How to Change Motorcycle Tires?

If you own a motorcycle, there are things you cannot avoid doing. One of those is changing your motorcycle tires. While most people would prefer going to a mechanic for this task, you can choose to do it on your own so you may save time and money in the process. Changing your motorcycle’s tires is not hard provided that you have the right knowledge and tools to do it.

Unfortunately, most of the riders have never thought of how easy it is to change their own tires as opposed to looking for an expert to do it on their behalf. Even if they may have an idea of how to go about changing their motorcycles’ tires, the real challenge could be accessing the machines designed for this task.

However, all aforementioned hurdles should not be a hindrance to you when it comes to changing your motorcycle tires in case of an emergency. This is because the whole procedure involved is simple in such a way that any person can use it to accomplish this task. In this article, you are going to learn how to change your motorcycle tires in ten simple steps.

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How to Change Motorcycle Tires?

10 Easy Steps for Changing Motorcycle Tires

Whether tubeless or otherwise, the procedure for changing tires on your motorcycle remains the same (unless you are removing the inner tube). You will only require the right skills to break the beads if at all you will be working on tubeless tires.

In this case, you will need a few tire irons of about one foot long per 30 centimeters and a thin edge that will aid the irons in getting them in-between the tires and the rims. Now let’s assume that you are about to change the tires on your dirt bike and you have already removed the wheel. What steps will you follow to achieve success in changing the tire? Find out.

STEP 1: Take out the Schrader Valve (also known as the American Valve)

Schrader valve is the component used when filling the tire with pressure or air. Therefore, the valve plays a very important role in keeping the pressure or air in the tire all the time. The good news is that all these valves are almost similar across a wide range of motorcycle tires and are readily affordable.

On that note, you should always remember to replace them every time you change the tires on your bike. When removing the Schrader valve, you need to use a special tool designed specifically for this purpose. The tool is carefully inserted into the valve to get it out and at the same time allow the air to escape from the tire.

Removing the valve from the tires will deflate it and make your work even easier.

STEP 2: Break the Bead on the Tire

The next step after deflating the tire is to break the bead. As you may know, the bead on the tire runs all round the rim that holds the tire in place. The rim is important such that it locks the tire firmly into a groove running all around the wheel.

Once your tire is inflated, the rim holds it in place hence the inner tube is not necessary in this regard. Without proper tools and machines, you may find breaking the bead on the tire to be a very challenging task for you. This means that you will need to look for specific tools or machines to help you get the job done.

In case you don’t have access to the right tools for this task, the best you can do is to jump on the wheel several times or use a heavy object to loosen up the beads. Clearly, you can never run out of options when changing your motorcycle tires if you are truly determined to do so.

STEP 3: Prepare to Lift Your Motorcycle Tire off the Rim

Probably, loosening the beads on the tire sounds like the most changing task that needs both strength and skills. But that is not even the climax of the whole exercise. In fact, it’s just the beginning of a process that paves the way for other more important steps. With that in your mind, the third step in changing your motorcycle tire should involve lifting the tire off the wheel.

This is equally a challenging step that makes most of the motorcycle owners sweat. That being said, you will need to sweat even more and flex a few of your muscles when lifting the tire in readiness for the next steps.

First of all, you will be required to use a few rim protectors unless you want to risk deforming it.The rim protectors are mainly used if the wheel on your bike is made of soft metal alloy rims which are known to bend easily when subjected to some intensive pressure.

Clip the protectors on the rim, especially at the spot you are intending to place the tire irons against the rim. You may apply a lot of tire fitting soap in every section or around the rim in order to lubricate the entire tire in a bid to make your work easier.

STEP 4: Lifting the Tire off the Rim

This is the most important step when changing your motorcycle tire. In essence, this step requires you to be very careful and attentive in everything you do. Any small mistake can cause damage to both the rim and the tire. Start with lifting the tire by inserting at least three irons in between the tire and the rim.

Your exact starting point should be at the closet valve on the tire before moving to other areas. Push farther in the opposite end to create more room for inserting the first iron. Take one tire iron and put it at the valve side while making sure that it is lifting some portion of the tire off the rim. Proceed towards the center of your wheel and find the appropriate spot where you can insert the second tire iron or the lever.

Make sure that the next spot to place the second lever is a small distance away from the first spot where you inserted the first tire iron. Again take the third lever and repeat the same process, taking great care not to damage the tube, the tire, and the rim. When all these three levers are already in their respective positions, go ahead and start lifting the tire off the rim. You will find the process to be quite easier than you ever thought.

STEP 5: Get the Tire past the Rim

At the moment everything should be falling in place much to your delight and the effort put in at the beginning of the task. This doesn’t mean that you take a rest but continue further to ensure that the tire is well beyond the rim.

To achieve this feat, you need to keep on repeating the procedure of lifting the wheel until you get somewhere halfway around the tire. It may take you much of your concentration and skills when lifting the tire using the three tire irons. Every time you shift to a new position, ensure that the previous one is lifted some small distance off the rim.

The main idea is to lift a larger portion of the tire from the rim so that it will be easier for you to get it off without much of a struggle. After you manage to get halfway around the wheel, you can lift the tire off the rim easily and effortlessly.

STEP 6: Pull Out the Inner Tube (if it’s there)

By now your tire is already lifted off the rim. But if there is an inner tube, you should know how to handle it. Inner tubes are a little bit delicate and if not handled properly they can get damaged in the process. In this case, you may pull it out with a lot of care and gentleness.

All you have to do is to ensure that the valve is pushed inside the wheel before trying to reach inside for the inner tube. Hold it and pull it gently to avoid damaging it. You should do this to protect it against damage in all the next stages of changing the motorcycle tire.

After pulling out the inner tube and ensuring that it is still in good condition, keep it away from the rim until it is time to put it back into the wheel.

STEP 7: Lift the Tire Up and Towards You

After going through steps 3, 4 and 5, this step should not be a challenge to you or take away much of your time at all. As a matter of fact, everything has been simplified for you and what is left is to lift the tire off the rim and towards you.

So, what are you supposed to do? The answer is simple; just insert one or two tire irons beyond the rim and pull the entire tire towards you. This way, you will be able to lift it clean from the rim in a similar manner as what you did in the initial stages of changing the tire. The difference here is that this step is a little bit fiddly but somewhat manageable.

Once you are done with working around halfway through the rim, you will discover that when you turn the wheel on the other side you will be able to lift the rim out and away from the tire. You can make it faster and easier by simply bracing the tire against the floor before doing the lifting of the rim.

STEP 8: Preparation to Refit the Tire

At this stage, you can start preparing the final part of changing the tire in what is known as “refitting the tire”. Just like in the beginning, ensure that you have everything necessary which is the tools and the new tire to replace the older one.

Look around the new tire to establish the direction of rotation (popularly known as DOR) before you can get started. At the same time, check out for one or two small dots that are supposed to guide you when refitting the tire. The dots come in a variety of colors such as blue, yellow, orange and many more so that you can easily see them on the wheel.

In addition to helping you find the direction of rotation on the wheel, these dots play a significant role in signifying the heaviest part on the tire. This part is designed to be placed in the opposite direction with the valve as a way of balancing out the total weight of the valve.

STEP 9: Refit the Tire

After checking and verifying the direction of rotation for the tire and the wheel and also determining where the dots are located, you can now start the process of refitting the tire on the wheel. Actually, this is just the reverse of the entire process of removing the tire from the rim.

At least you can make this process as quick as possible given that you know what is involved from the start to the point where the tire is pulled of the rim. Thereafter you may replace the valve before inflating the tire. Also, you may do some repairs to the inner tube in case you find some damages on it.

STEP 10: Do Some Checkup on the Tire

It will be needless to discover that your tire is not holding the required pressure sometimes after changing it. For that reason, it is a good idea to do some thorough check-up to make sure that the new tire is capable of holding the required amount of pressure.

Additionally, check if the same tire is properly balanced or reseated properly in its position. Remove any available old wheel weights if any before rebalancing the wheel.

Final Thought

At this point and time, you are pretty sure that you can change your motorcycle tire well and faster. From the ten steps highlighted above, nothing should stop you from achieving this goal provided that you follow the correct procedure using the right tools.

On the average, you may take about half an hour to finish changing the tire on the motorcycle right from removing the wheel all the way to rebalancing it. At least you can save a few dollars and time if you do it right.

Josh Berry - MotoShark Editor
Josh Berry
I'm a off-road enthusiast, extreme sport fan and the editor of MotoShark. If you have any questions or suggestions regarding this article, please leave a comment or contact me.

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