How To Change a Tire On Your Motocross Bike

Tire Changing with EDM Shop Girl Laurie

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Changing the tires on your bike is a necessary evil we all have to deal with. If you ride once a week you will change a lot of tires in your lifetime. You might want to get some special tools to make things easier. Obvious tools would be tire levers and compressed air. You can also add: valve core remover, bead buddy, rim protectors and a bead popper. A spray bottle with soapy water will also help make thing go more smoothly. Talcum powder is good to have for installation of the inner tube. You can also add a tire changing stand from Mikes Racing Products it holds the wheel for you while you work. It might just be the best 150 bucks you will spend on any of the tools in your shop. If you don’t want to spend the money on the stand you can always use a 5 gallon bucket.
Our shop girl Laurie is going to help us illustrate the best way we have found to change a tire on a dirt bike. Before she can get started the bike gets a good wash, a clean bike will be much more pleasant to work on.
The first thing you want to do is put your new tire in the sun to warm it. A cold tire will be much stiffer than a warm one and warming it makes the entire process far easier.
Next thing to do is remove the wheel from your bike. Do this according to you service manual, if you don’t have one get one from Clymer. With the wheel off your bike, set it in the sun to get warm. If it’s not cold outside you should be able to start right away.
Place your wheel on the work stand or bucket and remove the valve core to release all the air.

Next loosen the nut on the rim lock until it is at the very end of the threads. photo Then remove the nut, if it has one, from the valve stem. Hondas usually don’t have them.

From here you need to “break the bead” from one side of the rim. Using your tire lever between the rim and the tire, push down on the tire and work your way around the entire wheel.

It may take a good effort, especially if it has been some time since your last tire change. You can spray some soapy water between the tire and rim but be careful, it will make things slippery. You can also use a bead breaker tool
If you have rim protectors place them on now. With your tire lever work the bead off the rim starting at one side and working your way around the rim.

Flip the wheel over and repeat this process.
Push the rim into the center of the tire and pivot the rim out of the old tire

Remove the inner tube from the old tire and inspect for damage – usually around the valve stem. If you find damage replace with a new one. If there is no damage, insert valve core and add a small amount of air to give it body.
Grab hold of your new warm tire and squirt some talcum powder inside. Roll it around to cover well. The talc allows the inner tube to rotate into its natural shape during inflation. Insert the semi inflated tube in the tire.
Once you have tube in the tire, push the valve stem through the hole in the rim and screw the lock nut on to hold it in place.
Place the wheel onto your stand and push the tire onto the rim. Using a tire lever, work the bead onto the rim so you have half the tire on.
Slide two tire levers under the bead to catch the corner of the tire, push the rim lock into place.

Flip the wheel over and place your bead buddy to hold the bead from moving while you work the bead onto the rest of the rim.

Starting at the bead buddy, go around the tire with your tire lever and push the bead into the rim, working with 1 1/2 – 2 inches at a time. While doing this, press the side of the tire to keep the bead in the center of the rim.
When you get about 6 inches from the bead buddy, stop using the tire levers to insert the bead (this is the point you are most likely to pinch the tube). Spray a little soapy water between the tire and the rim and with your hands and the tire lever in the last position you had it, push the remaining bead into the rim.

Now spray both sides of the tire with soapy water and inflate until the bead “pops” into place. It could take up to 80psi to get this “pop” into place sound. Wipe off excess soap.
Adjust to proper pressure (we start at 13 psi in front, 12 for the rear) and tighten the rim lock until it is snug. Also, if you have one, tighten the valve stem lock nut lightly. Don’t over tighten or you will break the valve stem.

Next re-install your wheel according to service manual, torque your axle nut to the recommended specification and you are ready to roll.
While you have the bike clean and apart why not check your chain tension? Use this Tech Tip and let Laurie show you how to determine proper chain tension.

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