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Interesting article, well done. As you note, whether it's worthwhile depends on where you are.

First of all, I do nearly all maintenance on my bike myself, I think it adds a whole dimension to bike ownership. That said, swapping tyres is the only thing I gladly leave to the pro's.

Over here we have specialists who will swap and balance tyres for 10 euro per tyre, and they will do it on the spot. My record is 15 minutes for front and rear combined (I hadn't even finished my coffee!).

Your rims do have quite a few nicks and scratches on them.

I think you are probably more likely to get those when changing the tyres yourself. The pro tyre-lifters don't put as much pressure on the rims, instead they compress the tyre so it comes off by itself without having to pry.

My 2 cents.
 

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I used to change my tyres all the time before all the shops around here got tyre changing machines. I do take off the wheels myself and take them in. And what is this bit about taking a few days or all day at a shop..I get it done as I wait usually, all included in the price of the tyre.
 

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The Toad
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Good article. I didn't know about the Harbor Freight stand. I've been using a very large C-clamp to break the beads.



A large vise suffices to hold the axle for balancing as well.



And, amazingly, there's a gas station less than a mile from my house that has real live old fashioned free high pressure air hoses.



It's much nicer to have the right tools though.
 

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Nice article, good pictures and great info. Still, I gave up doing my own tires about 10 years ago - after 22 years of "rolling my own". Nope, I don't miss it at all! Having said that, if I do ever get that KLR650 I've had an eye on, its back to sweatin over "tar arns".

Thx to MO for keeping a good flow of interesting articles coming!
 

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Changing ones own tires:



Pluses:



Friend just got clipped for $80 for changing a tire, off the bike by a dealer, whom I doubt he will buy another bike from. Difficult bike, no, it was the rear tire from a BMW GS! Hell, if it were on the bike, takes about 15 seconds to get it off!



You know your brakes were put back together correctly! Uh, yeah, put on incorrectly by a dealer almost killed me once....



You just don't get as nasty reaching for your wallet as you do changing that old tire.



You make it a point to keep the wheels relatively clean....





Minuses:



Where did that damn tire tool go? You'll find out shortly after the ride starts. Don't ask how I know....



You ever try changing a Duplop 491 (or any modern VERY stiff sidewalled tire) with that stiff ass sidewall. How much religion do you want to lose?



Takes WAY more than 15 minutes to do it your self. Now, how are YOU going to balance that tire?



Why won't Gojo clean this crap off my hands? Damn, lava doesn't work either....



Why......won't.......the......bead......seat......damn, have to wait on the air compressor, again.



Oh, you don't own an air compressor? That would be a PROBLEM!



Their machine can do it in less than 15 minutes. You can't, I don't care how good you are!



If you buy the tire from the shop, sometimes (and I do mean sometimes) installation is included in the inflated price of the tire!



Epilog:



I still have the tire irons, haven't used them in years! I don't change my cars tires, why would I want to change the bikes? I do take the wheels off the bike and install them my self, due to the above mentioned brake problem suffered after one such dealer tire change. NO ONE works on my brakes but me after that little episode....



Yeah, yeah, I know the whole Zen thing about working on your own bike and all that. But I do all the work on my computers and don't feel any closer to them.....and when I work on the bikes, they stay broken a LOT longer....

and other stuff seems to get broken along the way....

BigJames
 

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Thanks for your comment but most of those nicks and scratches actually got there from having the previous set of tires put on by a vendor at the track. Most shops and trackside tire vendors do a great job and are very fast -- but sometimes their equipment and/or personnel are not particularly easy on rim cosmetics. I've had most of the powder coat stripped from the outside edge of a rim more than once. I can almost always do less damage myself.
 

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I change my own tires when they go flat on the trail. That's it. Otherwise the guys at the shop do all of them. And Malcolm Smith can still change a tire on the trail quicker than just about anyone else
 

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I take the wheels off and take them to the shop. Where I go they charge $11. per wheel and turn-around time is about 20 minutes, plus their prices are almost the same as mail order.

I do almost all the other work including flat repairs on my bike but changing tires is a pain in the butt
 

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Re: Great article Thanks

Kpaul,

That is what I have done for years, mostly out of necessity in the beginning but now just as much for the satisfaction of doing it myself. I just finished a complete rebuild of my FZR400 race motor and it's gotten through more races already than the last three engines that went into it combined.

The one good shop that exists out here in the "sticks" is so busy that they don't have time to deal with the likes of me (lots of complex problems). Bikes are easy because they are small and easy to get around. You don't need a lot of expensive tools, everything is pretty compact, and unlike a car or truck, if a couple of guys drop, say, an injured Ducati 999 on you it's not as life threating.

I respect everyone who say's leave it to the pro's but I always feel better about riding a bike that I take care of myself.

Dude are you reinventing yourself as a gentleman? What will I do for vicarious reader feelback thrills?

Martin
 

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How are the shops down in Salt Lake City for sales and service? I've been to Plaza Cycle a few times and it looked like a mighty busy place to me. I went to the Honda shop over on S Temple (?) once and the guys there weren't very impressive but it might have just been that particular day. I have a friend with money in his pocket who lives in SLC and is dying to spend cash on a motorcycle-- but so far no one seems motivated enough to sell one to answer his questions. Any advice on where to send him?
 

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Me too. I do all work to all my bikes- except tire changing. I've changed a few and it was always a bastard. (I break the bead on dirt bike tires by driving over the edge of the bike tire with my truck. ) The job was too big a PITA. Now I happily carry my wheels to the shop and pay the $20 for mount/balance/disposal with a big smile.



Granted I don't have a fancy schmancy high falutin $60 Harbor freight stand/bead breaker, maybe that'd make the difference. It's been a while since I had a big cussing tire iron throwing fit, maybe it's time to try again.
 

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I went in Plaza Cycle years ago when I had some money burning a hole in my pocket. There were three salesmen in the showroom standing by the watercraft flexing their muscles at each other. They stared at me for about 10 minutes as I browsed around. Very lousy salesmen. The guy upstairs with the used bikes was very helpful though. I never went back.



Honda/Suzuki of Salt Lake on State Street near 21st South has been the place I go usually, mainly because I own 2 Hondas and a Suzuki. The parts guys have been very helpful, even giving me a substantial discount on expensive transmission parts ($390 for parts that listed at $475.). The salesmen have been helpful, but not pushy, when I've looked at new bikes.



Right now there are some pretty good deals sitting in the used bike section. Or at least there were a few days ago. An 03 SV1000S with low miles listed at 6499 is an example. There is a very clean Erion Honda CBR929 also.



There is a Yammer/Kawi dealer on State St and 110th South where I get parts for my Yammer dirtbike. The parts guys and salesmen there have been helpful and not pushy either.



So I'd recommend either one of those places.



Avoid Caesar's Bike Shop in Midvale and Newgate Honda in Ogden at all costs. Too many people have been ripped off by those clowns.
 

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Dirtbike? They actually let you ride dirtbikes down in UT? I thought the latte-sipping, teva wearing, mtn. bike nazis, had gotten that banned altogether down there.



You guys scare them off or what? Up here they are afraid to venture away from their paved trails. I'm not sure if it's the guns or the grizzlys but something keeps 'em away.
 
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