K1200LT DIY-How To Bend Your Rear Wheel :)
I'm guessing most of you wouldn't pull such a stupid stunt, but just in case there is someone who hates to pay for stuff they can do themselves, maybe I can save them some time, money and grief by describing my mistake and what I learned.
To start out, I've been changing my own motorcycle tires for the past 35 years using tire levers. This includes Honda SL100's, SL350, CB550... A Triumph Bonneville, various Yamaha's and Suzuki street and dirt bikes. Both tube and tubeless tires. Basically, I thought I knew what I was doing and while using a shade tree mechanic method, it always worked fine.
About 8 months ago, I changed both tires on my Yamaha FZ600. No problems at all. (BTW, to balance them I used a Harbor Freight MC wheel balancer and also put Ride-On inside them).
SO, now to my attempt to change the rear tire on my 03 K1200LT!
I had noticed that the previous owner had a Dunlop rear tire that was not rated for the bike so I ordered a new Bridgestone B020 to replace it. The words "Harley Davidson" on the sidewall were also a clue that this tire didn't belong on my BMW.
I removed the rear tire and using a block of wood, a 2x4 and in this case, the rear end of my GMC Yukon, broke the bead just as I had done many times in the past. With rim protectors in place, I spooned the tire off the rim with the help of a soap mixture. No problem. I then spooned one side of the new tire on the rim. At this point, I was thinking this was going to be pretty easy.
I believe the "problem" occurred when I went to spoon on the second side of the tire. The stiff reinforced sidewall was unlike any tire I had mounted before. I had to use ALOT of leverage and put my full body weight on the opposite side of the rim (using my knees). After what seemed like forever I finally got it on, but not after cutting through the rim protectors and scratching the crap out the rim. I also put some gouges and cuts in the seating portion of the new tire (but this didn't seem to cause any issues with it holding air).
I was able to get the tire to seat on the bead at a local gas station (they still use a real compressor, not one of the tiny ones you put quarters in). Returning home, I put it on my balancer and once that was done, put in the recommended amount of Ride-On. So far, so good!
I went for a test ride and at first I thought everything was great. Kinda like riding a new bike. As I travelled further and hit stop signs in town, I noticed that when I took off from a dead stop, at about 3-5mph the rear end felt weird. Almost like the tire was egg shaped.
The more I paid attention to this, the more I was sure something was seriously wrong. When I got home I put the bike on the center stand and let it idle in first gear. At that point I saw that the wheel was bent and wobbling at low speed. I determined that the bent area was where the tire levers had cut through the wheel protector and scratched (and bent) the rim.
Not feeling the bike was safe to ride, I parked it and evaluated my options. I found places on the internet that could straighten bent wheels, but that would required sending it off, hoping they can fix it and waiting..... not my strong point.
I ended up ordering a used wheel (with a nearly new Bridgestone tire) from Ebay for $199.00 and free shipping. The wheel arrived yesterday, was straight and in perfect condition. I installed the tire/wheel on the bike with no issues (using the recommended torque and tightening sequence). I had also ordered a new Bridgestone front tire and today I took my front wheel and new tire to a motorcycle shop to have a professional mount and balance the tire.
Lesson Learned: I could have saved myself a huge headache and about $200 had I simply taken my rear wheel in and paid the $24 (Bent Lever Motor Sports in Vancouver, WA) to have it mounted and balanced by someone who knew what they were doing and had the proper tools.