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Zip tie tire change

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Andyvh1959, Sep 15, 2019.

  1. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

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    I have changed many a bias-ply tube tire (pinched many a tube in the process). It takes some good tire spoons and a lot of effort/sweating/swearing forcing the tire into the center drop of the rim. But I have never attempted a low sidewall radial tire on a cast rim. Until now.

    I saw videos on youtube of people changing wide low aspect ratio radial tires using zip ties to squeeze the tire beads together which is a way to get the tire bead ID just larger enough to require much less effort off and on the rim. So today I changed the tires on my BMW R1200RT, dismounting Michelin Pilot4s and mounting Metzeler Roadtec4. The rear tire is a 180/55-17R, fairly wide and a low sidewall profile.

    I got the wheels off the bike, removed the valve core, then used a Harbor Freight bead breaker to squeeze the old tires into the drop of the rims. Then I routed 24" heavy duty zip ties through the gap of the tire to the rim. With six to eight zip ties to bring the beads together, and with only two tire spoons I got both beads of the tires off the rims with FAR less effort than even older style bias-ply tires. Then I zip-tied the new tire beads together and got the tire well more than halfway onto the rim with only dish soap for lube and my hands/knees to push the tire onto the rim. With the beads pulled together I was able to lever both sides of the tire at the same time fully onto the rim with minimal effort using two tire spoons.

    Once the tire beads are over the rim, I could easily position the dot on the tire as needed. Then I got the zip ties out, and pumped the tire up to pop the beads into the rim. Easy really. Of course I had to static balance the wheel/tire assembly, for which I used a Harbor Freight tire balancer. Until I tried this I was skeptical of the zip-tie on youtube. Now I'm ready to change the tires on my Vulcan VN1600 Classic. If you're the type to prefer to do your own maintenance, its worth trying.
    #1
  2. Richarde1605

    Richarde1605 Long timer

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    It does work, I managed my f800st without spoons at all
    #2
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  3. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

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    Yeah, I bet some tire sizes/aspect ratios are even easier than the ones on my R1200RT. This process has sold me on it and gives me the option to do my tire changes on my time and saving the $$. Sure I spent $80 on a Harbor Freight bead breaker and tire balancer. But I would have spent $50 to $150 to have a shop do the tire changes even after I brought the tires/wheels to the local tire shop. These days shop rates are easily $100 to $150 an hour. Two tires on rims, with a professional tire changer and balancer, are still close to an hour of shop labor. Depending on the bike, the shop may spend close to an hour just to get the wheels off the bike. To get it all back together could total three hours shop time: up to near $500 even without the cost of the tires.
    #3
  4. gonerydin

    gonerydin Been here awhile

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    I may have to try this as well. I’ve been mounting Dunlop American Elites on my brothers Harleys for 2 years now. The rears are 180/65-16 and are the stiffest motorcycle tires that I have encountered.
    #4
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  5. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

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    Some things that make it much less effort:
    1. Getting the beads on each side of the tire close to each other, gets BOTH sides of the tire into the drop of the rim at the same time. You're not spooning one side on and fighting the other side at the same time.
    2. With so much tire in the rim drop, nearly 3/4 of the tire is in the rim just by pushing the tire into the rim, dish soap lube does a lot here.
    3. All that is left to spoon onto the rim is BOTH side of the tire at the same time.

    Get some big heavy duty zip ties, Harbor Freight has eight 24" ties for about $2. I have a few really big zip ties with a release feature that makes them reusable, but I don't recall where I got them. Just don't over do the zip ties to the point of folding the tire side into itself, as I found out. Zip tie enough to bring the two beads to each other without folding/bending the sidewall. Eight zip ties spaced evenly around a stiff tire should do it fine.
    #5
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  6. willibauer

    willibauer Been here awhile

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    yeah, wish I knew this some years before...tried to spoon on a new 200/50 back tire on my ZX12R, took me 3 hours to get it done, when I noticed i put it on backwards (direction arrow pointed against running direction). As you wrote, it was nearly impossible to squeeze the flank into the middle of the rim and in the same time spoon the other half over.
    Sold the whole stuff afterwards, decided to let the mechanic do it in the shop from now on.
    Now with the adventure and its higher profile tires, i guess it can be done more easily....
    #6
  7. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

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    Good luck. Been there, tried that. No success. Agree, the Harley Dunlop’s are tremendously stiff. My zip ties neither impressed the tire when I tried squeezing it with the zip ties, nor would hold when I released the c-clamp I’d used to bring the beads together.

    I’ve used and fundamentally like the zip tie method, for tubed tires mostly.
    #7
  8. VX Rider

    VX Rider Long timer

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    Heat the tires in the sun, everything works so much easier
    #8
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  9. gonerydin

    gonerydin Been here awhile

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    I was afraid of that. I manage to get them mounted with three 16” no-mar spoon bars, lots of Murphy’s tire paste and a large gorilla-like assistant. Not fun though.
    #9
  10. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    There was a thread on here recently with a video of a guy mounting a tire using gorilla tape to hold the beads together. No tools, no lube -- he just taped it up and basically whacked it on the rim. I had to re-watch it about five times to believe what I was seeing.
    #10
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  11. tominboise

    tominboise Long timer

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    I have used paracord in lieu of zip ties. It worked. It was on a rear pilot power tire on my SV650.
    #11
  12. jester444

    jester444 n00b

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    I watched that video quite a few times and decided to buy a roll of gorilla tape and give it a try. Worked very well when mounting my TKC80's and I'm a tire changing noob. Now need to try it on my worn out tuono tires......lol.
    #12
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  13. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

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    Some cycles are delivered to dealers with simple cinch straps (like a tie down strap). We used to toss them out regularly at the BMW shop. So I grabbed a bunch over the years and keep them in my shop. I bet they'd work for squeezing the beads together much like the Gorilla tape. Many of these straps can be had for free.
    #13
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  14. markherman

    markherman Louisianaman Supporter

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    Best Rest sells reusable zip ties for tire mounting.
    #14
  15. PineLaneRider

    PineLaneRider Long timer

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    I used cinch straps to mount my rear on the VStrom, but only after fighting it for a couple hours before trying them. I now have bead buddies and big azz zip ties in my tire changing tool drawer. For next time...
    #15
  16. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

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    I just have to find more of the four 24" heavy duty releasable zip ties I have. No idea where I got them. So I'd like to find a source for more of them. I can release regular zip ties using a fine point pic, but its just a hassle.
    #16
  17. TheOtherBart

    TheOtherBart Long timer

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    I put new tires on my F650 a year or so ago using zip ties and it worked great. Did it again with the rear a few weeks ago and it worked, but everything seemed to fight me more (including breaking the bead, I ended up cutting that sucker off). Maybe the tire wasn't as warm this time around. Or maybe I'm just older.
    #17
  18. PineLaneRider

    PineLaneRider Long timer

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    #18
  19. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

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    Harbor Freight has a ten pack of 24" zip ties for $1.79. HF also sells a 35' roll of 3/4" wide Velcro style strap for $6.99. Velcro Might work for tire changes on the road and as strapping material, cut into 24" to 36" lengths. Lightweight, dual purpose, easy to carry and use on a long tour.
    #19
  20. Gruesome

    Gruesome Alter Heizer

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    Didn't work for a Tourance Next on the rear wheel of an R1150GS. The zip ties didn't do any good, and were just in the way. I got the tire on ok after removing the zip ties.
    I think there have been earlier threads discussing the zip tie method and which tire/wheel combinations it works for and which it doesn't.
    #20