sixity how-to repair guides

How To Change a Motorcycle Tire

When to Change a Motorcycle Tire

Unlike a car that has 4 tires if you blow a tire on a motorcycle you immediately lose either your steering or your power and that's not a good thing. Regularly inspecting your tires and keeping them properly inflated will not only get you a longer service life but a safer ride as well.


The tread on your tire is the most obvious thing to check and most tire manufacturers have made it easy for you to do. On the sidewall you'll find a little arrow pointing up to a specific tread. Somewhere in that tread you'll see a rubber bump or stud, this is the "wear bar." When the surface of your tire is flush with the top of the wear bar you have worn off enough tread to make the tire unsafe.


Another tread oriented feature to look for is uneven wear called cupping or feathering. Both of these conditions are caused by riding on underinflated tires. Check the sidewalls as well. Look for cracking or "cold tears" that are the result of older, stiff tires that have lost their resiliency and can't take the changes in pressure that are a natural part or riding and cornering.


Things You'll Need:

  • Replacement tire
  • 2 tire irons
  • A bottle of soapy water or tire paste
  • 2 lengths of 2x4 boards
  • Tire buddy
  • Valve stem tool
  • Electric air pump
  • Talcum powder
  • Muscle

Preparation

The tire that we are using for this demonstration is for a motocross bike and it has a tube. However the same process would be used (minus removing and inserting a tube) for a street bike. Changing tires by hand is really all about technique and people who do it frequently will talk about how they use their body to add leverage and extra pressure when required.


Fortunately, most riders won't be changing tires every week but that also means that every attempt is going to be a search for that right body language that makes the task easier. The steps we list will get the job done but don't be afraid to get creative in using your legs, hands or knees for braces or pressure.


How to Change a Motorcycle Tire

  1. Place the 2x4s on the ground and put the tire on top of them. This will protect the rotor from coming into direct contact with the floor.
  2. Use the valve stem tool to remove the valve stem and deflate the tire.
  3. Loosen the nut on the rim lock and unscrew it to about the last 3 or 4 threads on the bolt.
  4. The next step is to knock the tire off the bead. Place the curved end of a tire iron between the tire and the rim and pull down towards you. Use this technique every 4 or 5 inches until the tire is off the bead all of the way round. Flip the tire over and do the same thing.
  5. At this point you have a deflated tire sitting inside the wheel rim. The next step is to pry the edge of the tire up over the rim as the first step in removing the tire from the rim.
  6. Place a tire iron about a quarter of the way around the tire from the rim lock, insert and push forward away from you. Tuck the back of the iron under the rotor to hold it in place. Use the second tire iron to take a "bite" about 3" from the first. Push forward and secure the end under the rotor. Take the first tire iron and make another bite about 3" from the second tire iron. After 3 or 4 bites you'll be able to use just the one iron to get the tire over the rim of the wheel.
  7. Flip the tire over and follow the same procedure.
  8. When you have the tire completely over the rim you can push it with your body and a gap will open at the opposite end. Stick the tire iron all the way through that gap. At this point you may want to stand the wheel up because the idea is to push down on the tire and pop it off all in one motion. That's hard to do if it's only 4' off the ground when lying flat.

Install the New Motorcycle Tire

  1. Remove the tube from the old tire.
  2. Sprinkle talcum powder inside the new tire and spin it so it dusts the entire interior. This will keep the tube from chaffing.
  3. Place the new tire on top of the wheel and push the tube inside.
  4. Reinstall the valve stem then use your air pump to put about 1 Psi in the tube. You want just enough to give the tube some shape so it doesn't pinch during the install.
  5. Lubricate both sides of the tire with a tire paste or soapy water.
  6. Line up the tire so that the valve stem is aligned with the hole in the wheel. Push down on the wheel and insert the stem into the wheel. Tighten the nut about three quarters of the way.
  7. Place a tire iron under the rim of the wheel and push down to force the edge of the tire over the rim. Do that all the way round and then flip the tire over.
  8. Use the same technique to start this side of the tire. After you have made the first "bite" place the "tire buddy" on the rim to hold your space. You'll notice that it gets tougher the further you go so start using smaller bites to make sure the tire doesn't break the bead. This is where "handy" work and body leverage can come into play.
  9. When you get the tire mounted, remove the tire buddy and tighten the rim lock nut.
  10. If your pump can do 12 to 15 Psi go ahead and inflate the tire. Otherwise take it to a service station and inflate to the proper pressure.

We're pretty sure you won't want to be changing tires every month, so to get the most out of tires between changes remember to pay attention to tire maintenance.


- End of Procedure -


Return to all Repair & Install Guides

How To Change a Motorcycle Tire

When to Change a Motorcycle Tire

Unlike a car that has 4 tires if you blow a tire on a motorcycle you immediately lose either your steering or your power and that's not a good thing. Regularly inspecting your tires and keeping them properly inflated will not only get you a longer service life but a safer ride as well.


The tread on your tire is the most obvious thing to check and most tire manufacturers have made it easy for you to do. On the sidewall you'll find a little arrow pointing up to a specific tread. Somewhere in that tread you'll see a rubber bump or stud, this is the "wear bar." When the surface of your tire is flush with the top of the wear bar you have worn off enough tread to make the tire unsafe.


Another tread oriented feature to look for is uneven wear called cupping or feathering. Both of these conditions are caused by riding on underinflated tires. Check the sidewalls as well. Look for cracking or "cold tears" that are the result of older, stiff tires that have lost their resiliency and can't take the changes in pressure that are a natural part or riding and cornering.


Things You'll Need:

  • Replacement tire
  • 2 tire irons
  • A bottle of soapy water or tire paste
  • 2 lengths of 2x4 boards
  • Tire buddy
  • Valve stem tool
  • Electric air pump
  • Talcum powder
  • Muscle

Preparation

The tire that we are using for this demonstration is for a motocross bike and it has a tube. However the same process would be used (minus removing and inserting a tube) for a street bike. Changing tires by hand is really all about technique and people who do it frequently will talk about how they use their body to add leverage and extra pressure when required.


Fortunately, most riders won't be changing tires every week but that also means that every attempt is going to be a search for that right body language that makes the task easier. The steps we list will get the job done but don't be afraid to get creative in using your legs, hands or knees for braces or pressure.


How to Change a Motorcycle Tire

  1. Place the 2x4s on the ground and put the tire on top of them. This will protect the rotor from coming into direct contact with the floor.
  2. Use the valve stem tool to remove the valve stem and deflate the tire.
  3. Loosen the nut on the rim lock and unscrew it to about the last 3 or 4 threads on the bolt.
  4. The next step is to knock the tire off the bead. Place the curved end of a tire iron between the tire and the rim and pull down towards you. Use this technique every 4 or 5 inches until the tire is off the bead all of the way round. Flip the tire over and do the same thing.
  5. At this point you have a deflated tire sitting inside the wheel rim. The next step is to pry the edge of the tire up over the rim as the first step in removing the tire from the rim.
  6. Place a tire iron about a quarter of the way around the tire from the rim lock, insert and push forward away from you. Tuck the back of the iron under the rotor to hold it in place. Use the second tire iron to take a "bite" about 3" from the first. Push forward and secure the end under the rotor. Take the first tire iron and make another bite about 3" from the second tire iron. After 3 or 4 bites you'll be able to use just the one iron to get the tire over the rim of the wheel.
  7. Flip the tire over and follow the same procedure.
  8. When you have the tire completely over the rim you can push it with your body and a gap will open at the opposite end. Stick the tire iron all the way through that gap. At this point you may want to stand the wheel up because the idea is to push down on the tire and pop it off all in one motion. That's hard to do if it's only 4' off the ground when lying flat.

Install the New Motorcycle Tire

  1. Remove the tube from the old tire.
  2. Sprinkle talcum powder inside the new tire and spin it so it dusts the entire interior. This will keep the tube from chaffing.
  3. Place the new tire on top of the wheel and push the tube inside.
  4. Reinstall the valve stem then use your air pump to put about 1 Psi in the tube. You want just enough to give the tube some shape so it doesn't pinch during the install.
  5. Lubricate both sides of the tire with a tire paste or soapy water.
  6. Line up the tire so that the valve stem is aligned with the hole in the wheel. Push down on the wheel and insert the stem into the wheel. Tighten the nut about three quarters of the way.
  7. Place a tire iron under the rim of the wheel and push down to force the edge of the tire over the rim. Do that all the way round and then flip the tire over.
  8. Use the same technique to start this side of the tire. After you have made the first "bite" place the "tire buddy" on the rim to hold your space. You'll notice that it gets tougher the further you go so start using smaller bites to make sure the tire doesn't break the bead. This is where "handy" work and body leverage can come into play.
  9. When you get the tire mounted, remove the tire buddy and tighten the rim lock nut.
  10. If your pump can do 12 to 15 Psi go ahead and inflate the tire. Otherwise take it to a service station and inflate to the proper pressure.

We're pretty sure you won't want to be changing tires every month, so to get the most out of tires between changes remember to pay attention to tire maintenance.


- End of Procedure -


Return to all Repair & Install Guides