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Bare minimum to do tire changes?

  1. #1
    Lifer 01xj's Avatar
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    Bare minimum to do tire changes?


    Anyone do their own tires with just hand tools? I've gotta get wheels swapped on two bikes. Cycle gear does it but it's more trips to make that are out of my way. Watching some videos it looks doable with the motion pro tire levers, some rim protectors and maybe a bead-buddy. The harbor freight balancer looks like it will work as well. I figure I'm into the tools for 150$ or so and can use them for future tires as well. I know a mechanical head breaker and tire machine would be helpful but it's not something I want to find room for in the garage. I have a good solid work bench I can use with a few carpet tiles.

    Anyone go this route or is it truly easier to just drop them off and pay someone? Our town recycles tires too which is a huge plus.

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  2. #2
    Expert Agitator GearHd6's Avatar
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    Re: Bare minimum to do tire changes?

    I've done all mine by hand with a couple levers, rim savers and usually a Motion Pro Bead Pro to break the bead. I do have a Bead Buddy for spoke wheels. I've used Dyna Beads, Marc Parnes balancer and now I have access to an electronic spin balancer.

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    Jeff

  3. #3
    Lifer 01xj's Avatar
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    Re: Bare minimum to do tire changes?

    Quote Originally Posted by GearHd6 View Post
    I've done all mine by hand with a couple levers, rim savers and usually a Motion Pro Bead Pro to break the bead. I do have a Bead Buddy for spoke wheels. I've used Dyna Beads, Marc Parnes balancer and now I have access to an electronic spin balancer.
    Looks to be mostly just bull work to muscle the tire off once the bead is broken. Has that been your experience? I was thinking one set of motion pro levers and 4 rim protectors, just to have the two extra if needed. How do you like the dyna beads vs traditional rim weights?

    I'll likely only be doing sport bike wheels. Not sure if that will make a difference tool/equipment wise.

    Any other tools make the job easier?

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  4. #4
    Expert Agitator GearHd6's Avatar
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    Re: Bare minimum to do tire changes?

    I like 3 levers personally, you don't always need 3 but I've had tires where 3 levers were nice. Keep the tire pushed down into the drop center and it won't be bad. Some stiff sidewall adventure bike tires can be a bit of a pain but still doable. If you don't have a good way to break the bead then the Bead Pro is nice and you can use one of those as your 3rd lever. And use plenty of lube, I use soap and water in a spray bottle.

    As far as the balance beads, I've never noticed a difference between beads or spin balancing. If you use the beads I recommend installing them before you pop the bead on because they can be a pain to install through the valve stem.

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    Jeff

  5. #5
    Awesomeness, Inc. MattR302's Avatar
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    Re: Bare minimum to do tire changes?

    I tried mounting a set of Pilot Powers on my old ZX6R maybe 9-10 years ago using tire irons. It was a huge pain in the ass, and ended up dinging my rims pretty good. Swore I’d never try that again, much easier to pay Kurtz 20 bucks to do it.

    For about $250 you can build a decent home setup with the HF tire changer and motorcycle wheel attachment. There’s a few other things: “mojoblocks” and either the “mojolever” or the “no scuff tire tool”. Then a balancer and odds and ends like line and balancing weights.

    I was going down this path a couple months ago but ended up finding a NoMar setup with everything on Craigslist for a good deal.

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    -Matt

  6. #6
    Lifer 01xj's Avatar
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    Re: Bare minimum to do tire changes?

    I know Mike and smutty both do it. They're both an hour away from me, that's why I'm seeing what's out there. The hf stand and tire attachment with mojo blocks is something I may invest in as well. Just b need to bsee how much of a footprint it takes up.

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  7. #7
    Lifer TIMMYDUCK's Avatar
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    Re: Bare minimum to do tire changes?

    I am sure that between you , myself and 5Toez we could get you swapped out for nothing .

    I know both he and I own everything needed to do tires.

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    TIMMYDUCK

  8. #8
    CBR Airlines Flight 1000 Dragginazz's Avatar
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    Re: Bare minimum to do tire changes?

    MotionPro bead breaker tools with an extra spoon and 4 motionpro rim savers and the motionpro balancer will work. I just started doing my own with this set up on my CBR. But DO be warned, you WILL most likely mare your rims! Maybe even tear the bead if you get pissed off and try muscling it on! If you take your time and keep the savers under the spoons you can get the tires off relatively easily. Putting them on is best done using 6-24" zip ties (See YouTube videos using this method) and knee pressure. The set up cost me about $100. I've done 4 tires so far so it's paid for. Time and aggravation...Free

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    Last edited by Dragginazz; 09-22-19 at 07:05 PM.


    SPEED SAFELY!

  9. #9
    Lifer 01xj's Avatar
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    Re: Bare minimum to do tire changes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragginazz View Post
    MotionPro bead breaker tools with an extra spoon and 4 motionpro rim savers and the motionpro balancer will work. I just started doing my own with this set up on my CBR. But DO be warned, you WILL most likely mare your rims! Maybe even tear the bead if you get pissed off and try muscling it on! If you take your time and keep the savers under the spoons you can get the tires off relatively easily. Putting them on is best done using 6-24" zip ties (See YouTube videos using this method) and knee pressure. The set up cost me about $100. I've done 4 tires so far so it's paid for. Time and aggravation...Free
    Dam I was afraid to hear that. The tire savers/ guards or whatever looked good but not foolproof.

    Timmy & Matt. Didn't mean to sound incredulous. I know there are a bunch of people willing to help. I definetely appreciate the offers. It's really just a matter of wanting to do this stuff on my own time. Working nights has my schedule much different than most people's so it's hard to take a few hours out of the weekends to get non-essential stuff like this done.

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    Last edited by 01xj; 09-22-19 at 07:28 PM.

  10. #10
    suburban ghetto living... black's Avatar
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    Re: Bare minimum to do tire changes?

    plug for my buddy and his DIY tool
    https://beadbuster.com/#1468345441178-7a528747-51af

    works great but only for the bead busting part.
    He and I used to ride back in PA.

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    hmmmm......

  11. #11
    Expert Agitator GearHd6's Avatar
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    Re: Bare minimum to do tire changes?

    Don't let people scare you away from doing them yourself. The ones dinging and scratching their wheels aren't taking their time and doing it correctly. Every bike I've owned has had black wheels and I'm yet to scratch a wheel. Patience and proper placement of the wheel protector is critical. If you hear the bead ripping then the opposite side of the tire is not down into the wheels drop center.

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    Jeff

  12. #12
    suburban ghetto living... black's Avatar
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    Re: Bare minimum to do tire changes?

    Quote Originally Posted by GearHd6 View Post
    Don't let people scare you away from doing them yourself. The ones dinging and scratching their wheels aren't taking their time and doing it correctly. Every bike I've owned has had black wheels and I'm yet to scratch a wheel. Patience and proper placement of the wheel protector is critical. If you hear the bead ripping then the opposite side of the tire is not down into the wheels drop center.
    This.. take your time first time will take the longest.. you get better with each, knowing the angles etc.
    warming the tires up too helps ( inside the house in the winter etc)

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    hmmmm......

  13. #13
    Your Father csmutty's Avatar
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    Re: Bare minimum to do tire changes?

    Warming up the tires is critical. I've had tires not want to seat beads and putting them next to the wood stove in the basement before inflating has been a lifesaver.

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    Awesomeness, Inc. MattR302's Avatar
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    Re: Bare minimum to do tire changes?

    I was just saying that I tried the spoons method, wheel on a rug on the floor, knees holding it down, etc. Spent 2 evenings getting frustrated wishing I had a couple extra hands, dinging the rims and busting my knuckles, then decided I was never doing it again. (The ziptie method I’m sure would’ve helped.) But that’s why I decided to invest in a better setup.

    No-Mar makes some tire spoons with rim protectors built in to them. Their “yellow thing” bead buddy tool supposedly works great too.

    You’ll also need an air compressor that flows enough air to seat the beads too.

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    -Matt

  15. #15
    suburban ghetto living... black's Avatar
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    Re: Bare minimum to do tire changes?

    Quote Originally Posted by MattR302 View Post
    I was just saying that I tried the spoons method, wheel on a rug on the floor, knees holding it down, etc. Spent 2 evenings getting frustrated wishing I had a couple extra hands, dinging the rims and busting my knuckles, then decided I was never doing it again. (The ziptie method I’m sure would’ve helped.) But that’s why I decided to invest in a better setup.

    No-Mar makes some tire spoons with rim protectors built in to them. Their “yellow thing” bead buddy tool supposedly works great too.

    You’ll also need an air compressor that flows enough air to seat the beads too.
    I've always used the gas station pumps to seat the bead and top off my car tires too.

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    hmmmm......

  16. #16
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Bare minimum to do tire changes?

    I've done dozens of tires at this point. Currently I have a HF stand with the mojoblock and mojoleaver upgrades. Honestly I am not sure I would invest in this setup again. It is-in my opinion-on par with a no-mar setup so I wouldn't bother with that setup either.

    The tools you listed are the bare minimum, more or less.
    I would pass on the motionpro rim protectors. I have a set (2 actually, I think) and they are almost useless. I rarely use mine. Biggest problem is that they are fairly thick plastic and as of such they add a lot to the circumference you are trying to iron a tire over. That is counter productive.
    Instead cut up some hard plastic from a milk jug or oil containers.

    Something to break the bead is needed. I started with a 2x4 lever with a short bit screwed to it. I would set the wheel on the floor and wedge the lever under the stairs to my basement walk out with another 2x4 scrap strategically located under the wheel lip. It worked, but it was not elegant. Bare minimum though.

    My HF stand now has a breaker on it. That's what I use.

    Probably the handiest bead breaker I've seen belonged to a guy I raced with at boxshop. He had a little bench-top breaker that got passed around the pits all the time. It looked like this:
    Bare minimum to do tire changes?-bead-breaker-jpg

    I thought it was HF. But looking at their website their bench-top breaker looks like a piece of shit.

    Those motion pro beadpro irons look promising. I have no first hand experience. Although they look like terrible irons. That tool to break the bead plus some real irons might be the ticket.

    You need irons, obviously. I have a bunch of irons I've collected over the years. I think most are motion pro. The simple ones like these are usually my go-to. In my dirt kit I carry a set of aluminum irons that have wrenches in the handles. These irons actually rock as they have this little dimple in the spoon which centers it nicely on the rim so you don't pinch tubes as easily. That's really a thing for dirty tires with tubes. Sport bike tires need not apply. And you don't use rim protectors with that. So maybe you don't care.
    I agree that 3 irons is the bare minimum. Variety is the spice of life. I have some long, some short, some big, some little.
    I often use irons even on my HF stand setup.

    The next nice-to-have part is a stand to put the wheel on. Working on a carpet square on the floor gets old. Having a bench top or floor stand is awful nice.
    I've not used it, but I really wonder if something like this bikemaster stand wouldn't be good 'nuf.
    Bare minimum to do tire changes?-bike_master_tire_change_stand_with_bead_breaker_750x750-jpg

    Figure out a way to clamp or bolt it to your workbench and just use irons. Has a breaker too. Way cheaper than my HF setup and takes up a lot less shop space when not in use...


    Tires vary in effort. Generally speaking if it is taking a lot of effort to mount or unmount a tire then you should stop and make sure you are doing it right. Use a lot of lube and make sure the opposite bead is in the dish of the tire. I use small wood blocks to force the tire away from the edge of the rim. Blocks also come in handy to hold the bead when ironing a tire on. Nothing more frustrating than having the bead just follow you around the rim. I need to invest in a clamp for this at some point. For now my blocks work, usually.

    Soft sport tires are generally easiest. With race rubber being stupid easy. Race tires are incredibly thin and light weight. Touring rubber with its harder compound and thicker carcass is obviously harder.
    For the ultimate experience in hating life, try mounting a Kenda ice tire with fresh MF chisel screws in a cold basement in the dead of winter. Good times.

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  17. #17
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Bare minimum to do tire changes?

    Oh.. balancing. I usually don't bother.

    I have a HF balancing stand. I believe it is the only way to go. (Notice Kurtz and the like basically use the same thing.)

    But I do not consider tire balance that critical and usually do not bother. I did rack my Harley tires after the last change up in the balancer. But the balance was good 'nuf for my tastes w/o adding any weight. Others feel very strongly about this but I do not feel tire balance matters enough for me.



    Bead seating. I have a little 5 gal pancake compressor. It does the deed. One gotcha is I do not have an air chuck that will fill without a stem valve installed. I think it would be easier to seat beads if I could blow air in without the valve.


    And that reminds me, you need a valve stem tool. You can get one at the auto-parts store for a buck or two. I have the motion pro stem tool and it is like everything else they do; nicer but arguably not nice enough to justify the price.


    And if you do find yourself doing tube'ed setups, I cannot recommend this little puller tool enough. Fishing a tube valve stem without it can be a massive pain in the ass.

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  18. #18
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: Bare minimum to do tire changes?

    After all these years, I've recently learned doing them by hand isn't all that hard at all. We have a local guy that does them by hand and I've helped out a few times now. Some wheel protectors, a handful of spoons and a couple Vise Grip locking clamps and he's off to the races. I was in awe when he did the scrawny 100/90 front tire on my Dyna. After kind of sticking around and helping him out with a few tires, it's a cake walk now. He uses my HF balancer that I know keep down at his shop for balancing.

    All the while, his Snap-On tire changer sits next to the work bench he uses to do the tires. Says he much prefers doing them manually. I even offered to go down and do the tires on his machine when it's needed. Nope.

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  19. #19
    Lifer Garandman's Avatar
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    Re: Bare minimum to do tire changes?

    Oblique to topic but Revzilla is a Cycle Gear “partner” so $25.

    https://www.revzilla.com/tire-install

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  20. #20
    Your Father csmutty's Avatar
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    Re: Bare minimum to do tire changes?

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    Oh.. balancing. I usually don't bother.

    I have a HF balancing stand. I believe it is the only way to go. (Notice Kurtz and the like basically use the same thing.)
    I have noticed that the bearings leave something to be desired with the HF unit.

    I might be looking to upgrade to something better or might just make my own ala Mcmaster-Carr.

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  21. #21

    Re: Bare minimum to do tire changes?

    As mentioned above the rim protectors are too thick and don't work as well as cutting up one of those plastic orange juice jugs. Where most people seem to go wrong is trying to get by using a bigger tire iron and taking too much at a time.
    I found 4 smaller Motion Pro spoons and a couple sheets of milk jug as protectors worked good. If I use my Horrible Freight changer the Yellow Thing and a MoJo bar helped.

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  22. #22
    100 X slower than Gerard scootertrash's Avatar
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    Re: Bare minimum to do tire changes?

    My bare minimum to do a tire change :
    One 2x4. 8 foot or longer.
    Three 2x4 pieces. Around one foot each.
    16 extra large and strong zip ties. (8 for removal, 8 for installation. Per tire)
    A little dish soap and water
    Air compressor (or access to one) to reseat bead after installation.

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  23. #23
    Soul Rider Paul_E_D's Avatar
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    Re: Bare minimum to do tire changes?

    I love my rabaconda tire stand/bead breaker. It packs down into a small bag in minutes, and makes tire changes for all size wheels pretty reasonable.

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  24. #24
    Super Adventurer SRTie4k's Avatar
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    Re: Bare minimum to do tire changes?

    I know some people here state they don't like the Nomar setup, but my buddy and I went half in on a used one on Craigslist and it's made tire changing a breeze. Off the bike, we can do front and rear in about 10 minutes, and we've done everything from street tires to super stiff sidewall adventure tires to tubed dirt bike tires. What we've found is that it's 85% technique, 15% proper tools. It took probably 4-5 tires before we got the technique down, and it would have been best if we did them all in a row, because if you only do 1 or 2 then wait another 3-4 months before your next, you end up forgetting some of what you learned.

    We can do tires with spoons, but it takes much longer and can be a bitch when you don't have a way to clamp the wheel. And for super stiff tires, it's just easier using the provided bar vs spoons (even with the tire in the drop center).

    Also good lube is essential, we really like the Nomar stuff, it's way better than dish soap. You can install ~75% of a new tire with just that lube alone. And it's relatively cheap and a tub will last several years of tires.

    With the price of tire changing these days, a Nomar will pay for itself in only a couple of changes. I think the shops local to me charge about $40-45 per tire OFF bike...absolutely ludicrous.

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    Last edited by SRTie4k; 09-24-19 at 06:36 AM.
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  25. #25
    Rookie Rada's Avatar
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    Re: Bare minimum to do tire changes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_E_D View Post
    I love my rabaconda tire stand/bead breaker. It packs down into a small bag in minutes, and makes tire changes for all size wheels pretty reasonable.
    Now that I'm getting to like Mousse inserts I'm thinking more and more about getting one.

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