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How to change a tyre

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Servicing' at netrider.net.au started by Roarin, Nov 30, 2011.

  1. 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.
    • Like Like x 12
    • Informative Informative x 1
  2. Great work roarin. Having the one end of the gal attached helps out big time.
    You could be nice to the poor old bike and have those rims re powder coated while they were bare lol
  3. Surprisingly, they (the rims) scrub up okay. It's just that they haven't been cleaned for about 5 years He he he. The bare (origionally polished) sections need a wetrub and polishing again though. Officially, it hasn't been ridden in that time either;) Just sat gathering dust. But that's changing over the next week or so :)

    Incidently, I looked at the rear shock mount tonight, and it will be dead easy to make a slotted packer to slip between the frame and shock mount clevis to raise the ride height. There's even enough thread on the mounting bolt to accomodate it as far as I can tell. Just got to work out the ratio to get the height I want. Don't know if your 800 has the same setup, but maybe worth a look. Cheers.
  4. Top stuff mate, I bought a bead breaker the other week, I've been meaning to work out how to do this :)

    Hanging for part 2.
  5. great post, I personally wouldnt have tried thid myself, now I reckon I could :) cheers
  6. Setting up camp and waiting for part 2.

    Great work. Cheers
  7. Stickied. :)
  8. I swear to god things didn't go that smooth at the spanner night at cheffies where a tyre change was done, never the less I am going to give it another crack, thanks mate....so I assume with a new tyre we will see you on a ride soon, been to long
  9. Hehe i'm just imagining a whole lot of bikes sitting around with tires half off the bead and some very tired looking owners
  10. Okay fellow motorcyclists, I’m back. With the second exciting and most informative instalment.

    Basically all you need to do now is to simply reverse the above procedure. Stand the new tyre vertical, sit the rim into the bottom of the tyre-checking the directional arrows on the tyre match the one on your rim, and pull the tyre over the rim.

    It is prudent at this time to check, double check, and check again that you have this correct. ‘Cause it’s awfully frustrating and embarrassing to think you’re so smart and clever being able to fit your own tyres, only to have your wife, mate or girlfriend (or boyfriend, if you’re that way inclined) point out that the tyre is actually on backwards. Here’s a picture to show you what it should look like. See the little arrow on the tyre near the lower spoke?
    IMG_4628 by speedync, on Flickr

    Once you get so far, you might have to lay the wheel down, and stand on the tyre, or rim, depending on what way you lay the wheel over, while you pull or push the rim through, or even push the sidewall with your heels. It’s not hard work, or it shouldn’t be anyway.

    Now lay your old tyre on the ground, sit the rim and ½ fitted new one on top, and line up the small circle printed on the tyre with the valve stem. Like this. See the blue circle?
    IMG_4630 by speedync, on Flickr
    Follow the same procedure you did when removing the tyre. ie kneel down and push the sidewall deep into the well in the rim with your knees. (You won’t require the rim protectors this time, as the tips of the levers will be inside the rim)

    You might have to pull the rim upwards and towards you to help the sidewall feed itself into the rim. Like this
    IMG_4631 by speedync, on Flickr

    Work the tyre over the rim with the palms of your hands, all the time making sure that the tyre is sitting nice and deep into the rim well. Once you get the tyre about 2/3 to ¾ the way on, take one of your tyre levers, and insert it as close as practical to the point where the tyre crosses from the inside to the outside of the rim opposite to where you are kneeling.
    Here’s a picture to help
    IMG_4633 by speedync, on Flickr
    This time have the hook in the lever pointing downwards to it will latch over the rim ad not slip out. Notice how little pressure I have on the lever. Only my thumb and a couple of fingers. Once again, if you’re sweating and struggling, STOP, and look at what you’re doing. Or not doing. It’s not hard work. Or it shouldn’t be. Lever the tyre over the rim gradually. DON’T GET GREEDY. 30 or 40 mm at a time.

    Only 1 lever is required for this part of the operation, because like me, you haven’t used any lube, because you have style, technique, finesse and are the God of tyre fitters to whom nubile young women gaze upon and fizz with excitement and anticipation. Or something like that. Or I could just be making sh!t up.

    None the less, with no lube, the tyre will not want to pop back off when you take the lever out, or undo itself on the opposite side to where you are working. A few more actions and you’re done. That’s it. Too easy.

    Now all you have to do is inflate your newly fitted tyre. You can do this any way you like. I don’t care how. Whatever pushes your buttons. You may need something to give a nice rush of air to start the seating process and start the tyre sealing on the rim. Like a compressor, or one of those CO2 canisters. I just bounce the wheel on the ground a few times, while rotating, and it seem to do the trick.

    Here’s how I pump it up.
    IMG_4636 by speedync, on Flickr
    As you can see, I spare no expense. Ha ha ha ha.

    It’s at this point you can break out the lube. Before you start to inflate the tyre, you can lube the safety ridge inside the rim, and the bead of the tyre to your hearts content. You can use whatever does it for you. KY jelly, WD40, Windex, baby oil, talcum powder and massage oil are all products that have been used successfully. According to my random searches and browsing on the WWW. Internets anyway. Just use something that won’t totally destroy or attack the rubber in your tyre.

    I usually don’t bother, ‘cause I love scaring any innocent bystanders/onlookers/neighbours with the almighty BANG produced as the tyre seats itself as it nudges 350 lbs per square inch on my commercial grade industrial strength kickarse air compressor from hell that you can see in the picture above. Or I could just be bullsh!tting. About the compressor anyway.

    You can tell when the tyre is correctly seated, by looking at this molded line on the tyre
    IMG_4639 by speedync, on Flickr
    It should be a nice even distance from the outer edge of the rim all the way round. And that’s it.

    If you’re an anal pedant, you can now balance your wheel using whatever technique you prefer. The WWW dot internets is full of various procedures you could try. Myself, I just balance the rim with a valve fitted, and forget it.

    But I think that only works for me because I’m old, slow and bald, and never exceed the posted limit. Or something like that.

    Well, that's it from me. Any questions, feel free to ask, and I'll try my best to insult you for displaying your obvious lack of intelligence by not being able to follow my most excellent and precise straight forward instructions.

    Oops, I actually meant to write "I'll try my best to help you with your problems"

    Cheers and good luck to all:)

    PS If you look at the time stamps on the photos, you will see that it took me 20 minutes, from breaking the bead, to getting ready to inflate the tyre. And thats with doing a lot of d!cking around 1 handed, while taking photos with the other hand, stopping, cleaning my hands, taking more pictures, starting again etc etc. I reckon 10 minutes is easily achievable :)
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Once again brilliant. You make it look so easy.
    Most tyre/rims these days are pretty good. Using the dot/valve should be close. oh balance wise.
    Ya can spin it on a broom stick to balance. if it constantly stops at the same point down its out. If not fark it lol..it's not gunna last that long anyway
    Well done again roarin. And ta for the top mount. Not sure if it has room, a real pain to get to.
  12. Roarin,
    If you like scaring innocent bystanders when the tyre beads up, for even more fun invite them over to watch & use HEAPS of lube. Much more exciting to see what happens when their standing too close (I may or may not have done this to annoying customers at previous places of employment).

    The other thing I would recommend is to inflate the tyre up to 45-50psi to make sure it's beaded up properly first then let all the air out, install the valve core & reinflate to correct pressure. (Don't know if you agree or disagree on this one Roarin?)

    Like Roarin has said & shown it is an easy job to do as long as you make sure the bead is pushed into the wheel well opposite the side you are levering from.

  13. I find that wearing boots with good, solid soles helps with this, using the heels to push the tyre around on the rim. I've also been known to get the odd tyre onto the rim without levers using my heels. MrsB's Ural is good for this, as is the front of the DR. The rear of the DR, however, remains my tyre fitting nemesis and I'll continue to pay others to do it for me, thanks.
  14. Ok, tried the tyre change today and utterly failed. Although I could have easily got a mechanic to do it, I'm the kind of guy who loves doing all the work on his bike himself. After getting one side of the new tyre onto the rim, I found that is was impossible to do the same with the other side of the tyre. The OP described this process as:

    In my case, this just wasn't going to happen. My friend and I both tried to do this for about three hours. The last third of the tyre was just too tight to flex properly over the rim without pulling it off on the other side, even when we did everything in our power press the 2/3rds of the tyre that had made it on towards the centre of the rim.

    In the process, I turns out I actually destroyed one of the edges of the tyre bead. Not sure if the tyre can still be used - my guess is that's $200 blown.

    My advice to anyone planning on doing this.

    1. Most of the steps are much harder than the OP suggests. Allocate a whole afternoon for this project, and hope you have more success than I did.
    2. Don't buy small tyre levers like I did. Get big ones.
    3. Don't think for even one second that you can get away with using rags as rim protectors. BIG MISTAKE. You will scratch and chip your rim like I did. Now not only do I have no bike to ride and a useless new tyre, I also have to try to touch up the powder coating in a whole bunch of places on the rim, not to mention the chip...

    Edit: just to be clear, I KNOW I was doing something wrong. I'm just unable to identify what it was.
  15. Without even seeing or watching you work, I can tell you exactly what you were doing wrong. You did not have the bead of the tyre opposite to where you were working, pushed down into the well of the rim. It's just as important to have the tyre bead pushed down into the well when putting the tyre back on, as it is when taking it off. The bead should be sitting right down in the centre of the rim.
    Like this
    IMG_4624 by speedync, on Flickr

    (This photo is taking the tyre off, but it's EXACTLY the same as putting it back on)
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Hi Roarin, thanks for your help. You were, of-course, correct. I'd started with the bead in the well of the rim as I used my hands to push most of the tyre on, but hadn't ensured that it stayed there once I started using the levers.

    So to be clear for future readers, it is absolutely necessary to keep pressing the section of the bead that you've got onto the rim down deep into the well of the rim as you go along with your levers. As you use the levers to lift the tyre over the rim, the bead wants to immediately seat towards the edge of the rim. You have to push it further in, past the lip on the inside of the rim, as you move the lever along.


    So I got the tyre on, but it doesn't matter now because I'd already wrecked the bead on that one. I figured that I could at least do my rear tyre, now that I can properly install them, right?

    Nope. Couldn't break the bead after about 20 minutes of trying with the technique Roaring described, even with my whole 83kg suspended at the end of the lever. I don't know - maybe my lever isn't long enough, or maybe it's because I didn't get a change to leave the wheel out in the sun this time.
  17. No problems. When you say the bead on your tyre is wrecked, is it actually broken? As in the steel or nylon cords in the bead snapped inside the rubber, with the bead all floppy and flexible at one point. Or is it just that the rubber a bit scuffed and damaged along the tyre to rim sealing edge? I find it rather hard to believe that you have actually snapped the cords in the bead. It usually takes an angle grinder or wire rope cutters for me to manage that :)

    As to your problems breaking the bead, did you take the valve core completely out of the stem? Or did you just release the pressure in the tyre? When you put your weight on the lever, is the tyre compressing completely, so that the sidewall you are pushing on touches the sidewall on the opposite side of the tyre? If not, you need more leverage, or shift the vertical part of the breaker closer to the rim (as close as possible) and also move the tyre/rim assembly closer to the pivot point.
    IMG_4620 by speedync, on Flickr
    See how close the vertical timber is to the rim. And how close the whole thing is to the end of the horizontal pipe.

    I think your problem of the tyre lifting up, and not sitting down in the "well" in the rim is due to you trying to use just your hands to hold it down as you lever. This is why I explained how to sit the whole lot on the ground, and use your knees to hold the tyre into the well, while working the levers on the opposite side of the wheel.
    Like this
    IMG_4623 by speedync, on Flickr
    Honestly, it should not be hard work. I'm not being a smart@rse here. It is simply down to getting the small things right.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Hey Roarin, thanks for your response. I don't think the cords inside are broken, but they may be a little warped towards the edge. The tyre is actually sitting on the rim at the moment so I can't see the damage (its a bit late to take it back off). Although the outer surface of the bead is intact, in the inside a good chunk has been taken out (maybe a cm or so in from the edge).

    Thanks, I got the bead broken eventually just by keeping at it for long enough. But then I got stuck here:
    Made very sure that the bottom of the bead was right in the middle of the rim, and was able to get a lever in and over as per the picture. But I wasn't able to pull the rim out after that. Didn't have trouble with on the front wheel - not sure what the problem is now with the back so I'll put it down to me just being a big wuss.

    It doesn't really matter now, though, since I'd already organised to visit a mechanic in the morning. He'll be able to tell me if that tyre can still be used, as well as get this back tyre switched. Hopefully he'll do it in front of me, so I can see where I'm going wrong.
  19. I've managed it, but only with very old (as in 30-40-50 years) tyres, long levers and thick steel rims.
  20. Well, my suspicion was unfortunately correct - that tyre is wrecked. There goes another $225...

    I think I'll mount it above my garage door as an example of what not to do when changing a tyre.