How to change a motorcycle tire without a stand or specialized tools





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Uploaded on Jun 8, 2010


If you don't have a motorcycle stand or tools but want to change your own tire and save some cash, you can use my first attempt as a guide. Take the good, leave the bad. And if you have any advice, please leave a comment for the next person's benefit. This video, after all, is inspired by the dozens of others I watched in order to learn how to do this.

Process & Equipment:

We used a come-along to lift the front end, and lumber to break the tire bead via a fulcrum/lever setup. You'll also need a tire-iron (or two) to remove/replace the tire from the rim. To prevent the tire iron from scratching the rim (which could compromise the tire seal), wrap the plastic from a milk carton around the tire iron at the point of contact.

To balance the tire, simply pour 1 oz (by weight) of plastic airsoft pellets into the tire before setting the bead. As the wheel spins, the pellets naturally distribute themselves to automatically offset any imbalance. This is an inexpensive and suitable alternative to the professionally made Dynabeads which do the same thing.

The rest is just sockets and hex/allen wrenches. Just be sure to loosen any tight bolts before lifting the bike off the ground; otherwise it'll just wobble in the air when you torque your wrench (thanks for the tip Hueristic!).

The most specialized piece of equipment you will need is an air compressor to set the tire bead. Once when mine wouldn't do it, I just took my rim (with the new tire already mounted) into a tire shop and their compressor set it in just a few seconds. They didn't even charge me (Thanks, Big O).

Economic Factors: DIY versus a service shop

Changing my first tire took several hours to do, even with the help of another person. But I was poor and saw it as a fun learning opportunity, so it was worth it for me. Here are some things to consider when you decide.

Cost. Most service shops have several pricing options for changing a tire. Many will install the tire for free if you buy it through their Parts Department. Alternatively, if you buy your tire from a third party, a shop will install it for the cost of labor. If you go this route, you have two installation options. First, you can simply take your bike and new tire to a service shop. You won't have to touch a thing, but you will pay at LEAST $50 and may even have to drop off your bike for pickup at a later date. Alternatively, if you remove the wheel (leaving the old tire on) and bring it to a shop with your replacement tire, the price of only swapping out the tire can drop to around $30 (I've found as low as $15) with little or no wait since they don't have to wait for a stand to become available.

Damage. Be very careful if you do this on your own as many things can easily go wrong. Scratching your rim on the ground or with a tire iron, for instance, can compromise the tire seal and result in unnoticeably slow air pressure loss. Damage is avoidable if you're careful, but virtually inevitable if you are not. At a dealer, you at least have some security coming from their equipment, experience, and damage liability.

These days, the hassle of removing and replacing the tire from the rim is NOT worth it to me. But neither is $50+ and having to arrange transportation for dropping off/picking up the bike. So I've settled on the happy medium of just taking in the wheel and having the tire swapped out for $15. Doing this just twice saves me enough money to buy both a used/cheap front AND rear stand, allowing me to do a lot more of my own maintenance/repair, saving even more $$$.


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