Choosing The Right Motorcycle Tire Iron

Changing a motorcycle tire? Get the right tire lever for the job.

Changing motorcycle tires is a job many home mechanics choose to do. You don’t need a lot of expensive equipment like a tire-changing machine, just a few hand tools and some perseverance. Changing your own motorcycle tires can save you money and helps you get to know your motorcycle better.

The key tools you’ll need are a good set of motorcycle tire irons, sometimes called tire spoons or tire levers. Some tire levers are designed to be compact and lightweight to fit in a tool kit you carry on your bike or in a backpack, which is the usual habit of a dirt-bike or adventure rider when riding well off the beaten path and away from help. Other motorcycle tire irons are longer and heavier and designed to be used primarily in your home shop. The extra length provides better leverage to help make changing stiff, low-profile street tires easier. Some motorcycle tire irons also feature a bead breaker because getting tight-fitting tire beads to separate from the rim can be difficult sometimes, particularly on street tires.

Here are our top choices for motorcycle tire irons.

Motion Pro BeadPro FS Tire Bead Breaker and Lever Tool Set

Motion Pro Bead Breaker
Functional and cool looking with black-oxide protective finish.Courtesy of the manufacturer

Motion Pro has built a remarkable reputation for making innovative and high-quality motorcycle tools. The BeadPro FS Tire Bead Breaker and Lever set is one of those great designs, and it is our first choice for tire irons in our office and home shops. "FS" stands for forged steel, meaning the levers are strong and, with the black-oxide protective finish, will provide years of use. The 16-inch length provides a lot of leverage, making bead breaking with the tongue-and-forked ends, as well as levering the bead over the rim, easier than with shorter tire irons. The trade-off is, of course, these aren't particularly portable, but an option that is easier to carry with you is listed below.

Motion Pro Spoon Type Tire Iron

Motion Pro Spoon Type Tire Iron
Steel tire irons are classic, durable, and easy to use.Courtesy of the manufacturer

There are some cheaper tire irons in the Motion Pro lineup, and there are also some lighter ones, but the Motion Pro Spoon Type steel tire irons are classic, durable, and easy to use. At 10 inches long and 7.1 ounces, they are compact and light enough to pack in a tool roll, but are also big enough for great leverage. The wide spoon-shaped end helps avoid pinching the tube (if your bike has them, of course), and the curved handle makes them comfortable to grip. Order this set of two in a vinyl pouch as a minimum, but consider adding a third tire lever to your set—it makes the job even easier.

Motion Pro T-6

T-6 tire lever
A lightweight multitasking tire lever set.Courtesy of the manufacturer

If you are looking for a lightweight multitasking tire lever set, this Motion Pro T-6 Combo Lever Set is superb. The 7075-T6 hard-anodized aluminum motorcycle tire levers have well-designed spoons on one end for working on the tire bead, while the other end is set up as a box wrench. The small-ended lever is machined to work on 12mm or 13mm nuts that are typically found on dirt-bike rim locks, while the larger wrench end is for typical axle-nut sizes such as 27mm or 32mm. Make sure you know the axle nut sizes on your motorcycle and select that size at checkout. These aluminum tire levers are about 10 inches long but only weight 3.5 ounces each, helping to keep your tool pack light. Not your primary choice for repetitive home shop use or on streetbike tires, but the best option on the trail.

Dr.Roc 14.5-inch Tire Spoon Lever Iron

Dr.Roc. three-lever set has rubber handles on chrome-plated steel measuring about 14.5 inches long.Courtesy of the manufacturer

If the real aim is to save money by doing your own tire changes, then it is hard to argue with this affordable motorcycle tire lever option from Dr.Roc. This three-lever set has rubber handles on chrome-plated steel measuring about 14.5 inches long. That length gives you plenty of leverage to work the bead over rim edges. This length, of course, makes them best for a home shop or loading in your truck for a trip to the motocross track. Although not a traditional known brand name, these tire irons are a top seller.

If you're shopping for motorcycle tire irons, consider rounding out your DIY tool collection with a set of rim shields to protect the finish of your wheels as you use your new tire levers, and a Motion Pro Valve Core Remover to make fully deflating your tires easy.