It Ought to be ILLEGAL!

One of the things I knew I wanted in my new shop was a tire changer. I’d had more than my fill of crawling around on my hands and knees in my garage, wrestling with tire irons, busting knuckles, doing all manner of crazy shit just to break the stinking bead, and generally practicing and expanding that portion of my vocabulary which I can’t use in polite company. I don’t regret all those difficult tire changing sessions … well, okay, really I do … but they were necessary to build the skills required to change a tire anytime, anywhere, which is pretty damn important given the places my buddies and I often ride. (I mean, you don’t think Danny and I could have hauled along a tire changing machine to Alaska, do ya?)

Having used the machine now, I can say that it ought to be illegal. Tire changing absolutely should not be this freakin’ easy. The motorcycle police are surely on their way to arrest me. This sort of thing simply can’t be tolerated. I never broke a sweat. Used not a single tire iron. Never had to mess with silly little plastic do-dads to protect my wheels (in fact, I never once even worried about scratching the rims on my CBR1000RR or ZZR1200). Time spent on my knees was minimal — damn near zero, in fact.

The machine I bought is from Cycle Hill. I’d heard too many bad things about the Harbor Freight model everyone buys because it’s inexpensive (read that as cheap). The one everyone raves about is the NoMar Tire Changer, but it’s like $500+. But wait, believe it or not, the Cycle Hill model appears to actually be made by NoMar and it’s damn near the same unit. And I’m here to tell you that the damn thing absolutely works, exactly as advertised. Check out the videos on their website. They aren’t exaggerated. It was just that easy for me, first time out of the box.

Here are some photos.

Cycle Hill Tire Changer awaiting its first use.

First order of business: get the CBR1000RR to levitate so that we can remove the front wheel.

Remove that pesky valve core.

Break the bead on the tire. This was oh-so-easy, even though that's the OEM tire on the CBR -- never been off the wheel before. And this is the only time I was on my knees.

Mount the wheel on the changer.

Give the tire a couple quick squirts of lube.

Use the handy clamp contraption to tuck one side of the tire down in the deep part of the wheel (a job previously performed by my poor, complaining knee), insert the nylon (no scratch!) tip of your bar and run it around one quick time. Voila! Repeat the process for the lower edge of the tire and that puppy is off in like two seconds -- I kid you not!

Now for the new tire. Another quick squirt of lube. Then another handy, hands-free device tucks a bit of tire onto the rim, while the clever design at the other end of the bar is run around the rim, seating the tire in much less time than it's taken me to type this photo caption.

Re-install the valve core. A little air and that exciting double-POP! that tells you everything's okay, and the wheel's ready to go back on the bike. Quickest and easiest tire change I have ever done! As I've always said, there ain't nothing sexier than brand new rubber. 😉

Just to prove it wasn't a fluke, I changed the front tire on my ZZR1200.

If anything, the second time was even easier...

On and off in a snap!

About James Pratt

I am an Oklahoma based writer, photographer, videographer and adventurer. I love telling stories about people. A motorcycle is my preferred means of travel, and I have over 5,000 hours piloting small airplanes.

Comments

  1. Cool. How much was that thing? I need to get me one.

  2. Gabe Dirmeyer says:

    Awesome report Brian! The best damn pictures of any maintenance article I have seen. I didnt know you still have your tiger.I thought you crashed that bike or something.?? What is the bike parked next to your gs? (if you dont mind me asking)

  3. Gabe, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment on the blog. I get so few comments that I generally wonder if anyone’s bothering to read and wonder why I waste my time (and, to be honest, it takes a lot these days to make me bother for that very reason). James assures me, however, that his hit counters or whatever show this to be a popular part of the website. Go figure. Anyway, if you found the information on the tire changer useful, I’m glad. I know I wanted to know a lot more about it before making the $350+ investment.

    Tiger … the one you’re thinking of was a 2000 model with the old 885cc motor. It threw a rod and was retired. The orange beast in my fleet now is a 2004 model with the 995 motor. I’ve had it for … I dunno … at least 3 years, I guess. It has about 35,000 miles on it now with zero problems. It’s an unusual bike with good “traveling manners” — my only real complaint would be the crap OEM suspension. Stories about both Tigers (including the demise of the first one) can be found on my website, http://bahwolf.com.

    Next to the GS in the photos above … I think you’re asking what’s to the right (your right) of the F650GS Dakar … yes? That would be an R1200GS. So, it’s a GS next to the GS. 🙂

    Thanks again!

  4. hmm… definitely need to consider one of these, that sure looks less frustrating than my usual fight with my tires

    thanks for taking time to give your thoughts

  5. sapperranger04 says:

    Damn Brian,
    That thing looks awsome, and makes the work look alot easier. This weekend i changed out the front tire on my BIL’s gs and it took hours cause the bead wouldnt break, finaly had to get a 2×4 and a 4×4 to use as some leverage. Wish i woulda had one of these..Oh by the way. How much was it????

  6. I know nothing about these chrome beasts but it looks very impressive, BAH. Glad you are thriving in motorcycle world. Your writing is missed!

    PS Got a thriller out…

    Pam Chili-pepper

  7. About $350, Sapperranger. Info on their website.

    Glad you found the info useful. Good times … right before the tornado wiped out my brand new shop. Totaled that CBR, too — the new tire never went anywhere.

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