If you’re anything like us, you get through motorcycle tyres like some people go through cartons of milk – fast, and occasionally leaving it slightly too long before picking up a replacement.
It’s a job that most people will let the professionals sort out – but if you’ve got the space and the inclination, changing your own motorcycle tyres is a piece of cake, as long as you’ve got the right equipment.
Once your bike’s up in the air – either on the centre stand, or raised on a paddock stand – it’s just a matter of whipping off the wheel then getting to work with a bead breaker or tyre lever to remove the old tyre, ahead of slipping on your shiny new one.
Read on for our top picks for tools to jimmy off your old tyre in a flash.
What kind of motorcycle tyre changers can you get?
Essentially, getting a motorcycle tyre off a rim needs one thing – pressure applied and forced outwards.
However, it’s not that simple – fortunately, motorcycle tyres have a lot of safeguards in place to keep them attached to the rim unless very specific forces are applied.
The inner diameter of the tire that actually connects with a wheel is called the bead, which is often made of a thicker rubber or with braided steel reinforcement.
This creates a tight air-seal between the tyre and the rim, which can also become ‘frozen’ to the rim in the event of rust or corrosion. In this instance, you’ll have to use a hell of a lot of elbow grease, or a bead breaker.
Usually what you’ll buy to remove motorcycle tyres with either be a straightforward set of tyre levers, or a more involved set-up that includes clamps, bead breakers and levers.
How much do they cost?
This is one of those bits of motorcycle kit where the price can vary wildly.
If you’re just looking for a metal bar with a narrow end, you could probably fashion one for yourself or buy it very cheaply.
However, if you want a bit of kit that’s going to hold the tyre in place, at a convenient height, and without the risk of damaging your rim you could easily spend a lot of money on professional-level equipment.
Top Motorcycle Tyre Changers Reviewed
These are our top six tyre changers to suit every rider.
Sealey TC965 Motorcycle Tyre Changer
A manual type tyre changer that works on bearing or hub centred wheels, and comes with two centre posts, plus its own bead breaker and tyre bar.
Has everything you need
Fits into a relatively small space
Works out at around the same price as paying someone to change two tyres
Needs secure bolting to the floor before it will work properly
Tyre bars have a soft feel, as if they won’t take much pressure
Gear Gremlin Tyre Lever
Three tyre levers that have a hook-shaped head, perfect for prising off tyres – as long as you don’t need a bead breaker.
Cheap and cheerful
Forged steel can take a tremendous amount of force
Might not be able to do everything you need – big rear motorbike tyres will be a struggle
Can leave rims scratched unless you have protectors
Rabaconda Motorcycle Tyre Changer
Another complete set with all you need to change yours – and every bike-riding mate you have’s – tyres. The brand even claim to have set the world speed record of 44 seconds for changing a tyre with it.
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It’s got all you need for professional-level work
Can be dissembled and bagged for easy transport
Has a really comfortable height setting
Garish paintjob might not be to everyone’s taste
Bike It Tyre Crush / Bead Breaker Tool
If you’ve got a tyre lever but nothing to unsnap a tyre from around a rim, you’ll need a specialised bead breaker. This one has super-long handles, giving excellent leverage.
Easy to use no matter your size or strength
Fits any size wheel/tyre combo
You might not always need it
Quite expensive for what it is
Qtech Motorcycle Motorbike Tyre Changer / Bead Breaker
An all-in-one kit that tips much more comfortably into the affordable side of things, that still fits most motorcycle wheels.
Affordable and well priced
Light and mobile
Not every hole seems to mate up properly, indicating slipshod build quality
Bead breaker section can damage rims if you’re not careful
Hi-Q Tyre Fitting Protectors
Not something that will help change your tyre, but will protect your rims when you’re using levers or bead breakers – it’s well worth having a few of these around your garage.
For the price, you’d be mad not to have some around
Replacing these is much cheaper than replacing entire wheels
Durable, but don’t last forever
More on motorcycle maintenance