This was posted originally by LittleRedToyota in the General dirtbike forum on 24/06/14 or 06/24/14 for Americans:
I think changing your own tires is something every trail rider should do...or at least become proficient at even if you want to pay someone else to do it most of the time. it makes dealing with a flat out on the trail a non-event. if you only ride at tracks, then it doesn't matter so much.
a few tips/tricks i have picked up along the way that have made swapping tires much easier for me:
- like others have mentioned, get the tires good and warm...makes a big difference. in summer, you can just put the new tires out in the sun for awhile. in winter, put them next to a heat register. or hit them with a heat gun for awhile. for the old tires that are still on the bike, you an just go for a ride to get them warmed up or sit the bike out in the sun or hit them with a heat gun. also use lots of lube and don't be afraid to re-apply it in the middle of the job if it dries out.
- when removing the old tire, pop each bead over the side of the rim it is touching. so that the rim ends up in the middle of the tire. then you can just twist the rim out of the tire. this is a lot easier than trying to get the second bead off the same side of the rim the first bead came off. at least i find it to be.
- use spoons, not sharp irons. sharp irons are more likely to cause you to put a hole in the tube. smaller spoons (the motion pro 10" ones are great) actually work better because they tend to be skinnier at the spoon part and, thus, are easier to slip between the bead and the rim. if you need a longer spoon to get more leverage when putting on the new tire, you are doing something wrong (most likely not keeping the rest of the bead down in the dish...this is absolutely crucial). after getting the spoon between the bead and the rim, rock it back and forth a bit to encourage the tube to slip off of it if you did pinch the tube between the spoon and the rim.
- break both beads all the way around before trying to get the first bead off. tire spoons work fine for breaking the beads. just work your way around the tire. it might take two trips around, but eventually a bit of the bead will break and then the rest will follow as you continue around.
- when it comes to mounting the new tire, put the tube in the tire *before* mounting the first bead on the rim. then start the first bead at the valve stem. this makes it easy to get the valve stem in the rim hole. and avoids the whole issue of having to work the tube into the tire with the tire half on the rim.
- inflate the tube enough that it holds its shape and does not pinch easily. this is key to not pinching it between the spoon and the rim.
- put lots of baby power on the tube/in the tire. this does two things...one, it helps make the spoons slide off the tube instead of catching it and pinching it. it allows the tube to slide around inside the tire as it is being inflated so that it inflates evenly.
it really isn't that hard if you do it right. if you find yourself swearing and throwing tools, you are simply doing something wrong. instead of just trying to power your way through it, take a step back and reevaluate what you are doing. (if, for example, you are at the end of putting the new tire on and just cannot get the last 6" or so of bead over the rim, you'll most likely find that the opposite side of the bead has seated itself--you are not doing a good job of keeping the bead down in the dish. put the bead down in the dish, and suddenly that last 6" will slip right on.)