The Rabaconda Street Bike Tire Changer allowed me to swap adventure rear tires in about 45 minutes, and I didn’t scratch my blue anodized rims! This was my first time assembling and using the Rabaconda, and I was reading the manual as I went. My next tire swap will probably be under 15 minutes. I can see a realistic five minutes once I fully get the hang of it. Talk about being able to impress your friends!
The Rabaconda Street Bike Tire Changer Starter Kit I tested runs $643 and consists of the Rabaconda Street Bike Tire Changer (available separately for $589) plus a two-piece drop center tool, bead grease tire mounting lube, and a bead grease brush. There is also an ADV Tire Changer Kit from Rabaconda that can be had for $652.
I set up the Rabaconda Street Bike Tire Changer Starter Kit in my spare bedroom. It is cold outside right now, and I didn’t know how long it would take to change my first set of adventure tires, considering I couldn’t break the bead by any method I had at my disposal. It wasn’t too cold to only spend 45 minutes, but I didn’t know that going in. Setting up the Rabaconda, you can feel the robust strength of the materials. You will be using a lot of leverage and pressure on the parts, but they are built to take it.
To start, you must properly position the magnetic wheel supports at the top and bottom of the rim. The magnetic supports are attached to the center spine and, when properly placed, they keep all that leverage from bending the steel spindle that runs through the axle hole.
Use of the Rabaconda Street Bike Tire Changer is all about technique. Rabaconda’s essential training video helped me position the moving parts and the expected muscle required. Although it is mentioned in the videos and the manual, I can’t stress enough that liberal lubrication using the Start Kit’s included bead grease will make the tire dismount and mount much easier. The Starter Kit’s two drop-center tools keep the bead in the valley of the rim (drop-center), making the entire operation more about technique than muscle.
I couldn’t break the bead on my 3000-mile Shinko E-805 150/70 x 18 rear tire with the kickstand of the Ultimate Motorcycling Yamaha Ténéré 700 Project Bike, or C-clamps, or by cursing at it. The Rabaconda Street Bike Tire Changer made quick work of the bead on the sprocket side. The disc side still took several minutes of full leverage pushing, once I adjusted the safety-coated bead breaker as close as possible to the rim without touching it. With all that leverage pushing directly down on the bead and it not letting go, there is no way to have fixed a trail flat on that tire. This experience got me to wishful thinking about how to mount the 36.5-pound Rabaconda kit on my Ténéré 700 for emergency tube repairs.
The manual and the Rabaconda instruction video take you through the process step-by-step. The two active parts are the bead breaker arm and the part they call the “duck head”. Once you have broken the bead on both sides, deploy the ingeniously designed duck head to get the tire off the rim.
Even if I could break the bead on the adventure tires I have had installed, I couldn’t lever the bead over the rim by hand—the sidewalls are just too stiff for my capabilities. With a generous slather of Bead Grease, the duck head and ratchet mechanism make quick work of getting the tire off the rim, without any scratches. The duck head, positioned at the six o’clock position, will take the bead off the rim. When positioned at 12 o’clock, it will mount the bead onto the rim. Pure genius!
I am not a professional mechanic. Over my riding career I have mounted about 30 non-DOT knobbies with tire irons, on the floor or on top of a five-gallon bucket. I have fixed about 20 trail flats for myself, friends, and riders in distress. Yet, I met my match with the hard sidewalls of the street-legal adventure tires.
Since the start of the Ultimate Motorcycling Yamaha Ténéré 700 Project Bike, I have had three sets of tires on it. Because I could not change the tires myself, it has cost about $65 per tire to change them out at my local motorcycle shop. In my neighborhood, 10 tire swaps would pay for the Rabaconda, and that doesn’t take into account the convenience of changing the tires quicker than driving over to the shop and waiting.
The Rabaconda Street Bike Tire Changer Starter Kit is shop-quality with a reasonable price point for a home mechanic. They make quick work of tire swaps and with no worries about scratching the rims or pinching tubes. They have various changers, though the version I chose does street and off-road tires of all types with the appropriate adapters. My only concern is that my local friends will be lined up at my house to do tire changes when I want to be out riding.
Rabaconda Street Bike Tire Changer Starter Kit Review Photo Gallery