Tired of changing your own tires with a set of irons and a bucket or bringing your bike to the shop every time you need new rubber? We’re with you. Changing your motorcycle’s tires can be a tiresome job (pun intended), and that’s where a motorcycle tire changer can come in handy. Motorcycle tire changers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and price points, and it’s up to you to decide what will work best. Before you do your research and commit to buy, here’s what you need to pay attention to when shopping for a motorcycle tire changer.
Why Use a Motorcycle Tire Changer?
Before we dive in, let’s figure out whether you need a motorcycle tire changer in the first place. While we think the ability to change your own tires is liberating and saves you a decent chunk of change in the long run, not all of us are mechanically minded – and that’s OK. If you own one motorcycle, and you typically only change your tires when they’re worn (as opposed to swapping them often, depending on the terrain you’re riding), you may as well just trust your local garage. Changing your tires once a year means you don’t necessarily need a motorcycle tire changer of your own, especially if you don’t enjoy wrenching.
But let’s say you own several bikes, ride them often, and ride them on different terrain as well as tarmac. Now, you may need to change your tires a lot more frequently: gnarly knobbies for technical trails and 50/50’s for dual-sport riding, aggressive rubber for motocross training and road-friendly tires for pavement… You get the gist. If you’re someone with several bikes who likes to hit different trails often, you’ll be changing tires monthly, if not weekly – and if you race, we don’t need to tell you how frequent your tire changes will be.
Now, we have no doubt you can change your own tires with just a set of irons. You know what you’re doing, and you’re getting the job done. But the thing is, the job is a hell of a lot easier with a motorcycle tire changer. Regardless of brand and model, bike tire changers are designed to make the process faster, easier, and safer. Go to any garage or dealership, and you won’t see their mechanics wrestling tires with irons and spoons – nope, they’ll be working with machines, because nobody has a half an hour to spend on a five-minute job.
Getting your own motorcycle tire changer will do just that: allow you to save time, effort, and pinched tubes or messed up bib mousses. You’ll be able to get the job done more efficiently and a lot faster, and if you opt for a portable tire changer, you can simply throw it in the van and take it with you to the races. Hell, if you trailer your bikes for your off-road sessions, you can throw your tire changer in the truck just in case – we bet you’ll thank yourself when you get a flat out there.
Different Types of Motorcycle Tire Changers
Alrighty, so now you’re ready to compare the tools available. What’s the best motorcycle tire changer option for you? There are several decent products to choose from depending on your needs, your budget, and your garage space.
A lot of bike dealerships and garages use tire changer machines like this one:
Now, this chunky baby will have you changing your tires in no time – it’s got all you need:a powerful turntable, motorcycle wheel clamps, a bead breaker, lubricator and air pressure regulator, and all the other bells and whistles. It’s good stuff, but it’s got three big issues: one, this thing is heavy, massive, and you can’t exactly take it with you to the trails, races, or a road trip. Two, it’s expensive – coming at a price point of $1,800, it’s not exactly a cheap option. And third, it isn’t suitable for bib mousse changes.
Then, you’ve got a lighter, simpler version that looks something like this:
The Bike Master is just $86, it’s simple to use, and it will definitely do better than just a set of tire irons. The trouble is, breaking the bead is hard with this one, and because of the way it’s designed, it may move when you’re taking the tire off – which, safe to say, just isn’t safe. And while it’s much smaller and lighter than the Nationwide 400, it’s still way too chunky to be carried around. additionally, you can’t just easily push off the tire, so you’ll still need to wrestle with the thing, especially when changing harder tires.
Enter Rabaconda. As much as we hate blowing our own trumpet, we spent years perfecting a motorcycle tire changer that would tick several boxes: be efficient and easy to use, fit different motorcycle tires, break the beads easily, and remain solid and stable while being completely portable. It works on tubeless, Tubliss, bib mousse, air tube, no rimlock, one rimlock, or even two-rimlock setups.
The beauty of our 3-Minute Tire Changer is that it can be used to change dirt, motocross, enduro, and ADV tires, and it will make bib mousse changes easy as pie. Forget pinched tubes, damaged rims, and hours spent sweating and swearing: our motorcycle tire changer can help you swap tires in minutes. Rabaconda is the official tire changer of the International Six Days of Enduro (ISDE) and approved by the American Motorcycling Association (AMA). It even set the world record for motorcycle tire changes, getting the job done fast and smooth:
The best part is, you don’t need to be a world enduro champion to change your tires quickly. And when you need to take your Rabaconda with you, simply take it apart, stick it in a bag, and throw it in your van or truck.
Yes, it packs that small – and at a price point of $449, it’s not exactly the cheapest option out there. However, it has a lifetime warranty, so you’ll never need to buy another motorcycle tire changer ever again, and it will pay for itself in the first year of use.
Street Bike Tire Changer
While the 3-Minute Tire Changer is a great asset for dirt and enduro motorcycle changes, street bikes are a different animal. If you own a street, a sport or sport-touring bike, a V-Twin, a cafe racer, a scrambler, or an adventure motorcycle with cast or wire-spoked wheels, the Street Bike Tire Changer is the solution.
Designed with extra rim protection in mind and adaptable to 12-21” wheel sizes and tires up to 250mm wide, as well as both single and double-sided swingarms, the Street Bike Tire Changer is ideal for street and adventure motorcycle tire changes.
How to Use a Motorcycle Tire Changer
Whichever option you go for, always do a little bit of research and comparison first. Brands and prices aside, here’s what you should look for in a motorcycle tire changer:
- Sturdy, durable materials. If the company is skimping on solid materials, the tire changer won’t last long – spades and irons will bend, and you’ll need to replace the tool often.
- Adjustability. Can the motorcycle tire changer handle different size wheels?
- Portability and weight. If you know you’ll be needing your tire changer at the races, trails, or travel situations, not just your garage, look for tools that pack small and are portable.
- Installation and ease of use. Does your chosen motorcycle tire changer come with a clear set of instructions, easy installation, and simple use?
Once you’ve picked a tire changer that sounds good to you and meets your budget and expectations, it’s time to test it out. Check out our comprehensive guides on how to dismount a hard motorcycle tire, troubleshoot mousse changes, and how to change a tire with tire balls the easy way.
Ready to rock and roll? Check out what others had to say: ADV legend Paul Stewart (rtwPaul) has shared his own experience with Rabaconda changing hard adventure tires, while the hard enduro and rally racing star Vanessa Ruck (aka The Girl on a Bike) is enjoying easy dirt bike tire changes:
Get your own 3-Minute Tire Changer:
Get your own Street Bike Tire Changer at street.rabaconda.com