Tire changers are a must for any garage or individual who changes tires, even semi-regularly. They appear in a range of forms, with some designed specifically for motorcycles.
Tire changing can be tricky and require a fair amount of manual effort. A tire changer will make this far easier and less time-consuming.
What Does a Motorcycle Tire Changer do?
Simply put, a tire changer is a machine that is used for removing tires and installing new tires. A motorcycle tire changer is one specially designed for motorcycle wheel sizes. Many motorcycle tire changers can accommodate various rim sizes such as off-road and ATV tires, and other smaller vehicle tires.
As with car tire changers, motorcycle tire changers come in many designs and different operation methods. Basic tire changers are usually operated manually, while the more advanced ones utilize electrical or pneumatic power.
A motorcycle tire changer combines a few essential functions into one system for quick and easy tire replacement.
Changing a Motorcycle Tire
There are several types of automotive equipment on the market designed to aid in changing a motorcycle tire.
AKA tire spoons or tire levers, a tire iron is a non-mechanical tool that gives you the leverage necessary to pry an old tire from the wheel rim and to install a new tire. This is similar to the demount bar from No-Mar.
These grips hold the tire in place and at the appropriate height. This will relieve you of having to bend over and change the tire at floor level.
Tire lube is used to reduce friction while prying tires from motorcycle wheels. This helps prevent damage when applying the maximum force needed to change tires.
A bead breaker separates the tight seal where the tire grips the rim. This point of contact (the tire bead) will stick or rust over with time, making it extremely difficult to break the seal. A bead breaker is a mechanical solution to this issue.
Bead breakers should not be confused with a bead blaster which uses compressed air to separate the tire from the wheel.
The Tire Changer
A tire changer is basically a tire iron, a bead breaker, and a tire change stand wrapped into one tire machine. The best motorcycle tire changers should mount and grip the tire securely, provide a way to break the bead, and give you the leverage to pry the tire from the wheel rim.
Benefits of Using a Motorcycle Tire Changer
Do you need a motorcycle tire changer? It depends. It is possible to change your own tires. Individuals who may need to replace one or two tires on their own bikes every year or so probably do not need to invest in their own tire changer. Most people will bring it to their local shop.
Professionals and individuals who replace tires more frequently may find that investing in a motorcycle tire changer will save time, effort, and money. Here are some of the key features and essential elements to look for in a tire machine.
We can try to convince you to invest $1300-2500 on a state-of-the-art motorcycle changer but how many motorcycles does your shop see on a monthly basis? Only you can decide if the juice is worth the squeeze.
A motorcycle tire changer allows you to get the job done quickly. Bike tire technicians and both large and small shop owners who service motorcycles will undoubtedly find a tire changer to be a great machine and a worthwhile investment.
One of the primary purposes of using a tire changer is that it helps protect the wheel rim. The last thing you want to do is ruin somebody’s expensive alloy wheels changing tires without rim protectors. Relying solely on a series of non-mechanical tools that lack precision and support like tire irons or tire spoons can result in damage to the rim or valve stem. Good tire machines are equipped with rim protectors specifically put in place to avoid such damage.
A tire changer with an adjustable stand allows you to set the working height to your comfort level. Working, applying leverage, and force while hunched in an unnatural position can quickly take a toll on your body. Quality ones may have a power assist arm to keep tires secure against the force needed to push into drop center rims, break beads, and pry off stiff sidewall tires.
How to Find the Best Motorcycle Tire Changer
Motorcycle tire changers appear in various forms with different levels of complexity, from basic to advanced features. Your individual needs will ultimately dictate which is the best motorcycle tire changer for you. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a tire changer.
A motorcycle tire changer needs to be sturdy, resilient, and able to stand the test of time. Look for one made of heavy-duty durable materials. Coated metal, preferably hardened steel, will be sufficiently strong and resistant to rust.
In the interest of protecting the rim, look for a tire changer where the elements that come into contact with the rim are insulated with rubber feet or comes with plastic rim guards.
Installation and Portability
After purchasing a tire changer, there may be some assembly required before it is ready to use. The extent to which this is the case will often correlate with the complexity of the product. Premium tire changers may need specialized tools for installation and require a professional to set up in some cases.
The more basic and manual tire changers will require little to no assembly. It may be useful to some people to have a portable motorcycle tire changer though, for most, this is nonessential.
Size and Adjustability
The point of a specialized motorcycle tire changer is to accommodate a motorcycle tire, which differs in size from other vehicle tires. Usually, they can work with wheels with a tire diameter between 16 and 21 inches, although the range of tire size and tire width extends beyond that.
There are attachments and accessories such as posi clamps for changing tires of other sizes such as a bike tire and ATV tires. Tire machines with a broader clamping range allow you to work with wheels of sizes ranging from bicycles to light trucks. And while some tire changers can work with standard inflatable tubes as well as tires with bib mousse tubes, others may need to be modified to do both.
Not all tire changers are adjustable in terms of height. It is essential to make sure the one you use is of the appropriate size or can adjust to your liking.
Also, consider the overall size of the tire machine. You have lots of options if you're operating in a massive shop but if you're working out of a small garage you will need a machine with a small footprint.
Can You Use a Car Tire Changer for Motorcycle Tires?
Tire changers marketed as motorcycle tire changers tend to be simplified, often manual versions of a car tire changer. In some cases, a car tire changer can change a motorcycle tire but may require some modification to do so perfectly.
There are several styles of tire changers that may, but not always, be appropriate for changing motorcycle tires. These include the manual tire changer, Swing Arm, Leverless, Tilt Back, wheel clamp tire changer, and Heavy Duty tire changers.
Some of these tire changers will be overkill if not entirely unfit for a motorcycle. Of course, dedicated professionals would benefit from a more premium tire changer. Another option is a combo tire changer or one that comes with the necessary adapters for use with both car and motorcycle tires. Some even aid in tire balancing between the front and rear tires of the motorcycle.
We, however, recommend having one motorcycle tire changer that can be used for every motorcycle regardless of size and weight. The Tuxedo TC-400M for instance is a great example of a motorcycle tire changer that combines strength at a great price.
The Best Motorcycle Tire Changers
The best motorcycle tire changer for you depends entirely on your specific needs. Professionals can expect a speedy return on investment and an improvement to the quality of their work. You can find a tire changer for a reasonable price but as you move away from the premium products you are likely to miss out on some of the qualities and functions you need.
There are motorcycle tire changers that start out at $300 and though they might be great for amateurs, they’re not so recommended for larger repair shops. Check out the Tuxedo Tc-Mcatvm Motorcycle/Atv Manual Tire Changer for instance. Under $300 but do you really see your techs using this at a large shop?
Finding the right tools at a low price is an ongoing effort for auto business owners. It is essential that you research and understand all of the specifications and make an informed decision before spending so much money on a motorcycle tire changer.
Here at JMC, we have a wide array of motorcycle tire changers for any shop owner regardless of how big your shop is or what your budget is. Be sure to browse through our motorcycle tire changers page and you’ll find both Ideal and Tuxedo as some of the brands we carry. We also finance so be sure to ask about that as well.
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