Replacing your motorcycle tires at home can be a difficult task. Even with the best tire spoons, rim protectors, and positive enthusiasm, it can still be more effort than it’s worth. And that’s why most riders take their business to a professional shop. But if you find yourself replacing your tires on a regular basis, it might be more cost-effective to invest in a motorcycle tire changer.
These special stands are designed to hold on to your tire, allowing you to work at the proper height without having to hunch over on the floor, with special bead breaking tools that require nothing more than a bit of leverage to tease your old tire off of the rim.
With the right tools, changing tires can be a breeze. All you need to do afterwards is balance them properly—but that’s not rocket science. So if you want to save yourself some money in the long run, it might be a good idea to buy a motorcycle tire changer.
There are a wide ranges of tools on the market, from flashy tire irons, to simple tire stands that allow you to work at a more appropriate height. A motorcycle tire changer is a combination of the two: it’s a raised stand but with a built in tire iron and bead breaker. It won’t do the job for you, but it will make the job much easier. These are the tools we’re going to be looking at.
For the sake of making this list easier to navigate, we’ve decided to make it a list of 6 products, with two products for every price bracket: two budget motorcycle tire changers, two mid-range products, and finally, two premium examples.
Unlike other motorcycle tools, parts, and gear, there aren’t loads of motorcycle tire changer machines available on the market—not for the casual home user, at least. So rather than burn the word count on listing a ton of items that are more or less the same, here’s what we’ve come up with. These are the best motorcycle tire changer products you can buy!
Best Budget Choice
1. MotorSport Products Portable Motorcycle Tire Changer
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The first of our two budget options is this portable tire changer from MotorSport Products. This isn’t a full-on stand, but it’s designed to be bolted down to a bench or mounted to a stand if you need it. If not, you can use it on the floor. It’s a tough, heavy-duty motorcycle tire changer with a bead breaker, for a price that won’t leave you bankrupt.
Made from steel, with zinc-plated and powder coated features, this tire changer is incredibly lightweight, which makes it highly portable, but durable, which ensures that it will last a long time. If you change tires on a regular basis, having one of these will pay for itself in no time at all.
It’s designed to accommodate tires between 16 and 21 inches in diameter, in a wide range of styles and sizes. It has a solid, wide base with a rubber-coated top ring that protects your rims from any accidental scratched. The tire bead breaking lever has an extra-long handle for improved leverage, with a tough spade that should easily pop the bead off of any rim.
For a price of around $100, you get a great tool. But like all budget purchases, it’s not without its short comings.
It will require the use of a tire iron or two to make the job go smoother, but that’s hardly a problem and most motorcycle tire changer machines need them. A little lubrication will also be required. In terms of the build quality though, this is fairly solid and robust, but keep an eye on the rubber coatings because they don’t look particularly hard-wearing.
All in all, this is an excellent portable tire changer for the price that it costs. We highly recommend this one, and that’s why it’s the best motorcycle tire changer for riders on a budget.
Affordable product with excellent build quality
Works for a variety of tire types, with diameters between 16 and 21 inches
Strong, long handle to break tough beads
It works for bib mousse tires, but it won’t like it
The rubber coating isn’t as durable as it could be
Doesn’t come with a stand
Best Overall Choice
3. Rabaconda Motorcycle Tire Changer Machine
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When it comes to tire changer machine options, there’s budget friendly, and then there’s expensive. The middle-ground doesn’t have many decent options. That is, until Rabaconda came along. This is probably more expensive than what most riders would call “mid-range” but if you’re regularly changing tires but can’t afford a professional setup, then this is the only option worth considering.
The Rabaconda tire changer was designed specifically for motocross, enduro, and adventure rims, but it can accommodate rim sizes between 16 and 21 inches, and street bikes rims do work. Since it’s off-road focused, the Rabaconda device can handle bib mousse, Tubliss, and tire ball fillings but it can also handle regular tubed and tubeless street tires too.
Manufactured from a tough and durable galvanized and powder coated mild steel, with anodized aluminum features, this Rabaconda machine can handle whatever you throw at it. It’s heavy duty, but it’s lightweight and easy to transport, which is why it has become a regular feature at professional AMA approved races.
The bead breaker can remove tires completely, with quick efficiency. In fact, it holds a world record for the fastest tire change. It took pros 44 seconds to swap a tire using this device! Simply place the machine on a level surface, and it will use its rubber feet to grip tight, and you place your tire on the wheel hub, secure it with the quick release bolt system, and get bead popping!
Unfortunately, tire spoons aren’t included, and it doesn’t have a tall upright work stand either. But it does come with a cool transport bag. If you usually dread changing your tires and find yourself doing it more regularly than you’d like, this is definitely the product for you.
Tough, lightweight, and strong device
Incredibly fast and efficient tire changing
Each Rabaconda changer comes with a lifetime guarantee
Tire irons aren’t included
Handle coating could have more grip
Motorcycle Tire Changer: A Buying Guide
Now that you’ve seen a snapshot of what’s available out there, you now need to know what features to look for. There are a lot of different types of motorcycle tire changers, and the name can often be interpreted to mean different things, depending on who’s doing the talking. Before we jump into the buying, let’s look at what a tire changer is, and look at what it isn’t.
What Is A Motorcycle Tire Changer?
A motorcycle tire changer is a device that’s specially designed to dismount and mount tires from a wheel’s rims. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, some manual, and some requiring electric or pneumatic power. The key features of a tire changer include a jaw, clamp, or special holder that grips on to a wheel, along with a bead breaking tool that can dismount a tire. Without those features, it wouldn’t be a changer!
Tire Change Stands Vs Spoons Vs Changers
A tire change stand (like this one from Pit Posse) is a useful device that grips onto a tire, and allows mechanics to work at an appropriate height. These are useful for a variety of jobs and can assist with tire changing, but they’re stands, not changers.
Tire spoons, or tire irons, or tire levers, are indispensable tools for removing tires. Often sold in packs of three, these irons are used to pry the edge of a tire over the rims. They can be used with a tire changing stand, and with a motorcycle tire changer.
A full motorcycle tire changer will take the best aspects of a stand, and use tire iron pry bars, usually working with a heavy-duty bead breaker to make tire changing a cinch. But do you really need one?
Do You Need A Tire Changer?
It all depends on how often you find yourself changing tires. If you change tires on a regular basis, then the answer is “yes” you should get one of these. Changing a tire can be time consuming without the right tools, and time is money after all.
However, if you’re only changing tires once every two years, then it might be an expense you can live without. You can change a bike tire at home with a few tools and a bit of know-how, and tire balancing isn’t rocket science.
Better still, you could give the job to a mechanic who would be more than happy to do the job for you for a small fee. And yes, we know that working on your own bikes is great, but it’s also important to keep your local mechanics in business too.
Benefits Of Owning A Tire Changing Device
Apart from the obvious financial savings that you could make by investing in one of these, if you find yourself changing tires frequently, there are a number of other good reasons to invest in one of these products. Here are a few key reasons:
Speedy Tire Changing
Using a proper motorcycle tire changer machine is much faster than struggling around on the floor, whilst wrestling tire irons into narrow gaps. That’s a fact. Even if you don’t change your own tires, it could be faster using a tire changer than booking an appointment at the local tire shop. If your shop is busy, you could be waiting days before you can get back out on the road.
With the right tools, you can change your tires at your leisure, at home, and in a fast and timely manner too.
Just thinking about wrestling tires on the floor gives us a bad back! A good tire changer will give you a solid base to mount onto a work bench, or come with a stand that will allow you to work at a comfortable height. There’s no point risking a back injury if you could buy a handy tool for a reasonable price, right?
These special tools often come with special rim and wheel protecting devices. Rim protectors that slot between the bead and rim can keep your rims scratch free. Specialist clamps that hold your tire in place prevent your rims getting scraped as you apply a lever to them. There’s nothing more annoying than scratching up your rims—especially if they’re made of expensive alloys! It can all be avoided by using the right tool for the job.
Lastly, there’s the overall practicality. Yes, it will make the tire changing experience easier. And yes, it will save you time as well as money. But that’s just the beginning! If you have anything else with tires, then these things will be able to help out. Most motorcycle tire changers are also compatible with car wheels, light truck rims, and lawn mower, bicycle, go-kart wheels and more. If you’ve got multiple vehicles and tools with pneumatic tires, then a tire change tool will pay for itself in no time at all.
Key Features To Look Out For
For a tire changer to be effective, it needs to be manufactured from strong and durable materials that can be secured to a solid surface and withstand strong leverage forces. Steel is an ideal choice, ideally with a powder coating that resists scratches and prevents rust from forming.
A good tire changer will have strong mounting points and lugs that accommodate strong bolts. Flimsy metal just won’t do here. The same rules apply to the bead breaker arm and spade.
Installation & Assembly
Most of these products will require a degree of assembly. The budget products will only need a few bolts fastened here and there, and will then need to be bolted down onto a countertop. The more premium products may need some more heavy duty assembly. Some may even require specialist tools. Take this into consideration before buying.
Similarly, the really premium tools will need to be installed professionally, perhaps even with the aid of a forklift truck. Read the delivery details before hitting the “buy” button!
The main point of a dedicated tire changing machine is to protect your rims from damage. That’s why it’s important to find a tool that offers top-level rim protection. Plastic rim guards are excellent, and the more components with rubber coating the better. Rim protection should be a priority.
While it’s not an essential, having a device that can collapse easily and be taken on the road can have its advantages. If you’re looking for a lightweight tire changer, make sure it really is as portable as it says it is.
If you’re mainly looking for a permanent fixture in your garage, it’s a good idea to read the product descriptions carefully. Some tire changers will come with an integrated stand. It’s important that the stand is adjustable to your work height, or you might end up having an uncomfortable experience. Not all stands are adjustable. Keep that in mind.
One of the most important things to look for is the size of rim that the machine can accommodate. The rim diameter and tire width are crucial. While the majority of machines marketed towards motorcycles will handle rims between 16 and 21 inches, other products will not.
There are lots of products on Amazon that say they can do motorcycle wheels, but only very small diameter rims. Great for some cruiser models and small-stature kids sized motorcycles, but no good for just about everything else.
Other Things To Consider
If you’re going for a budget model, you can’t expect it to tick all of your boxes, but if you’re going to be spending a bit more money it’s a wise idea to ask yourself some practical questions. Will this tool fit in your garage? Is it ergonomic in design? Is it compatible with your other tooling? Will you bang your head on the lever arm while you’re working?
When you’re parting with serious cash, you can never ask too many questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to use a bead blaster when changing a tire?
No. This is wrong information that a lot of pages have been wrongly sharing. They’re confusing a bead blaster with a bead breaker. A bead blaster uses a shot of compressed air to unseat a bead. A bead breaker just requires leverage to pop a bead off of a rim. Good tire irons come complete with bead breaker functions. A bead blaster is definitely not an essential.