Join Date: May 2003
Location: Huntington, WV, USA
First DIY tire change, irons only, not so bad...
I performed my first-ever tire swap yesterday - rear tire (WAY overdue, not smart, I'd post a pic, but I'm too embarrassed). The only local guy who'd change a tire without it having been purchased at his shop (I've had the new tire for over a month, BT020) has been unavailable for some time. I got fed up with waiting (must... ride...now...), so I did some research here and went for it.
Because I was in the mood to get it done, and not knowing when such mood might present itself again, I decided to forego the purchase (more waiting) of tire changing equipment. Instead, I picked up three 8" tire irons at the parts store and grabbed a five-gallon bucket (to sit the wheel on) and an almost empty bottle of dishwashing soap.
It turned out to be much easier than I expected. It's definitely a technique-driven process. My bike is a '99, and the wheel isn't exactly pristine, but I wanted to avoid adding to the scratch and dent collection so I was careful about how I applied the irons (couldn't find any empty plastic bottles to cut up for rim protectors - until I was done and realized the dishwashing soap bottle had been right in front of me).
With certain methods I felt like I'd have to use too much force, other ways seemed easier. Trial and error (and this forum) got the tire off without any muscle tears. I used a large c-clamp to break the beads, and one of those trigger-pull type clamps from Sears to hold them in the middle of the wheel while getting the other side over the rim.
Getting the new tire on was even easier. I put about a nickel-sized puddle of dishwashing soap on each bead and spread it around evenly with a little water. The bead became slick, but the soap was thin, no dripping or suds. I put the wheel on a piece of cardboard on the floor of the garage and pressed the first side of the tire on with my knees. Bodyweight did all the work. Knees had to be in just the right spot - bead slid right over. I got about half of the second side on this way, and a few strategic maneuvers with tire irons got the rest of it over.
Anyway, I felt so happy to have gotten it done without ruining anything, I just had to post the experience. I'll still need to get it balanced (or maybe not? - seems to ride fine without), but I'm back on the road. Front tire is coming due...
Wow, long post.
Last edited by JGroves; Jul 19th, 2007 at 10:03 am.