28 November 2011

FZ1 Maintenance: Front Tire Change

20, 26, and 27 November

That's right, three damned days!  This is a saga of stubbornness.

I was very excited to finally get my own tire changer at the end of the Summer.  It's not one of those high dollar ones and needs mods to be effective but still it meant freedom from tire install fees or riding across town to get Cruzman's help.

Before I took Baby to OTC for the fork swap, I wanted to change the front tire.  Lorne posted something on the local sport bike forum about seeing too many bikes with worn rubber on the front and I didn't want my bike to be one of those.

I hadn't done any of the mods to the tire changer.  They're pretty low on my list of stuff to do and I figured it must work without all those mods or they wouldn't've sold as many as they did.  That and reassurance from the guy I got it from that it worked find just as it was.

First stabilizing attempt using Pedro
One thing I knew for sure was that it needed to be bolted down or you'd never get it to work.  I didn't want to bolt it to the garage floor because I think I'm moving.  I didn't want to bolt it to something too big or I'd lose the ability to store it in an already crowded garage.  I scoured the internet looking for images of "temporary" or non-permanent mounting solutions.

Someone copied the no-mar one that you can drive your car over and I thought that would be the perfect temp solution.  I made use of what I had.  That worked great to get the bead broken but when I tried to get the bead off of the rim, it just rocked back and forth, no matter what I put under it to keep it in place.  Frustrated, I re-aired the tire and put it back on the bike.  Lorne would just have to add me to the list.

After the fork swap, I tried again.  This time I had tips from Lorne and also decided that my driveway isn't flat and that I probably needed a larger surface anyway.  So I put Pedro in the yard and converted is bedroom into a tire changing station.  I remembered the bolts contacting the pavement before so this time, I used a thinner piece to bolt the changer to underneath the larger platform piece and some 2 x 4s under the platform to keep the bolts from hitting the ground.  That thing was very stable this time.

Again, I got the bead to break with ease and I even managed to get the top bead to simply slip off the rim, just like in all the youtube videos.

Outstanding!  Next it was just a matter of slipping the new tire on the rim.

I got the bottom bead to go on with just a little bit of effort.

This is where it really got interesting.  The top bead was going on well too

The mount/demount tool worked like it did in the videos until the the rim started sliding around!

That was it.  No matter how I coaxed, persuaded, and prayed I could not get the darned rim to lock in place!  This was the best I could do

so I called Cruzman because I was ready to throw the mount/demount bar at the tire changer and stalk off to have my hissy fit.  He made some suggestions that I tried to no avail before finally giving up.  I had a feeling that if I had another pair of hands and someone who'd put a tire on the rim before, it would work.  I took what I'd gotten on off so the bead wouldn't get messed up sitting on the tire changer overnight as the temps cooled.

I watched some more youtube videos and studied the diy instructions that are all over the internet trying to see what the secret was before finally texting Cruzman and asking that he come all the way across town to help me get the tire done.  Daddy couldn't help till Monday and I don't ever remember seeing him put a tire on.

My sister-wife was kind enough to give my moto-hubby permission to come so the next morning, just after I finished eating breakfast, the calvary arrived!

He figured out how to get the rim secure in the changer and then did everything I'd done the night before.  I even tried, thinking it should be much easier this time, but my hands were (are) sore and arm muscles ache in places I didn't know I had muscles.  All I was doing was for show so I stepped aside and watch as Cruzman encountered the same problem I had but without the slipping rim.

He kept saying, "It shouldn't be this hard."  Then a while later he'd say, "My Pilots are never this hard."  (He said that last one a lot.)

That Bridgestone sidewall seemed to not to want to go onto the rim!  Then Cruzman said, "Is the same brand of tire I put on for you before?"  When I nodded he asked, "Is there a Pep Boys or Cycle gear near here?"

So we left the tire almost on the rim in the changer and went to the store to get another tire iron.  When we got back, he had the rim out of the tire changer and was looking for some blocks.  We were going old school.  It took maybe 10 minutes for us to wrestle the bead onto the rim.

It took both of us, but the tire was on the rim.  We got it aired up and then I cleaned the rim and rotors to get the furniture polish off.  Then Cruzman checked to be sure the rotors were still straight.

I never would have thought to do that.  We got the tire back on the bike and I forced Cruzman to take a test ride to see if what I thought I observed about the R1 forks was real.

It was supposed to rain all day but it never did.  Cruzman came back from a short ride (the gas light was on) and gave me the same observations that I had.  We'll ride next weekend to get the forks dialed in.  With that, he grabbed his paper towels and was gone.  It took me an hour to clean up Pedro's bedroom so that he could sleep there again.

In the end, I have one really scratched rim and a tire mounted that I did mostly myself with a lot of help from my moto-hubby.  I can see why so many people sell their Harbor Freight changers after using them once but that won't be me.  I'll go ahead and make the suggested mods and try again the next tire change.

I usually do stuff better the second time anyway.  I'm not sure who the fool was that said, "It's never as good as the first time."  They are so wrong.  The more you do anything the better it gets!

Thanks Cruzman for driving all the way over to help me.  I'm proud of my rim scratches and that, in the grand scheme of the tire change, I only needed a little help.  Next time, I shouldn't need any...unless Bridgestones are on sale when I'm buying tires.  If that's the case, I'll take the rims off, put them in Pedro, and drive to OTC for them to mount the tires.

So far I like the second chance Pirelli Angel I have on the back.  It's not nearly as slick as the first one so maybe that first one was an anomaly.  I'll be looking for a good sale on those when I have money for tires.

Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer

Cycle Gear was out of rim protectors and I forgot all about it until I was doing the change.  Intead I cut up a Dr. Pepper bottle.  It worked just fine as a rim protector.

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