|The No Mar Classic Model; $645.|
It's not really a motorcycle tire tool, but the bead breaker is a lot more solid than the one I built and almost exactly the same as Paul's. So, I trotted over the Harbor Freight in Minneapolis and pulled the box for the tire changer out from under the bike work stand (on sale for $465 this week). It's heavy and clearly more suited for car wheels than bikes. So, I wandered around the store, thinking about where I would be putting this monster in my beloved garage. If there was a practical way to use the wheel holder (the top) of the tool on a motorcycle wheel, it would have been a no-brainer purchase. However, there is no simple way to make that work. Fifteen minutes later, I decided I just didn't want to commit the storage space and I almost walked out empty handed.
|The $44 bead breaker.|
Off comes the V-Strom's back tire, and, a bunch of cobbling with boards and foam for the "No Mar" effect, and the tire is off of the rim. My tire mounting stand is just a metal bench with a heavy vise. I stick a 5/8" bolt in the vise and slip the tire over that to give myself leverage to tire iron the tire from the rim. The same jig helps put the new tire on the rim. I turn the bolt sideways and spin it a few times to "balance" the tire. A couple of wheel weights and the new tire is on the bike.
Since Paul wasn't there to remind me of the usual 17 things I forget to do when we're drinking beer and playing with tires, I didn't drink a beer until I'd test ridden the bike and new tire. For a change, I didn't put the tire on backwards the first time. I could not, as usual, find the damn dot, so I have no idea how Bridgestone intended the tire to be installed for balance.
I'll be in less of a hurry next time and I'll make my "no mar" modifications permanent. When that happens, I'll include a picture.
Motorsport Products Portable Tire Changer with Bead Breaker (#70-3002). This looks like a really great garage/racetrack tool for the money (about $70). I'd be a little irritated by having bought "the wrong tool" if this gizmo didn't give me a great idea how to modify the tool I have.
After I posted this article, one of the folks on the list recommended Stubby Tire Tools (http://www.stubbytiretools.com). I snagged a pair of the Stubby Tire Tools and am impressed. Great tools!