How to: Swap your own tires -
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-20-2011, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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How to: Swap your own tires

Had a bunch of people ask me how to do this, so I figured I'd put up a thread. HF = Harbor freight, most cost effective way to go.

Things needed:
1) Bike with worn tires
2) New tires
3) Some method of lifting both wheels off the ground
4) A bead breaker ($20 at HF, less on sale or with the numerous 20% off coupons)
5) 3x Tire irons (longer = more betterer, 24" for $5 at HF)
6) Beer
7) Valve Stem removal tool ($1)
8) Balancing stand
9) Wheel Weights
10) 2 pieces of wood
11) 1 Ratchet strap
12) Air compressor
13) An empty plastic bottle

Step 1) Shotgun a beer

Step 2) Loosen rear axle nut and lift bike onto stand (Note: No garage or vast concrete pad needed. I'm using a sidewalk behind my apartment building)

Step 3) Undo your rear axle nut and pound out axle using a soft mallet

Step 4) Remove axle, slide rear brake caliper off, and pull chain off the sprocket

Step 5) Let all air out of the tire, and remove the valve stem using your valve stem removal tool

Step 6) Put onto bead breaker. Use 2x4's to protect the wheel hub or calipers

Step 7) Break bead

Step 8) Put in your 3 tire irons in the 11 o'clock, 12 o'clock, and 1 o'clock positions, with the hooks of the irons around the tire edge

Step 9) Pull the tire over the outside of the rim. I usually start with the center one, and work my way out. When you get the two side ones over, pull the center one out and insert it further down. You can pull the rest of it off this way

Step 10) Now you need to get the other side off. To do this, you insert the tire iron from the opposite side, hook it on the rim lip and pull up. It helps if you grease up the tire a bit with some dish soap and warm water. More soap = less friction, so use a bunch.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-20-2011, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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Step 11) No pictures for this one. Now you need to get the new tire on. Check the direction markers on the tire and the direction markers on the wheel. Flip the tire around so they match. If your tire has a marking for the light spot, line it up with the valve stem. Lube up the bottom of the tire rim. Start by putting half of it over the rim, and just keep pushing on the sides. It should pop right on.

Step 12) Now comes the hard part. Lube the underside of the tire rim that still needs to go on real good. Start it at the bottom and kneel on it. Push it on as much as you can, and then you need to use the tire irons. Hook the irons around the rim and lift up so the tire slides down the irons and onto the rim. You can use larger chunks at first, but you have to take small bites out of it at the end. This is where the tire iron length helps you.

Step 13) Once you get that on there, you need to seat the bead. Hook up your air compressor. Unless you have a huge air compressor, you'll likely need some help to seat it. This is where the ratchet strap comes in. Strap it around the circumference of the tire and tighten it down a bit. Now hook the compressor up and it'll pop real loud twice to let you know it's on.

Step 14) Time to balance. Put the wheel on the balancing stand, it should settle with the heaviest point on the bottom. Add weights to the top. Repeat as necessary until you can spin the wheel to any position and it won't move.

Step 15) Put wheel back in. It's the opposite of removing it. Put spacers in the wheel hubs, put the brake caliper up on the rail, and slide the axle through. It may need coaxing with the soft mallet. Readjust your chain. Pump your brakes to make sure they work. Put back down. Drink more.

For the front wheel:

Always use a rear stand with a front stand. Removal is basically just loosening the axle pinch bolts, unscrewing the axle, removing the calipers and then the wheel should drop out when you remove the axle. Same steps as above, but be very careful with the brake rotors so that you don't bend them. Wheel direction is the same, so install it based on the tire direction. If there's a speedometer sensor on your front axle, don't be an idiot like me and forget about it when working on I-Jo's tires last year. Then you are missing a wheel spacer and have to order the magnet for it. Pump your front brakes before you put the bike down. You don't want it rolling away and not be able to stop.

All in all, not hard. Just takes some sweat equity. Saves a lot of money.

EDIT: Here's some videos on youtube by not me.

Last edited by arcticamt6; 09-20-2011 at 08:46 PM.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-20-2011, 08:33 PM
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Thanks Bud!

- I would have hit that like the fist of an angry god and asked questions later. Then gone straight to a federal PMitA prison-
I opened her up just once to see what I would be dealing with, and saw the face of God!
I have been on liter sport bikes, big torque cruisers...but nothing compares to the thrust these damn things hit you with. If you are going to grab the throttle, just make sure you have a whole lot of empty road ahead of you...feels like God placed his boot on the tail end of the bike and shoved you forward - really, really hard!

That said, there is something to be said about the kick in the ass rush of a high horsepower motorcycle that wants to tear your fucking arms out of their sockets when you throw the throttle back.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-20-2011, 09:42 PM
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Great info, Thanks!

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-20-2011, 09:45 PM
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Nice writeup Jeff. That's a good trick with the ratchet strap for seating the bead. I'll have to try that next time. Usually I stand the tire up and press down on the center while adding air until it seals. It usually takes awhile with how stiff motorcycle tires are.

I used to use dish soap and water until I saw a video where someone was using Windex. I gave that a try and it works just about as well, but doesn't leave a soapy residue behind. Ammonia can damage rubber, but it is in such small concentrations in glass cleaner, that it's not an issue on tire rubber. Also, I use

over the areas where I place the spoons to protect the finish. If anyone's worried about messing up their wheels, these work great.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-21-2011, 06:30 AM Thread Starter
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That's what the plastic bottle is for. Free, and does just as good of a job for protecting the wheels. I don't care about my wheels as they're scratched up. Plus, I was already about an hour behind because I tried a "shortcut" that didn't work.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-24-2012, 04:12 PM
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Just did this!

Used Tropicana OJ plastic as suggeseted by SCUDMAN but they must have changed the formula. The rim got a bit scratched up.

I don't see how you can do this by yourself though :/ I had quite a bit of difficulty spooning the tire on and off.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-11-2013, 06:01 PM
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A couple of important things here. Never use dish soap on your tires, it eats away at the rubber with time. I think tire rubber is a petroleum product and dish soap is designed to dissolve it. use a real tire lube. and 2, cut pieces from a gallon milk jug to use as protectors on the tire irons and the rim otherwise you scratch your rims. and thats expensive. you also can break the bead youself. look up ninja 250 mounting tires and you should find the howto.

also the straps around the tires might be unneccessary, I think you just bounce the tire all around so the bead is even placed and pump. the 2 cracks you hear is for each bead on both sides of the tire popping into place. really if you buy your tire from the shop they might discount you for the install so this sort of saves you money but not really unless you go through tires a lot. at least youll know how to do it.

Last edited by eksine; 04-11-2013 at 06:09 PM.
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