Repairing a flat tire on a dirtbike when you’re out on the trail is one of the more primitive things you’ll ever do with a motorcycle, especially when breaking the tire’s bead. You have to lay the wheel on its side, continually jump up and down on the sidewalls with the edges of your boots until that bead finally comes loose, then turn the wheel over and repeat on the other side. Meanwhile, you’re grinding dirt and other debris into the wheel bearings while putting a heavy side load on the brake rotor and, with a rear wheel, the sprocket. If you had a big rock or a wooden club in your hand, you’d look like a colorfully dressed Neanderthal.
There has to be a better way. And with its clever new Bead Pro Tire Bead Breaker Levers (part #08-0519; $79.99), Motion Pro (www.motionpro.com) has found it. Bead Pro consists of two 9 1/2-inch-long, 7075-T6 forged aluminum levers, one with a two-pronged forked end and the other with a sharply upturned end. To break a bead, you push the forked lever between the tire and the edge of the rim until you feel the end of the forks make contact with the rim’s inner seat surface; when a tire is deflated, this is very easy to do. Next, insert the other lever between the first tool’s forks with the upturned end facing upward; this, too, is easy, because the forked lever has already nudged the sidewall away from the edge of the rim. Once both levers are inserted, their handles will be angled apart in a narrow vee; you then just squeeze the handles together while pushing the pair downward. The squeezing forces their ends apart, which starts levering the tire bead away from the edge of the rim, and pushing them downward usually finishes the job, breaking the bead entirely.
Bead Pro isn’t intended just for dirtbike tires; it also works on tubeless and streetbike tires. Sometimes, depending upon the nature of the tire and rim involved, just one squeeze is enough to break the bead. Others may require additional applications around the rim.
I’ve used the Bead Pro on a wide variety of tire/rim combinations, including several involving tubeless tires, some of which are notorious for having tough beads to break. But every time, I succeeded in less than a minute using no more than three or four attempts and an amount of squeezing force that just about anyone could manage. As a bonus, the other end of each tool is a regular tire iron, so you can just flip them around and use them to pry a tire off or on the rim.
I used the Bead Pro when changing quite a few tires at an industry dual-sport event attended by some seasoned veterans of on-the-trail tire repairs, and they all were highly impressed with the tool’s effectiveness. Every one of them said they were going to buy a Bead Pro immediately and replace the existing tire irons in their trail toolkits.
Considering that Bead Pro is just two pieces of forged aluminum, it is, at a penny shy of 80 bucks, rather expensive. But the first time you break the beads of a flat tire in a matter of seconds without any Stone-Age stomping on the sidewalls, you may consider it one of the most intelligent—and modern—purchases you’ve ever made.