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How to Change a Motorcycle Tire

How to Change a Motorcycle Tire

When you own a motorcycle, you have a lot of expectations for how it will perform on a ride. When it comes to how the ride handles and grips the ground, the tires need to be in top shape. If you are riding on a tire with low tread or a damaged tube, you are definitely riding at a disadvantage. Let's take a closer look at how to change a motorcycle tire to ensure this never happens.

Before Starting

Before you change a tire on your motorcycle, you should gather the right tools. You will need tire irons, a bead breaker if preferred, a valve core removal tool, the new tire, and a reliable and flat work surface. Since changing the tire can be a bit of a time-consuming pain, you want to work on a somewhat elevated surface to avoid back strain of working on the ground. You will also need an air pump and tire pressure gauge.

  • To get started, remove the tire from the bike. The correct method to perform this task will depend on your model and bike type. You should always consult your owner's manual before undertaking this step to ensure you perform the task the correct way.
  • Once you have the tire off the bike, place it on your flat surface where you will work. The first step is to remove the valve core and then the valve stem locknut. If you intend to reuse the valve stem, make sure you take care not to damage it in the removal process.
  • There are three main options when changing a tire on a motorcycle. The first is that you will keep the existing tube but add it to a new tire. The second option is getting rid of the tube and installing a new tube in the existing tire. The third option is you will install an all-new tube and tire in one. If you are doing option number three, it is a simple matter of mounting the new already tubed tire on your bike. If you are doing options number one or two, you perform most of the tasks the same way.
  • Once you have the tire off the bike, you need to break the bead of the tire. The bead is what holds the inner tube of the tire to the harder outer rubber tread part of the tire. While you can attempt to break the bead using sheer force, body weight, and a crowbar, this is an exhausting method and somewhat dangerous both to you and the tire. The best bet is to purchase a bead breaker which allows you to perform this task with ease. Once you break the bead on the first side of the tire, you will need to flip it over and break the bead in the exact same spot on the reverse side. This should be enough to easily break the bead so you can work the tire off the tube the rest of the way. In some tires, the bead is a continuous seal and you will need to remove several bead points on the tire to fully break the seal.
  • Once the bead is properly broken, you will need to remove the tire from the rim. An easy way to do this is with the use of either warm soapy water or a little bit of lubrication. You want to place the water or lubrication along the bead and rim to make it easier to slip the bead over the rim.
  • The next step in how to change a motorcycle tire is to completely separate the bead from the rim. You will likely need to use a flat iron or tire iron for this step as you work your way around the entirety of the bead and rim. Once this is done, you can pull the tube out from under the tire.
  • The next steps will depend on which aspect you are replacing. The steps are pretty much the same, but if you are planning on adding a new tire to an existing tube, go ahead and discard the old one now so you don't get confused. Whether you are adding a new tube into an existing tire or an old tube into a new tire, you will need to lube the rim to help place it inside the tire. Make sure you check the directional arrow and angle the tire to the rim in the proper position during this step.
  • Once the tube is placed inside the tire, you can go ahead and inflate it just enough to take shape for now. This will help with proper placement when sealing the bead later and prevent the tube from being pinched by the tire iron.
  • The next step is to seal the bead the rest of the way so the tube stays intact and secure inside the tire and rim. This can be done with force and a tire iron to get the job done. Make sure you go around the entire circumference of the bead to get a secure fit, taking care to ensure the valve stem lines up correctly with the tire. If the stem isn't properly placed, do not tug on it or try to move it with a tool. This will lead to a weakened tube and maybe even lead to a tear in the tube. It would be better to break the bead again and reposition it than to pull on the valve stem.
  • Finally, inflate the tire fully once the bead seal is secure. Make sure you use a tire gauge to check the PSI and never overinflate beyond what the owner's manual recommends for your tire pressure. Then simply mount the tire back on the frame of the bike and take it out for a ride!