Changing a motorcycle tire for sure looks easy to some people, but there is a process involved in making it happen. Sometimes people end up giving up on making the change themselves and opt for a garage to help them do that.
If you are going to change the motorcycle tire on your own, it is crucial that you get to do it right always. You have to use the right technique and tools to ensure you end up with the correct tire change.
In case the tire change is done incorrectly, it may lead to some issues such as accidents. You must be eager by now to know how to change a motorcycle tire. Let us get into it right away.
Reasons to replace your tires
Tires are strong and they can withstand a lot of hits. But sometimes when you drive your motorcycle, the tires get flat. If this happens, go to a professional and they will check. They will know if the inner tube has been damaged.
The tread has reached the wear limit
The Michelin Man is a symbol of how worn out your tires are. If you see small bumps or bulges on the bottom, that means that the tire is almost done.
The rubber has come to the end of the grooves where they can go no more. You might not be safe when it rains because your grip and performance will decline with each bump or bulge.
Tires show signs of aging
It’s hard to know how long a tire will last. Tires can show signs of aging even if they are never used or have not been used for a long time. There are many factors that affect the life of a tire: weather, conditions of storage and use, load, speed, tire pressure, maintenance and driving style.
Michelin recommends taking time to periodically check your tires for any signs of wear or damage such as deformations or cracks in the treads. You should also take your tires to someone who knows about tires so they can tell you if you need new ones.
The rim is damaged
There are several things that can damage tires, including pavement, holes, and blunt objects. In order to determine if a tire can be repaired, only a professional mechanic should examine any tears, cuts, or deformations.
It is generally not advisable to drive on damaged or flat tires.
When is a tire unable to repair?
- A flank puncture.
- Visible or deformed heels.
- Deformities or loosenings of the tread rubber.
- Cracks form under the grooves or along the sides of the casing as a result of wear.
- Corrosive or oily substances can cause damage.
- Having the inside faces marred by insufficient pressure or scratches.
The tire has uneven wear
Uneven tread wear on your tires can be caused by a mechanical problem or incorrect tire pressure. If you know that this is happening, get the tires checked once every six months to make sure the shocks are not wearing down or anything else. And if the wear of your tires seems too much compared to how many miles you have driven, it could be caused by an uneven tire balance.
This is when one part of the tire wears down more than other parts. Get a specialist to look at this and help you fix it before it gets worse!
The tires are not correct for the vehicle.
You need to choose your tires according to what is legal and the kind of tire that makes sense for your vehicle. For you to have the best performance from your motorcycle, use front and rear tires with the same tread pattern. Make sure not to put radial tires on a motorcycle that also has conventional ones, unless told by the manufacturer.
What You Will Need
To make the whole process of changing the motorcycle tire great, you need the right tools. The following list includes most of the tools you will need for a tire change.
- Tire irons
- Silicone lubricant
- Bead breaker
- Rim protector
- Compressed air pump
- Breezer tire tool
- Valve core tool
- Tire levers
The process of changing a motorcycle tire involves removing the old tire and then replacing it with a new one. Below are the steps to follow to remove the old tire.
Removing The Old Tire
1. Let Out All The Air
There is no way you are going to remove the tire from the rim when it is still inflated. The first tool to use for the process is the valve core tool. The work of the tool is to keep the valve open to remove all the air from the tire. You simply have to screw it on or snap it into position depending on the type.
Most of the time the air would be coming out too strongly, so support the valve core tool in position tightly. Once the air is all out, you would feel that the tire has less tension and it is now easy to go to the next step.
2. Mark How The Wheel Spins
This is an essential step you must keep in mind if you are looking to have an easy time putting the tire back on the rim. You have to mark on the rim the direction of how the wheel spins. You could use a pencil or marker.
The important thing is to make sure that it is visible. If you are not sure of how the wheel normally spins, you can place the wheel closer to the bike just as the way you took it off. It would give you an idea of how the direction of how the wheel was supposed to be turning.
3. Detaching The Bead
The bead is commonly called the inner edge of a tire. To do this, you would need to use the bead breaker tool as suggested from the list of tools above. The tool would be made of a strong metal based on the amount of work it has to do.
To break the bead, you have to place the tool between the wheel rim and tire. Jostle it a bit until there is a pop sound. That sound shows that the bead is now loose. You have to do it all around the edges to remove any part still attached to the rim.
4. Use Silicone Lubricant To Help Remove The Tire
The silicone lubricant is quite crucial if you are looking to remove the tire from the rim. Since it is a spray lubricant, applying it to your tire and rim should not be hard at all.
The lubricant will enter under the bead and rim so that you can easily remove the tire. It should be easy to remove the tire all around the rim.
In no time, you should have been able to completely slip off the tire. The trick is to always spray the lubricant once you expose the bead. It makes it easy to remove all the beads quickly. You could also use some Windex in case you are looking for an alternative to the lubricant.
5. Using Tire Levers To Remove The Tire
Even with the lubricant, sometimes you might not always remove the whole tire. You will need the tire levers to help pry the bead out of the way and remove the tire completely off the rim. The tire levels are not any fancy tools; they are just long metal tabs.
To use them, shove the levers under the bead and press it against the rim. In this case, your rim acts as a fulcrum until you hear a popping sound. Do it in a circular motion until the whole tire is off.
It is often that sometimes you may end up with nicking your rim. It is crucial that you take precautions. You may have to use the rim protector to keep the rim from chipping or bending.
Well, just like that, you are halfway through the process about how to change a motorcycle tire. Now you have to think of how to put a new tire back on the rim.
Installing A New Tire
Installing the new tire might not always involve using a lot of brute force as compared to when removing, but it also needs the right amount of carefulness and skill to get the tire back on the rim. Check out the following steps on how to do it.
1. Lubricate The Tire Inner Walls
Just as you would have done for removing the tire, you still need to lubricate the inner walls of the tire to make sure working with the tire is quite easy.
You will need to spray the silicone lubricant thoroughly around the inner walls of the time to ensure that you have a slippery inner wall for fitting on the rim.
You could still use Windex, which is a great alternative for those looking for another easier way of slipping the tire onto the rim.
2. Make Sure The Tire Will Spin In The Direction Of The Rim
Do you remember that we had marked a point on the rim to show the direction of the rim? Well, it is now time that you put to good use of that marking. You now need to place the new tire aligned towards that direction.
Another thing to note when installing the new tire would be a red dot on it. The dot normally tells you that this point has to be next to your valve stem of the tire. Once you have aligned the dot with the valve stem and set up the direction, it is now time to start installing the new tire.
3. Start Fitting The Tire To The Rim
You will need to use the tire irons at this point. You will have to place the tire iron between the rim and tire so that you can easily pry it into position. You also have to be careful with the tire irons so that you do not nick the rim.
In this stage, you would be using the bead of your new tire as the fulcrum as a way of minimizing the damage to the rim. You simply have to push away the tire and ease the bead section to get under the rim. Once one side is done, you can flip it and do the other side just as you did the other.
4. Start Inflating The Tire
With the new tire in position, you now have to start inflating the tire. At this stage, you do not have to fully inflate it, but rather just enough. It is advisable that you inflate the tire until you hear popping sound. Such sound indicates that the bead is now in position. With a small hammer, you could hit around the bead to ensure that it is in position.
To make sure that the tire works properly, there is the need to seal the bead into the rim with the Breezer tire tool. It is commonly used in the case there is no pop sound when inflating in the first place. The Breezer tire tool is important to get the bead into position.
5. Seal The Tire Bead And Inflate Fully
You can now reinsert the valve stem into position and tighten it enough so that it does not move. At this point, you can now inflate the tire as per given pressure level. Once you have fully inflated the tire, you should be good to go.
Check your tires for safety
The performance of your vehicle can be impaired by worn tires, which could even put you or your family in danger. An inspection should be done every week, to check:
- Tire condition
- A measure of the tread depth
- An impact-related damage or any wear that is unusual.
It is also recommended that you check your tire pressure every two months.
Ask an expert for advice whenever you are unsure!
How often should you change tires on a motorcycle?
If your motorcycle tires are over five years old, you should probably get new ones. This is a general guideline that may not apply to everyone. You might be able to use tires that are older than five years if they didn’t have a lot of damage for the first one to three years and they were mostly sitting in storage.
Should I replace both motorcycle tires at the same time?
Both tires do not need to be changed at the same time. Due to their rapid wear, back motorcycle tires usually need to be changed more often than front ones.
Is it hard to change a motorcycle tire?
Motorcycle tires need to be changed. Mechanics can do it, but you may save them money and time if you do it on your own. Changing a motorcycle tire is not hard. If there are any questions, ask someone who knows how to fix motorcycles because they know the answers.
Can I change a motorcycle tire myself?
There have been times when we’ve wondered how to change a motorcycle tire while we stared at our bikes. No matter whether your motorcycle tire is flat or if it’s simply time to replace it, you can remove the old tire, install the new one, and drive away all in the same day.
How many miles can a motorcycle tire last?
Different manufacturers offer different answers in this regard. If you need a rough idea, however, the average sports bike front tire lasts 3700 miles. As a rule of thumb, rear tires should be changed more frequently, at around 1800 miles or so
As you can see, it may be a lot of work, but once you get used to changing the tires, it can be quite simple. You will need to have the right tools always if you want to end up doing the job correctly and faster.
I hope you have enjoyed and learned something new from the tutorial. You can always post some comments in the comment section below and share with other people for them to learn more about how to change a motorcycle tire.