How many of you change your own tires? - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 30 Old 10-19-2014, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Avondale Az
Posts: 491
How many of you change your own tires?

Just curious, do many of you change and balance your own tires? I've been looking at balancing stands, tire irons, wheel weights, and bead busters. I have confidence in my ability to do the job but I wonder if the outlay in cost for all the necessary equipment would ever pay for itself. Your thoughts?

My two wheel history
'72 Honda XL250
'73 Yamaha RD350
'75 Yamaha XT500
'76 Yamaha XS650
'78 Yamaha XS750
'77 BMW R100/7
'76 Triumph Bonneville T140-V
'07 Triumph Bonneville America
'11 Suzuki V Strom 650
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post #2 of 30 Old 10-19-2014, 11:31 PM
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Glen Carbon, Il
Posts: 249
tire change

I change my own. I built a homemade changer out of a 15 inch car wheel. Bead breaker from 2x4s hooked to wall stud. I got the instructions off the web. I bought a mojo lever which helped a lot. I will continue to change my own for now. The first time using tire irons with wheel on the ground was not fun, I would not do that again. I got a few prices on having it done, and all of them were at least twice that of buying the tires and doing it myself. That was just two much for me. I have had good luck with Dyna Beads for balancing.
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post #3 of 30 Old 10-19-2014, 11:47 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Indy
Posts: 3,273
I change my own, and recouped my investment several times over with the first tire change.

Contrary to what many believe, you don't need to spend $800 on a No-Mar. In fact, you don't need a tire changing "machine" of any sort.

Here's the list of materials:
- Valve core tool (a buck or two)
- Valve installation tool ($6 at Napa)
- 412 tire valves are a buck each at Napa.
- Two small and one long tire iron (I think a nice Motion Pro set is around $30)
- a 14" car rim from a junkyard ($5)
- A piece of heater hose -- split it with a utility knife and put it around the car rim. Maybe $5 if you have to buy it.
- A two foot length of 1/2" all-thread, and a few washers and nuts. About $10 at the local Meanards, I think.
- A jug of RuGlyde tire mounting lube from Napa. Pretty much a lifetime supply for $15.
- Several squares of plastic as rim guards, cut from old milk jugs or shampoo bottles. Free with a little trash diving.
- A creative arrangement of all-thread, 2X4s, and my workbench to create a bead breaking lever. Maybe $10 if you don't have lumber and such lying around.
- I made a balancer out of a couple of old jack stands and some skate bearings I had lying around. There are several ways to balance your tires free, or you can spend a pile of cash on a Marc Parnes balancer. Either works just as well.
- Stick-on wheel weights: $5 and up, depending on what you get.

Here's the guide I used to learn how to change and balance my own tires using the above materials:
Guide To Changing Motorcycle Tires

Honestly, after gaining a good bit of experience, I can have two tires changed using levers while the No-Mar user is still futzing around with those incredibly lame rim clamps. The rim clamps are the one serious weakness in the whole expensive tire changing machine thing, especially when you have a bike with two different rim diameters as on a V-Strom.

Changing your own tires is obviously a great way to save money (you can order your tires fresher and cheaper), but more importantly it's also the best way to ensure that this critical job is done correctly.

You're the one riding the thing, so it's your ass on the line. You're the only one who will take the time to make sure the beads are clean, the rims aren't damaged, and to check the bearings.

With a good static balancer setup and a little time, you can actually balance wheels far more accurately than a stoned teenage tire monkey and a fancy electronic gizmo.

Just a warning -- any time the topic of tire balancing comes up, a red light goes on at the Church of the Holy Round Dynabead HQ, and an urgent alert is dispatched to the legions of Dynabeadian True Believers worldwide. So what I'm saying is that the Dynabeads zealots will be all over this thread shortly to lay some o' that beady religion on you.

If you think they work, I'm happy for you, really; ride fast, have fun, and enjoy that beautiful beady feeling. None for me, thanks -- they're a messy pain in the ass when changing tires.

2002 Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom, Dark Metallic Space Blue
1983 Suzuki GS850G, Cosmic Blue
2005 KLR685, Aztec Red - Turd II.2, the ReReTurdening

Last edited by bwringer; 10-19-2014 at 11:56 PM.
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post #4 of 30 Old 10-20-2014, 12:06 AM
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Location: Braintree, Massachusetts
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I change mine most of the time, however, when the sidewalls are stiff like with the Shinko 705's or Anakee 3's, I take the wheels to my local dealer. It's worth the $35 per wheel charge.

-Tom (DL650AL2) (KA1TOX) (E-I-E-I-O)

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post #5 of 30 Old 10-20-2014, 08:24 AM
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Location: Newark, Ohio
Posts: 133
I struggled with the whole value/return on investment question back in the nineties when I was looking at buying a static balancer. I was using a 25gal grease bucket with split air hose around the rim to mount/de-mount tires and wanted a balancer.

Spent over one hundred dollars on a balancer, with five different size "axles" and some wheel weights. I still use that balancer today, and have changed many many tires over the years.

The grease can eventually collapsed from over use and, again, after much thought I purchased a No-mar. It was a wonderful upgrade and I have more than recoup'd the cost over the years. Plus, as I have gotten older, I have less wear and tear on my body not having to fight with those tire irons, and work on the floor.

I figure by buying tires online, and mounting myself, I save about 40-80 dollars a tire, everytime I change one. I generally use two sets a year and have two bikes. It adds up!
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post #6 of 30 Old 10-20-2014, 08:44 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Canada
Posts: 184
Been doing mine for years. Cheap HF bead breaker, some rim protectors and levers and a Marc Paynes balancer. I get the strips of wheel weights from my local tire shop for free.
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post #7 of 30 Old 10-20-2014, 08:48 AM
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Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 2,378
I've changed mine (scooter and Wee) for some time. Last time, a combo of Harbor Freight mini changer and no-scuff tire tool took a lot of the sweat and cursing out of the procedure - a piece of cake. Will have to modify the changer for the front scooter tire next time - axle too small, but should be no big deal. Ultra seal for balance.

I wouldn't inflict the mess of Ultraseal on a shop tech, and doing it myself affords me the opportunity to clean the rim really well.

Last change, though, the scooter tires were hell to get the bead to seat. Took five techs and an air cannon at the local tire store to get it done - bead crimped probably for packing straps. They did it for free, though. I brought them a dozen gourmet donuts in appreciation.

1985 Honda CB450SC (AUG04 - SEP09)
2004 Honda CN250 Helix (NOV09 - )
2006 Suzuki DL650 (MAR07 - APR15)
2014 BMW R1200GSW (APR14 - )
Lordsmoke, still refusing to obey the voices!
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post #8 of 30 Old 10-20-2014, 03:11 PM
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Location: Washington, the state
Posts: 7,437
To help seat the bead, put a ratcheting tie down strap around the circumference of the tire. Cinch it down, that presses the bead against the rim, it holds air, and eventually pops into place. Lube, of course, both the bead and the rim. I had to do the same thing on a hand truck tire when I had nothing but a foot operated tire pump--it worked.

In any case, the local shop charges $26 for a carry-in for the tire change and spin balancing.

"Older people who are reasonable, good-tempered, and gracious will bear aging well. Those who are mean-spirited and irritable will be unhappy at every period of their lives.

"Let each of use properly whatever strengths he has and strive to use them well. If he does this, he will never find himself lacking."

Marcus Tullius Cicero
44 B.C.
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post #9 of 30 Old 10-20-2014, 03:31 PM
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Location: So Cal.
Posts: 872
I use a HF tire changer with the motorcycle tire adapter. If you install these: Mojoblocks and use a mojolever or no-mar lever, you can do it without a scratch. You can also cut up old gallon oil containers to use as insulators between the rim, changer jaws and tools.

The trick to mounting tires is to make sure the side opposite the mounting tool has both sides of the bead towards the center of the rim. I tried a ratcheting tie down once but it didn't work for me-- training issue I suppose. If both beads are away from seat area on the opposite side, you should be able to use a 12" lever. 3' levers can damage the bead wire and tear the bead surface. I use a 3' lever, but I'm careful with the amount of force applied.
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post #10 of 30 Old 10-20-2014, 04:20 PM
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Location: Surrey BC
Posts: 1,215
Originally Posted by forestrom View Post
I have had good luck with Dyna Beads for balancing.
Ditto that^^^

started doing only the rears myself. I do all my own now'

2009 DL1000\ Scorpion Racing Skid Plate, Racetech Springs, Acerbis Hand Guards, Givi Engine Guards
Oxford Grips,
ALL BALLS BEARINGS.....Darkside Tire
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