Tire Mounting Hints & Tips

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Before you put your tire on the rim, there are a couple things you should do. First, make sure the tire is the correct size.

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Then, give it a taste test.

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General tire mounting tips

Once you've done this several times, you'll probably get to where you can change and balance a set of tires in about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

  • Don't get discouraged from doing this just because you don't have a garage and a bunch of fancy tools. Ingenuity goes a long way. One member did his BT45s in the living room with a $20 12 volt inflater, using the lip of the stairs and the 2x4 method to break the beads. Your living room may vary.
  • Use a 5 gal plastic bucket to hold your rim. It makes it MUCH easier to get some leverage with the tire irons. If this sounds scary to you, find a worn-out 13" auto tire. You can also get up on top of the tire/wheel and use your knees to push down on the tire or irons if needed.
  • Be sure you're using enough lube. You can't use too much, but you can certainly not use enough.
  • Quite a few members recommend Ru-Glyde tire mounting lubricant. "This stuff is so slippery that the tires almost jump on and off the rims by themselves." Also available in concentrated form. Try NAPA Auto Parts.
  • Be patient. When you have the tire half-way off/on, and it seems like it won't go any further, just sit there and wait. The tire will stretch, and you'll eventually be able to make more progress. You may have to sit there for up to 2 minutes while the tire is stretching...and then thwoump! It will slip right on/off when a couple minutes earlier it wouldn't budge.
  • Get a pair of large vise grips and a heavy piece of leather to avoid scratching the rims. Once you get the bead started, clamp the vise grips over the edge of the rim, with the leather between the vise grips and the rim. This will prevent the bead from slipping off behind you as you slowly work it on all the way around and allow you to use 2 tire irons to work the bead over.
  • A piece of garden hose slit lengthwise makes a good wheel protector, but you can't get the hose in there for the very last bit. Try using the milk carton protector for that part, but make sure you use your lever very carefully to avoid hurting the wheel.
  • Start at the valve stem when you are removing the tire from the rim, but start opposite the valve stem when putting the tire onto the rim. Don't ask why; it's just always easier this way.
  • Strip the paint off your rims - then you don't have to worry about scratching anything!

General balancing tips

  • You should be able to find stick-on tire weights at any shop that changes tires. A shop may just hand you an ounce or two (more than enough) but talk with one of the guys actually doing the work... not the morons behind the counter who never get dirty.
  • You can also check out hobby shops that cater to R/C planes and cars. The R/C crowd uses them for weight balance on their toys. A 20-pack of 1/4 oz stick-on weights should run ~$5.
  • eBay usually has dealers selling stick-on weights as well.
  • Balancing on the bike: This is an alternative to jack stands or milk crates. Make sure the bike is sitting level. After seating and inflating the tire, mount the wheel loosely on the bike. Remove the spacers (the brake calipers are already off from changing the tires) and balance as normal.

Cold tires are a PITA to install

Cold tires are difficult to flex. They never seem to wear out (or get nails in them) in the summer. One of the ways to get around this problem is to take the wheel/tire into the living room to work on them. Given the general attitude of Significant Others, though, that isn't always possible. Here are a couple other things you can do to get your new tires on the wheels in cold weather.

  • Take the wheel and tire off the bike the night before and put them inside someplace warm. Make sure you support the bike well if using this method. Remember to do the same for your new tires.
  • Find a tub large enough to immerse your tire. Fill it with hot water and rotate the tire so that all the rubber gets warmed up. If you can't pre-warm the new ones, this is also a good way to make them more supple.
  • You can also use a heat gun (carefully) to warm up the tires if they're cold. The bias tires for the 250 are indeed stiff. The front is usually much more difficult than the rear.
  • The important thing to remember is that tires will be much more difficult to change in the cold. Plan ahead.