In my previous review of the No-Mar tire changer I mentioned that
motorcycle owners can save money by changing their own tires.
Most people wouldn't even think of changing the tires on their
car, but changing the tires on a motorcycle is another matter.
It's not that difficult -- as long as you have the right tools for the job!
When I started this evaluation of the Cycle Hill product, I
thought it had been only a year or so since I had completed my
review of the No-Mar motorcycle tire changer.
So imagine my surprise when I realized that it has been nearly three
years since the No-Mar review was posted!
Naturally, I agreed to try the Cycle Hill changer because I was
curious to see how another brand would compare to the No-Mar unit.
It just so happened that both my BMW R1150GS and BMW K1200LTC
were in need of some new tires, so the timing was perfect.
I’ll be making frequent references to the No-Mar product so you
may want to
refer to that review also. I won’t be
describing the actual method of tire replacement, since the
procedure for doing this with the Cycle Hill changer is pretty much identical
when using the No-Mar also.
However, the bead breaking procedure is different with the Cycle Hill
changer, and if you follow the video below, you'll see the entire process of
changing a tire using the Cycle Hill changer.
The Cycle Hill Motorcycle Tire Changer
I wasn't familiar with the Cycle Hill brand, so I assumed it was
made by a completely different company, and I got a hearty laugh
when I opened the shipping container and found that the components
No-Mar logo on them.
Unfortunately, I was unable to retrieve any company information
about the Cycle Hill
brand from their website other than that it is an “Officially
Licensed No-Mar Product”. No big deal, it just left me
scratching my head a bit.
My guess is this is No-Mar’s approach to compete with the cheaper
imported machines without affecting the reputation of their existing
product line and their reputation for building rugged commercial
It may be difficult for some motorcycle owners to justify the
higher cost of a commercial grade tire changer like the No-Mar when
it’s going to see only occasional use, and the Cycle Hill changer is
perfectly adequate for the job.
The Cycle Hill motorcycle tire changer parts in the shipping crate.
Good quality nuts and bolts and the kit contains replaceable nylon tips for the
The changer can be folded for storage.
Nylon-tipped tire removal tool and urethane-coated "third hand".
To make the comparison as equal as possible, we ordered the same
basic components from Cycle Hill, including the
optional trailer hitch attachment. Everything arrived nicely
packed with no loose pieces that could have been banging around in
the box getting dented or
Included in the kit were spare tips for the patented Cycle Hill mount/dismount bar
and what I jokingly refer to as the “Alien Hand”; a urethane coated,
cast, “X-Tra Hand” clamp to help hold the tire bead down in the
drop (photo below).
Unlike the No-Mar kit, the Cycle Hill changer does not include
the large spoons for dealing
with the some of the more difficult tires, such as those on the
Honda Gold Wing.
As I mentioned, there were items that actually had the No-Mar
brand printed on them, such as the mount/dismount bar; the included
tire lubricant and the spray bottle, which were identical to those
provided in the No-Mar unit except for the Cycle Hill label.
The bar used for mounting and dismounting the tires on to the
wheels now comes with an additional grab handle. I found this to be
a great improvement; when mounting some of the stiffer tires, the
mounting bar tends to twist and roll out from under the bead,
and the extra handle provides the needed leverage to prevent this
The changer can be adjusted to hold wheels from 7" to 21" in diameter.
Assembling the Cycle Hill Tire Changer
“Some assembly required” applies to the Cycle Hill tire changer kit,
but nothing complicated. If you’re into changing tires,
chances are (I hope) you know how to take things apart and put them
back together again properly, so this shouldn’t be a difficult task.
Assembly consists of attaching a wooden block for the bead
breaker base with the
supplied screws. The fulcrum point for the bead breaker is
then bolted to the frame and the three arms bolted to the base
There’s also a sticker that goes on one of the arms to aid in
positioning the clamping blocks depending on the diameter of the rim
you’re working with, since this machine is designed for use with 7”
to 21” diameter rims.
The Cycle Hill rim clamping “table” consists of three arms that
have to be bolted to the
machine stand. Each arm is held in place with two ½” x 2” hex
head bolts with lock washers (more on this later). Whereas both units use the same thickness steel in the arms,
Cycle Hill uses a 2” x 1” box configuration versus the No-Mar’s 2”
square steel which are welded together.
Identical gauge steel is used in the construction of both the
No-Mar and Cycle Hill units with only minor differences. This
surprised me because the No-Mar unit appears to be made from heavier
components (remember, the No-Mar unit is built to withstand even
commercial use, so it’s going to be sturdier).
While I was assembling the bead breaker, one thing jumped out at
me right off the bat and that was the fact that the “blade” was bare
metal. I envisioned this piece of steel slipping on the tire
as I was breaking a stubborn bead and leaving a nasty gouge or
scratch in the rim. But with just a little care taken when
positioning the blade, this fear proved to be unfounded.
But if you’d like to absolutely certain, Cycle-Hill has an
“Optional Non-Marring accessory” available. The base will have
to be bolted to floor with the included lag bolts and anchors or
used with an optional bumper hitch attachment.
can’t decide where to bore holes in my garage floor, I opted to use
the trailer hitch arrangement instead. This works fine except when it’s cold outside since I have to
pull the truck part of the way out, leaving the garage door open.
Voilà, you’re done unless you’re using the trailer hitch
attachment, in which case you’ve got a few more bolts to install.
If so, there are a series of adjustment holes in the bracket to tailor the machine to
your trailer hitch receiver height.
Breaking a bead with the Cycle Hill motorcycle tire changer.
Breaking the Bead and Changing the Tire
The biggest difference between the No-Mar and Cycle Hill machines is
in the bead breaking process. Even though they both use a hand-operated lever device, the one from the Cycle Hill has you bending
over with the tire on the ground and pressing down, versus the
No-Mar unit where the tire is up on the table and you pull down on
The largest of the three supplied bars is inserted into bead
breaker as the handle whereas the No-Mar bread breaker bar is
attached to the blade.
Rarely does the entire bead break free with one press when breaking the bead on a tire. It’s often necessary to break the
bead, rotate the tire a ¼ turn, break the bead again and repeat this
process until the entire bead is loose. Then the wheel has to
be flipped over and the process repeated.
It was during this process that I found what I thought was the
biggest weakness of the
Cycle Hill changer -- the bead breaker handle with the breaker blade will not stay
in the “up” position on its own.
Chris added this bungee cord to hold the arm out of the way while moving the
wheel during bead breaking
This makes rotating the tire while trying to hold the bar and
blade up at the same time really awkward. My solution was to
use a trusty bungee cord to hold the blade in the raised position
(see photo above).
This allows the handle to swing up out of the way while I can easily rotate the tire. There's enough
stretch in the bungee cord to allow me to press the lever down and
break the bead, after which the bar returns to the
Also note that the wheel is resting on the ground with only the
edge of the rim on the
wooden block during this process. Depending on your style/size
wheel, it would be wise to lay a mat on the floor to protect the
brake rotor, hub or other parts (see the video below).
When breaking the tire bead on wheels with dual front brake rotors and an ABS toothed wheel, the overall
width was such that I had to use an additional wooden block under
the rim edge to keep the wheel level and spaced properly.
Depending on the width of the wheel, there are two fulcrum points
where the bead
breaker lever can be attached. This brings me to another
modification I made to the bead breaker: Once attached with the supplied shouldered bolt and self-locking
nut, I felt there was way too much lateral (sideways) free-play at
the fulcrum point.
This was easily remedied with a couple of
spare fender washers I had laying around. Placed between the
bracket and bead breaker, they eliminated nearly all of the
free-play thus making the bead breaker far more stable.
Close-up of one of the three adjustable wheel edge holders.
The center post acts as a fulcrum during the tire removal process.
Bungee cord and rim holders (L). Close-up of nylon rim holder (R).
With the beads free it was time to mount the rim to the table via
the rim clamps. The Cycle Hill changer uses three screw
adjustable rim clamps with non-marring nylon spool-like holders
(photo above right), while the
No-Mar uses notched rim clamp blocks and one rotating quick
adjustable clamp block.
At first I was unsure about having to screw in each rim clamp,
but after using the Cycle Hill changer a couple of times I think I
prefer this arrangement over the rotating style on the No-Mar
machine (Cycle Hill has other size spools available for the three
rim clamps should you have thicker rims than usual).
When clamping down the rim it’s important to line up the center
of the wheel with the
recess in the center of the table. Depending on the size of
the center hole in your rim, one of the three different diameter
bars has to engage the bore in the table after passing through the
Aligning the two holes is easily performed with adjustments via
the three rim clamps. In actual use I found the working height
of the Cycle Hill changer to be comfortable (other than the bead
breaker) and I liked the fact that there was no restrictive pole
sticking up in the back, like the No-Mar, when mounting or
dismounting the tire. This gave me the ability to swing the dismount/mount bar 360
degrees around the table should I need to.
Now, about the bolts holding the arms to the table that I
previously mentioned: Unless you’ve got loads of space in your work
area, the machine has to be stored somewhere when not in use and
this is where I feel the Cycle Hill unit has the No-Mar changer beat
hands-down for home use.
By removing one bolt from two of the arms and then swinging them
sideways, the entire unit becomes very narrow and easy to store
against the wall or somewhere out of the way. Since the No-Mar
changer is welded together, it’s awkward to store and far heavier to
pick up and move around.
I like the Cycle Hill Tire changer except for the fact that the bead
breaker lever will not stay up in the raised position on its own.
Other than that, if I had to pick one over the other I would
choose the Cycle Hill unit over the No-Mar, based mostly on the fact
that it can be more easily stored out of the way.
Although not as cheap as some of the imported brands, if the cost
is split among a couple of riding buddies or club, the cost is quite
If purchased in this manner it could pay for itself in short
order. I also think you’ll end up with a far better
product that will give you years of good service. With some
products, especially tools, it’s worth spending a little more to get
a reliable product.
Video: Cycle Hill Motorcycle Tire Changer
Review: Cycle Hill Motorcycle Tire
Comments are ordered from most recent to oldest.
Not all comments will be published (details). Comments may be edited for
clarity prior to publication.
From "B.C." (8/09): "Earlier this year my dad, brother &
I split the cost & purchased the Cycle Hill tire changer & it has already
paid for its self. In my opinion, it's well made & I can't see ever
having to pay someone else to change a tire (or maul a wheel) again. I also
have a Marc Parnes balancer which works great. Not only have I saved
myself money & time but it feels good knowing you've done something
From "D.G." (8/09): "I was glad to see that you have
introduced guys to the Cycle Hill tire changer. Anyone who has ever
wrestled a tire on the ground with hand tools will surely appreciate the
ease that tire changing is with one of these machines.
I mount my changer on a 2X10X 5 ft. oak plank and then drive one wheel of my
truck on the other end of the plank. This is immovable and it comes
apart for easy storage.
One hint that I don't think you mentioned; place old and new tires in hot
sunlight before changing. Makes things even easier.
Also, did you mention that the 6 hard rubber knobs that hold the rims are a
different size for BMW rims? If I had one improvement I could make on
the changer it would be to make the tip of the tire removal bar somehow more
solid/sturdy because of the heavy pressure it receives. Mine bent so I
filled it with an epoxy and this helped, somewhat.
There is no question that the savings of doing your own tires will pay for
the machine many times over. Thanks for the review."
From "K.S." (7/09): "First off, I love webBikeWorld for
the reviews! A lso, I have neither the Cycle Hill changer nor the No-Mar
unit. I live in St. Louis and just wanted to clarify your thoughts.
The couple that own/run No-Mar are excellent people and I
have toured their factory here in Fenton (Saint Louis). Everything is
made and machined in house and very good quality.
As for the Cycle Hill, your assumptions are correct.
The product is made by No-Mar. When I toured the factory, the owner
showed me the prototype and it is a lower-cost, although still pricey and
excellent, piece of equipment geared for us shade-tree type people.
Without saying it in too many words, the Cycle Hill was a concept to more or
less directly compete with a China made unit ... and also some of the
rickety setups sold at dealers/gearshops. Hope this helps clarify that
Cycle Hill does use the excellent designs that No-Mar does!"