Car tires on motorcycle? Street Bike Tire Changer Review by a Darkside Rider

Chuck, a Darkside rider, has taken the time to share his thoughts on our newest tool, the Rabaconda Street Bike Tire Changer. A Darksider is a motorcycle rider who rides on car tires rather than traditional motorcycle tires. It's widely known that they provide a smoother ride, are less susceptible to gravel, and provide more traction. On the negative side, some claim that the bike will handle 'heavier' during tight turns, and it can be difficult to find a workshop that will mount a car tire on a bike rim. How is it to mount and dismount a car tire with Rabaconda? Here's what he has to say about it:

"I had a unique problem that kept me from purchasing. I ride a Honda VTX 1800N (v-twin cruiser). I also belong to a large group of riders who wear a Car Tire on the rear wheel of their motorcycles. We call ourselves Darksiders.

We do this for many reasons.
  • One is for a wider footprint in straights and in a lean. The car tire bulges on the ‘corner’ of the tire when in a lean and provides a footprint easily twice the width of a motorcycle tire.
  • Another reason is better wet/dry traction. Car tires have much better and much more advanced technology and rubber compounds than motorcycle tires.
  • Another reason is because they have a much higher load rating. Larger bikes can carry much more gear on trips or maybe both the rider and passenger are large people, etc.
  • Another reason is longevity. We typically get 20,000 miles or better from our car tires.
  • Another is cost. Considering the mileage we get and the relatively lower cost of car tires, we save a lot of money.

Putting a car tire on the rear wheel of a motorcycle is very safe despite what your brain may be telling you. The bead redundancies still apply when putting a car tire on a bike rim (going in the opposite direction - bike tire on a car rim - would eliminate one of the bead redundancies and be quite unsafe).

Most of us who have gone to the Darkside have done so because we put a lot of miles on our bikes and typically have hard saddlebags and fairings that add a lot of weight to the bike (daily riders, travelers, etc.).

One thing that Darksiders have trouble with is finding a tire shop that will mount a car tire on a motorcycle rim. Most tire shops are unaware of the Darkside and don’t want the liability. It is understandable considering they are uninformed and base their decisions on speculation and personal opinion.

Keep in mind that Darkside isn’t limited to VTX motorcycles, it’s just one of the bigger groups. Goldwings are another model of bike that is commonly known to use car tires. You can find Darksiders in just about every group of cruiser/touring bikes across all makes.

The process did take a little longer than I expected, but that is due entirely to the fact that this car tire is meant to go on a wider rim, so keeping the bead in the drop center for the final mount is much harder to do without help or ingenuity. I had no help but enough ingenuity to get it done.

I have to say that I loved using this unit. Now that I have my process down, I'm sure the next one will be much easier. Having two separate wheels, one for summer and one for winter will make my life so much easier and the Rabaconda will make all of my tire changes, even this normally difficult Car Tire an absolute dream.

I can say that it would not have been so smooth (maybe not even possible) without the drop-center tools and the bead grease you provided. They were definitely key in getting this car tire mounted on the motorcycle rim.

I had only one issue. For my specific rim, there was nowhere to put the Stopper Pin to be useful, but the straps were sufficient to accomplish it all.

As I mentioned above, I am in love with the Rabaconda now. I will never have to pay to have a tire mounted again and I will never have to argue with a tire shop about mounting a car tire on a motorcycle rim or about mounting a rear wheel on the front rim. I can also carry this unit in its bag to any friend's house to help them mount their tires too.

It truly was such an easy process that it surprises me how much trouble my local tires shops have had doing this with commercial tire changing machines. I've now got about 300-400 miles on the tire I mounted with your machine. I have experienced no issues at all and my tire pressure has not changed. I honestly cannot wait to mount the next one."

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  • Audie Murphy on

    08 road king, rear tire 85/65/16

  • Tommy Wooten on

    I want to put a car tire on my Electric glad harley. The tire size is 859/16

  • Tommy Wooten on

    What cross from motorcycle tire 859-16 to a car tire need for the back for a Electric glad Harley .

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