No matter if you’ve just got one of those nice Scorpion full face helmets or you are simply looking for more info on motorcycle accessories, you are most probably the proud owner of a cool bike, which means that you will need at some point to know how and where to change a tire.
Motorcycles are the kind of vehicles that one buys out of passion most of the times. It’s the joy of riding and of feeling free that drives people to become riders and to enjoy all the nice moments that bike riding has to offer.
And we are not only talking about cruisers on lean highways. Some are into adrenaline rushes, which is something that a sportbike can definitely offer.
However, for those who are still new to what biking means in all its glory, many things can still not be very clear, and one of these areas might be that of motorcycle tires and on where and how to change them. This article aims to shed some light on this matter since tires are one of the most important parts of these vehicles.
It’s good to keep in mind that while a bike includes thousands of pieces and elements that work together, the only parts that actually make contact with the ground are the tires. Therefore, these should definitely not be overlooked, especially when it comes to making sure that you are safe while riding.
Where can you change tires
There are several options that you can choose from when it comes to changing your bike’s tires. If you’ve noticed that they are getting old and you could use a new and better set, or even if you simply want to try a different model for enhanced riding experiences, you still need to find a way to actually get the job done.
Now, if you are not experienced in changing tires in general, going to a local shop or dealership might be a good idea. This way you can see how the tires are changed without getting your hands dirty in the process. Moreover, since there are experienced people doing this in a shop, there is little risk that the tire might not be set correctly.
There is another aspect that can definitely impact your riding experience, namely having well-balanced tires. A local shop can get this done in no time, while for you it means less hassle in order to enjoy smooth rides.
On the other hand, for those who are truly passionate about riding, changing the tires is something that they do on their own for the sheer pleasure of knowing everything that goes around the bike and for the process itself. For many, one of the joys of motorcycling, in general, is actually doing things themselves.
If you are thinking this as well, then you might want to get the job done yourself. This can also give you the opportunity to learn everything there is to know about your bike and get to see every element and scratch. If you do choose this alternative, it can also prove to be useful in understanding what makes your own bike particular and how to best care for it.
Advantages of changing the tires on your own
In case you are determined to try this on your own, you might also be happy to hear that it’s one of the cheapest solutions for tire changing. Since the rise of online commerce has reshaped many industries, for motorcycle parts retailers it meant a drop in prices, which in turn means that you need a smaller budget to take care of the bike on your own.
Moreover, there are some situations in which you might need to change the tires yourself since some dealers or shops don’t want to service vintage models because they are not experienced with them.
No matter the reason for which you are going to get the job done yourself, the good part is that you won’t need too many tools for this. Moreover, this knowledge and experience can definitely help you in the long run, especially if ever you find yourself stranded on the side of the road with not too many other options at hand.
The first steps
Now that you have decided to change the tire on your own, the first step is to remove the wheels from the bike. To do this, you will need to lift it with a track, a center stand, or pretty much anything else that can lift one of its ends at a time.
You can then proceed to removing the wheel, and for this step, you might need to check out the owner’s manual in case there are specific details that you need to use. Generally, removing the axle will make it come free.
Next, you’ll need a flat space that you can use, either a lower table or a bench. You can also invest in a wheel stand, but it’s entirely up to the budget you are willing to allocate for this task. As a tip from riders who have done this before, you might want to put a piece of cardboard or a carpet under, as this protects the finish of the wheel and its components.
Once it’s completely off, you will need to deflate the tire and the best way to do this is by simply removing the valve stem top. You can use a special tool to get this done that can be picked up from a local auto parts store, and it shouldn’t cost too much either. Don’t try to remove the valve stem with pliers since you might damage it.
The fun part
The next step is to break the bead and to do this you will need to use a bead-breaking tool. You don’t want to hammer too hard on the rim, so make sure that you take your time and go slowly. Then you will need to break the bead that actually holds the tire attached to the rim, and if you have a fairly narrow one, you might be able to use just a benchtop vise to do this.
Once this is done, you should install the rim protectors and then use tire irons and spoons to detach the bead and work it outside of the rim. You also need to do the same on the opposite side of the tire.
When the wheel is bare, you can take the opportunity to inspect the area, remove any debris, and see if there are any signs of damage. Clean the inside thoroughly and then proceed to taking a closer look at the new tire. Coat its edges with bead lube and then proceed to putting the first bead over the rim.
In case you’ve warmed the tire up beforehand, this shouldn’t be too hard. Then you want to partially inflate the new tube to give it a little holding shape, insert it through the rim, and proceed to threading the locking nut on a couple of turns. Then you want to push the tube into the wheel, taking your time in order to avoid any folds or pinches.
Do the same for the opposite side and then inflate the tire while making sure that the beads seat evenly all around the rim, on both sides. Take a minute to listen for any hissing of air coming out, or place the tire underwater for a few seconds. You might also want to balance the tire before taking the bike out for a spin.
How much does it cost to change a motorcycle tire?
Curious to learn how much to change a motorcycle tire? This section of our article will explore the cost of the entire operation, from the tires themselves to the mounting and balancing costs.
Let’s start with the tires. There are many types of tires available depending on the type of riding that you’re doing, and this includes sport, motocross, cruiser, touring, off-road, and more. Apart from this, the cost of a tire will also be dependent on the motorcycle itself, the brand, and the size of the tire.
However, unless you’re determined to get the best and most expensive tires available on the market, the typical price range for this product is around $70 to $160. While some shops may include the motorcycle tire installation cost into the price of the tire, there are many that don’t have such a policy.
In this case, you will be charged a fee for all the different procedures required during the installation process. Motorcycle tire mounting and balancing prices vary from shop to shop, and the prices you will see below represent the typical price range, which means that it is possible to find shops that will charge you less or more.
The charges are split into three. Balancing will cost you about $12 per tire. Weighing and mounting tend to cost $4 per tire, and most shops will also have a recycling fee of about $2 per tire. This means that the total motorcycle tire mounting cost is, on average, $18.
New tires or retreads?
Riders looking to keep the motorcycle tire change cost as low as possible always end up debating between new tires and retreated tires. If this is something that you are curious to learn more about, we have prepared a list of pros and cons of each of these two tire types to help you make an informed decision.
New tires are always the safest bet since you can be certain that they have never been used, and as such, they won’t have any quality issues or require potential repairs after riding just a few hundred miles. New tires will also keep you safer and get you better gas mileage than retread tires due to the better support layers and the casing being brand new.
The only downside with new tires is that they can come with quite a hefty price tag that can make the motorcycle tire replacement cost hurt your wallet.
However, is it really safe to use retreaded tires on a motorcycle? The short answer is no. Motorcycle tires can be retreaded, but unlike car tires, it isn’t safe to ride using such a tire. The reason why has mainly to do with the way that bike tires differ from those used on cars.
On a motorcycle, the tires designed for high-speed riding use very complex composites with the center stripe being harder to allow for a longer wearing tire. As you move away from the center, you will have bands of stickier and softer material that allows for improved grip when maneuvering the bike and cornering.
Bike tires are very sophisticated, and this is the main reason why they tend to be so expensive. A retread tire won’t be able to retain the same quality as a brand new one.
Treaded tires may look like a tempting purchase for people who are on a very tight budget, but anyone who puts safety as their top priority when riding should instead stick with new tires even though they may be more expensive.
When to change the tires
Knowing where to get motorcycle tires changed is important, but riders should also be made aware of when the right time to change the tires on the bike is. It is possible to ride with damaged tires for weeks, if not months, without being aware of it.
The tires on your bike may look sturdy, but there are many ways in which they can get damaged, and frequent inspection is mandatory if you want to ensure a safe riding experience. Checking the tires on your bike is a simple process.
The easiest method is to use a penny and insert it into the tire tread. If, after putting it in the tread, you can see Lincoln’s hair or head, then this is a sign that your tires are in need of a change. You can also use a ruler to measure their thickness, but in most cases, the treads will be so thin that it will be impossible to measure them accurately.
The tread level gets dangerous when it reaches measurements of about one-eighth of an inch in thickness. You can still ride with them, but this is when you should start saving for new tires. Once the tread thickness reaches one-sixteenth of an inch, you will need to install motorcycle tires.
If you don’t replace the tires, not only will they start to perform poorly, but they will make riding the bike unsafe since, in wet conditions, braking time will increase, which can cause accidents.
Apart from wear and tear, tires can also get damaged by physical objects, such as a nail or thorn. Straight holes such as those caused by nails can be repaired, but slashes will require the tire to be replaced.
Do both tires need to be replaced at the same time?
While it can be possible for both tires to require replacement at the same time, in most cases, you will only need to replace one at a time. The reason for this is because the front and rear tires have different functions.
The rear wheel is the one that gets the most action due to the way that motorcycles work, and this means that it also tends to get worn out almost twice as fast. There are, however, instances when both tires need to be replaced at once.
First, when you are dealing with very old tires, replacing both is a good idea since old tires are more prone to damage, and they’re generally less safe. Secondly, if you plan to upgrade to a new tire brand, then it makes sense to install both of them as a pair. Having mismatched tires can affect the handling of the bike.