free website stats program Changing & Balancing Your Own Tires | Harley Davidson Forums

Changing & Balancing Your Own Tires


BOT Machine
Here's a link that will give you some insight on how to do this.

Motorcycle Tire Changing

Tire Installation

Dunlop street tires have yellow balance dots in the bead or sidewall area to indicate the lightest point of the tire. All Dunlop street tires should be installed with these balance dots at the valve. All Dunlop street tires also have arrows on the sidewall, which indicate the correct direction of rotation.

Positioning of balance marks and inclusion of directional arrows are not universal among motorcycle tire manufacturers.


Danger: Only specially trained persons should mount tires. Improper mounting can cause tire explosion and serious injury.

Follow these mounting precautions:
Wear approved eye protection.
Clean and lubricate beads and rim.
Centralize rim band and tube to prevent pinching if tube-type rim.
*Note directional arrows on sidewall where applicable.
Lock assembly on mounting machine or place in safety cage before inflating to seat beads.
Set air hose relief valve at 40 psi.
Use extension gauge and hose with clip-on air chuck. Stand back with no part of your body within the perimeter of the assembled tire and rim.
Inflate with core in valve stem.
Never inflate above 40 psi to seat beads.*
Spin wheel to check bead seating and alignment.
*If the beads do not seat by 40 psi, deflate and repeat above procedures. Never use a volatile substance or rubber "donut" to aid bead seating. If the tire is a tube-type, deflate and re inflate after seating to prevent tube wrinkles.
For 15-inch motorcycle replacement tires, never mount on a 15-inch diameter passenger car tire rim. Mount only on a 15 M/C motorcycle rim. These passenger car and motorcycle rims actually differ in diameter.
Never mount passenger car tires on motorcycle rims.
D402 PT bead lock tires (These are the POLICE run flats.) may only be mounted on matching Harley-Davidson FXRP, FLHTP or FLHP rims. Consult your owner's manual and see special tread label mounting instructions.

Wear bars on the tires will give you an indication when they should be changed as seen in this pic. I usually change them before they reach the bar.


Mounting your own tires...

Here's what you can do to save some money and mount your own tires...
I've used this many times and it works well mounting tires.

I use a 30 gallon metal oil drum or a plastic garbage can of this size will work well too, it's just not as heavy to stay in place as well when you are mounting the tire. This size drum will also allow the pulley/rotor to drop inside and hold the wheel in place while working on it.
Pick up 2 tire spoons 12"-15" long and get some of the 3/4" flexible PVC piping that is used in under ground lawn sprinklers. Cut some lengths of the PVC about 4" long, slit one side lengthwise and use these as rim protectors so the tire spoons don't scratch the wheels.
Remove the valve core from the tire to deflate it, take an old blanket folded in quarters and lay it across the can that will hold the tire for dismounting which will protect the wheel.
Break the bead with some large "C" clamps and once broken on both sides, work it to the indented area in the middle of the rim. From here you get the tire spoon under one sidewall of the tire at a time and pry it over the rim in small bites working with both tire spoons. Once you get it almost half way off the rest comes off easy. Do the same to the other side wall of the tire over the same side of the rim and the tire is off.

Going back on... some soapy water will help you here to make the tire bead slip onto the rim easier. New tires are a bit more flexible than the older ones and go on pretty well. Always check the rim for any rust where the tire bead will seal or you will have a leaker if it's tubeless.
Work the first bead over the rim and use the indent in the center of the rim on the opposite side you are working on to help with more room by seating the bead of the tire already on the rim down into the recess. Work both beads onto the rim one at a time and center the tire placing the dot on the sidewall next to the valve stem and the arrow on the side wall in the proper direction of rotation on the wheel. You may also want to mark the rim direction on a piece of tape affixed to the rim with a pencil so you get it right the first time. Doing it ONCE is enough.
From here you can air it up as long as it's a tubeless tire making sure that both beads pop out onto the seating area of the rim and keeping your fingers clear of the bead when you are airing it up. Don't use excessive pressure to seat the beads. If you have a problem with seating the bead, deflate it again and use a bit of the soapy water to lube the rim, works wonders here.
If you have a tube type tire, I inflate the tube just a little bit so it will take a little shape and slip it into the new tire before mounting taking care not to pinch it with the tire iron when mounting the tire.

Inflate to the proper pressure and remount the wheel again. It sounds complicated at first but it is not difficult to do and works best with a friend helping. Four hands are better than two.

Just thing of the money you saved here. The tire spoons shouldn't even cost $20 and the PVC is very cheap too.
This was a great read, but I am definitely not that skilled to do this myself. So now I have my new black typhoon rim and 180MM tire (dummy me was not smart enough to have Zanotti mount it before shipping). So now my question, any recommendations on where I should take it to get mounted? Will any motorcycle shop due? I pass a HD Dealer on the way to work and could have them do it, but I'm sure they will charge a premium and never had them do any service for me so don't reallly trust them. I wish I had a good shop but the HD dealer that worked on my bike when I first got it, I like but not overly impressed by them, so I just need to get someone to mount this tire for me and I'm going to take it from there.
Can't a cycle shop do the job just as well, but cheaper (usually)? I pull my own wheels off the bike and normally drop the tires off to be mounted/balanced. I like to support the local independent shops.

I have a buddy who has an auto shop and who has offered to mount the tires for me, but I usually politely decline. I turned down the offer because he didn't have any way to balance them ... but I don't know if balancing is even worth the worry and effort. Is it?

I guess that I've asked two questions here!