New Front Tire

October 9, 2013 // gadgets, maintenance, reviews

My bike is 13 years old and so was the front tire. It only had 4k miles on it but time and weather had begun rotting the rubber. I noticed cracks in it from the day I bought it so I never rode too hard until I could get it replaced. In hindsight, I probably should have changed it before riding at all but excitement of finally have a motorcycle overshadowed that.

Well, a flat tire later, I could no longer put off replacing it. I purchased the same brand, model, and size of tire along with a new heavy duty Michelin tube. I was going to do a how-to article but there are already so many out there, I decided to just link to this one that I found helpful. There are many more videos and articles out there if needed.

I opted to change the tire/tube myself so I was familiar with the process in case I needed to do it on the trail in the future. After going through the process, I hope I never have to do this trailside!

Here are a list of the tools I used and found helpful:

Here is a tool I used but did not find helpful:

  • Motion Pro Rim Protectors (I Found these too difficult to fit between the rim and tire. easier to just be careful with the tire irons.)

And here is a tool I wish I would have had!

And one last thing to see how they worked:

These are not affiliate/tracking links. Just providing a link to the exact products used for reference.

The entire process took me about an hour. A good portion of that time was trying to get the tire balancing beads into the tube. I did this while the tube was still out of the tire. It’s not hard, just time consuming trying to get the glass beads to flow down the valve stem.

The other challenge was feeding that 4mm thick heavy tube into the tire and feeding the valve stem through the wheel. Next time I will make sure I have a valve stem puller on hand! I can see now how that could save one a lot of time and frustration.

One thing to note that he does not mention in the above linked video, new tires will have a round marker on the side wall. That marks the light side of the tire so align your valve stem with that for balancing purposes. I put a small bit of air in the tube before installing too. It makes it easier to keep in place without getting all twisted up.

Installing and removing the tire isn’t too bad following the steps in the video. Just go slow and pay attention so you aren’t pinching the tube or scraping up your wheels.

The 16″ tire iron was very, very helpful on tire install when you get to the last few inches. The extra leverage really lets you stretch the tire more easily over the rim. I would not do this project with less than three tire irons. With the two 11″ ones and single 16″ one I had, it all went smoothly.

The Motion Pro Bead Buddy was marginally helpful. I’m still on the fence with that gadget. It got stuck on my spoke and I had to hit off with a rubber mallet. It did help break the bead though. I found it more helpful on tire install than removal. When installing, it nicely holds the tire in place. I did not hook it to the spoke the second time!


About the author

I'm a geek who loves adventure bikes. Just getting started riding in my mid-30's, I decided to document my progress for others who are on the same path or have always thought about joining the ADV world.

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