Changing your own tires - Star Motorcycle Forums: Star Raider, V-Max, V-Star, Road-Star Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-23-2016, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
KCW
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Changing your own tires

Been looking through and searching Wheels and Tires folder here, and finding very little information on changing your own tires.

When my VS 650 had 13k miles I had the local Yamaha dealer put new tires on it. Replaced the OEM Bridgstone Exedras with Dunlop 404s. The OEMs were considerably more expensive, but still it cost me $460 for them to do both wheels with the Dunlops.

The Dunlop on the back wheel only lasted 8k miles. I have changed and fixed tires on dirt bikes and 175 street bikes, so I got the OEM Bridgestone for the back wheel and changed it myself.

4k miles later I changed the front wheel with the matching Exedra.

The two tires cost me $260 from Bike Bandit online, installing them cost me nothing.

One thing that surprised me, when I did the math and figured out how much those dealer purchased and installed Dunlop tires cost me, and the fact that Im normally getting 58 to 60mpg on my 650, the tires were literally costing me as much as fuel. Tank for tire the rubber is being consumed at the same rate per dollar as the gas.

Most of the threads I have found here seem to think that breaking the bead and then getting the tire on and off the bike is a feat of strength and determination.

If I was going to change motorcycle tires for the next 40 years I might get a HF tire changer, but I have always been of the mindset if you cant fix your bike with the tools in your tool box, whats the point?

There is some really nutso crap on ewetube about breaking the bead and getting the tire off your MC wheel.

All I needed was a large C clamp, crush the tire (with no air) on the side opposite the valve steam, and one or both beads WILL come off the wheel. Take a crow bar or giant screw driver and work the bead off another several inches and the rest falls off on that side.

If only one side pops off with the C clamp, work it loose all the way, then put the clamp back on with a piece of 1/4" plywood about a foot long on the side that is already loose, so the clamp is now pushing against the side of the tire that is still locked in the bead, against the tire and the wheel rim on the other side, covering at least a foot of the rim. It pushes right off.

I saw on clown on ewetube who managed to get the beads loose, but then could not get the tire off the rim. He took some cutting tool and cut the tire in half! Seriously? this guy is posting videos on how to change your tire?

There is a thing about getting the tire off the rim. One side of the tire must be squeezed together and pushed into the center of the rim, while you pry the lip off on the other side of the wheel. A motorcycle tire is stiff enough, even when flat, that it will try to seat itself back into the bead lip. There is a steel cable/belt in the bead that keeps it from blowing off the wheel, and if the far side is not pushed into the center of the U shaped wheel, there is no way you are getting the lip over the wheel. I saw a guy on the side of a bike path trying to get a bike tire off his wheel, same deal. He was prying and cussing and bent his screwdriver. I pushed the tire together on the opposite side into the center of the wheel, then pulled the loose end off with my fingers. He thought I was a bicycle god!

To make it easier put the C clamp on the tire and squish it together so it wont fight you, then push it into the center of the U shape, while you pry the lip off the other side.

Its really not that hard. If it seems impossible you are doing something wrong.

The last step, putting the new tire on, you have to inflate it to get the bead to pop into the rim, so its fully seated. Lots of tire lube (its mostly soap) and air pressure is what you need. My compressor is designed for an airbrush, and maxes out at 50psi. I had no problem popping the back wheel onto the rim to seat last summer, but last week the second side of the front tire would not seat.

I googled this and found a few mechanics that said you may have to hit it with up to 90psi to get a stiff heavy tire like the Bridgestone Exedra's to pop in. They were right. Took my wheel to a guy with a real compressor... popped in around 75psi.

I did find one thread here on the forum where someone changed their front tire and could not get the bead to pop in. The poster said "its holding air so I guess its OK" !!!!!!!

Are we allowed to swear on this website because holy *!&&@#^^#($&*&*(&@[email protected]#@. The post was a couple years old so I did not reply to it, but your tire MUST seat the beads on both sides or it will likely spin off the wheel the first time you get on the brakes.

If there was a bike shop in my area that would change the tire on a carry-in for $10 to $20... I might take it in. But saving $200 by buying both tires online and doing them myself.... well... when I was a kid and something was broken and I was upset, my grandfather use to tell me: "Its ok. If it was made on this planet, you can fix it."

Big C clamp, a piece of plywood, tire irons, very soapy water. Its a good feeling knowing you can get a tire off your bike and back on with stuff you can find in just about anyone's garage.

And BTW, the Bridgestone OEMs vs Dunlop 404's. When the Dunlops were put on the bike seemed a lot looser, easier to turn. And I could no longer ride hands free. I though maybe it was because the old tires were worn into an odd shape.

But last week when I put a new OEM Bridgestone back on the front wheel, the bike became really tight again. The bridgstone must be a much heavier tire on the thread, because the difference in the gyroscopic effect is very noticeable. And like magic, I can take my hands off the grips again and the bike tracks straight, solid as can be. Never going back to cheap/light tires again!

Last edited by KCW; 09-23-2016 at 08:36 PM.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-24-2016, 03:27 PM
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All I can say is that I own a bike business, and $10-20 to change a tire - even carry-in - is not even remotely worth my time.

If you want to do it yourself and save the money, more power to you.

2007 V-Star 1300

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-24-2016, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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Casey, yeah.. I understand that.

Walmart will change a car tire that you carry in for $5, no balancing. I dont know how they make money doing that unless they figure the shop always has some down time during the day.

And I dont begrudge anyone from earning a living if they have the equipment and experience. There are a lot of people that cannot wrench on their own bikes -but if you can....

Let me put it this way. A computer engineer with 10 years experience and a 4 year degree is making about $100,000 a year. Thats $48/hr.

Most bike shops and garages charge $75/hr or more for labor. For that engineer to earn $75 he has to work two hours to take home $75 after taxes. If he can do it himself and it takes twice as long, he is still breaking even.

And if you love working on machines, all the better.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-24-2016, 07:33 PM
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i changed my 2000 classic tires at least 6 times with no problems. if you keep the bead down into the center of the rim and take small bites the tires go right on, i'v always used powder as a lubricant, if you have enough air in the tube you won't pinch it, i then balance the tire right on the bike. one thing i learned is that the heaviest part of the rim is not always where the valve stem is, so find where the true heavy spot is and put the light spot on the tire to it, you'll use less weights that way, sometimes none at all. breaking the bead was never hard on my 650 it just took patience and dish soap. patience and small bites are key to doing it, i'v used dunlop metzler and kenda, the toughest one was metzler. my last set done in 2016 i went with kenda 673s 85 dollars for the rear and 78 dollars for the front free shipping plus 60 for new tubes came to 213 to have new tires on the bike. not bad in my opinion, oh yeah if you have to put more than 50 pounds to seat a bead stop and relube or you'll risk damaging the tire and you won't even know you damaged it until blows out at speed. just don't get in a hurry and have the right tools and most bikers can handle changing a tire.the dealership wanted more money to change my tires than the tires cost and that's just ridiculous and if you think dealerships don't pinch tubes and nick the rims trust me i worked for one and it happens more than you wan't to know, the two things i didn't see in your post was mention of the tube which all 650 have and lining up the light side of the tire to the heavy side of the rim and making sure the rotation is right , sometimes if i'm not sure of the tube i deflate the tire and break the bead and take a good look see then reinflate. better safe than sorry

dumb bikers don't get to be old bikers

Last edited by pauli466; 09-24-2016 at 07:49 PM.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-01-2016, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pauli466 View Post
...if you have to put more than 50 pounds to seat a bead stop and relube or you'll risk damaging the tire ...
When the tire wouldnt seat at 40 psi the first time I was using windex for lube. The other side popped in around 25psi. I let the air out, pushed the tire in on that side and tried again. 45 psi was not enough. I let the air out again and got some dish soap and a bit of water, up to 50 psi and it would not seat. It wasnt just the same spot, it was lubed as can be...

Thats when I consulted the all knowing and all wise Oracle "Google". Found lots of posts on websites with the same problem. Weeding through all the responses, several people that said they were bike shop mechanics posted it takes 90psi for some stubborn tires to pop in that last 6 inches, and lots of lube.

A couple people mentioned that thin little bicycle racing tires run at 100 to 120 psi, and that its not the rubber in the tire that gives it strength, its the cords and the wire in the bead. I didnt see any posts about blowing a tire off the rim, splitting a tire, or failures after the fact.

Some people talked about wacking the tire with a BFH to get it to seat, putting straps around it (more if a tubeless tire wont seal and inflate), and there is the clown with the butane and the lighter on eweTube...

The guy I took it to popped it in around 75psi, and then let the air back out down to 32 immediately.

But if you got it soaked with lube, and there is no extra fringe of rubber on the bead from the mold, and it wont seat, what else can you do but pump it up more? If it got to 90psi and still would not seat, I would think the tire was mis-shaped.

Last edited by KCW; 10-01-2016 at 03:43 PM.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-01-2016, 04:10 PM
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Push both beads in and spin the tire a bit. On top of lubing the bead of the tire it also helps alot to lube the wheel right below the bead as this is where the tire hits at as the beads coming up to seat.

07 vstar 650 midnight custom
Ais disable, 4.5 inch risers, V&H cruzers, jetted with pods, viking saddlebags, Kuryakyn mini boards and memphis fats windshield, fuel solenoids deleted, star solo seat and 4 inch extensions. Boss audio sound system.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-01-2016, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCW View Post
Casey, yeah.. I understand that.

Walmart will change a car tire that you carry in for $5, no balancing. I dont know how they make money doing that unless they figure the shop always has some down time during the day.

And I dont begrudge anyone from earning a living if they have the equipment and experience. There are a lot of people that cannot wrench on their own bikes -but if you can....

Let me put it this way. A computer engineer with 10 years experience and a 4 year degree is making about $100,000 a year. Thats $48/hr.

Most bike shops and garages charge $75/hr or more for labor. For that engineer to earn $75 he has to work two hours to take home $75 after taxes. If he can do it himself and it takes twice as long, he is still breaking even.

And if you love working on machines, all the better.
So we agree that those who can do it themselves are well-served to do so. Cool.

I should add that as far as Wally World is concerned, I suspect it's a loss-leader for them AND car tires are WAY easier to dismount/mount than motorcycle tires. Let's leave aside whether you want to entrust your safety to an employee who is almost certainly part-time, benefit-less, underpaid, and with high turnover. (As you may ascertain, I'm no fan of WM's employment practices and don't think it's the way to get employees who know their stuff and/or give a damn). Even 'safety' aside... I betcha nobody with rims they care about would want to take 'em to WW and turn 'em over to some part time monkey. Is the $5 worth it if they scratch up (or worse, bend the rim on) your expensive wheels?

As to your engineer analogy, we have to understand 'net' versus 'gross' cost. That engineer typically goes to an office where his desk, computer, software, heating, cooling, etc. are all provided over/above his pay, not to mention the payroll taxes and benefits that must be paid. The cost of him -to his company- is far more than his "net" pay of $48 an hour. If they had to charge someone for his services, it would be FAR more than $48 an hour.

Conversely, the $75 an hour "labor" charge the garage is seeking is 'gross' - it's effectively paying for not just labor but equipment, waste disposal, rent, utilities, payroll taxes, benefits, etc. (FWIW, a good professional 'touchless' mount/demount machine, properly set up for motorcycle wheels (often larger diameter & thinner than car wheels) is around $10,000, plus a big-ass compressor and 220/3-phase electrical to run it. You gotta do a LOT of tire mounts to amortize just the equipment cost down to $5 per!).

But you are correct that from a "net" value-proposition standpoint, if the engineer prefers to expend two hours of his leisure time valued at his rate of pay rather than pay what amounts to two hours income, it's arguably a good decision.

Yet the truth remains simple: Between greeting you, getting the wheel and tire on the machine, mounting it, installing a valve stem (which you may choose not to do at home, but I'm not going to let you get away with a safety "don't" like that at my shop), inflating it, presenting a bill, swiping your card & paying the fees, etc. it's gonna be a MINIMUM 30 minutes time to mount a tire for you. 45 minutes if you have tube tires. And I'd be outta business charging ~$20 an hour for 'labor' for that... OTOH, if you're a customer (e.g. a regular, you're having other work done, you bought the tire from us, etc.) then I'm doing it for you for free. But as a 'walk in' service, just can't do it.

Or is WW just more efficient than me? Possibly so. I'm not even gonna play the "main street versus wall street violin" on that one and say you should pay more to 'support your local retailer' or similar. But I think it's where you gotta consider things like quality, expertise, etc. in the mix. Put simply, you wanna pay $5 for some untrained monkey to scratch up your rims and -hopefully- get the tire mounted correctly? Or you want someone who knows what they're doing to get the things that connect your bike to the road set up just exactly right?

FWIW, I consider the latter another good reason to do it yourself: You may not have the equipment or expertise, but the dedication to "getting it right" working on your own bike counts for a lot in my book. I got beaucoup respect for home mechanics!
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Last edited by caseyjones; 10-01-2016 at 04:39 PM.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-01-2016, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 07midnightcustom View Post
Push both beads in and spin the tire a bit. On top of lubing the bead of the tire it also helps alot to lube the wheel right below the bead as this is where the tire hits at as the beads coming up to seat.
I'll add that paying the (admittedly not small - the good stuff is like $20 a gallon!) cost for a jug of good-quality tire-lube is well worth it. Windex, soapy water and the like just aren't the same.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-18-2016, 02:02 AM
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Soapy water is a bad idea with aluminum wheels. It gets between the wheel and tire and will cause corrosion eventually leading too a leak at the bead itself.

When I changed my tires I used white grease as a lubricant. I didn't have the good tire snot! But, I'm planning on getting some.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-21-2016, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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When I was having trouble getting one bead to seat I googled the issue

some websites warned against using grease on the bead. The bead is the only thing holding your tire to the rim, when you brake or accelerate hard. The tire lube and soapy water or windex evaporate out and do not stay permanently lubed between the tire and rim.

I wondered about getting soapy water between the tire and tube, if it would get trapped in there? Apparently not.
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