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1568 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  bumblebee
Due to recent RS posts about this subject I dug up this article on tires (not written by me but useful):


I hate changing tires. They are a pain in the rear, or front, as the case may be. I charge way too much money to change a tire or tube in hope that they will take it somewhere else ! If you have a tire changing machine, it's real easy. I'm poor. I don't have a machine. I have tire irons, a bad back, and a weak mind. The best way to change a tire or tube is to take it to someone else and have them do it. But you want to do it yourself, don't you ?...and I'll bet you don't want a hole in the tube either.
There are a number of secrets to changing tires and tubes without putting a hole in the tube. One ; you need the right Tire Irons. Two ; Lube of some sort. Three ; A breezer tire tool. Four ; A bead breaker of some kind. Five ; Compressed air ( politicians should have no trouble with this ! ) Six ; Something to expand the bead ( if necessary ) and, finally, Seven ; A little bit of knowledge !

Here is the drill. Let the air out. Support the wheel. I use a 30 gallon steel oil drum with the top cut out. ( It doubles as a trash can ! ) Break the bead loose on both sides. This can be easy ( hand pressure alone ) or hard ( get the bead breaker out, a big vice will work too ). Then with the tire irons ( at least two... I use three to get the bead first started over the rim ) lever the bead over the rim, and work your way around the rim of the wheel. Some lube, or soapy water will help too. Then pull the tube, if it has one, out. Then lever the other bead off the wheel rim and it is off. Sounds so easy, doesn't it.....and it can be. Just remember to push the bead opposite the bead you are working on, down into the center of the wheel rim. This allows the bead you are working on to easily slip over the wheel rim. To get the new tire on ...reverse the process ! Remember, some tires have a directional arrow. Make sure the arrow, if there is one, is pointed in the direction of rotation.

Now comes the fun part. After putting the tube in and aligning the balance mark ( light spot ) on the tire with the valve stem hole, and lubing, push the bead on one side down into the center of the wheel rim and use one tire iron to keep it from coming out. On the side of the wheel, use the Breezer tire tool, and start levering the tire bead over the wheel rim in very small "bites". BEING CAREFUL NOT TO PINCH THE TUBE ! Tap the breezer gently with a hammer if need be, but do not use a "cheater" lever on the end of the breezer, it can break. ( Don't ask, Don't ask ) Add some more lube all the way around the bead on both sides, make sure the valve stem is pointed toward the axle, air it up and you're done ! Make sure the bead seats fully on the rim, if not let the air out, relube and air it up again. Only use 56 PSI. Any more and you could blow the bead off the rim.... very bad. Tighten the valve stem nut only finger tight. Oh, other thing....


Now if you have a tubeless tire, just lever that dog on, air it up and you are done...right ? Well, maybe....and then again, maybe not. Many times there is a gap between the bead and the rim. You either use a Bead Expander to expand the bead till it touches the rim, or a Rubber Donut to fill in the gap between the bead and the rim. Getting the tire to hold air so it will seat the bead to the rim can be... well, just a lot of fun.

O yeah, most dirt bikes have rim locks to keep the rim from turning on the bead and ripping the valve stem out when you run low tire pressure. They are a necessary pain in the rear. You just have to work the bead in around them.

Make sure the rubber rim strip, that big rubber band that covers the spoke nipple ends, is in good condition. If you don't have or can't get a rim strip, a couple of wraps of duct tape works great.

Whenever you air up a tire or check tire pressures, always put a little soapy water on the end of the stem. This is to check for air leakage from the stem core. If it leaks, retighten or replace it.


What tire should I use ? That is hard one to answer. Good cornering tires wear out quicker. long lasting tires do not corner as good. You will have to pick tires for the way you ride and how much money you have to spend. One thing to remember, if you vary from stock sizes...whatever you do to the front , do the same to the rear. In other words, if you go a little bit bigger on one, go the same amount on the other. The tire width must be within the spec's of the Rim Width. Click HERE to get the word on Tire Specifications

Most tires have a marker in the tread grooves. When the tread wears down to the marker, replace the tire. To find the marker, look for a small triangle on the side of the tire. This triangle will be pointing to the marker. There may be several on each tire.

Never mix Bias and Radial tires.

Always replace the tube, if it has one, with a new one.

All manufacturers say replace a tubless tire and not patch it. That's the official word. Unofficialy, I don't see why you can't patch the tire, put a new tube in it and drive on. You decide.

Now on wheel balancing. If you have a machine or can get access to one I'm sure it's a great Idea to rebalance the wheel. So the offical word is do it. But, well, I ah... well, I never do. I ride an old BMW 750cc twin. In my younger days I liked to tour a lot. My cruising RPM was was 5000. This is about 90 MPH ( yes, I know, bad boy, bad ! ) More than once I was able to cruise at 105 or so. ( Yes, again, bad boy. ) By cruising, I mean spending several hours or more at these speeds. I have never balanced my wheels. I kinda figured BMW did it. If it works don't fix it. I've used many different makes of tires and I have just never had any trouble with vibration. My BMW has over 100,000 miles on it. It's your bike, if it vibrates, balance it. If it don't... well, you decide.
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