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How to change and balance your motorcycle tires

how to balance a motorcycle tire


Tire irons - Available in different lengths, 8"-16", in general the longer the better. These are easy to find. Don't use a screw driver. You can damage your tire and rim.

An air compressor.

A bead breaker.(I use a flat piece of wood & a mallet.)For larger tires a vice may be required.

Plastic rim protectors. Available from most auto part stores.

A inflation strap. (a piece of rope or a ratchet strap can suffice).

A twenty gallon drum with garden hose slit lengthwise used for padding around the rim. A wooden box covered with carpet with a hole in the middle is a option. You can use an inexpensive tire changer from Harbor freight.

Wheel weights: use the stick on type weights.

Tire mounting fluid: use the right stuff I don't recommend dish detergent! In theory your tire may loose it's grip on the wheel.

Scotchbrite pads - to clean the wheel where the tire grips.

Tire valve core tool - to remove and replace the valve core.

Any of several possible balancing tools from a couple crates or saw horses and your axle to a high dollar computerized balance.

Remove your wheel per manufacturers instructions.


Remove the wheel from the bike.

Deflate the tire by removing the valve stem core with the proper tool.

Break the bead of the tire away from the rim. Using either your bead breaker, gluing clamps or vice.

Position the wheel on a holding device such as a twenty gallon drum or tire changing stand.

Pull the tire as far to one side as possible by pushing the two tire beads on the opposite side together and making them go down into the narrowest part of the rim.

Pry the bead over the near edge of the rim. By inserting one of the tire irons between the near bead and the rim on the "loose" side of the tire and. Insert another iron under the bead three or four inches from the first and roll the bead over the edge of the rim. Pull the first iron out and move it to the other side of the second or if you have a third iron place it three to four inches from the second iron and roll more of the bead over the rim. Keep going until you work your way completely around the tire. Repeat the process to pull the other bead off the rim.

NOTE: I made a couple of plastic rim protectors out of plastic jug handles.

Remove the inner tube if there is one. On tubeless tires remove the valve stem.

Clean the bead area and the valve stem hole. Remove any rust or rubber where the bead seals.

Clean the inside of the rim.

Inspect the bearings, wheel etc. Some bearings require repacking. Now is the time to do it.This is a good time to check the run in of your wheel & disk rotor.

Install a new tube or valve stem depending on the type of tire you are working with. If you are working with spoke wheels install a new rim strip and check for spokes sticking through the nipples.


Lubricate both beads of the tire with wheel mounting fluid. Use mounting fluid not soap.

Determine the correct rotation of the tire. Find the arrows marking on the tire that indicate which way the tire should rotate.

Install the valve stem if you are working with a tubeless tire. Remove the valve stem core. You will need a lot of air flow to mount the tire.

Locate the yellow dot on the tire. This is the lightest part of the tire. The yellow spot should line up with the valve stem. Starting at the valve stem push as much of the bottom bead over the wheel as you can without using the irons. Carefully pry the rest of the bead over the edge of the rim. If you are working with a tube type tire install the tube. Put a very small amount of air in the tube. Make sure the tube isn't twisted.

Repeat the operation with the other bead starting 180 degrees from the valve stem. NOTE: Be careful that you don't pinch the tube.

Place your bead strap around the tire, tighten it enough to spread the bead.

Add air while releasing the bead strap until the bead of the tire seats completely. I recommend about 45 PSI. Chances are you will hear a "pop" when the bead sets.


Check the distance between the locator line molded into the tire and your rim, making sure that the distance between the line and the rim is even all the way around the tire.

Replace the valve stem core.

Check for a good seal with a soapy water solution.


If you have a balancer follow the manufacturer's directions.

If you are using the saw horse method: Suspend the wheel by it's axles vertically so it turns freely. Spin it a few times to free up the grease in the bearings. Spin the wheel and mark the highest point. Repeat two more times. The marks should be fairly close. If the marks are within a couple of inches apply a medium weight with scotch tape or masking tape in the middle of the marks. (You may need to remove the weight.) If they are close together use a heavy weight.

Spin the wheel again as before. If the weight always ends up straight down remove the weight and apply a lighter one. If the weight always ends straight up apply more weight. If the weight stops in a random position the wheel is balanced. Repeat several times to make sure the wheel stops in a random position. When you are sure the correct weights are in the right position attach them permanently.

Install your wheel per manufacturers instructions.

Remember to adjust your air pressure to the recommended level after the wheel is on your bike and you are ready for the road!


Your motorcycle dealer can probably do a better job faster if they have trained personnel and the right equipment. If you have any doubts about your ability to do this correctly have them do it.

Only use new tires purchased from a reputable seller. Never use blems etc. Be careful with old tires that have set a long time.

These instructions are a general guide. If your motorcycle manufacturer, wheel or tire manufacturer recommends a different method follow their instructions.


Category: Forex

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