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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks,

Got a nail in my tire again, and luckily I got an extended warranty on my tire so I think I can get a brand new one for free. This time.

I'm getting sick of paying people to mount and balance my tires, hauling my wheels around town showing up to the track with the wrong tires, blah blah. Only have two bikes in the stable right now, but even one bike for summer track season, it adds up pretty quick how much I end up spending mounting tires, even when I get a deal at some place. I've probably spent a tire machine's worth of money on mounting already in my riding career.

Anyone have any at-home machines they like? The pneumatic machines start around $1500, and that's pretty steep, but arguably not so steep if you're set for life. There's a few manual tire machines out there though for well under a thousand bucks though. For track day junkies, seems like a no-brainer.

My buddy has the "No-Mar" tire changer kit, and it looks not bad, a bit of sweat and grunting will get em done, but I don't think my landlord would let me drill into the garage concrete. If I get that or something like it, I'd have to weld up a frame or bolt it to a pallet or something. I've seen some neat kits where the tire is up on an angled mount, maybe that's a good one?

Anyone have anything they like? Machines to avoid because they suck?
Besides, once I have one, I can charge all my mates a few drinks to swap their bike tires as well! Just looking for something under a thousand bucks that will do me good for years.

Thanks folks.
-Mike
 

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I have the no mar and it is awesome. Once you get good at it, its not so bad. You could just drill holes in the concrete and epoxy some inserts flush. Then you can easily remove the unit if needed. Just four bolts. That’s how I have mine mounted and it’s never been an issue taking it on and off. I used Simpson epoxy in a caulking gun tube. Its 25/30 bucks bit worth it for the good stuff.
 

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I have a No-Mar and it works great. Steer clear of tyres with stiff sidewalls. They're a bitch.
One trick? Either put the tyres in the sun for half an hour before mounting/dismounting, or wrap your tyre warmers around them. It makes a big difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the advice on the No-Mar setup. It does look promising, and as my buddy has also eluded to, there's a bit of finesse and learning, but once you learn it it's not bad. I'll definitely find a good way to warm up the tires to make life easier.

Maybe I could make the holes in the garage and no one would notice on my way out, but I'll figure it out. I actually sent them an email about this, and they said the hitch mount is pretty sturdy, and they also have a floor plate that they can add on for $24. Not bad. I don't trust my car hitch though, so floor plate it probably is, or getting flush inserts.

What tires in particular are the stiff sidewalls? I use a good deal of Dunlop and Michelin stuff mainly, and I think the Michelins are pretty soft, but I think the Dunlops are pretty dang hard carcass and sidewall...

Thanks for the real world input.
Anyone use the Rabaconda tire machine? It doesn't mount to the floor, and looks very similar in practice to use, and portability would be nice.

Thoughts? Thanks!

-Mike
 

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I use a harbor freight setup mostly but some wheels require just spoons. It's the one with bead breaker built into it. I do dozens of car and bike tire swaps a year. Once you figure out the tricks they are pretty easy. I do stay away from low profile tires for cars along with eco tires. They both have such little flex they are a nightmare to get on.
Personally I think you need several things for easy and trouble free tire changes in addition to the machine
Get some good tire soap to make everything slippery.
Get a balancer. I have the harbor freight bubble balancer and static stand but I prefer the bubble balancer. The static stand is better for figuring out runout.
Get a great set of tire irons. I have a small spoon set and another set made out of the no mar material. Between the two I can do everything.
Get a valve stem tool.
A good air compressor is mandatory. You will never set the bead with one.

I can a big 4x4 tire swaps in about 5 minutes. Motorcycles take me about 10 just because it's more fiddly. Dirtbikes can get me for up to 20 minutes just cause of the inner tube and rim lock.

One big bonus with doing it yourself is you can start using take off tires cheaply. One or two take off tires will save you enough money to buy the entire setup.
 

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Got a nail in my tire again
Easily fixed with a mushroom patch, once the tyre is off.
What tires in particular are the stiff sidewalls? I use a good deal of Dunlop and Michelin stuff mainly, and I think the Michelins are pretty soft, but I think the Dunlops are pretty dang hard carcass and sidewall...
Heidenau, Pirelli Angel GT (the one for heavier bikes) are a couple I prefer to leave to someone else. Tyres older than 7 years can get a bit difficult.

Michies are easy. Their balance spot isn't marked either. If you balance the wheel without the tyre, it'll be very close with a Michy mounted.
I've marked the light spot on all my wheels. It's near but not AT the valve nipple. The spot on tyres so marked will line up with the light spot on the wheel, not the nipple. If you do that you'll use less weight.

You'll find that wheels with a shallow drop centre make it harder, but you can't do much about that.

Also, something to keep in mind. You'll balance a bike wheel statically far more accurately than someone in a tyre shop using a dynamic machine. I understand that the WSB & MotoGP paddocks do it statically for that very reason. (I may be wrong)
I made my own balance kit up using some skateboard bearings I had lying around. Just clean the grease out and run them dry. The supports are a couple of car stands.
 

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A friend of mine just got his Rabaconda. Said it works exactly as advertised.

I have a home made bead breaker, and then I use a wooden donut to give the rotors clearance and irons. Even with trackdays, I don't change enough tires to justify the $600 or more for a setup like this or a no-mar.
 

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I have like a 28" 2x4 mounted to a stud in the garage sticking almost straight out with room to articulate, then I attach a 2x4 to that, free moving bolts, I cut the bead end of the vertical 2x4 to almost a point, like an inch left, the 28" is the leverage, works well, I have a matt down and a carpet tacked over the end of the 2x4.. rim protection, you want the vertical point attached about 6" out from the inside of the wall so you have plenty of good leverage.. works and it folds up into the wall
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the input guys, appreciate it.

Yeah I would definitely pick up a balancer too, and not a bad idea to balance check the wheel before mounting. Also some grease/tire soap and valve stem tool sound like a must, and indeed, this season is the season I need to get an air compressor. They make a few compressors out there with quietness in mind, I think that might work well in my townhouse.

I am familiar with using a static balancer, I used them a ton for radio control model airplanes and helicopters for propellers and blades, very important tool/skill.

@TheGeek good to know about the Rabaconda, it looks more ergonomic than the no-mar or similar. In my case it's not all about the cost, but the timing of having a tire changer. I live a bit out of the city, and it sucks to have to run into town some time before a track day to get the right tires put on, or if the weather report changes a day or two before the day, I gotta rush to get the tires changed, or show up early to track, spend my whole morning getting tires swapped cus the guy is swamped, miss tech inspection, blah blah. I just want to check the weather the day before, and know if I need rain tires or not, and not have to fiddle with that stuff.

On another note, CycleGear came through and i got a brand new rear tire for free, and only paid $25 to renew the warranty on it, and they swapped the tire onto my wheel for free. What a good warranty. I'd have paid twice as much for it and still have been happy.

-Mike
 

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Definitely a convenience to changing your own. I hate having to have tires changed at the track. I want to rest during lunch, and not get sweaty and dirty.
 

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Rabaconda looks the business. There appears no need to bolt it to the floor.
Tyre iron could mark the rim though, and changing CF wheels would be a challenge. I was sold on No-mar when they demonstrated it using a CF wheel at the MotoGP in Phillip Island a number of years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hmm, yeah. I do like not bolting stuff to the floor where I don't need to. And indeed, there is that one step with the Rabaconda where you use a tire iron and it could damage the rim. My rims aren't super important/special/expensive to me, so I probably wouldn't mind, especially since there is already some tire iron marks on my rear, but maybe I could just go get my own better and softer tire iron. The rest of the steps look safe and smooth though.

I have a junk wheel and junk tire I could practice on over and over for now, so that'd be cool.

Only issue my buddy has with his No-Mar is that the little delrin tip that you kinda use like a tire iron has broken on him a few times. The instructions are extremely explicit about how to use this tool, and I am not sure if he was using the tool exactly as prescribed, but having your tire changer break at all is kinda unnerving.

I am more leaning towards the Rabaconda, especially since it packs down into a tiny bag, that is super rad. Paddock and garage friendly, moving friendly, no special space requirements, I could even do my tire changes inside my home.

Anyone know of a good tire iron that is designed not to scratch rims? Maybe coated in something? Thanks for all the input folks.

-Mike
 

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I use the long Motion Pro levers. Just take an Arizona gallon tea jug and cut the handle off. Split it down the middle and presto..... rim protectors.
 

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.. there is that one step with the Rabaconda where you use a tire iron and it could damage the rim
Looking more closely at a Youtube video, the tyre iron doesn't touch the rim. It is worked over the "duck bill".

I have distorted the tip of my No-Mar lever, but that happened when I attempted to remove a very old car tyre. I simply applied too much force to a cold tyre. I should have warmed it first.
The trick is to stop when you are working too hard, and try something different. You don't need to be Hercules.
 
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