How to remove and remount your tires


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How to remove and remount your tires

Postby WingAdmin » Wed Apr 14, 2010 2:40 pm



There's one thing that, no question, will wear out on your motorcycle, no matter how you ride it: your tires. Tires can wear out faster or slower depending on the manufacturer, compound, and your style of riding, but eventually, they're going to have to be replaced. Most people take their bike to a bike shop, who will remove the wheels, change the tires, reinstall the wheels, and present you with a big bill. Some people will remove the wheels themselves, and take the wheels to a bike shop to have new tires installed.

But none of this is necessary! With a few simple tools, you can change your own tires. The savings from not having to pay someone else to change your tires can even pay for the tools the very first time!

The tools you will need:

- A bead breaker, like this or this - the second, larger one can also be used on car tires

- tire irons: at least two, but you may need three the first few times you do it

- A valve stem puller - I found one for $8 at my local NAPA auto parts store

- Wheel rim protectors, like this

- A way to balance your wheels. this kit will balance both front and rear wheels - more on this later.

- STP "Son of a Gun" or "Armor All" protectant in a spray bottle - you may want to use soapy water, but the STP or Armor All products work better, and can prevent rim corrosion caused by sodium hydroxide contained in soap.

You will also need the new tire(s) that you will be installing, and a new valve stem for each tire (also available at any auto parts store). Always replace valve stems when replacing tires!

To begin with, you will need to remove your wheels. For instructions on doing this, see:

How to remove and reinstall your front wheel

How to remove and reinstall your rear wheel

These instructions show the front wheel of the motorcycle being done, but the rear wheel is essentially the same. Ensure that when you do the rear wheel, you remove the final drive components, and grease the splines before reassembling them, as described in the How-To above.

1. First, the air needs to be let out of the tire. To do this, we will loosen the valve core. A valve stem removal tool (such as the one built onto the end of this valve stem cap) is used.

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2. Insert the tool into the valve stem, and rotate it several turns counter-clockwise to loosen the valve core. The air will start coming out of the tire. Wait until the air stops coming out of the tire.

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3. Unscrew the valve core all of the way, and remove it from the valve stem.

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4. Motorcycle tires are normally directional. To help you make sure you mount the new tire correctly, mark on the rim of the wheel the direction it normally turns. You'll match the arrow on the tire with this arrow when installing the tire.

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5. With the brake rotors removed from the wheel (to prevent damage to them), place the wheel on the bead breaker.

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6. Position the bead breaker so that it is pressing entirely on the edge of the tire, and not on the wheel rim. Push the bead breaker down until the tire bead breaks away from the rim (it will make a loud POP when this happens). Repeat this process all around the tire, then turn it over and do it to the other side as well. You will notice that you can now push the edge (the bead) of the tire inwards by hand. Feel the inside of the rim of the wheel - you will find a depression, about 1 inch wide and about 1/2 inch deep.

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7. For the next steps, position a piece of wood on the ground to protect the wheel from dirt and damage.

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8. Place the wheel on the wood. If the wheel you are working on has a piece sticking out on one side, then have that side facing up, so that the wheel sits flat on the wood.

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9. The rim protectors are hard plastic, that slip over the edge of the rim to protect it from damage from the tire irons. They also have string attached to them to keep you from losing them inside the tire when you put the new tire on.

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10. Place the rim protectors on the rim, a few inches apart.

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11. Some tire irons have a spooned end, as shown in this picture. I find it easier to use the spooned end for mounting the new tire, rather than taking the old one off. They can also be used to grab the far side of the tire during removal - which you'll see later on.

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12. Spray some STP Son of a Gun or Armor All in along the edge between the rim and the tire, to lubricate it. Slip the tire irons in between the rim and the tire bead.

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13. Push both tire irons in until the ends of them have reached the inside of the rim.

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14. Pull the tire irons back grabbing the edge of the bead and pulling it up and over the rim. The tire will stretch - but not enough to get it over the rim.

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14a. The reason it can be pulled over the edge of the rim is because of the groove in the wheel rim that you felt in step 6. While pulling the bead up and over the edge of the rim, the bead at the opposite end of the tire slips into this groove. This gives the tire bead at the working end enough free play that you can maneuver it up and over the rim. If you can't seem to get it over the edge of the wheel rim, check to make sure the tire bead at the opposite end of the wheel is inside the rim groove. If it isn't, push on the side of the tire to move it into the groove, and try again.

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15. While leaving one of the tire irons in place, move the wheel rim protector down another few inches, and repeat the process. You may find it easier to use three rim protectors and three tire irons, although with practice, it is relatively easy to do with two.

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16. Once you have pried about half of the tire bead off the rim, the rest of it can be pulled free by hand. One side of the tire is now free of the rim, and the tire itself is held onto the rim only by the remaining bead on the far side of the tire.

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17. Without turning the wheel over, maneuver the tire irons through to the far outer side of the tire. Remember to keep lubricating the tire and rim with the STP Son of a Gun or Armor All.

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18. Using the tire irons (showing the spoon side here), pull the far side of the bead up and over the rim. Remember to ensure that the opposite end of the tire is inside the groove of the rim (visible in this picture). Continue to pry the bead free of the rim, the same way you did the first side of the tire.

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19. Once you have made it halfway around the tire, you should be able to pull it free of the rim by hand. You're halfway there!

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20. Using pliers, carefully remove the old lead wheel weights from the wheel.

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21. Screw the valve stem puller onto the old valve stem.

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22. Using a wood block for leverage, pull the old valve stem through and out of the wheel.

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23. Use some soapy water and a towel to thoroughly clean and dry the wheel and the inside of the rim. Make sure there is no grease, oil or other sticky substance left inside the wheel.

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24. Spray some STP Son of a Gun or Armor All on the new valve stem to lubricate it.

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25. Position the valve stem in the hole in the rim.

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26. Screw the valve stem puller onto the new valve stem, and very gently pull it into place. Don't pull too hard, you don't want to pull it all the way through, which will destroy the stem. You cannot push it into place from below, you must pull it from above. Remove the stem puller.

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27. Prepare the new tire. Remove any labels or stickers, and ensure it is the correct size for the wheel!

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28. Ensure the tire (if directional - which virtually all motorcycle tires are) is going to be mounted on the wheel in the correct direction - match the arrow on the tire to the arrow you put on the wheel.

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29. Spray a towel with STP Son of a Gun or Armor All. From this point forward, you want to try as hard as possible to not get any moisture inside the tire or on the inside of the tire rim.

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30. Using the damp towel, lubricate the outside beads of the tire. You will likely need to repeat this as you mount the new tire.

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31. Push the new tire onto the rim, working with the far side bead. Push it into the center groove in the rim, then work it up as far as you can with your hands.

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32. Install your rim protectors, and use the tire irons to lever the bead up and over the rim edge.

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33. The tire will now be halfway mounted, with the far side of the tire mounted on the rim, and the close side still outside the rim.

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34. Use the irons to start the tire bead up over the rim.

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35. Make sure the opposite end of the tire moves into the groove in the center of the wheel.

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35. Use the tire irons to lever the final edge of the tire up and over the edge of the rim.

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37. The tire will now be completely on the wheel, but the beads will not yet be seated against the wheel rims.

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38. The next step can be difficult, and requires an air compressor with a fair amount of volume. Remove the valve core from the valve stem, and apply a blast of air to the tire. The sudden blast of air will push the sides of the tire outwards, pushing the beads of the tire up against the tire rims, and sealing the tire to the wheel - this is called "seating the bead." Some people find it easier to wrap a ratchet strap around the circumference of the tire, compressing the tire up against the wheel rim before performing this stem. Don't feel bad if you can't get it to seat - it takes some practice and luck. If, after several tries, you can't get it to seat, you can always take the wheel to a local tire place and ask them to "seat the bead" on your tire. I've ended up having to do this before, and they are usually happy to do it at no charge for me.

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Once the bead is seated, install the valve core, and pump the tire up to its normal pressure. Spray soapy water along the bead edges and around the valve stem, to check for leaks - leaks will cause the soapy water to bubble up.

The next step is to balance your tire. Using a tire balancer and weights is outside the scope of this article, but I would recommend a better alternative anyway: balance your tire using Dyna-Beads. This can be done at home with no tools, and will balance your tire better and more accurately than old-fashioned weights. It will also smooth your ride and extend the tire life. For information on balancing your tire this way, see this article:

How to install Dyna Beads in your tires


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Re: How to remove and remount your tires

Postby bikersmurff » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:23 pm

that description was brillant you should be proud of your web site i recomend this site to every wing rider i see even if i dont know them . also we here in oz get free tyre fitting on most bikes eg:they will remove and fit frount tyre free of charge but alas not rear due to its difficulty, but my zxr6 drop bike in in morning and pick up later both tyres fitted free(of corse i check there work)
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Re: How to remove and remount your tires

Postby WA9FWT » Fri Apr 16, 2010 11:08 pm

Great posting and pictures.Again using the proper tools sure makes it easier. I have found for my self I use a pair of side cutters ( Dykes ) to remove the old valve stems.Just seems to be faster for me, snip snip and they fall off. After hundreds of tire reapirs over the years one gets into a habit I guess.Again thanks for the great post, that's why I try to tell many about this site.

WA9FWT Phil
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Re: How to remove and remount your tires

Postby colemadad » Sun Apr 18, 2010 7:49 pm

Another job that I thought was beyond what I could do - that I will be doing the next time I need tires. Thanks again, another great article.
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Re: How to remove and remount your tires

Postby WingAdmin » Sun Apr 18, 2010 10:47 pm

This one really is something you have to learn by doing. The first tire you do, you'll fight with a bit. The second one will be much easier, and you'll be a pro at it by then. Hopefully I've given you enough tips here that it makes the learning process a bit quicker. :)
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Re: How to remove and remount your tires

Postby Ranamadad » Fri Apr 30, 2010 12:48 am

Thanks for this article. I've bookmarked it. I saw it for the first time literally two evenings ago and followed your links to the tire irons and bead breaker tools on Harbor Freight. I saw what I needed to get and made my plans accordingly, but didn't write down the item numbers. (I figured I'd just get 'em later). However, while at Harbor Freight's website, they mentioned a "NEW" and "IMPROVED" website experience was coming soon and sure enough, it is now "NEW" and "IMPROVED" and slow and buggy and the links you have in this article are now obsolete. :roll: I happened to remember mostly what I needed, but to other readers of your fine article, they are going to get nowhere but a "404 not found".

I'd define the links myself, but I'm going off my failing old-guy memory and certainly don't want to mislead any of your readers. So..... can you re-post current links to the irons and bead breaker tools at Harbor Freight?

This was a great article, obviously painstaking and time-consuming, so to ask you to follow up with new links smacks of ungratefulness on my part. Forgive me if it does, it is not my intention. However, your readers will really appreciate it! Thanks again!
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Re: How to remove and remount your tires

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:39 am

I went to check and update the Harbor Freight links...but found that they are all working. I guess HF is redirecting the old links to the new pages, and they seem to be working fine now. Thanks for catching that though.
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Re: How to remove and remount your tires

Postby morriscatt » Thu May 27, 2010 9:23 pm

G.S. I love your How to help! I have used your suggestions on my gl1000 with much success. Thank You!
Note: I also found I could use a hydraulic Jack between the bumper on my motor home and the tire to break the bead. Also I tighten a C-clamp on my tire to hold the "opposite" bead in the center of the rim. Wow, that made the difference between and 1 Man and 2 Man job for me.
Thanks again GS!
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Re: How to remove and remount your tires

Postby emt613 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 2:50 pm

I am not a professional mechanic by any stretch of my imagination, but I am reasonably confident of my skills. I did a head gasket change on my 750c a few years ago. Can you give me a good "estimate" of how long I should expect it to take to do a rear tire change? Hopefully I can wait until this coming winter,so I'll have plenty of time.
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Re: How to remove and remount your tires

Postby WingAdmin » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:13 pm

Removing the wheel is a good 45 minutes to an hour, installing it is about the same. Removing the tire from the wheel and putting a new one on is probably 45 minutes the first time you try it, 15 minutes every time thereafter. :)
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Re: How to remove and remount your tires

Postby Beermo » Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:00 pm

Great how-to article. Will be doing mine soon.

FWIW, the Harbor Freight links at the top don't seem to work.
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Re: How to remove and remount your tires

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:28 pm

Beermo wrote:Great how-to article. Will be doing mine soon.

FWIW, the Harbor Freight links at the top don't seem to work.


They redid their site...I've fixed the links, thanks.
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Re: How to remove and remount your tires

Postby dwight007fchr » Sat May 21, 2011 6:23 pm

Wingman.......great article on replacing tires.

I have a question. I have been doing ALOT of work on my 83 GL1100 Interstate, and today while putting all the right and left saddle bag mounting frame assemblys back into place, I noticed that the rear tire looked awfully close to the swing arm (or the drive shaft). I had some thin tie-wire (the stuff used to tie rebar together when pouring concrete) which is about 1/16" diameter, and tried to use it as a feeler gauge to see if the tire would rub as it spins around. I was relieved that it doesnt actually rub, but it is so close that I first thought that someone put on an extra beefy tire. I checked the other side, and it has the exact same tolerance.....the thin tie-wire will barely clear as the tire spins around. I checked the tire sizes and they are:

Rear: Dunlop D404 140/90-16 M/C 71H
Front: Dunlop D404F 120/90-18 M/C 65H

I checked the book, and these are the correct tire sizes. In my opinion, this is awfully tight tolerances......seems that if the tire got hot, or I had an extra-large lady on the back seat, that the tire could expand and begin rubbing against the frame and driveshaft case. Has anyone else noticed this tight clearance on the rear tire?

I would attach a couple pics I took, but this numbskull forgot how to insert pictures in these postings.....can someone refresh my memory on the picture how-to.

Thanks.
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Re: How to remove and remount your tires

Postby WingAdmin » Sun May 22, 2011 3:19 pm

The tolerances are alarmingly close on mine as well - but I have never had it rub, nor have I seen evidence of it rubbing, even with lots of weight. Do you see evidence of rubbing?

As for adding pictures: Adding pictures to your message
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Re: How to remove and remount your tires

Postby dwight007fchr » Sun May 22, 2011 10:37 pm

WingAdmin wrote:The tolerances are alarmingly close on mine as well - but I have never had it rub, nor have I seen evidence of it rubbing, even with lots of weight. Do you see evidence of rubbing?

As for adding pictures: Adding pictures to your message
Tire clearance only about 1/16" on each side
Tire clearance only about 1/16" on each side


WingAdmin.......thanks for the reply and for showing how to insert a picture (I had been clicking on "Img" above the post, and that wasnt working). This picture shows how close the tire is to the driveshaft.....about 1/16". I spun the tire around and could not see any sign of rubbing, but those little tire "tics" surely must rub. Amazing how tight this tolerance is.....if you get the slightest bulge in a tire, she is gonna rub pronto......and probably lead to a quick blow-out. Good to hear that your rear tire tolerance is as tight......so thats a relief.

Got some more posts coming at you under different subject threads.
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1982 GL1100 tire sizes

Postby tubamanz » Sat Jan 19, 2013 5:22 pm

Being a warm winter day here in SE MN (41 F) I decided to go pull the front wheel off of my 1982 GL1100 so that I could take it in to have the new tire I purchased mounted. This how-to was outstanding, I just didn't want to mess around with the mounting piece. I got the wheel off with no problem (panicked for a moment near the end when I couldn't find the right side spacer - until I realized it had come off with the axle). When I loaded the wheel and the new tire into my trunk I noticed that the tire sizes were different. When I ordered my new tires (Motorcycle Superstore), it was quite cold and so I thought "I'll just look up the correct size for my bike and order that." I'm wondering if now I am stuck with tires to be exchanged. For the front, the size on the wheel is 120/90-18 65H. What I bought (based on what I found as the correct size for a 1982 GL1100) was 110/90-19 62H. Similarly, for the rear the size on the wheel is 140/19-16 71H and the size bought was 130/19-17 68H. I'll be the first to say "stupid and lazy". With that said, will these tires work or do I need to exchange?
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Re: 1982 GL1100 tire sizes

Postby WingAdmin » Sun Jan 20, 2013 2:36 pm

tubamanz wrote:Being a warm winter day here in SE MN (41 F) I decided to go pull the front wheel off of my 1982 GL1100 so that I could take it in to have the new tire I purchased mounted. This how-to was outstanding, I just didn't want to mess around with the mounting piece. I got the wheel off with no problem (panicked for a moment near the end when I couldn't find the right side spacer - until I realized it had come off with the axle). When I loaded the wheel and the new tire into my trunk I noticed that the tire sizes were different. When I ordered my new tires (Motorcycle Superstore), it was quite cold and so I thought "I'll just look up the correct size for my bike and order that." I'm wondering if now I am stuck with tires to be exchanged. For the front, the size on the wheel is 120/90-18 65H. What I bought (based on what I found as the correct size for a 1982 GL1100) was 110/90-19 62H. Similarly, for the rear the size on the wheel is 140/19-16 71H and the size bought was 130/19-17 68H. I'll be the first to say "stupid and lazy". With that said, will these tires work or do I need to exchange?


No chance those tires will work. The number after the dash (i.e. the "19" in 110/90-19) is the diameter of the wheel rim in inches. Sometimes you can get away with a different profile, but if the tire is sized for a different rim, there's no way it will work. You're going to have to exchange them, unfortunately.
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Re: How to remove and remount your tires

Postby tubamanz » Sun Jan 20, 2013 3:16 pm

Thanks. So does this mean that my bike had the rims changed out at some point (when I got it it already had 69,000 miles)? Or did I just find bad info when I looked up the stock size?
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Re: How to remove and remount your tires

Postby WingAdmin » Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:05 pm

tubamanz wrote:Thanks. So does this mean that my bike had the rims changed out at some point (when I got it it already had 69,000 miles)? Or did I just find bad info when I looked up the stock size?


The sizes that you stated as being on the bike (Front-120/90-18, Rear-140/90-16) are correct for a 1982, so it looks like you got the wrong information when ordering.
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Re: How to remove and remount your tires

Postby tubamanz » Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:17 pm

Got the info from http://www.bikez.com/motorcycles/honda_ ... g_1982.php Education was a hassle, but not terribly expensive. :oops:


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