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Tire changing tips wanted

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Finally got the XR650L I've wanted forever. (2005 model). I'm going to be replacing the tires soon, and this is my first dual purpose, after years of riding strictly on-road cruisers. I've checked out a few threads and videos, and It looks like you can pretty much do a tire change yourself, and balancing isn't necessary? Also, the video mentions a bead lock, which I'm not seeing on my XR, at least on the rear. I'm very mechanically inclined, and also old and wise enough to make sure I know what I'm doing before I start turning wrenches. Any tips would be appreciated.

my scoot.jpg

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Don't be deceived by some of the videos done by people who have a lot of experience with changing tires.

 

It is easy, but not the first time, or the second, or the third......

 

You don't need ginormous tire levers, you need good technique and to take only small bites each time you move a lever.

 

For a bear of a tire you can use one of these:

 

breezer.jpg

 

Thread link: http://www.thumpertalk.com/topic/816089-breezer-tyre-tool/

 

Noted property of the Breezer is that it's a soft metal, not just a steel rod with a notch cut in it. I have one and seldom have a need for it, but it's nice to have for those seldom times.

 

You don't have to balance the tires, but it's a good idea to. They only need static balancing, you can buy a simple balancing stand for that if you want to do it yourself.

 

Bead locks are only needed if running low air pressure for riding off road, a much lower pressure than would be safe on the street for long periods of high speed. They keep the tire from spinning on the rim when running low pressure. If you run bead locks, you need to balance the wheels. Bead locks can make having a flat safer by keeping the tire on the rim, so they can increase safety in the event of a sudden flat at highway speed. They do make changing tires more difficult. Your rims are already drilled for them, there is just (or was) a rubber plug in the hole opposite the valve stem.

Edited by Onederer
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What Onederer said and I'd also add: Have 3 levers, Windex (or some other kind of lube) and a valve stem puller like this: http://www.amazon.com/BikeMaster-Tire-Valve-Stem-Puller/dp/B004RFT3KM

 

I did my front tire fairly easily in 30 or so minutes. The rear took me 8+ hours!  :jawdrop:  My major problem with the rear was the valve stem kept slipping out. I finally got it but bought a valve stem puller the next day and look forward to using it.

 

A lot of other people swear by a Bead Buddy. I used one but it didn't seem like a whole lot of help. For the price it surely won't hurt to have one though.

Edited by jonathan101514119

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I cut plastic oil bottles into strips and use those to protect the rim. Antifreeze jugs work good too. The strips are only good for one-two tire changes, then I throw them in the recycle bin.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qw0B2gIwbBg

 

Watch that series of three videos.  Actually, watch them all through several times.  The guy has good technique, but his narration is not always explicit about doing things in a certain order.  To initially start the bead over the rim, use a tire iron on the opposite side pushing that opposit part of the bead downward into the dished center of the rim.

 

With good technique you shouldn't need to use more arm force than a teenaged girl could provide.  If you find yourself really horking on the tire iron, stop and reevaluate your technique.  Definitely use glass cleaner on the bead and talcum powder on the tube.

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Awesome. Thank you guys so much for the input. So, without bead locks, it's not a good idea to drop pressure for trails, then? I'm not talking widowmakers here, just fire trails and stuff. Like I said, I'm a total noob with this offroad thing. Rode dirtbikes a little as a kid, but that was a loooooong time ago. Methinks I'm getting a bit ahead of myself....

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^^^

 

I've gone as low as 15psi without issue; no bead locks. The lower the air pressure, the more likely a pinch flat too. If you're riding in a really rocky area with a lot of square edge bumps, keeping the speed down is the best way to avoid pinch flats when running low air pressure.

 

These aren't super light weight trials bikes, you can't get away with ridiculously low pressure when smashing into rocks.

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.........your tire could spin on the rim and shear off the valve stem.

 

Or as a cruel irony if there aren't any nuts on the valve stem, it could pull the valve stem into the tire so that the only way to remove the tire is to poke a hole in the tube to let the air out.

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Or as a cruel irony if there aren't any nuts on the valve stem, it could pull the valve stem into the tire so that the only way to remove the tire is to poke a hole in the tube to let the air out.

 

LOL, sounds like you might be a speaking from experience on this one!

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Don't be deceived by some of the videos done by people who have a lot of experience with changing tires.

 

It is easy, but not the first time, or the second, or the third......

 

You don't need ginormous tire levers, you need good technique and to take only small bites each time you move a lever.

 

For a bear of a tire you can use one of these:

 

breezer.jpg

 

Thread link: http://www.thumpertalk.com/topic/816089-breezer-tyre-tool/

 

Noted property of the Breezer is that it's a soft metal, not just a steel rod with a notch cut in it. I have one and seldom have a need for it, but it's nice to have for those seldom times.

 

You don't have to balance the tires, but it's a good idea to. They only need static balancing, you can buy a simple balancing stand for that if you want to do it yourself.

 

Bead locks are only needed if running low air pressure for riding off road, a much lower pressure than would be safe on the street for long periods of high speed. They keep the tire from spinning on the rim when running low pressure. If you run bead locks, you need to balance the wheels. Bead locks can make having a flat safer by keeping the tire on the rim, so they can increase safety in the event of a sudden flat at highway speed. They do make changing tires more difficult. Your rims are already drilled for them, there is just (or was) a rubber plug in the hole opposite the valve stem.

 

I've found bead locks quite useful on the street.  This "hard earned" lesson was compliments of a valve stem ripped out of a tube on I-25 just South of Santa Fe when I had a flat...

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I've been practicing tire changes to make sure that I have everything that I need to fix a tire out in the middle of nowhere.  I like really flat tire spoons.  I have two flat ones and two that are too thick.  When I need three at a time I can make them all work for me.

 

I have one of those valve stem pullers and it does help.  I also bought one of those Motion Pro Bead Buddies but it only works on my front rim.  I can't get it over a spoke on the rear.  I don't consider it to be all that useful.

 

Mechanic's gloves will help keep you from bleeding.  At least it helps me.

 

One tip I've found useful is to always pull the tire levers toward you whether putting a tire on or taking it off.  Rotate the wheel around until you can do that.

 

And even though I've studied many videos, watched a live demo, and read many descriptions of how to do it right, I've ended up pinching a tube the last three times I installed a rear tire.  The last time I used it as an opportunity to practice my flat repair skills.  I pulled the tube out, patched it, and put it back in there.  It's a little different fixing a flat than swapping tires, but only a little.

 

I've never changed a tire, especially a rear, that didn't feel like a big struggle.  Maybe if I do enough of them...

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