Dirt bike tire changing tools
After years of wrenching on my dirt bike, I’ve acquired many job-specific tools that have helped me not dread changing out a tire. I made a list of dirt bike tire changing tools that I use for swapping out tires on my dirt bikes. You can read my step by step guide to changing a dirt bike tire here. I’ll go over the basics of each tool, why they are needed, and how they are used. If you are a swapping out 3-4 tires a year, these dirt bike tire changing tools will be must-haves. Most of the tools will not take up much space in the garage. I’ll also go over some trailside tools for swapping out a tire or tube on the trail. Last I’ll go over the Rabaconda, a dedicated tire changing station for swapping out a tire in less than 3 minutes.
Spoon type tire irons
Motion Pro makes a lot of dirt bike tire changing tools and I own a couple of them. These tire irons are Motion Pro 10 inch Spoon Type Tire Irons and I would consider these a must-have. These tire irons are the spoon end types as compared to the curved style that I’ll go over next. One the most frustrating things that can happen is when you finally get done changing a tire and go to inflate it only to find out that you pinched the inner tube and need to start all over again. The spoon end on these tire irons helps with this. The spoon end slides between the tire and rim without catching the inner tube. They are also thinner at the end which helps the tire slide over them onto the wheel.
You can see I have 3 tire irons in the picture. The reason for this is so you can take smaller “bites” at the tire when working the tire onto the wheel. The first and last section of working a tire is the hardest and the pressure between the tire and wheel is the greatest. Using 2 tire irons, when you go to take out one of them, the tire can drag on them and cause you to scratch your wheel. With 3 tire irons, you can pull 3 sections of the tire at a time, and with the 2 outer tire irons holding the tire, the middle 3rd one can easily be taken out and moved. I go over this technique in my step by step guide to changing a dirt bike tire here.
16-inch curved tire irons
These are my 16-inch curved end tire irons that I bought at a track and are the cause of my frustrations at first! Motion Pro makes a set that is just like the ones I have. I mentioned catching the inner tube while changing a tire and the end of these tire irons where the reason why. They are 16 inches long so you can get a lot of leverage with them, and the small cupped end can catch and pinch a hole in the inner tube without much force. It’s why I say the spoon tire irons are a must-have for dirt bike tire changing tools.
V-shaped top end
The reason for my frustration was my lack of knowledge of how to use these correctly. I use the spoon tire irons for most of the tire change. The curved type is for 2 specific reasons. The v-shaped side at the top of the picture is for mounting and unmounting the bead on the tire. I first use this end to break the bead off the wheel. I’m basically just initially separating the tire and rim contact. After the bead has been broken, the tire is ready to unmount. You take this end and press down the tire into a low spot on the wheel. They can be inserted to hold the tire in this low spot so you can use the spoon tire irons to work the bead off.
Curved bottom end
The bottom curved end is for getting the tire back on the wheel. You use this end to reach through the tire and catch the rim with the cupped end. The curve in the tire iron helps guide the tire over the wheel lip. I occasionally use these to help get the last section of the tire back on the wheel, but I’m pretty careful not to get anywhere near the inner tube with them.
Tire changing stand
My tire changing stand was one of the last of my dirt bike tire changing tools that I got and I wish I hadn’t waited so long. I used to use a crate or a bucket to hold my wheel when taking the tire off. It worked but a dedicated tire stand made so much of a difference. The stand is about waist high and gets the tire up off the floor. It makes it nice to work on since your not bending over the whole time. It also has a rod that comes up the middle that goes through the axle hole in the wheel. The rod is threaded and you use a large wing nut to hold the wheel to the stand. With the tire mounted, it frees up both your hands to work the tire irons.
On the bottom of the stand, there are 4 wide legs to help with leveraging the tire irons. You step on one of the legs while using the tire irons and keep the tire stand from moving. This is the biggest advantage of using a stand. When I was using a bucket, the wheel was constantly trying to fall over. I had to use my knee to constantly keep the pressure on it. The only downside to the stand is that it does take up some floor space in my garage when I’m not using it. This particular stand can be broke down into smaller pieces. I usually end up just keeping it together in some corner of my garage.
Motion Pro Bead Buddy
More tools by Motion Pro, this is called a Bead Buddy and it’s one of my favorite dirt bike tire changing tools. I have the original version but they have a newer version you can get now. You use the Bead Buddy only when you mount the tire. When you pull the first section of the tire over the wheel lip with the tire irons, it tends to want to pop back over. This tool holds the tire down in the wheel while you work the tire around the wheel. How it works is the flat bottom part drops down in the wheel with the tire. The top hook part slides over a spoke to hold it in place. It’s one of those tools that is nice to have. It helps free up both your hands to work the tire irons and not worry about holding the tire.
Motion Pro Valve Core Remover
Motion Pro Valve Core Remover is another handy dirt bike tire changing tool. It used to take out the little rubber and spring valve in the valve stem. This fits around the pin in the valve stem and unscrews the valve. If you just depress the pin in the inner tube and let out as much air out as you can, the inner tube still holds some air in it. When working the tire off the wheel, you still need to compress the tire in the process. When you take the valve core out, it lets the inner tube deflate completely and helps with taking the tire off. It also allows the inner tube to move a little more in the tire. This will help with not pinching the inner tube with a tire iron.
Tire Valve Stem Fishing Tool Puller
Tire Valve Stem Fishing Tool Puller is used to pull the valve stem up into the hole in the wheel from the inside of the tire. You pass the metal end through the wheel and screw it into the valve stem. With the tire positioned right, you can pull the valve stem up into position. Now just unscrew the tool and put the valve stem nut on it. I use this dirt bike tire changing tool occasionally, but when I need it, it’s a hand saver. If you ever have to do a stiff side walled tire like a paddle tire, there is almost no room to fit your hand between the tire and wheel to position the valve stem. I ended up pinching my fingers when I did my last paddle tire. I bought this tire valve stem fishing tool for the very next tire change.
Metric GearWrench Set
Not specific to dirt bike tire changing tools, a Metric GearWrench Set is more of a time saver than anything. They can be used for just normal wrenching around the garage and I had them in my toolbox already. The best use of the tool is the ratcheting closed end of the wrench. I use them on the valve stem nut and also the rim lock nut. The closed end can be set for on and off directions with the small lever. The tool fits between the spokes and makes wrenching on the wheel nuts a little faster.
Trail Side Tools
If you do any trail riding that takes you out away from your truck or campsite, chances are a flat tire will happen when you are the farthest from camp. No one is swapping out a tire on the side of the trail, but you should be ready to deal with a flat inner tube. There are a couple of dirt bike tire changing tools that are small enough to carry with you on these rides.
The first must have is a place to keep all the tools you need. I have a hydration pack(Check my review) that I ride with that I keep my trailside tools in. Another option is a fender mounted tool bag. It mounts to your front fender and is kept out of the way. The kit comes with small 9.5-inch tire irons which work well to get the inner tube off the wheel. It’s also big enough to carry an inner tube and a CO2 tire inflator kit. All of these make up a good trailside kit to swap out a pinched inner tube.
BAJA NO PINCH
Another tool I have heard about is the Baja No Pinch tire changing tool. I haven’t tried this tool but it won the 2014 product of the year in Dirt Rider magazine. I’ve looked into getting it but I’ve become pretty good with the tools I have. Also, it doesn’t look like it small enough or practical to ride with. None the less it’s worth mentioning before I move on to the ultimate in dirt bike tire changing tools… The Rabaconda!
Rabaconda Motorcycle Tire Changer Machine
Here it is, the Rabaconda! According to the manufacturer, it’s the “Fastest Tire Bead Breaker Among Motorcycle Tire Changing Tools.” This is the next tool on my list if I ever have the room for it. I first heard about it on dirt bike forums and I watched a couple of YouTube videos. It shows people swapping out tires in less than 60 seconds. It’s impressive and it looks like it makes tire changing a breeze. This thing might be overkill for the occasional tire change. Although it looks like it can replace the need for having all the additional tools I already have.
The Rabaconda is pretty pricey and it even has its own Rabaconda Tire Irons to go along with the tool. It looks like it would take almost 20 tire swaps at a shop to pay for itself. One day I’ll break down and get one and write a review on it. Until then I’ll be wrenching with tools I already have.
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