Was just having a laugh imagining someone riding Seymour on a busy Sunday with one of these strapped to their top tube and the looks they would get.

xy9ine
+1 Andrew Major
Perry Schebel  - April 28, 2020, 9:57 p.m.

these bad boys. been in my tool box for well over a decade, and will no doubt outlast me. will rip any stubborn tire off with ease. 

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - April 28, 2020, 10:05 p.m.

There's the carbon rim factor but otherwise, TL-5 is wicked great. 

I actually wrote an ode to it, and a few other tools I love, previously.

Reply

kurt-adams
+3 Pete Roggeman Andrew Major Mammal
Kurt Adams  - April 28, 2020, 12:50 a.m.

The old school Pedro's Milk Lever, still have it from ......geez 1994? and it's still rockin'the bead!

As well as Pedro's new tire levers, great too and no breakage !

Reply

Kieran
+2 Pete Roggeman Andrew Major
Kieran  - April 28, 2020, 6:15 a.m.

Yeah loved my milk levers until I left them in Europe after a bike vacation.

The new Pedro's are great too, but snapped one recently after 6 years of use. Hope the quality is still up there.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Pete Roggeman
Andrew Major  - April 28, 2020, 8:19 a.m.

Six years of regular use is pretty impressive for a plastic lever?!

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