If you’ve never changed your bike’s tires, you might be surprised to know it’s a DIY project many riders choose to do. It saves a lot of money on installation costs, which doesn’t make sense if you bought a cheap bike and then spend almost the same amount on having your tires changed. Also, unlike changing your own auto tires, it doesn’t usually require a lot of specialized equipment. You will need to either buy or build a balance stand, and you’ll need a set of tire irons and the right kind of tools to feed the spoons into and out of the right spots.
Prepping the Area
The first steps are easy. Clean up the garage area and lay out all the tools you’ll need. Get a bucket of warm soapy water, as well as your general tools like a socket and screwdriver set. Make sure you’ve got several tire irons and other tools for helping you manipulate the tires, and then take the old and new tires and set them in the sun to heat up. Both the rubber and metal are easier to work with when they are warm. If it’s cold out, consider bringing tires indoors to warm up instead. This especially helps with cheap motorcycle tires that might have rubber that’s a little stiffer than average.
Removing the Old Tires
When you’re ready to start, the first thing you’ll want to do is get the tires lubricated and moistened with the soapy water. Be thorough, this helps make the rubber slippery enough to manipulate the spoons out of their grooves as you pull the rubber away from the metal. When you’re ready to start that operation, gripping the wheel between your thighs can give you the extra leverage you need to get the tire irons in there and separate them. After the first spoon is out of the groove, keep rotating the wheel until you’ve freed and entire side. Then, repeat the procedure again on the other side.
Putting on New Tires
Whether you’re using OEM bike parts and replacing brand-for-brand or you’re upgrading to the best motorcycle tires you can find, the installation winds up being the same. In most respects it’s just the opposite of the previous procedure, and it uses most of the same tools:
- Use the soapy water to lubricate the material
- Seat the tire over the rim with the spoons folded under
- Start working one into place while holding the gap open with tire irons
- Once seated, rotate the wheel and work on the next
- Keep spoon material for the other side of the wheel tucked under until you make it all the way around
- Repeat for the other side.
Once the material is seated, the next step is to inflate it and check for proper fit, then balancing. Balancing the tire requires you to put it on a stand and watch to see where it settles when it stops spinning. Then, you counterweight that point until you no longer have a single heavy spot that causes a pendulum action when the tire loses momentum. You would practice this same type of thing in the driveway with your child after buying kid bikes in the store.
Save Money By Bundling Supplies
If you already do a lot of your maintenance at home, you can save some money on shipping by bunding your supplies together and buying for several bike projects at once. Stock up and save today.