K1200LT DIY-How To Bend Your Rear Wheel :) - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 6 Old Oct 18th, 2014, 3:24 pm Thread Starter
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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.

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post #2 of 6 Old Oct 18th, 2014, 3:40 pm
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Re: K1200LT DIY-How To Bend Your Rear Wheel :)

The real trick to getting the rear tire on the rim is to make sure the "other" side is down in the drop well. I use small blocks of wood as it is impossible to hold it there without them. Does not help this time but for future reference...

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But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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post #3 of 6 Old Oct 18th, 2014, 7:03 pm
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Re: K1200LT DIY-How To Bend Your Rear Wheel :)

Sorry to hear about your problem, lessons learned the hard way suck. I have never bent the wheel or damaged a tire but the last time I replaced tires on my LT I decided it was the last; next time I'll take it to the shop and pay the extra $30-$40 and eat their donuts instead creating a plume of foul language that usually accompanies the utter frustration of doing the job myself with my limited tools (physical and mental). It's either that or make a substantial investment in new equipment that I don't have room for.
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2009 BMW R1200RT
2000 BMW K1200LT (was supposed to be replaced by above, but can't keep above running long enough to replace
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post #4 of 6 Old Oct 18th, 2014, 11:56 pm
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Re: K1200LT DIY-How To Bend Your Rear Wheel :)

Only way to change a K1200LT rear tire is with the:
- assistance of a machine tire holder - harbor freight, Nomar or others
- a No Mar tire mount/demount bar or something similar Mount / Demount Bar
- dropping the other side of the tire in to the well
- use any kind of lubricant

and as the pros say "if you sweating - you are doing something wrong"!!

Been changing tires for 12 years on the LT and it gets more easy each and
every time. And if you think the LT is difficult the K1200GT is a real bear as the
drop in the well is about 1/2 that of the LT.

Dan Finazzo
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post #5 of 6 Old Oct 19th, 2014, 12:32 am
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Re: K1200LT DIY-How To Bend Your Rear Wheel :)

Hockey pucks work well to hold the sidewalls in the wheel while you're spooning. Fortunately, my neighbor has a tire machine. Four hands and a tire machine make it a three minute job. I feel your pain though. Repainted more than one wheel over the years.

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post #6 of 6 Old Oct 19th, 2014, 1:57 am
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Re: K1200LT DIY-How To Bend Your Rear Wheel :)

You need a mojolever or no mar bar. And as others have said, ensure tire is down inside the wheel, and use wood blocks to keep it there. Add tire lube and viola! Sorry it didn't go well but on the positive side life is about the journey and not the destination!

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