15 October 2011

Maintenance: Changing Tires

Getting the tires changed is one of those things I find that I dread and look forward to at the same time.  I dread it because I have to take them off the bike to get, what I think is, a reasonable rate for the tire change.  I look forward to it because once the "new" is worn off, it's like having an all new motorcycle!

When I did my last tire change, I was able to get both tires off without any assistance.
In fact, while I was loading them into the car to take to the shop, it felt like I was cheating.  After taking the tires off myself, why on earth was I not doing the tire change myself?  I've watched tons of videos, read tutorials, watched Cruzman and MrTwisty change tires with a set of spoons and wooden blocks, surely I could do the same?  Yes I could if I had the tools.  I wasn't prepared to get them back in April when I changed these but I decided that for the next change I would be.

All spring and summer, I've been looking at websites about making my own tire changer since Harbor Freight no longer sells (at the moment) their budget setup.  There are a couple of great sites out there to help out the frugal shade tree mechanic like me.  The first is Guide to Motorcycle Tire Changing.  There's a lot of information on that page and it's worthy of a bookmark.  The second is the no-scufftiretool tire changing setup page that made it a lot easier to visualize a lot of the stuff in the Guide.

I studied those pages and sent links and images to Cruzman seeking his advice on various DIY changing setups.  In the end, I decided on one like that on the no-scufftiretool page but on a stand of sorts since I don't have a handy pic nic table in the back yard.  I was beginning to look for the parts to build my changer when I found an ad on Craigslist for a used Harbor Freight one.  Daddy and I went to pick it up the very next day.

It's in great shape.  I just need to use some of that wood leaning against the wall to mount it so it's more stable.  With the tire changer, I couldn't start changing tires right away.  I wanted something to put air in the tires and to make sure I had all the tools I needed so I wouldn't have to stop in the middle to go get something.

In addition to the tire changer, I needed to purchase
This is what happens when you start a thing from scratch.  My tool box is much fuller now than it was when I bought this bike and did little of the maintenance myself.  That's a hole post by itself though, we'll stick with the tire stuff.

Air compressor, starter kit, hose, and dual chuck tire inflator
The air compressor I bought needed oil

After I "broke in" the compressor I changed the oil.  It went in one clear goldish type color and came out nasty!
I put the quick release parts and hose onto the compressor before moving it to its place when not in use.

I have a front tire change to do but I still haven't figured out a good way to temporarily stabilize the tire changer.  I don't want to permanently mount it because I need the space for the car and the bike in the garage.  So far, this is my favorite

I found that posted on some forum by user gsmikie.  I can't remember which forum or I'd link to it.  I think I'm going to try to replicate it with the stuff I already have in the garage.

Unlike when I needed a new rear tire a few weeks ago, this time I have a take off to put on the front.  I took it off last year when I switched from the Bridgestones to the Pirellis.  Since I'll be changing my own tires from now on, I'll be less likely to change them as a set like I've been doing so I could save a trip to the tire shop.

Saving money isn't my only goal.  My goal is not to have the feeling that I'm cheating when I take the the time to get the tires off the bike and then take them to the shop for changing.  There's a good YouTube video explaining the process using only Harbor Freight stuff:

I'm hoping things go this smoothly for me!

I will be getting a wheel balancer and the rim protectors (the store didn't have any when I went to buy them).  I still have some research to do on the balancer.  Marc Parnes makes one that is highly recommended but many people use the Harbor Freight one without complaints.  I'm leaning toward the HF one because it has a stand.

As much as I want to change that tire to see if I can do it, I also want to get some more wear off of the front tire.  As I've stated before on this blog, when a company advertises 25% longer life, I expect to get it and not 8%!

Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer

1 comment:

  1. I feel you, Howard. Back in college, I used to tinker with my big brother's Yamaha RX-Z, and I must say, for a small girl like me, I find the parts very tricky and difficult to manage. I thought I'd never bring it back together again. But oh, I'm a genius in my own right! I replaced it with new tires--all by my two hands!


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