Tires aren’t cheap these days; it doesn’t matter what kind of vehicle they go on. With summer right around the corner, enthusiasts are looking for a way to blow off some steam by jumping on their dirt bikes. The only thing that could possibly stand in their way from accomplishing that mission is a flat tire (or a missing one). This article will walk you through how to change a dirt bike tire.
You wouldn’t believe how many people are unable to properly change a bike tire. Either they are too confident or they cannot grasp the mechanics of the situation. The truth is that learning how to change a tire can be just as easy as learning how to tie your shoe. We will start by gathering the items you will need on your adventure first. Patience is a must! If you don’t have this virtue, go ahead and hire someone else to do the job. But if you can handle that first step, grab a compressor, a new tube and new tire, a few tire irons (two or three should do it), baby powder and a nice place to work. Make sure it is waist high. The baby powder and the new tube are optional but it is best to have them on hand just in case.
Before you start, remember that tires of any sort are a lot harder to change when they are cold. Make sure they are at least warm when taking on and putting them on. It makes things a great deal easier. Get ready! Here are the steps in how you can change a bike tire.
Get the Old Tire Off
Getting the wheel off your dirt bike is the easy part. Once that is done, take the valve stem and rim lock nuts off. Then take the valve stem core off or you can release the tube pressure by just pressing on the little stem core. Lay your tire on a flat surface and break the tire’s bead from the rim’s surface. You have to make sure both sides are broken before you go any further. There are bead separators that you can buy that make this a lot easier.
Lay the tire on the working surface and make sure the sprocket side is down. Take one of the tire irons and put the lip in there and pull back. You can usually rest the irons under your brake rotors while you go handle the second (you’re doing the same thing for the 2nd and 3rd bites). The 2nd bite is usually the roughest step in trying to get the tire off. Because of the pressure the 1st tire iron is putting on the tire, the tire iron, rim and rubber just fail to work together. Just wiggle the iron until it slips in there and rest it under the brake’s rotor. The 3rd rotor is much easier. Now that the tire irons are in place, start rotating the irons around the tires until the tire comes completely off.
Preparing the New/Old Tube for the New Tire
One thing to always remember about tire tubing is that the thicker the tubing, the less flats you will have. If you are just learning how to change a tire, it is best to realize that it is going to take some time to perfect the art of changing tires. Pinching tubes will be a huge part of that process. Sometimes getting cheap tubes is the best way to start out until you know what you are doing. When pushing the lever to get the tube on the tire, do so just enough to get it on. This means use only as much of the level as possible.
Check Rim for Any Sharp Edges
This is important if you want to ensure your work meant something. Sharp rim edges could puncture the tire and tubing. The best way to dull any sharp edges will be will a file.
Putting the New Tire on the Rim
Put the new tire on the rim and push it down halfway. Grab the irons and take the lip and pry outward starting with one. Take another iron and place another bite. You will want to rotate the irons until the tire is back on. Pretty much, you are reversing everything you did when you took the tire off. Put the rim locks back on but make sure you do not tighten them all the way.
Fill the tubing with enough air so it doesn’t collapse or pinch. Take the baby powder and coat the tubing. This ensures no slipping or chaffing while it is inside the tire. Place it inside the tire along with the stem and stick it through the proper hole. It is possible! It just takes time. You can take a screwdriver and, with a little luck, you can punch it through. You have to be careful not to puncture the hose though.
All that is left is putting the last side of the tire on and you are finished. Starting from where the rim lock is, push your tire down over the rim’s edge and use your hands. It may take some strength but you can push as hard as you need. Flip the wheel over and push the center beads down. This is really important.
Now make sure the wheel is flipped with rotor side up and soak it with soapy water. This helps with lessening the chances of tube pinching. The only thing left is to put on and tighten the valve stem nuts and put some air in your new tire. Wet the tire down, fill it up with air. If the air doesn’t seep out, then tighten the rim locks, valve stem nuts and make sure the air pressure is correct. You’re all set!
Written By: AndrewT