Tire Changing

I have been changing my own tires for about two years and have came to the conclusion that I am horrible at it. I always get it done but my kids have to stay out of the garage so they won't learn any new four letter words. When I finish with a tire change, I am sweaty, pissed and my knuckles are usually bleeding. I ride a 02 MXC520 and it eats tires. Any advice on this procedure or recomendations for a tire changing station for home would be greatly appreciated. I have heard that a company makes one that slips in to the hitch on your vehicle, does anyone know who makes it? :)

A couple of things that make a big difference.

Break the bead thoroughly, both sides, and all the way round.

Use a lubricant so the tire slides over the rim. (I use hand cleaner).

Don't expect to be able to do the change just on the floor. It doesn't let the tread roll round enough. Either use a proper holder, or in my case a 13" car tire.

The KTM rim clamps are a pain because you can't push the bead over them. Some others you can leave the rim clamp on the rim for the whole of the tire change. Makes life a great deal easier.

Finally, if you're sweating a lot, then experiment with different techniques. It really shouldn't be that hard. I know it's difficult not to shout, sweat and bleed, but sitting back and thinking about what might be going wrong is often more effective. Also worth trying different levers. I bought some that are short enough to fit in my tool bag, but are 10 times easier to use than my old 18" levers.



Thanks, I went to that thread, I don't know why I didn't find it when I searched the site.

I always put the tire in front of a space heater for about 10 minutes befor changing it. Rotate the tire so it gets equal heat on all sides. This makes a tremendous difference. After you do it the first time, you will do it every time.

Lot's of good advice here and on the other thread. I consider myself very good at tire changes. I do them often and don't mind them at all. I am able to do them without ever removing the rim locks and on the floor (I put down an old piece of carpet to work on).

Here's how I do it. Take the valve core out. Loosen the rimlock almost all the way and push it in. You may have to use a tire iron or plastic hammer to do that. Break the bead all the way around and spray some armorall all the way around the bead. Either start near the bead lock on either side of it or 180 degrees away from it. Insert 3 tire irons about 6" apart before levering any of them. I like the big curved MP ones for the garage. Then lever the first one over while keeping a little pressure on the other two just to hold them in place. A third hand is nice here but I never have one so I just lean a forearm on them. Then lever over the other two one at a time. Remove the middle one and work your way around making sure the bead is pushed down into the rim on the parts of the tire still on the rim.

I pull the tube out once I get the top bead off. I know some folks leave them in but I've not had good luck doing that. Flip the tire over, break and lube the bead. Then I stick one tire iron in from the still beaded side under the bead and wiggle it out the other side. It should be flat against the rim edges with the one bead that's still on pushing tightly on it. I push it through so about 3" extends past the rim on the far side and is centered between a pair of spokes. I then lever that over to start the tire off. I then push on the tire by hand to get it the rest of the way off. It should pop off pretty easy.

I put a little baby powder in the new tire or in the flipped old one and roll the tire around to spread it. Spray both beads with armorall. Put the tube in with the valve core in. Put just a little air in it. Now set the tire on top of the rim but don't start a bead. Start the valve stem by tipping the tire down, grabbing the valve stem and sticking it though the hole by pulling the tube out the tire a bit. Start the valve stem nut a few turns. This last step was a real time saver for me after I read about it Trail Rider mag.

Then just lever the first bead on from the top while making sure the top bead stays out of the rim the whole way. If your bead lock is on the opposite side (on fronts usually), you'll have to mess around with it and a tire iron from the back side to get it inside the bead. If the bead lock was near the valve stem hole, you should've gotten that inside the bead before you started to lever it on.

Take the valve core back out and carefully lever the top bead on. I like to start on either side of the lock. Make sure the bead lock is pushed in and the seated bead is pushed down as you work your way around. Put the core back in once it's done and blow it up with enough air to seat both beads. Then adjust to your normal pressure and install the wheel.

I just bought a standup tire changing stand from a fellow club member who makes them. Simple design as it's a four footed tower with just a threaded rod sticking out the top. There's a large wing nut deal that clamps the tire down. Puts the tire at about 3.5' or so. I wasn't sure if I'd like it or if it'd slow me down until I tried it last week. Pretty slick. I'm not sure it speeded it up any but it didn't slow me down and it's nice to not work on my knees so it's a keeper.

5 gal buckets work very nice for a tire changing stand.

Ditto on the 5 gallon plastic buckets. Been using them for many years.

One other difference to jeb's proceedure. When installing the tube, I will squeeze all of the air out and put in the valve stem. When I install it, I position it so it lays on the lower sidewall of the tire. I have never pinched a tube since learning this tip. I know lots that like the "put a little air in" technique but I have better success with no air.

You guys will have to explain the 5 gal. bucket stand to me. I can't imagine not knocking it over!?

I use 3 pieces of 4X4 and lay them out in a triangle. The wood is just high enough to keep the sprocket or disk off the ground, support the rim and is very stable using knees to work on the tire as well.

At Chaparral they have a "manual" tire machine that holds the wheel a few feet off the ground an has a long lever that lets you "push" the bead over ( a holder on the opposite side hold as well). Next time I'm there I going to find out who makes it....I've never seen one for sale. If it was under $500 I think I'd buy one! :)


how about some pic's of that fancy tire changer of yours?

I'm still working on a picture page for last week's Wudi ride but I'll try to upload one of the stand, too.

I just bought a tire stand for the shop. :)

Check it out here: Tire stand

John-D you can use it anytime

I took a couple of picture of the stand but I'm not going to put it on a webpage unless there's a lot of demand. Email me if you want copies. Address in sig.

I have yet to find a better method than placing the wheel on a milk crate and then placing my arse on a mechanics roller seat. Do all your work sitting down, off your knees and feet.

You can even tuck the tire tools under your knees to work like a third hand. Haven't found anything easier in 25 years of tire changes. 10 - 15 minutes off and a new one on.

Good luck,


i use a B&D work mate i run a strap around the bottom attached to spokes then open the workmate to tighten it. works well for me. haven't figured out how to take it on the bike though.

I use a Saws All, or reciprocation saw as they're better known as.

Bada bing, bada boom, in one foul swoop, the tire, tube and locks are laying on my floor. I start by just pulling a section of the tire off the rim, cutting it about a quarter of the way, then I pull the tube out of the way and finish cutting the rest of the tire. It saves a ton of time and makes the job a little less painful. A medium, sharp pair of bolt cutters will work too.

"I have yet to find a better method than placing the wheel on a milk crate and then placing my arse on a mechanics roller seat. Do all your work sitting down, off your knees and feet."

I like the milk crate too. Much more stable then the 5 gallon bucket. Personally, I like the 'tube in the tire' method for re-assembly. Valve stem goes in first, then the first bead, then the locks, then the outer bead. I usually use any type of soap for lube.

Whatever the method, it's a pain in the butt. My local shop has a machine and for ten bucks they'll change the tire. Boy, is it worth it. :)


Try a couple other things. Use only the rim lock next to the valve stem. Stand the tire up between your legs, tube in the tire with enough air in it to give the tube shape. Bring your wheel into your tire, disc first. With the valve stem at the bottom, insert it into the wheel, threading a nut onto the stem a few threads. By twisting the wheel you can then hook the rim lock into the first bead. Now lay the assy on the floor or whatever ( I use a common freight pallet with a 3/4 shaft mounted into it to act as an axle to stabilize the wheel. Spoon on your first bead, align the tube, spoon on the last bead, completing the procedure at the rimlock and valve stem. Have a hole drilled in your platform, using a second lever pry back the rim lock and pop in the bead and your are finished the ugly part. I always inflate and deflate the tire a couple of times to remove any folds. Set tire pressure to desired level, tighten rim lock mount tire and go riding. Hope this helps.

keep the rubber side down


Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now