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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?
 

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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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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.
 

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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.
 

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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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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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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.
 

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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.
 

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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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I have the No-Mar Pro and have done bike and car tires and it works great.
 

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I change mine and have all the scratches on the rims to prove it!
ditto!

Old school. No tire machines, no bead breakers.

I'm a glutton for punishment.

I did by a No Mar tire balancer back when they were a bit cheaper.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
When I was a young man I used to " bust tires" on semi's, bobtail trucks and fork lifts for a big lumber company. You had to break the bead by swinging a big sledgehammer that had a curved wedge on one end. Of course I didn't care much about not marring the rims! Haha! I really would like to change my own tires, I am a cheapskate at heart and I have seen some good ideas here, I especially like the idea of building this stuff myself.
 

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Look on you tube for changing a tire with sip-ties and yes that is almost that easy. I have a Harbor freight tire changer mount that to a post cemented into the ground. Use the milk carton also.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
When I was a young man I used to " bust tires" on semi's, bobtail trucks and fork lifts for a big lumber company. You had to break the bead by swinging a big sledgehammer that had a curved wedge on one end. Of course I didn't care much about not marring the rims! Haha! I really would like to change my own tires, I am a cheapskate at heart and I have seen some good ideas here, I especially like the idea of building this stuff myself.
 

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I use a No-Mar I got on sale at a Bikeweek. Yes the fronts don't need mechanical help. I also have a sport touring bike and the rear tire is a bitch. The NoMar makes it easy and has paid for it's self already…
 

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I change my onw using the HF special! Before I change tribes again, I will pick up some Mojo Blocks and a Mojo bar. I think with those additions I will have a pretty stout tire change setup.

:)
 

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Harbor Freight tire changer with the motorcycle adapter works as a base for $80. Add a Mojolever, Mojoblocks, at least two large Motion Pro tire levers, a ratchet strap, some rubber inner tube to go around the Mojoblocks, Harbor Freight balance stand and wheel weights and your still going to have to learn how to use it. But, the set up works well. :)

I think I have less than $300 in my whole set up and its far better than spending money at dealers IMO. Its not for a weak person though, many tires take substantial effort to mount. Dismounting is easy with my HF set up, but some tires like a 150 Tourance take a good bit of effort to get that first bead on. Then that last couple inches with the Mojolever takes some staining with stiff tires. But, with a good tire lube and technique the effort is reasonable to me. I've learned that lube is very important, I was a dish soap guy for years till I realized how much better the tire lubes are.

It just takes practice, AND its a good idea to watch an experienced person or have them direct your first try at it. Technique is very important for making the job painless. It runs me around $100 extra in labor and tire cost for a dealer tire change, so the HF set up pays for itself in three tires. Well worth the effort to me.
 

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I wanted the experience so I changed my front (Anankee III) using a motion pro bead breaker and a borrowed spoon. Found that Pledge makes a pretty good lube. Scratched the hell out of the rim but nothing a black paint stick didn't fix. The stiff sidewalls are a bitch to lever off and on. I won't do that again. Just recently made friends with a guy that has a No Mar setup and all it costs is a bottle of wine and an hour or two BS'ing in his garage, heavy on the BS time.
 
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