Anyone change their own tires?

RonH

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I've changed my own since I was 15yrs old in 1975 at least, maybe even before that. I actually enjoy changing tires. Like Cycledude, I made my own centerpost changer and bead breaker, use the Mojolever or Coats bar. Sometimes one works better, sometimes the other. Use nomar lube for installing. It works real good. For removal though using it as a spray lube doesn't work worth a crap. Hoping the Ruglyde from Napa works better. Use some wood blocks to hold the tire down in the drop center, the nomar yellow thing is another good help. Look over at nomar tire for some pretty good videos showing some helpful hints. The Tenere is really easy to do tires if you do it correctly.
I even did my own tires on my Ford F350, but that was a pitiful experience I will never do again. Count our blessings, as motorcycle tires are easy most the time at least.
 

RCinNC

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This may irrevocably mark me as a psychopath, but I honestly don't mind changing tires on the bike. If I had a shop do it, I'd still have to either:

1) Take off the tire myself and then drive it for 50 minutes to my nearest shop and have them change it. Hopefully they could get to it while I waited; otherwise it would involve two trips to the shop. If I take the wheel off myself, I'm halfway to changing it myself anyway.

2) Take the bike to the shop, where they'd charge me about a hundred bucks to take the wheel off and change the tire for me. Once again, if they can't get to it right away, I have to find someone to follow me down to the shop so I can get a ride back, and then someone to take me back to the shop later on to pick up the bike.

Both of those are pretty time-intensive, based on how far I have to go to reach a shop. When I do it at home by myself, it usually takes about an hour and a half or two hours to change a rear, and a little quicker to do the front. It used to drive me nuts to have to take the bike to a shop and leave it there overnight for something as simple as a tire change; that's what spurred me into trying to do it myself. And believe me, my first attempt (on a Harley Road King) was a total failure; I couldn't even break the bead on the tire. But I knew it was possible because I'd seen other people do it, so I kept trying. That video I posted is what made it click for me; after that, I've never had a motorcycle tire that couldn't be changed by hand. For an initial investment of about $75.00-$100.00 worth of hand tools (including a compressor), I never have to pay someone else to do it, or have to be on their schedule to get it done. I even taught a buddy who rides a 1250 GS how to do it himself, since his commute to a BMW dealer is even further than mine.

I put about 12,000-15,000 miles a year on a bike; that ends up being about three rear tires and one front every year. That could end up being $400 or more a year just to change tires (not counting the price of a tire). I'd rather spend a couple hours doing it myself.
 

RonH

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Plus you do it yourself no worry of getting rims all beat up and scratched, rotors bent ect, and if you go the whole 9yds like most GL1800 riders having the whole process done at a shop, worry of having calipers fall off 10 miles down the road. All these can still happen if you do it yourself of course, but I trust myself more than any shop. Do it yourself, be careful, no big hurry.
 

yen_powell

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I've been changing my own tyres since about 1997 when I had an argument with a tyre shop and made myself a promise never to be reliant on them again.

I was lucky that at that time I was doing a lot of trail riding with ancient wrinkled old school men who would all gather in the event of a puncture and whip a tyre off to make a repair and then put it back without breaking into a sweat. I learnt a lot just watching them. If you can get the technique right it makes things a lot easier. Youtube is today's version of that learning curve.

The first thing to do as you said is breaking the bead. Remember you need to break the bead on both sides of the tyre and all the way round the circumference before trying to lever a tyre off. A wind down or lever type bead breaker will make it easy, on a properly welded on tyre you may need to do it in a number of spots before it gives and you can push the bead down with your hands all the way round.

Once the bead is unseated properly, if you kneel on a part and push it deep into the wheel rim you will have more room on the opposite side to get the levers in. This works for levering it off and for putting it back on again without busting a gut. As others have said, lubrication makes a big difference. I have been using a large tub of tyre soap and it is only just starting to run out now.

I would say I find it harder getting the old tyre off with just one pair of hands, than putting the new one on. I bought one of those round ring type things that moto cross riders use, very cheap one off of Amazon. That has made it easier and it has a built in bead breaker lever arm. It also means that on my Versys front tyre I could push the old tyre downwards and completely off the wheel. That didn't work on the rear as it was a 180 section tyre and I met the floor before the tyre was off, if that makes sense. I am hoping that my new ST1200's smaller section rear tyre will mean I can use it that way.

When I started doing my own tyres all my bikes were tubed, my first tubeless tyred bike was a Varadero, I was a bit worried as people kept telling me the tyre bead is different and you can't change them by hand. That was rubbish, if anything they are easier, no inner tube to worry about! I bought a compressor for seating the tyre, although I have done it before in an emergency using a ratchet strap around the tyre to hold the bead a little more snugly and a foot pump.

Not done my Yamaha yet, the glaringly blue wheels look a challenge to keep unmarked, I'll see how I get on in a few thousand miles.
 

Kruzzin5

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I've been doing my own tires for a few years now. This video is a good tutorial for how to get started.


I use fairly standard hand tools. Three Motion Pro tire levers, six Motion Pro rim protectors, a longer tire spoon to help lever the tire all the way off the rim, and a Motion Pro Bead Popper to break the bead. These aren't available any more, but Motion Pro also makes a set of tire levers that also function as bead breakers.

I've never needed anything more substantial to set the bead on a tire than a standard 12 volt compressor.

Use a lot of tire lube when you change tires. I use RuGlyde, which is available at places like NAPA auto.

I think at last count, I've changed about 25 tires, all using pretty much the method shown in that video I attached. And that includes allegedly hard to mount thick walled bias ply tires.
Yes, I did watch that video several times and I do have the Motion ProTools. Obviously, it was my lack technique but, that was some stiff tire.
 

Kruzzin5

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Always change my own tires, have for years. The key technique to remember is to keep the bead opposite of where you’re working down into the drop center of the wheel. In your case you would apply your clamp 180 degrees from the point where you’re trying to insert your lever. You constantly have to monitor that opposite bead as you work around to make sure it stays down off the rim and remains in the drop center area.


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yes I was doing that however, I felt that I was exerting so much force against the rim and the tire, without movement. I thought if I keep trying, I might bend the rim.
 

Kruzzin5

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I have always changed my own too. There are lots of good DIY videos out there to show you the proper technique and some tricks to make it easier. Here's a good one to start with.


I always change and balance my own tires. 3-Long tire irons, an old trans fluid drum sets the tire at a perfect working height and a homemade bead breaker do the trick. I had a homemade balancer for 15 or so years, but broke down and picked up a decent static balancer from princess Auto when they were on sale. There is no need for any expensive change machines to do the job. Although as I get older I do like the look of the No Mar and other manual machines that are available.

Practice , keeping the opposite bead in the dropcenter and a little lube is the key.
Nice set up and I like the bead breaking tool!
 

Kruzzin5

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Great comments and tips in this thread.:)

We expect a full review of those sneakers Kruzzin5.;)

I have changed my own tires in the past but they were mostly tube tires on dirt bikes. A lot easier imho.

Now, I don't even bother taking the tires off and taking them to the shop. I order tires from shop, they call when they are in and we set up a time. They are installed while I wait and I shoot the shit with like minded people. Met a lot of very unique individuals this way. I have stories and pics to back it up. :cool:

Shops appreciate the business especially in todays uncertain times. And to be completely honest, between work, family and other interest, i just do not have the time. To those that do....all the power to ya.
Hahaha, A good full review you shall have!:D
 

Kruzzin5

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Newmarket, Ontario
a properly welded on tyre you may need to do it in a number of spots before it gives and you can push the bead down with your hands all the way round.”

and that summarizes what happened with the tire. I did go around with a C clamp Breaking the bead, however, it appeared that the tire was welded on. At that point I took it to the shop and had them break the bead, and slip on the new tire.

When he came out with the tire, I asked him if he had any difficulty taking the it off. He was using one of those pneumatic tire machines. He replied, no problem getting the tire off, big problem getting the new tire on!? Who would’ve thought that??
 

Kruzzin5

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This may irrevocably mark me as a psychopath, but I honestly don't mind changing tires on the bike. If I had a shop do it, I'd still have to either:

1) Take off the tire myself and then drive it for 50 minutes to my nearest shop and have them change it. Hopefully they could get to it while I waited; otherwise it would involve two trips to the shop. If I take the wheel off myself, I'm halfway to changing it myself anyway.

2) Take the bike to the shop, where they'd charge me about a hundred bucks to take the wheel off and change the tire for me. Once again, if they can't get to it right away, I have to find someone to follow me down to the shop so I can get a ride back, and then someone to take me back to the shop later on to pick up the bike.

Both of those are pretty time-intensive, based on how far I have to go to reach a shop. When I do it at home by myself, it usually takes about an hour and a half or two hours to change a rear, and a little quicker to do the front. It used to drive me nuts to have to take the bike to a shop and leave it there overnight for something as simple as a tire change; that's what spurred me into trying to do it myself. And believe me, my first attempt (on a Harley Road King) was a total failure; I couldn't even break the bead on the tire. But I knew it was possible because I'd seen other people do it, so I kept trying. That video I posted is what made it click for me; after that, I've never had a motorcycle tire that couldn't be changed by hand. For an initial investment of about $75.00-$100.00 worth of hand tools (including a compressor), I never have to pay someone else to do it, or have to be on their schedule to get it done. I even taught a buddy who rides a 1250 GS how to do it himself, since his commute to a BMW dealer is even further than mine.

I put about 12,000-15,000 miles a year on a bike; that ends up being about three rear tires and one front every year. That could end up being $400 or more a year just to change tires (not counting the price of a tire). I'd rather spend a couple hours doing it myself.
And believe me, my first attempt (on a Harley Road King) was a total failure; I couldn't even break the bead on the tire. But I knew it was possible because I'd seen other people do it, so I kept trying.


Agreed. This is not the end. At 25,000 to 30,000 km, I’ll be back to do it again! :p
 

RCinNC

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Yes, I did watch that video several times and I do have the Motion ProTools. Obviously, it was my lack technique but, that was some stiff tire.
One of the tougher parts of changing a tire can be trying to keep the bead down in the bead channel when you're prying on the tire. When I watch a Youtube video of someone struggling with a tire and trying to use brute force to mount it, that's usually the problem. Some guys try that method where you zip tie the sidewalls of the tire to compress them together, which forces the bead to stay in the bead channel. I tried it myself once, but the effort needed to try and squeeze the sidewalls together with a big zip tie was actually way greater than just kneeling on the tire while you're working on it. Even the Mitas E07 yielded to being knelt on. It does help to be able to warm the tire up in the sun, but I've changed tires in the winter and just left the tire in the house for a while before changing it.

Most of my tires never stay on the wheel long enough to get welded on, so that's never been a huge problem. One of the advantages of the Motion Pro Bead Popper is that it's actually just a wedge, which is a pretty efficient tool for exerting force. The first time I used it on the Harley tire and failed, it was because I didn't really understand what I was trying to do. If I do run across an old tire that refused to budge, I think my first step would be to squirt something like WD-40 or PB Blaster around the joint between the tire and the rim and let it soak for a bit. Then work my way around it with the wedge, trying to open just enough of a gap to squirt a little more solvent in the gap. I think eventually, the bead will separate from the channel. It doesn't matter if the solvent does anything bad to the tire, since it's being disposed of anyway.

If my Bead Popper ever breaks or gets lost somehow, I might try a felling wedge. I saw some lumberjacks using them, and with a little bit of grinding to alter their shape a little, I think they'd accomplish the same task as the bead popper.
 

gunslinger_006

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Seattle, Washington
My shop, which is excellent, told me this “I am going to charge you a fuckyou fee of $20 because those were the hardest tires to mount in years. Took two of us with the machine”.

And that is why i have a shop do it. I enjoy taking thw wheels off the bike anyway.


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TomZ

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Mar 24, 2014
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Pacific Northwest
Real macho motorcyclists don't need tools for tire changes. They just use fingernails and teeth.

No, seriously, get a decent bead breaker and tools. It's already been mentioned, but starting with the old and new tires well warmed makes the job much easier. So does tire paste for the demounting and remounting. I also learned that the knee is a powerful tool for keeping the tire squeezed into the center of the rim opposite the spoons or mounting head.
 

squarebore

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Apr 22, 2013
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Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
Some tyre and wheel combinations are tighter than others and need more lube. Sometimes you have to play with them a bit beforehand to get than warmed up. Sometimes though I can't be bothered and am happy to pay a professional. Less mess, no sore back. :)

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jbrown

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Sep 25, 2012
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Novato, CA
I've been changing my own tires for 50 years. I now have a cheap HF changer with the MC attachment and home made approximations of the NoMar mount/demount bar . I added some delrin bits to the rim clamps to protect the rim. I also have a pair of Motion Pro BeadPro levers that do OK on breaking the bead. This makes it pretty easy to change tires. But I used to do it with nothing but a few tire levers and a wedge cut from a 2x4. The toughest tire I changed was a knobby on my old ('78?) KL250 with rim locks. That was a struggle, but you need to know you can do it when you are stuck miles from nowhere.
 

Kruzzin5

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If I do run across an old tire that refused to budge, I think my first step would be to squirt something like WD-40 or PB Blaster around the joint between the tire and the rim and let it soak for a bit”


That’s a great idea!
 

jrusell

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Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
That's a nice bead breaker, jrusell. If I could weld, I think I'd put together something like that. Maybe I'll try that design using mechanical fasteners. Any chance you could post some additional photos of it with the dimensions?

This, plus a dead blow hammer, is how I've been breaking the beads on my tires:



It works really well, though it takes some effort to use it. I don't know why Motion Pro stopped making it; it comes in handy, and you could even carry it with you and use it on the road (provided you carried a hammer, or could find a rock to hit it with).

RuGlyde is the best lubricant I've used for changing tires, since that's what it was designed for. Safe for aluminum rims. And at 16 bucks for a gallon of it, it's probably cheaper by volume than dish soap. Over several years of changing motorcycle tires, I haven't even finished my original gallon of it.

My snootiest tire changing tool is a Marc Parnes static balancer, but you could buy the one from Harbor Freight for forty bucks that would serve almost as well.
RC here are a few pics of my bead breaker. You could very easily make one of bolted sections or even 2x4's if you wanted. Nothing really special or that critical measurements wise. The only thing that really matters is the width. You want something around 16.5 inches across so the rim sits on the support. Also there should be support across the front near the tower section, but it doesn't need to be raised like on mine. Also the tower portion should be around 24" tall. The pivot point should be adjustable so it will accommodate front or rear wheels.

I use a piece of hose or clear tubing split and slid over the angle iron to prevent scratches.
 

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