Coats Model 220 Manual Tire Changer Review

The KLR of tire changers

A When your apocalypse bike needs new rubber. $2,500 (when new) coatsgarage.comJeff Allen

Tire changers are a workhorse in any motorcycle shop, and the workhorse of tire changers is the long-running Coats 220 manual tire machine. First introduced in the 1970s and discontinued in 2017, the primary advantage of the Model 220 is that it requires no compressed air or electricity—just a bit of finesse and elbow grease. Technique goes a long way when you're wielding a giant steel mount/unmount tool.

The Model 220 is a sturdy machine, and its mass helps with both stability and bend resistance from repeated use. To hold the rim in place it has three solid-steel rim clamps, which can, with proper adapters, accommodate everything from an 8-inch scooter wheel all the way to a 23-inch custom hoop. To keep all the steel of the Coats machine and its parts from trading paint with your rim there are plastic guards fixed to the rim clamps and the mount/unmount tool. Tire removal is done by spinning the tool around a fulcrum pole attached to a locking vertical arm, and for getting the bead off the rim there’s an adjustable manual bead breaker in front.

There are easier tire-changing options, so you might wonder why we’ve opted for a primitive tire-changing machine. We like the Coats 220 for its simplicity and mobility. Its relatively small size allows us to mount it to a thick piece of plywood and transport it to the track to do on-site changes for tire tests without having to source air, electricity, or a forklift.

Unfortunately, Coats no longer sells the 220. The company has plunged headlong into the modern era and will gladly sell you a range of more sophisticated machines. But we still swear by our 220. If you’re lucky enough to spot one on the resale market, snap it up with no regrets; it’ll be changing tires longer than you.