Kawasaki Z125 Forum banner

DIY Tire Changes?

  • Yup! Always!

    Votes: 9 56.3%
  • Nope! Let the pros handle that.

    Votes: 2 12.5%
  • Depends on the situation.

    Votes: 5 31.3%

  • Total voters
    16
1 - 20 of 48 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
895 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I was slipping around a bit too much yesterday for my liking. I think I'm ready for better tires.

Decent tires are pretty cheap for these bikes, but then I'm looking at the cost of mounting and balancing four tires and I don't have a way to get all four off the bikes at one time so it's a bit of added hassle shuffling them to and from a shop.

I'm basically a pro at mounting bicycle tires so I figure it's the same thing on a larger scale. I thought balancing was the dealbreaker for DIY tire mounting until I heard about Dynabeads. They seem promising but I'm not a full believer.

So, my question is this:

Do you always mount/balance your own tires? Why or why not? Should I consider gearing up?

Thanks in advance everyone!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
369 Posts
<------ This guy mounts them.

Attached is a sketch of how to make your very own CABB to break beads. Requires nothing more than a few pieces of scrap 2x4 and some screws. Only the one board is fastened to anyone, so there is a bit of juggling required as you apply load to the lever... an assistant makes it much easier but I do it by myself.

To remove tire:
Let air out of tire. remove Schrader valve or drill a couple 1/4"ish holes in the tire.
Use the CABB. The holes will allow air to come out and the tire to compress enough to get it off the rim.
Grab your 3 tire irons and rim protectors and wrestle that sucker off.

To install the tire:
Grab your 3 tire irons and rim protectors and wrestle that sucker on.
Set the bead. Wratchet strap around the circumference of the tire. Hit it with some soapy water to help bead seal. Wratchet, wratchet, wratchet… center of tire gets pulled toward center of rim, edges push out against rim making tight seal.
Blast it with air compressor to set bead.
TIP- remove Schrader valve to set bead. Lets more air through.

To balance:
Dynabeads.

Sometimes I have a hard time setting the bead if tire is flattened from shipping. I get the tire on the rim, take it to like a used tire shop and they guy sets them both for me for 5 bucks.

Why do I do it? Because I'm a cheap SOB.

Watch the youtube videos. It takes some time to learn how to use the tire irons. Those tires stretch more than you may be comfortable until you get used to it. This won't make sense until you try it, but take SMALL "bites" with the irons as you work your way around the tire.

Use some common sense to protect your wheel when using the CABB
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
369 Posts
Hey my sketch is pretty terrible. The idea is a lever. Short piece of 2x4 should be close to the wall mounted 2x, the longer one is the lever so the longer the easier it is. My drawing has the short 2x4 about halfway between the wall and the end of the lever, which isn't a great setup. If you can't push it down, move the shorter 2x4 closer to the wall and/or get a longer lever.

"With a long enough lever I can move the earth"
-Someone from back in the day.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
895 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Hey my sketch is pretty terrible.
Not at all, it made perfect sense in ~5 seconds. Perfect engineering bar-napkin-sketch quality.

One question on the CABB; What do you use to protect the wheel/rotor from the garage floor? (Herp derp, you already answered this... common sense. Moving blanket, cardboard, etc?)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
877 Posts
You stack some lumber under the wheel so that gear/rotor doesn't take any force. I have a cheap Harbor Freight tire machine with motorcycle adapter that I have used, may just try with spoons on the Z.

Here's a tip to seat the beads:

QuickTip - Tire mounting

And no to the dynabeads, just buy some stick on weights and a balance stand, Motion Pro has steel weights that are cheap with a foam adhesive on the back, then a decent (read cheap) gravity balancer is good enough for these little machines (Harbor Freight?):

Balancing the wheels
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
369 Posts
Greg got it some wood under.

But why no to dynabeads? I've been running them for years on all sorts of bikes, never had a wobble or any kind of problem. I wouldn't use them in a car, but why not a bike?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
764 Posts
I take my tires to a guy on the north side of the cities. Pull the wheels off the bike and he mounts and balances them in ~10 minutes. Runs me $30 a set.


I would do it myself, but I'm not sold on dynabeads. I've heard that they are fine at faster speeds, but make the tire off balanced at slow speeds.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
369 Posts
The amount of rubber that they erode from the inside of the tire bothers me. Just don't like them. My brother has tried them and found them to be OK as well, but I just don't like the thought of them removing rubber from inside the tire.
Dude that's crazy, I never noticed. They seem so benign!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
369 Posts
I take my tires to a guy on the north side of the cities. Pull the wheels off the bike and he mounts and balances them in ~10 minutes. Runs me $30 a set.


I would do it myself, but I'm not sold on dynabeads. I've heard that they are fine at faster speeds, but make the tire off balanced at slow speeds.

They are technically not doing anything until you get up to maybe 7 or 8 mph or so... when centrifugal force distributes them evenly to the outside of the tire. But balance is really not an issue at parking lot speeds anyway.

I've personally had multiple bikes at 100+ mph with these things and zero issues. I prefer them because it is a dynamic balance vs the static balance you get with clip on weights. Every time you take off from a stop you are essentially rebalancing the tire.

EDIT: 30 a set is a steal. They want 50 bucks a rim, I take them off the bike, up here in CT. No F-in way.

Double Edit: For 30 a set, ride in, no way I would do it myself. But I don't have a fancy machine like Greg. You will work up a sweat playing with the tire irons.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
895 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
You stack some lumber under the wheel so that gear/rotor doesn't take any force.
Oh! Yup, that makes much more sense than what I was thinking. It was your blog that originally got me thinking about DIY so cheers! Offtopic but how do you like that little Ryobi inflator? I have its big brother and I like that I can set a pressure and walk away, but I have zero use for the HVLP inflator so I've debated grabbing the one you have as a simplification.

Re: Dynabeads
... I just don't like the thought of them removing rubber from inside the tire.
At least in my mind the beads only roll/slide at low speeds or while adjusting into "low spots" in the balance. Once they are distributed they should stay there until you stop. Granted how many times do you start/stop on an average trip? They are still moving around quite a bit.

Appreciate the criticism, I'll have to do more research and decide for myself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
895 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
RE: Dynamic Balancing

Ease of use is nice, but the idea of dynamically balancing wheels is so freaking appealing.

My newly balanced tires on my car feel like they are egg shaped at 15mph around my neighborhood but then they settle at higher speeds.

I've had other tires that are wonderfully balanced until 85+ and then they threaten to shake your car apart.

Granted, we're talking about stock 125s, they only know one speed range, slow. Apparently I just want to try dynabeads in my DD.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
551 Posts
Back when I was racing, I used a Pit Posse bead breaker / tire changer stand

Most important: get the foam covered one or you will scratch the F out of your rims.

And a SMI wheel balancer, which was about $30.


I made a little wood stand for the balancer but honestly 2 masonry blocks works fine.

I would also throw my tires on the warmers before I remove and mount them - they go on and off easier.

But make no mistake - changing tires with these tools is a hard pain in the ***. It would have been so much better to just buy a good No-Mar setup but I couldn't justify the cost. This was when I was tracking middleweights and using up a set of tires every weekend. I don't do that anymore. Now I just have a guy I know in my town with a No-Mar. I bring him my wheels removed, my new tires, $30 and walk out happy without bloody knuckles.

Oh and balance beads... no thanks.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
209 Posts
Seeing some good advice on this thread.

I too mount and balance my own tires. Breaking the bead is the hardest part and you can get pretty creative. I use two wood clamps. You also need a minimum of 2 good tire iron's. 3 is ideal. The fleabay tire iron's are made of recycled cheese. You need a quality tool here.

The first one is probably going to take an hour or two and involve a lot of cussing. There are little tricks to it so if you can bribe a neighbor or buddy with experience I highly recommend you do so. After your 4th or fifth time you'll wonder why you ever paid for it before.

Go to your local tire shop (car tire shop is lowest cost) and offer them some cash for a pile of stick on weights. Very cheap and nice to have a stack kicking around. I balance the tire with the weights held on with scotch tape. Once I have everything absolutely perfect I'll peel off the adhesive backing and permanently stick em. Then one last check and you're good to go.

+1 on no beads. Seems like the people with the least amount experience want them the most. Trying to figure that one out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
369 Posts
Least amount of experience?? Come on man. I'm not a racer, I'm not a pro mechanic, I'm not an engineer. I'm a dumb construction guy who freelances with a violin. But I have thousands of miles with the balance beads and never a problem with wobble, vibration or uneven wear.

I'm not trying to start a fight, really, I promise. I am genuinely curious... KB and Zaph, have you tried them?

I pay attention to the dots on the tires when I mount them, maybe I've just gotten really lucky all this time and didn't need any adjustments to get correct balance.

A lot of reviews say that testing on a balance machine detects heavy spot at different places every time (with balance beads in it). I don't think this is a valid test because you do not get the up and down movement of an unbalanced wheel in one of those stands vs when it is hooked up to the suspension. I have read that up and down movement as the heavy spot rotates around is what causes the beads to redistribute. So I am thinking about a little experiment.

I have original tires on my Z balanced at factory. I need to take the wheel off this weekend to throw on a new chain, so:

1. Use V-notch jack stands and rear axle to confirm wheel is balanced via gravity balance. If not adjust w/ stick on weights (and realize I have been out of balance for 4000+ miles and didn't know it, which means I'm a CHUMP and should lose posting privileges). Seems like this setup should work for gravity balance, what do you think? Spin the tire a bunch of times, if there is a heavy spot it should consistently end up at the bottom, I think that is the basic idea.

2. Test ride.

3. (need advice here) Either remove factory wheel weight or add more. What do you think I should do? Wheel is now out of balance.

4. Test ride. Hopefully notice something.

5. Add 1.5-2 oz balance beads.

6. Test ride. (Realize that ……………….????)

Test ride will be mix of city, curvy back roads, and long straight section speed limit 50 mph. This is a 15 min loop nearby I will run the same loop each time.


I would not use these things in a car (no way for lateral balance). I would have 2nd thoughts using in a super wide motorcycle tire for same reason.

For guys saying no to the beads only Greg gave a reason, had abnormal internal wear which I have not experienced. Maybe I just didn't notice??? His bro liked them though.

Or save me the trouble of this little test, why do they suck? I can understand not wanting them on a track where 10ths of a second count, but my experience has been they are just fine for the street.

Have I poured enough gas on this thread yet? :)

<slides a few virtual internet beers down the table to everyone in the thread>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Bead Buster

I've been mounting my own tires on my full size sportbikes for several years as well as my Zuma 125.


For breaking the bead, I used to just take a 2x4 and place it on the bead and jump on it then flip it over and do the other one. I learned the hard way though to take the brake rotors off so as not to bend them. (doh!)


Now, I don't have to worry about that because I bought the Bead Buster tool at a motorcycle expo. Its great because its portable so you can use it on the go if you are somewhere away from where a normal bead breaker machine tool is.


Its paid for itself several times over. The only issue I've had with it is the pivot bolt (looks like a red dot in this picture) broke and I had to put a new bolt in there as the force can bend it. Its really a non-issue though as any normal bolt can fit in there and if that one bends breaks, I just keep replacing it.


Overall, a great tool I'm glad to have and wished I had it when I started changing my own tires.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
895 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for the feedback pistonpete, and welcome to the forum!

Since it seems to be the hot button topic, what are you doing for balancing for your DIY tires?
@MrEvilpirate
I'm not sure your test plan is objective enough. Fly me out as a control rider please. :wink2:

I thought this video was pretty good, though, it doesn't mean they work the same in a tire.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
877 Posts
That bead breaker looks nice, might have to find something like that.

The Ryobi compressor is fantastic, nice and small to take to the track and I've used it to seat the beads of car tires too. With that compressor I keep the valve core installed, not moving that much air at a time so it might as well be ready for final pressure when the bead seats. A 4ah battery will do four car tires from flat which means a pile of 12 inch bike tires per battery.

I did buy a NoMar bar and third hand and their slippery goo. A cheap TireSlime valve core tool is all that's needed.

And for the record, that Harbor Freight tire thing is kind of a pain! It would be OK if you had a large space where it could be bolted to the floor, you eventually need to be able to walk all the way around the thing with the bar in hand. And no way I'm going to use it on the Harley, most of those tires are a fight and a half and I'm not into it that much to need to save the bucks. Many of the independent shops that sell tires will build the mount and balance (off the bike) into the price. I found that just buying the tire from them and having them mounted/balanced is the same price an mail order and paying for a mount and balance. Not worth my time to look around when I get to the same result.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Thanks for the feedback pistonpete, and welcome to the forum!

Thank you for the welcome. I had been lurking on this site shortly after I bought my Z125 back in late December. I decided to join to see if any of the information I had, particularly regarding tires, may help someone the way I've been aided from the knowledge of the members of this site.

Since it seems to be the hot button topic, what are you doing for balancing for your DIY tires?
As for balancing the tires, I've just mounted them without balancing. I understand that this is not optimal and some may frown upon this but it has worked for me. Couple that with the slower speeds of the Z and often tires needing little to no weight at all, I'm perfectly ok with mounting only.



I've done this with both my sportbikes and Zuma alike with little to no issues. I'm sure its possible I'm diminishing tire life to some degree but still have acceptable tire life/handling. I will also admit that the front tire on my CBR929RR does occasionally tend to vibrate at higher speeds (over 70mph) toward the end of the life of the tire which I'm sure is due to it not being balanced but for the most part it has been a non-issue. I've been doing this method over the last 35K miles of the 45K miles that are on the odometer.



Most name major brand name tires (Michelin, Pirelli, Bridgestone) come fairly well-balanced and frequently require no weight at all as long as aligning the valve stem with the yellow dot and your wheels are relatively straight and in good shape. I'm hoping the Kendas will be fairly well-balanced as well.
 
1 - 20 of 48 Posts
Top