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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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Good news. Did you balance the wheel after the change?

Loren
 

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Discussion Starter #3
wa1200lt said:
Good news. Did you balance the wheel after the change?

Loren
No. My LT came with no balance weights and I have had 4 tires on the rear and 2 on the front and they have run just fine without balancing. I am sure if I routinely ran 100+ MPH, balancing might be needed, but up to 80 or so it runs smooth as silk.

The local tire shop who mounted my first few sets said that the greatest source of imbalance is the wheel moreso than the tire. He said if a wheel came from the factory without weights, then it generally is in excellent balance and likely will be fine with most name brand tires.

I may get a balancer now that I know that changing my own tires is pretty straightforward. I am looking at a changing stand as well, but don't see the need for a full system such as the No-Mar.
 

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I did a tire change way back when on a Yamaha Venture! It was pretty much the same situation as yours. I used a 5 gal bucket though with something in the bottom to stabilize it, as my bench as the rotor on that wheel fit down in the bucket perfectly. Not sure if the rotor on the LT would fit into the opening of a 5 Gal bucket or not. Lots of different size buckets out there with different openings to try! Just a thought!
 

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I bought some nice irons and did the front and rear on my Burgman, used a harbor freight spinner to balance them.
Made u shaped rack out of 2x4's for busting the beads and applied some fulcrumetrics using another 2x4 against the I-beam in my garage. Cake.
As for ironing the olds off the rims. I need to quit smoking. Got it done but it's a great job for a younger fella.
Never learn though. Now that I am getting an LT I am sure I'll take another wack at tires on a Beemer one day soon.
Wonder if getting your irons powder coated or wrapping them in rubber tape would eliminate the hassle of using plastic debris for not scratching the rims
 

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Voyager,
Great write up; I did a tire change on my old RT with tire irons once, once. It's like Operation (the wacky doctor's game?); it takes a steady hand (and lots of patience). I ended up giving my front wheel some "character"... After that I went the harbor freight/mojo-lever/marcparnes balancer route. I now look forward to doing tires; I feel like Houdini.
 

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It is possible to change LT tires by hand but like most tasks it is much easier with the proper tools. Cycle Hill, http://www.nomartirechanger.com/products/4, has a line of tire changers that are designed for home use that are a little cheaper on the pocketbook but just as easy to use as their flag ship tire changers. I bought one about a year ago and am very pleased with it. I bought the unit that slips into the receiver hitch on my pick up truck. Changing tires on my bikes is such a pleasure now! Between changing tires on my own bikes and a couple of my friends I have already more than paid for this great piece of equipment.
 

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Someday I need to post photos so you guys can get a good laugh. I use a Black and Decker Workmate, a homemade spare tire holder, two hand towels, two eight inch tire irons, two twelve inch wood clamps, a ten inch C clamp, and two 12 inch flat bars. With that, I can change one out without breaking a sweat, and more importantly without stretching a bead.
 

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Easy tire changes come with knowledge. I do mine in about 5-7 minutes with three tire irons.
The big secret is to keep the bead on the opposite side that you are working on in the valley of the rim.

Bead breaking is done with leverage, lay wheel on ground beside vehicle, short 2x4 on tire at bead, long 2x4 over that and under vehicle, one push and bead is broken.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
K12smitty said:
It is possible to change LT tires by hand but like most tasks it is much easier with the proper tools. Cycle Hill, http://www.nomartirechanger.com/products/4, has a line of tire changers that are designed for home use that are a little cheaper on the pocketbook but just as easy to use as their flag ship tire changers. I bought one about a year ago and am very pleased with it. I bought the unit that slips into the receiver hitch on my pick up truck. Changing tires on my bikes is such a pleasure now! Between changing tires on my own bikes and a couple of my friends I have already more than paid for this great piece of equipment.
I looked at that, but even at $500, it would take a long time to pay for itself and I have to store, etc. I only change a tire once a year or less on average so even at $25 a change, it would take 20 years to return the investment.

My local tire shop changed the tires the first 3 times. The first two times the shop owner did the job himself and did a great job and charged only $12/tire including new valve stems. He mentioned having to install special plastic covers on his machine. However, when I last visited he was very busy and it took a couple of days to get my tires changed and when I got the rims home I found that both rims had 3 marks in them from the clamps on the tire machine. He now has a couple of hired hands and I suspect one of them did my tires and didn't place the plastic covers on the machine. I wasn't very happy, but the damage was done. So, from now on I will do my own. Not to save money as I was happy to pay $12, but to prevent further damage to my wheels.
 

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I searched up an old post of mine showing a tire changing method using very few tools. I now have a harborfreight tire changer bolted to my shop floor, but I find myself still using the old method shown in this thread.
I do use the beadbreaker on the harborfreight unit but I still do the tire removal and installation using my homemake tools and the small tire irons.

http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21488&highlight=tire+change
 

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Discussion Starter #12
CharlieVT said:
I searched up an old post of mine showing a tire changing method using very few tools. I now have a harborfreight tire changer bolted to my shop floor, but I find myself still using the old method shown in this thread.
I do use the beadbreaker on the harborfreight unit but I still do the tire removal and installation using my homemake tools and the small tire irons.

http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21488&highlight=tire+change
I agree that the rubber mallet is a huge help. That really helped me the the beads the last way on or off. I need some C clamps the size of those in your picture. The largest I have were still too small. My bench vise broke one side, but then I couldn't break the other side as there was nothing to press against the rim at that point.

So, I have a few refinements to do for my next change and larger clamps and a carpet covered car wheel may be just the things to add to my repertoire. :)
 
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