On a recent group ride my buddies and I were discussing tire changing. I had just swapped tires and balanced the wheels on my GS and photo-documented it, so I thought I'd post ANOTHER do-it-yourself tire mounting and balancing thread just in case folks need a refresher!
N00bs, listen up, you can do this!
When I bought my first BMW (a 1997 R1100RT that I still own and love) it needed tires in a bad way. I took it to a dealer and said, "Swap those bad boys for some fresh meat!". They did a fine job, but the labor costs almost equaled the cost of the tires and I nearly had my first BMW sticker-shock coronary right then and there. Over $450 for a set of tires
. I can buy a set from SWMotoTires.com for under $225 shipped to my door. I've been riding for 43 years now and have changed a lot of dirt bike tires, but was intimidated by the cast wheels on the RT. So I did some reading, bought a Marc Parnes balancer (what a cool tool!) and three long curvy tire irons from Bob's BMW. So here we go!
It's always a good idea to tie off the center stand so the bike doesn't fall forward while working in it. It's easy on the GS, just tie off to the crash bars. It's tougher to find something to tie off to on my RT or K75.
Check the crown seal and final drive while you've got the wheel off, and check the brake pads. Good, no sign of oil leaks! Clean it up good before putting it back together. The brake rotor comes off with the GS wheel, but stays on the bike with the RT and K75. You don't even need to pull the brake calipers off to get the GS wheel off.
If it looks like this, you need a new crown seal (Red Line Heavy gear oil seeping from the RT's seal
Still some meat on that tire, but not enough for a long ride!
This is where the real fun begins, breaking the bead on the old tire. I use a high-tech gizmo of my own fabrication:
Set the wheel rotor-side down on three carpet covered 2X4's and use the truck's frame as a fulcrum. The 2X4 lever has a piece of scrap metal I found along the railroad bolted to it for a bead-breaker. Cheap and effective! Careful not to scratch your rims here.
Flip the wheel over and break the bead on the other side, careful of the brake rotor!
Now we're ready for the really fun part, taking the old tire off the wheel. I use the same carpet-covered 2X4's, rotor side down, Windex for lubrication, three curvy tire irons and some plastic rim protectors made from a liquid detergent bottle (milk cartons and pop bottles are too thin). The rim protectors sold at motorcycle shops work great on your cast wheels but they don't fit the thicker spoked wheels.
I'm going to post this in chunks so I don't run the risk of losing it to a computer (operator) glitch!