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Discussion Starter #1
So I've got a tire ordered and on its way. My next decision is: do I remove the wheel and have the tire mounted, or do I let the shop do it all?

If I remove the wheel and take it and the new tire, the shop will mount and balance it for $25

If I take the bike in, I'll have to tow it, but they will do all the work and it will cost at least $50, but more likely around $75 because of the bags.

So, is it worth the extra trouble and money, or is it easy enough to do the work myself? I'm really only worried about putting the tire back on, wondering about bearings (do i need to replace them?) and belt tensioning (do I need anything special to get that right?) other than that, I've turned wrenches before, auto work is not new to me.
 

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You will either need to take off the back fender to get the wheel out from under it

or raise the bike a couple feet up in the air to drop the tire down.

If you can handle one or the other, then no one will be more careful and attentive than you working on your bike.

If you need any special tools, the first time you do it yourself you will more than pay for them, compared to having the bike towed to a shop and repaired for you while you sip on coffee in the waiting area.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Guitarkidd, I already saw that video, but that is a shaft drive and the part I'm worried about is getting the belt back on properly.

My last bike was a virago with a shaft drive and that was so easy to remove and replace the rear wheel.
 

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Guitarkidd, I already saw that video, but that is a shaft drive and the part I'm worried about is getting the belt back on properly.

My last bike was a virago with a shaft drive and that was so easy to remove and replace the rear wheel.
Here is a video that might help! Also I would recommend going to harbor freight and getting you a motorcycle jack. Can get one for around $50. It will help when removing the wheel, and any other time you are working on your bike. It is also nice to have when polishing so that you can sit on a mechanic stool or a low chair and not have to bend down
 

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You will either need to take off the back fender to get the wheel out from under it

or raise the bike a couple feet up in the air to drop the tire down.

If you can handle one or the other, then no one will be more careful and attentive than you working on your bike.

If you need any special tools, the first time you do it yourself you will more than pay for them, compared to having the bike towed to a shop and repaired for you while you sip on coffee in the waiting area.
some rear fenders will lift up by removing just two fender strut bolts a loosening the rest of the fasteners
 

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In all honesty, have them do it IMHO.

Let me clarify: I'm a bike mechanic by profession. At my shop, I have access to a bike-lift with a rear-wheel cutout and all the tools I need to do it without even pulling the fender. Having pulled the rear wheel of many vstars of that vintage, including my own '07 1300 belt drive, it's certainly not a terrible job with the right setup.

But... I don't have all that at home. And with my personal VS, I had the local shop do it last time I needed tires. It was worth the $50 to not have to take my bike to the shop and spend the time to do it there. But that may be me: Ever hear the joke about how OB/GYN's have a terrible sex-life? You don't want to come home and deal with what you've been staring in the face all day.

If you truly want to get yourself set up to do your own work, then the investment (your time + money in tools/equipment) may be worth it.

If you're more a 'weekend warrior' (not that there's anything wrong with that) and won't recoup your investment by doing your own work, then it's probably better to spend the extra ~50 to have them do it.

Having said that, I would never consider doing it "on the ground". If a decent bike lift isn't in your plans or fit your space (decent home-use ones cost ~$1,000), then it's totally worth the extra money to have it done for you IMHO.
 

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Casey, I pretty much agree with what you posted. Everyone has a right to earn a living in whatever profession they desire and a good mechanic is worth his pay.

Its getting harder and harder to be a shadetree mechanic, the list of things things a person can wrench on in their own garage is getting smaller and smaller - so changing a wheel, spark plugs, brakes, oil and filter and doing valve timing is most of the list for most people.

There is one aspect though that is not obvious. If a person makes $20/ hr to earn $50 in pocket money they have to work more than 2 1/2 hours because of taxes - for some people its more like 4 hrs ($80) to take home $50.

and if he pays his mechanic $50, guess where half that is going: taxes on the mechanic and his business - so the mechanic ends up with $30 in his takehome pay.

This is the reason if it takes me 4 hours to remove a wheel and it only takes the mechanic 1 hour - its a wash: I spend 4 hours at work, the mechanic works on my bike for an hour, he takes home $30, and the taxman gets $50.
 

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i don't trust shops to do spoke wheels because the one time i had it done they pinched the tube and just patched it instead of replacing it. i didn't know about it for two years until i did the tires myself and saw the patch, after that i started doing all spoke wheels myself and just have the shop dynamically balance them, i learned how true them up also, it's a slow process but really not that hard to do as long as the rim isn't twisted
 

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Casey, I pretty much agree with what you posted. Everyone has a right to earn a living in whatever profession they desire and a good mechanic is worth his pay.

Its getting harder and harder to be a shadetree mechanic, the list of things things a person can wrench on in their own garage is getting smaller and smaller - so changing a wheel, spark plugs, brakes, oil and filter and doing valve timing is most of the list for most people.

There is one aspect though that is not obvious. If a person makes $20/ hr to earn $50 in pocket money they have to work more than 2 1/2 hours because of taxes - for some people its more like 4 hrs ($80) to take home $50.

and if he pays his mechanic $50, guess where half that is going: taxes on the mechanic and his business - so the mechanic ends up with $30 in his takehome pay.

This is the reason if it takes me 4 hours to remove a wheel and it only takes the mechanic 1 hour - its a wash: I spend 4 hours at work, the mechanic works on my bike for an hour, he takes home $30, and the taxman gets $50.
KCW - Good point I hadn't really thought of. I'm a "private" mechanic (we buy, restore & sell old bikes - don't take in 'public' work) so it hadn't occurred to me to think of it that way 'round.

I was really more just saying to me it's a PITA job working with the setups most of us have at home. But agreed even a PITA job can be worth it for a few extra bucks in pocket.
 

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When Thoreau wrote the book "Walden" he realized that back then, for most people, walking is faster than taking the train.

Because everyone overlooked the fact that to pay for a train ticket you have to work - and for most people they would have to work for several days to buy a train ticket. If they just walked instead of working they would get there faster.

That still applies today. The average cost of driving a car is 40¢ per mile. At 40 mph it costs $16 to drive a car for an hour.

If a person is only making $10/hr, they have to work for 2hrs to earn $16 in take home pay - so to go an average 40 miles they have to work 2 hrs, and spend an hour driving: 40 miles / hrs = 13mph.

They would be better off riding a bicycle.
 

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...and if he pays his mechanic $50, guess where half that is going: taxes on the mechanic and his business - so the mechanic ends up with $30 in his takehome pay.

This is the reason if it takes me 4 hours to remove a wheel and it only takes the mechanic 1 hour - its a wash: I spend 4 hours at work, the mechanic works on my bike for an hour, he takes home $30, and the taxman gets $50.
I actually have to double-down on what you say here, 'cuz that mechanic is not likely even getting $30 for that tire-change.

If he owns the shop, he's not only got to pay the various taxes (income, payroll, unemployment insurance, workers' comp, etc), but also out of that $50 consider what part goes for mortgage/rent, maintenance, equipment, electricity, heat, tool wear & replacement, waste disposal (e.g. one must PAY to get rid of old tires these days), insurance premiums, etc.

If he works there, the boss isn't paying him the $50 he's charging you (for all the reasons mentioned above). He's likely paying half that, and THEN you start taking out taxes from there.
 

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In all honesty, have them do it IMHO.

Let me clarify: I'm a bike mechanic by profession. At my shop, I have access to a bike-lift with a rear-wheel cutout and all the tools I need to do it without even pulling the fender. Having pulled the rear wheel of many vstars of that vintage, including my own '07 1300 belt drive, it's certainly not a terrible job with the right setup.

But... I don't have all that at home. And with my personal VS, I had the local shop do it last time I needed tires. It was worth the $50 to not have to take my bike to the shop and spend the time to do it there. But that may be me: Ever hear the joke about how OB/GYN's have a terrible sex-life? You don't want to come home and deal with what you've been staring in the face all day.

If you truly want to get yourself set up to do your own work, then the investment (your time + money in tools/equipment) may be worth it.

If you're more a 'weekend warrior' (not that there's anything wrong with that) and won't recoup your investment by doing your own work, then it's probably better to spend the extra ~50 to have them do it.

Having said that, I would never consider doing it "on the ground". If a decent bike lift isn't in your plans or fit your space (decent home-use ones cost ~$1,000), then it's totally worth the extra money to have it done for you IMHO.
i think what got harder over the years is diagnosing of electronics but the basics mechanics of internal combustion haven't changed, how the fuel gets in and how it's ignited are what keeps changing, a noid light and multi meter can tell you most of what you need to know on electronics and a vacuum and compression gauge can tell you the rest, i always say nothing is hard to work on it's just some things take longer to fix, it would be nice if motorcycles were required to have obd II connectors like cars do, instead of having to get a bunch of adapters that don't work half of time for the scaner
 

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I just recently did both front and rear tires myself on my 08 strat. Used my cheapo motorcycle jack and some elbow grease. Shops around Boise,Id want over $150 average just to mount and balance. Belt tension was not that difficult to readjust. Just make an alignment marks on both sides of your swingarm, as reference marks, near your axle nut. Unless you have a reference scale already cast into it like the stratoliner and Raiders have.
 

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I just recently did both front and rear tires myself on my 08 strat. Used my cheapo motorcycle jack and some elbow grease. Shops around Boise,Id want over $150 average just to mount and balance. Belt tension was not that difficult to readjust. Just make an alignment marks on both sides of your swingarm, as reference marks, near your axle nut. Unless you have a reference scale already cast into it like the stratoliner and Raiders have.
i modified one of those 50 dollar motorcycle scissor jacks screwing wood pieces on it to straddle the frame, it go's plenty high enough but i do have to park it on a plank to get it under the frame
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Just to wrap things up here. I did the removal and reinstall myself this weekend. It really wasn't that bad. Took about an hour to remove and same to replace. Mostly because I didn't have any Allan sockets and had to use a bit of percussive persuasion to get the exhaust loosened up. I got to be really good at putting the wheel back on as I kept forgetting parts or didn't mount the brake properly and ended up re-doing it about 5 times.

And wouldn't you know it, the bike is back together and this morning it decides to rain, so I drove the car to work.
 

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when you take off a wheel that has a disk brake, the service manual says to unbolt the caliper from the fork.

It makes no sense when taking the wheel off, because it just comes right off

but when you go to put the wheel back on, its pretty tricky to get the wheel aligned just right to feed the rotor into the caliper, if its still bolted to the fork.
 
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