Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Lawrenceville, PA, USA
LT tire change
Well, I rode my LT home from work this evening and it felt a little squirrely going up my driveway, but on the gravel this isn't too unusual. I parked it on the sidestand and a short time later came back out to ride it to a soccer game. The tire looked a little flat on the bottom as walked up and that is unusual as with 48 psi and no load on the bike it never has a flat area at all on the bottom. I checked the pressure and it was 2.5 psi. Rolled it into the garage and qiuckly found a puncture. I had a new tire as it was about due for replacement anyway.
Since the place that last changed my tires managed to scratch both of my rims with their tire machine clamps, I had bought some 16" Motion Pro tire irons and planned to try a change the old fashioned way. That time had come. The job was actually easier than I anticipated. It took about 1.5 hours from off the bike to back on. I did have my wife to help me.
I used my bench vise to break the bead on one side and then used the irons and some plastic sheets from a plastic jug to get one bead off the rim. This took a little effort, but wasn't too bad. I then put the wheel back into the vise nad easily broke the other bead loose. The hard part was getting the second bead off the rim to remove the rim. The lats time I changed a tire by hand was on my Kawasaki Voyager and it had a much narrower rim. That tire was hard to get the first bead off, but I was then able to basically just pull the rim out by hand. Not so with the BMW rim. Getting the rim out of that second bead was a bear, but a few hits with a rubber hammer finally pursuaded the tire to let go of the wheel.
Putting on the new tire was the same way. It was very hard to get the first bead onto the rim. In the past, I could usually just push the rim right through the first bead with the narrow rims, but not so with the wider BMW rim. However, some soapy water and a few rubber hammer hits and tire iron work got the first bead on. The second bead was much easier than I ever expected. My wife held the side of the tire into the drop center with her knees and I slowly worked around the tire with the irons and plastic sheets for rim protection. The tire went right on and I see no additional damage at all to the rims.
The last thing where I expected trouble was also a non-event. I had forgotten to buy a valve core removal tool and have long lost the one I originally had. So, I figured seating the beads would be impossible with the core in place. I hit the tire with the air chuck and it took are like a champ and one bead popped followed shortly by the other. Total pressure required to seat both beads - 44 psi. The beads were seated evenly so I upped the pressure to my normal 48 psi and put the tire back on the bike.
All in all, not that bad of a job. So, if you are considering doing your own tire changes, I would say to get some good tire irons and give it a shot. You may be surprised that it isn't that bad a job. The main thing I wished for was a way to hold the wheel in position. I may consider some sort of tire stand next time as trying to use another tire as a cushion for the rim wasn't a really good solution.
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