Changing tires

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by Sabre170, Sep 25, 2013.

  1. Sabre170

    Sabre170 Been here awhile

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    Nope, this isn't a thread asking which tire to get.....already bout my tires (got some k70's in my garage waiting for install).

    My question may be a very dumb one, however, being a newbie, I want my ignorance to be cleared up.

    All my previous motorcycles were tubeless. More so, I was a sport bike rider in my previous life too, thus tire installation perfection was necessary. Any tire change was done at the bike shop. I didn't want to mess with the tubeless install and such.....I'm sure most will agree with my desire to avoid this.

    Now, however, I have the difference of having tubed tires. I've changed many of tubed tires on bicycles in my past, but never on a motorcycle....one would think it is a straight forward process.

    Is changing a tubed tire truly as intuitive as I want to think it is? I'd hate myself if I took it to the shop and asked a mechanic to swap it if it is uber easy (kinda like asking a mechanic to change a lightbulb).

    Is changing a tire and tube truly a user level task? And if so, any special steps, or just treat it like a really big bicycle tire?

    Sorry if this is a super dumb question.
    #1
  2. MrPulldown

    MrPulldown Long timer

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    Dude it is just like changing a mt bike tire...

    ...Except WAY HARDERED.

    IMO one should change their own tires. Good practice for when you are out in the woods and get a flat. I do. However I do not think anyone will fault you for taking it into a shop. It is not changing light bulb easy.

    Do a search on this topic as there are several very well written "how to's" . I however will throw in some advice:
    -get good levers with thin edges on the spoons. At least 3 levers. I have one nice one and two cheap ones.
    -use lots of lube. I use soapy water, though some will tell you that is a NO NO
    -be very careful about where your levers are when you shove them under the rim, DO NOT pinch a tube, very easy to do
    -use Heavy duty tubes. Less likely to pinch in install. Makes up for being heavier and harder to stuff.
    -Don't worry about scratching your rims, it is bound to happen. If you do, might just have a shop change your tires.
    #2
  3. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    I think you should change your own tires if you can. I have tried and because of my inherent stupidity or just old age I always fail. I take my BMW Airhead wheels and new tires and new tubes to the local Honda dealer. Where they do it for a reasonable price.

    But give it a try. Plenty of videos on YouTube about changing tires.
    #3
  4. Big Bamboo

    Big Bamboo Aircooled & Sunbaked

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  5. mesher

    mesher Adventurer

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    I changed mine for the first time about a week ago. At the end of it I thought, "okay, I think I've appeased the masochist in me, next time I'll let a shop do it while the hedonist in me goes for a beer". :D

    But it wasn't too bad, it's like an ultra-stiff, ultra thick mtb tire with no flex. I've fitted car tires by hand before and I think the motorcycle tires were more difficult because of how narrow they are, there's not much room to move (like when getting the tube's valve to poke out through the hole).

    The toughest part for me was breaking the beads on the old tires, they had been on the rims forever and were really stuck. I eventually used a vise with some strategically placed blocks of wood to apply pressure to the sidewall close to the rim. I put some folded sandpaper between the block and the tire to stop the block from sliding away from the rim as the sidewall collapsed, it worked pretty well.

    After that actually getting the tire off is easy, just like a mtb tire. There's a sweet spot with placing the levers, where it's easy to slip it in and easy to pull it over. I only used 2 levers and there wasn't much force involved, it's all technique and lube (I used soapy water, and baby powder to get the tube comfy).

    The inside of my rims were really gunked up with old gluey rubber, I cleaned it off with turpentine and a soft wire brush. That's something the shop wouldn't have done and I'm sure it'll pay off if I ever have to break a bead by the roadside.

    Use lots of lube when you are trying to get the new bead to seat again, I didn't at first and wasted a lot of effort trying to get the bead to seat properly.
    #5
  6. MrPulldown

    MrPulldown Long timer

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    Breaking the bead seems to be a tough thing. I can ususualy get mine to go by stomping on them with big boots. I have used C clamps, hammers, and even the kick stand of a motorcycle (not the one with the wheel off).

    Fishing the valve stem though is kind of a bitch too. I have just learned of a valve stem fishing tool.

    Here is a thread I started on the location of the bevel washer and two nuts.
    #6
  7. Solo Lobo

    Solo Lobo airhead or nothing

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    #7
  8. ozmoses

    ozmoses Ride On

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    It's all about using the dish effectively, especially w/ new,stiff tires.
    #8
  9. Sabre170

    Sabre170 Been here awhile

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    Thanks all. As always, I appreciate the advice. I always enjoy doing stuff myself when able, but also may be worth calling the shop to see what they would charge.....possibly the small fee is worth saving my frustration in advance...:D
    #9
  10. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

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    The breaking bead....all you need is a 2x4 about 6' long and a small piece of woodscrap, 1x6 or 2x6 whatever about 6" long. Put the small piece against the tire at the rim, use the long one under the bench or even a car as the fulcrum. Push down. Just broke all the beads yesterday on two car tires that were rusted on the wheels after 10 years. Did not take long.

    Takes about 10 seconds to break the bead on the R100GS wheels that way. Same with the much more fragile K1200RS wheels.Motion Pro rim protectors and the curved bars to reinstall,Marc Parnes wheel balancer...but Eh! there aren't any shops around here to overcharge me on mounting tires, had to relearn the old tricks.:wink:
    #10
  11. B_C_Ries

    B_C_Ries Long timer

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    I put the rim inside of the tire first ie: Both sidewalls of the tire are outside of the rim on both sides. Then it is real easy to put the inner tube in place and get the stem through the hole in the rim. Even with stiff sidewalls. Putting the first side of the tire in is usually easy enough. Sometimes getting the last side in gets tricky and the main problem is keeping the bead pressed into the low groove in the center of the rim opposite of where you are working so you can spoon on the last part of the tire onto the rim..
    #11
  12. IronJackWhitton

    IronJackWhitton Been here awhile

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    I'm pretty new to this whole bike thing but I just swapped tires out on my T800XC.

    It really wasn't that hard. I found that the tube-type tires broke bead pretty easily. Back was much harder than the front.

    I used this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i31hv7t-Ysc&feature=player_detailpage

    And had 3 tire levers (2 6-inch KTM ones and 1- 12 inch one of a brand I can't recall).

    It took me nearly 3 days but that was largely due to my lack of preparation -- make sure you read over how to do it for your bike a few times so you know you have the right sockets, wrenches, etc.!
    #12
  13. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

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    If you really want to learn, just find an old wheel/tire somewhere, preferably with a really old hardened tire on it and practice.:eek1My friend has a few of them in his shop, I bet for less than $20.00 he'd let you have one.

    The "Motion Pro" rim protectors are great, sold in pairs. I should get another pair, can be hard to move them to reposition the bars so next time I'll set three of them on the wheel. Don't remember where I got my bars, that was a long time ago but they look just like the curved "Motion Pro" bars. Two of them and one of the short BMW straight bar, good lube and on the tires go.
    n
    Stands are nice but a bolt through the center of the wheel and the bolt it into the work bench does the same job.
    #13
  14. east high

    east high Been here awhile

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    What's a good brand of spoons?
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  15. B_C_Ries

    B_C_Ries Long timer

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    I am going to try using some plastic cut from a 1 gallon milk jug as a rim protector next time I change tires, just to see what happens.
    #15
  16. regomodo

    regomodo Been here awhile

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    Used one of these along with a lump hammer on some nast old metzlers/continentals. Easy peasy[​IMG]
    #16
  17. Plaka

    Plaka Brevis illi vita est

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    Big ones. Set the tires in the sun and the stock ones in the under seat kit work fine on /5 wire wheels.
    #17
  18. Plaka

    Plaka Brevis illi vita est

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    Hint: just buy some regular rim protectors at a motorcycle shop. They're cheap and really thick plastic. Won't cut through. Do the job. I got 2 sets (4 total) just to make life easier. And I'm all kinds of cheap.
    #18
  19. B_C_Ries

    B_C_Ries Long timer

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    Sometimes I just like to experiment,
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  20. Plaka

    Plaka Brevis illi vita est

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    I found I could change out a tube or tire on my /5 easily. Set every thing in the sun to warm up, etc.

    Snowflake /7 wheels were a whole 'nother matter. MAJOR PITA from start to finish. I even bought a jug of RuGlyde. I got mongo tire levers and rim protectors. At the end, I had to use my largest air line off a 60 gallon tank with the valve core removed to seat the bead. The 1/4" airline just wouldn't get it. I am NOT happy. Even changing a tube on the road is going to be extremely iffy with out some special ($$$) tools. That bead breaker/ tire iron combo tool looks sweet, just costly. looks worth the money, heavy, but it'll do it. I don't think a portable tire pump or a coin op gas station compressor will properly seat a bead, but you can limp to a good source of air at a shop somewhere. Pressure doesn't work, you need big flow to keep the bead moving. One pause and it grabs. At the moment I don't even carry tire irons. Useless. Pull the wheel and hitch to a shop or call AAA to haul the bike to a shop. Pisses me off. I'm looking for wire wheels. Costly but if I can fully change a tire roadside I can deduct the cost of a fancy portable changing rig and it stops being quite so silly.

    I have gotten rear flats on tour. Not fun.
    #20