Righto then. Changing tyres. I’ve read more threads than I care to remember, on riders wanting to know where to get tyres fitted on a Sunday, or where to get their personally imported tyres fitted without costing them their arm, leg, and first born son. Or daughter. Or earning the ire of their local motorcycle shop, or tyre fitter. Or even all the above. If you’re lucky I’ve replied on a number of occasions, that the best/easiest/quickest way to get it happening is to do it yourself. In less time than it will take to ride/drive to the establishment of their choosing. Let alone wait around while it’s being done for you, or returning later to pick it up. I suspect that a lot of people do not believe this is possible. Well, I’m here to show you that it is indeed. And that it will cost you b#gger all. And you might even gain some enjoyment and satisfaction from expending a small amount of energy, and learn something about being a motorcyclist, rather than just a rider. Okay. Enough waffling. Time to get down to business. Part 1. Getting the tyre off the rim. Here’s all you need. A valve removing tool. A couple of rim protectors (if you’re an anal pedant) 2 of 240mm tyre levers, a couple of bits of timber –one about 250mm long, the other around 1 & ½ metres, and some sort of hand pump or compressor. That’s it. I had to go & buy a couple of tyre levers and rim protectors, ‘cause some c#nt broke into my shed and stole mine. Along with a heap of my favourite socket and spanner sets. May you rot in hell you filthy piece of spineless sh!t. The rim protectors and levers cost the grand total of $28. Told you it would be cheap. Changing tyres by hand is an art. It’s not brute force and ignorance. It’s part cunning, experience and finesse. There are some tricks that can make it a whole lot easier. The first one is –leave your wheel and new tyre laying out in the sun for ¼ to ½ an hour before you work on it. Especially if it’s the first time you’ve attempted a tyre change. It DOES make a difference. Simple huh. First off, remove the valve core. Completely. As they say, a pictures worth a thousand words. And I’ve nearly used all mine. Words, that is. IMG_4635 by speedync, on Flickr IMG_4620 by speedync, on Flickr That’s what you do with the bits of wood. Yes, I know, I’ve used a piece of wood, and a piece of Gal pipe. Sue me. Just use what you happen to have laying around. It all works. Don’t try and break the bead in one hit. Work your way backwards and forwards about 300mm around the rim. You might have to do it 2 or 3 times. It’s not hard. That particular tyre has been on that rim for about 4 or 5 years, so it was stuck on pretty well, but still only took a couple of minutes of gentle persuasion to break the bead. Then flip the wheel over, and do the same on the 2nd side. This should be a lot easier. Next, put your new tyre on the ground, and sit your rim on top of it. Insert your newly acquired rim protectors. A bit further apart than I have mine is better. Some people like to buy fancy stands or wheel holders, or work on benches. That just makes it hard work. More difficult than it needs to be. Seriously. As the next picture will show you IMG_4621 by speedync, on Flickr Now kneel down with your knees pressing on the edge of the tyre, like this IMG_4623 by speedync, on Flickr Insert one tyre lever between the rim and tyre with the hooked end pointing up. As you gently pull the lever back towards you, lift the lever up until the bottom of the hook hits on the rim. Push the closest side of the tyre (to you) down with your knees into the well in the rim. Pull the rim up towards you by one of the spokes at the same time if needed See how far the sidewall of the tyre disappears into the rim. Here’s what it should look like from another angle. IMG_4624 by speedync, on Flickr Yes, I know, I’ve jumped ahead, and got 2 levers in there already. Bite me. Note how the levers are happily sitting there with no pressure applied. You will have to hold the first one while you insert the 2nd, but they should then hold themselves. I don’t use any lube at all, ‘cause I reckon if you need lube, your technique is wrong. Well, that’s what my wife tells me anyway. I reckon (the lube) lets the tyre slip back inside the rim when you don’t really want it to at this stage. Note. You should only be putting very gentle pressure on the levers. 2 fingers and your thumb should be enough. If you’re sweating and struggling, STOP. And look at what you’re doing. I’ll bet my house you haven’t got the opposite side of the tyre pushed down into the well properly. It’s not hard work. Once you’ve worked your way out to the ends of the rim protectors, you should nearly be able to pull the tyre off with your bare hands, or slide the flat end of your levers around the rim. Now, stand the wheel up vertical, with the tyre away from you, and lever the other sidewall over the rim. Like this IMG_4626 by speedync, on Flickr Once again, make sure the bottom of the tyre is sitting right in the middle of the “well” in the rim. Now simply grab a spoke with one hand, and push the tyre off off the rim with the other. Congratulations. That’s the hard part done. That’s all for part 1. Next, I’ll show you how to get the new tyre on.