No-Mar ScratchProof Tire Changer Review

[This No-Mar Tire Changer Review was originally published in the January 2010 issue of Rider magazine]

There are few tools in my garage as primitive as a tire iron, and few motorcycle maintenance tasks that bring out my primitive emotions like changing tires. My wife has learned it’s not a good time to talk—much less listen—to me as I creatively curse my way through a set of tires. But thanks to the No-Mar ScratchProof Tire Changer, the once-painful task has become much easier than I thought possible in my own garage. And there’s a huge bonus for the shiny black rims on my F800GS—all of the No-Mar surfaces that contact the rim are made from heavy-duty polyethylene that can’t scratch metal. Easy, nonscratching tire changes—can it be true?

Welded up from solid steel in St. Louis, Missouri, and powdercoated to withstand abuse, this is a tool that should last a lifetime or two. The three-armed stand uses adjustable rim clamps and dog blocks to hold a wide variety of rim styles in diameters of 10-21 inches. Breaking a tire’s bead is as simple as removing the valve stem, suspending the wheel atop the dog blocks to protect brake rotors, and pulling down on the 30-inch bead breaker handle. Thupp, that pesky bead is history. Next, set the rim into rim clamps (for dirt bike and big cruiser rims) or the locking dog blocks, put the pivoting center post into the axle hole and engage the mount/dismount bar or scratchproof tire spoons—again, depending on your bike’s rim type. In less time than it used to take me to pick up a tire iron thrown across the garage, the tire is off. Mounting is just as easy, and both operations benefit from No-Mar’s mount and dismount lubes, plus handy tools like the XtraHand clamps that keep the tire in the rim’s drop center. Once you’ve popped out the bead and set the correct pressure, put the wheel onto No-Mar’s tire balancer and nail the balance to 1?16th of an ounce with a few turns of the wheel.

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Still skeptical about how easily the No-Mar changer works? Watch the videos on their website for examples of changing tubed and tubeless tires on various types of rims. It will take some practice to be as adept at tire changing as the pros on your computer screen, but the No-Mar unit changed my tire swaps from a dreaded chore to a routine exercise right out of the box. The only problem I’ve encountered so far is that one of the rim clamps is tricky to remove from the changer arm.

No-Mar’s basic device is the $595 Classic: changing stand, center post, bead breaker, mount/dismount bar, lubes and your choice of floor or trailer hitch mount. I tested the discontinued Ultimate II package, which added XtraHand clamps, tire spoons, the standard wheel balancer and some replacement parts (all plastic nonmarring parts are guaranteed for life). The hitch mount lets me use it anywhere there’s a vehicle with a 2-inch square receiver. No-Mar’s standard wheel balancer runs $99, with a larger Monster model available for $199. No-Mar also offers various cone sets for nonstandard wheels, like the BMW R1200GS.

No-Mar has designed an excellent machine that allows the everyday motorcyclist to easily change tires while not ruining precious rims. In my garage, No-Mar means no more cursing, no more pinched fingers and no more scratched rims. It gives me a whole new appreciation for one of man’s most primitive tools—the lever. Now my wife and I can even hold a conversation while I change tires.

For more information: No-Mar, 1560 Fenpark, Fenton, Missouri 63026; (636) 326-5999; www.nomartirechanger.com

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