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Old 05-04-2015, 01:39 PM   #1
gregbart OP
Joined: Aug 2014
Location: kalifornia
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Replacing tires. DIY or shop?

Hi all,
I have a 1992 XT600 with street tires on it. I will be doing some off-roading with my brother in a few weeks, so I wanted to change over to some 50/50 tires. The dealer wants $40 per wheel, off the bike, to mount and balance. So, I'm planning on changing them out myself. I've never changed motorcycle tires. But, I've changed bicycle, car, jeep and tractor tires before. I'm comfortable with a wrench (and Youtube). What I'm wondering is it worth balancing the tires, or not.

I will, also, be getting a DL1000 in about a month and plan on putting a lot of miles on it. So, unless the DL1000 tires are exceptionally hard to change, I will be changing them myself also. Should I just bite the bullet and get a static balancer or plan on having a shop change out the DL1000 tires.

Sorry about the rambling,


gregbart screwed with this post 05-04-2015 at 01:44 PM
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Old 05-04-2015, 01:50 PM   #2
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I've yet to balance a motorcycle tire. But, most people do. I rarely exceed 90 mph, if that is a factor. If the wheel was noticeably imbalanced, I would not hesitate to perform a static balance.

The only advice I can give to someone with your background is to get some 8" tire irons and rim protectors. I use the stubby tire tools ( No money or time is saved if the rim gets damaged changing the tire.
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Old 05-04-2015, 01:53 PM   #3
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$40 isn't a really good price but not crazy unreasonable. Shop time is shop time regardless if the shop is rebuilding a motor, changing your oil or busting tires. At $40 a pop I'd do my own but it is a PITA and nobody 'likes' busting tires but I'm poor(retired) so no matter how much I dislike a job, I do what I'm physically able to.
Shops cost money, sweat is free.
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Old 05-04-2015, 02:09 PM   #4
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I can change a tire in about fifteen minutes and balance it in five. But I also have three tire irons, rim protectors and a place to work. So $40 per tire is a lot to me though probably a decent shop rate.

Whether it is worth it to balance a tire depends on the tire. I never did in the past. But I installed a desert knobby a couple of weeks ago that was actually not possible to ride on above 70 mph. I bought a balancer and hung four ounces of weight on it. I still hated it and mounted another one yesterday. Then I balanced the tires on my bikes just because I can now. It did make a difference at highway speeds. The Harbor Freight balancer and No-Mar re-useable weights make it easy for the cost of one of those dealer tire changes.
525EXC, 640 Enduro, XT200

Grreatdog screwed with this post 05-04-2015 at 02:18 PM
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Old 05-04-2015, 02:15 PM   #5
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Location: Houston, Texas
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I use a HF , mojo lever and plastic rim guards for a harbor freight. I have a static balancer from HF(it was so cheap, it's not worth making)

That said, I have buddy that does Harley tires with tire irons.He's really fast. If you have done bicycles, you can do motorcycle tires.
Breaking the bead should be your only real dilemma. Some people use c clamps

DL1000 tires are a piece of cake..mojo lever or tire irons.
Tips. Warm the tire in the sun. Use ru-glide, Dish soap or Pledge.
Use orange juice bottle plastic to protect the rims
Don't rest the rim on the disk on the ground. Elevate the rim or remove the rotor.
If the stars align up, it's 5 minutes or less to dismount and remount a tire.
If it takes you more than 30 minutes it's a technique problem. If you take an hour, just relax. Go watch an u tube video It's amazing the difference when you push down or push up the tire.

I spend more time getting my tire changer & balancer out, setting them up than I do tire changes.
Obsessive compulsiveness always trumps good sense.
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Old 05-04-2015, 02:24 PM   #6
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C-clamps are your friend. So is some kind of lube. But I switched from soap to Windex on advice from here. You are on your own with the choice in puppies.

525EXC, 640 Enduro, XT200
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Old 05-04-2015, 03:22 PM   #7
trailer Rails
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If you have changed all the tires you have listed, you will be fine. The worst I ever did was 37" jeep tires with 12" levers but my little 6" lawn tractor tires were a close second. Motorcycle tires are easy by comparison.

I don't worry about balancing because I don't have the tool. It is on my list to get soon. The Marc Parns balancer is supposed to be pretty nice.
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Old 05-04-2015, 04:22 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by trailer Rails View Post
I don't worry about balancing because I don't have the tool.
matching stacks of milk crates or a couple matching chairs and the bike's axle will do fine for sticking a couple weights on. As mentioned, dirty bikes aren't gonna benefit from a precision job.
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Old 05-04-2015, 04:34 PM   #9
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Just DIY. It is not that hard and a skill every dirt motorcyclists should have.
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Old 05-04-2015, 04:45 PM   #10
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Only let the dealer do it once.

Usually I will pull the wheel myself and take it to a bike shop (non-dealer such as Cycle gear) and let them change it. Or I do it myself. If the tire is fresh and easy to work, fixing a flat, it is easy doing it yourself. When the tire is several years old and heat cycled into a rock, tire shop is totally worth it.
"She's built like a steakhouse but she handles like a bistro"-Zapp Brannigan
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Old 05-04-2015, 04:46 PM   #11
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I struggled, fought, cursed, bled, and bought tubes, until I read Neduro's how-to:

Read it, and you'll be changing tires with soup spoons before you know it.
"I tried to move my mind there and nowhere else and imagine a single detail that, if I didn't see it that weekend, I never would... The world is easily lost."
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Old 05-04-2015, 04:53 PM   #12
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Just did it twice today because I had a small hole in the first tube. There is nothing more demoralizing than to find that you have a leak after you painstakingly put the tire together. I do it myself because I want to be competent when I'm riding on the trail and get a flat. My rims have lots of scratches but if I had a new rim, I would get those rim protectors. Also, for the garage get a harbor freight tire iron, $5.99. Makes it easier than the portable small irons. I also went ahead and bought the harbor freight motorcycle tire balancer because I rode with a severe unbalanced tire and it wasnt a good feeling. Im sure it had uneven sprocket and chain wear. Btw, those youtube guys make it so easy!!
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Old 05-04-2015, 05:14 PM   #13
gregbart OP
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Location: kalifornia
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Thanks guys!
Just ordered the tires etc. I decided to wait until next month for the balancer. The XT will only be on dirt, at fairly slow speed. Once I need new tires for the DL1000, I'll get the balancer. It will be driven considerably faster .

Thanks again,
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Old 05-04-2015, 05:34 PM   #14
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Xt600, look up zip tie tire change.

$20 on Amazon will buy you a motorcycle wheel balancer, you supply the 2x4s. $40-60 will buy you the whole thing. Solder wire makes great balance wire wrapped around spokes.
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Old 05-04-2015, 05:56 PM   #15
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pulling the rim is the bulk of the work - I change tires with some tire irons 2x4's faster than the ride over to the dealership. Jack stands and the axle will be good enough for balancing at street speeds.

It's extra easy for tubed tires because you can 'seat' the bead with a bicycle pump instead of a compressor.
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