Sunday, November 16, 2008

Swapping treads myself

I finally committed...I've been wanting to get into changing motorcycle tires myself ever since a buddy of mine began doing it. I was sick of paying the shop $30 to swap a tire (especially since I was removing the wheel from the bike). Opportunity always strikes when you're not looking for it, as such was the case when I stumbled upon a used tire changing stand on

About $180 later, I had everything I needed to remove the rear tire on my SV650:

$180/$30 = 5. The math says that five tire changes is all it will take for me to recoup all my expenditures. Awesome.


So I took on the challenge this wonderful Sunday morning and removed the rear wheel from the SV. I then banked on the information I found here about using 2x4s and a car to break the bead. I cut a 2x4 into the necessary pieces (keeping an 8-footer in its entirety for leverage) and went at it. Of course I emptied the tire of air before playing the bead-breaking game.


Then it was into the basement where I had my tire changing stand and related tools. I messed around some, called my friend, and realized after we hung up that I never actually broke the bead. That was hard for me to believe, seeing as the bead was sliding up and down the inside of the wheel when I was working it over with the 2x4. But sure enough, the bead maintained a seal throughout all that! Wow...


After looking at pictures of tools meant for breaking tire beads, I realized my primitive 2x4s needed improvement. So I sharpened, if you will, the short piece that actually makes contact with the bead of the tire. This ended up being a winner, as I could hear the seal give way when prying and the little air pressure that remained seeped out. Score!


I mounted the wheel onto my tire changing stand and grabbed my No-Mar Mount/Demount Bar. Now, let me first mention how impressed I was when I received my shipment from No-Mar. I ordered their mount/demount bar, a set of wheel weights, and a free DVD they have showing off their products and how to use them. When I opened the box, I found the 3 items I ordered, plus a 2nd DVD, a spray bottle of tire mounting lubricant, and a jar of lubricating jelly for tire installation. And to top it off, the mount/demount bar came with 3 (three!) replacement demount tips (the tips are made of a non-marking material). I definitely felt like No-Mar took care of me, and I'm not easily impressed.

I watched the video and payed close attention to how I should use the mount/demount bar when removing the tire. Unfortunately, the video did not translate so well to the Pirelli 160-60ZR17 I was working with. In the video, No-Mar was able to use the mount/demount bar alone to get between the tire bead and the rim to ultimately pry the bead up over the rim. However, I had no hope of working the demount tip of the No-Mar bar between the bead and the rim. The bead would just go wherever I forced it, and never fought back! So I had to pry the bead away from the rim with a tire iron and then squish the demount tip of the No-Mar bar into the opening made by the pry bar. The first time I was successful getting the demount tip where it belonged, I ended up ruining the demount bar tip as the picture above shows. I was pretty upset, but realized even a fine tool like the No-Mar bar is rubbish if one does not apply common sense. Basically, you should only pry with the No-Mar bar if the fat portion of the demount tip is what makes contact with the rim. In my case, I had pushed the bead so far down, that when I began to pry, the contact point on the No-Mar bar was the actual metal bar! This put intense stress on the connection of the demount tip to the metal bar. Thankfully, No-Mar provided 3 replacement tips in the package! So I swapped demount tips and tried again (making sure the demount tip was in contact with the rim when I began to pry the bead up and over the wheel).


So I got the tire off the wheel and learned how to use the tools I have (without permanently ruining them). I should be picking up a fresh Pirelli SuperSport tomorrow, so I'm pretty sure my tires will pass tech at CMP next weekend.