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  #1  
Old 13 Mar 2010
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How many of you have changed their own tyres?

Just wondering how many of you guys actually change your own tyres or have had to repair a puncture off-road? That's probably the only issue that worries me when I go exploring off-road. I carry a can of tyre sealant just in case but without the right repair gear, an unfortunate puncture would really prove to be a real bummer? Any suggestions with puncture repair options and also with tackling the removal of a real rear puncture with just a side stand to hold the bike up?
JQ
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  #2  
Old 13 Mar 2010
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I have, and I'm not hardcore. It's worth doing at least once each wheel in your garage, plus once again per wheel away from home--just to know what it takes. After that, I tend to hire it out for convenience, though I always carry tubes and kit with me (that means tire irons, patches, axle wrenches, a bit of soap and some talc, at least one pump (but usually two ever since I had one electric and one manual pump fail on me at different times). I use a center stand for convenience, but a well-chosen stick or other prop works just as well, sometimes better.

Cost to have someone else change out a tire or fix a flat has ranged from US$40 in the States to US$1 in various Central and South American countries, to absolutely free when buying a tire in Peru. YMMV.

Mark

(from moto-friendly Dakar Motors in Buenos Aires, where I've run into folks I last saw weeks and months ago)
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  #3  
Old 13 Mar 2010
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only two tyres out of may 14 tyres I did let the shop change, but only because I wanted new ones right away... every other tyre was changed by my self with ease.

just a few golden rules to prevent a sudden puncture !
1) use Heavy-Duty tubes
2) fit the tubs with Talcum or baby powder (that's Talcum in little bottles like a salt shaker) keeps the tube nice and flexible.
3) fill the tube with "slime" or "Ultraseal" tyre gump... like slime but may better as some guys suggest.
4) leave the retaining nut of the valve stomp tighten against the cap and not against the rim... preventing the stomp from getting ripped out of the tube if riding with low pressure, gives the tube some space to move around...
5) get your self a good pair of tyre leaver and get your Hands dirty... it's not that bad at all...

spooky
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  #4  
Old 13 Mar 2010
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I always do all my tyre fitting, changing, repairs myself. It's not really hard work.

This is one of the better of the 20,000 vids on youtube

YouTube - tyre change
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  #5  
Old 13 Mar 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnquinnell View Post
Any suggestions .... with tackling the removal of a real rear puncture with just a side stand to hold the bike up?
JQ
On SibirskyExtreme Terry fixed punctures without taking the wheel off. He even broke beads with his bare hands! See 3rd photo on page 5 on the BAM thread on the ADV link below.

Although he didn't have to deal with a rear flat, I recall him saying he has done it - it's just a bit more fiddly with more things in the way than just front forks.
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  #6  
Old 13 Mar 2010
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Cheers guys.
Looks like it's time to get a bit of practise in.
JQ
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  #7  
Old 14 Mar 2010
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JQ,
You didn't say what sort of tire or bike you are riding. Tube vs. Tubeless are a bit different. Also, big bikes different than little ones.

Obviously, tubes are tougher to deal with as the tube has to come out, wheel off. Tubeless you just plug the tire, pump up and be on your way. I am in the process of making my rear tube type wheel tubeless, using a Marine sealer and tubeless type valve stem. Will report on how this works ... or doesn't work. In any case, I will be carrying spare tubes (at least two)

Mickey's TIPS:
1. Front Tube
A front 21" tube can work in the rear in a pinch. Use plenty of baby powder on installation. A front 21" tube is smaller, lighter and easier to pack. This is why so many dirt bike riders use this technique. I have ridden THOUSANDS of miles with a 21" tube in my 17" tire. No problemo. Of course, change to proper size when you can. No, you can't use a 17" or 18" Tube up front on the 21" tire!

2. Slime or Ultra Seal is great in slowing sudden air loss but it is very tricky or nigh on impossible to Patch a tube filled with Slime. Patches will not stick, even with just a hint of Slime anywhere on the surface or inside the tube near the patch. Best to just replace the tube.

But SLIME has served me well in places where you have cactus thorns and such. Many times you get no flat at all, just little green dots! Slime may not prevent big nails from flatting your tire but it DOES often times work for small screws, nails, staples and thorns. Well worth it IMHO.

3. Tire Irons: I bring 3 nice ones with nice rounded tips like the Ty Davis type iron.

4. Pump?? : I prefer a bicycle hand pump but others use electric pump or CO2 cannisters. NOTE: bicycle pumps wear out just sitting there. Junk. So replace yours every year or so. They DO NOT last. Mine is strapped onto bike so gets rattled a lot.

5. Breaking the Bead. This has the potential to be a tough job. The front tire is typically easy to break the bead on. By hand? This I'd like to see.

The rear can be tough to do. I like to use two long levers inserted about 10 inches apart, then "Cross" them, then force them down. When down, squirt liquid soap down into bead area. Move round to new area, repeat. Hopefully the bead will break at some point. Sometimes a friend standing on the tire edge can help, or stomping (carefully) on the tire edge can aid in breaking the bead. Some tires and wheel combos can be very tough to break down. Others a snap. Say a little prayer.

NOTE: Amateur warning! FIRST: Always Always Always remove valve core from valve stem before you do anything!!! You need a little tool for this! (I carry two) Bead will not break until valve core is OUT. I have seen some very comical roadside antics caused by this amateurs' mistake. DO NOT forget this part! And be sure to take care to stow the delicate valve core some place safe and grit free. (and carry a couple spare cores)

6. Babies Bum
As suggested, baby powder is cheap and easy to carry and will prevent tube from folding, rubbing and will help bead to set completely upon re-inflation and is generally a good thing to use before re-installation of new tube.

7. Seating Bead Fully Once Re-mounted
It is quite normal in some instances that bead will not seat 100% 360 degrees around wheel. Use liquid soap to aid in seating when mounting tire back on. Use LOTS of air pressure.

It is hard to seat the bead with a hand pump, even going to up 60 PSI it may not "Pop" for you. Best to find a compressor later. Then DEFLATE tire, add soapy solution down into bead area, then pump up with compressor as high as 100 PSI in needed. Bead should set with a "Pop". Lower pressure to proper PSI.

In the meantime, after a road side repair, if bead is not fully set, just ride on. No worries. It will hump hump hump on down the road but won't hurt anything, just irritating. In dirt you may not even notice this. On tarmac you will. Ignore, but re-seat bead once you find a proper compressor.

8. Replace, Don't patch.
On the road I never patch a tube unless i have to. Just replace the tube with your spare and pack away your punctured tube. Patch it later or take it to a tire shop and let them do it. Or, if destroyed, toss it out. I like to do mine at camp or motel with a cold beverage! Doing trail side/road side patches are a drag, especially in high wind, high heat or in the dark.

Ride Flat Free!
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  #8  
Old 14 Mar 2010
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Switched the outfit from the M&S's to the summer tyres yesterday. No great shakes once you've done it a couple of times. To add a few pointers to the above:

Find tyres that work well for you. My front Mitas bead can be broken by hand but I've had Pirelli's on the MZ and my dads Guzzi that only came off with the hacksaw. I've run tubeless marked tyres with tubes that were easier on and off that some tube types although generaly TT is best. Another example of an industry with standards that then does what the heck it fancies at the time.

Unless you are riding a 125 two up, add a G-clamp to your kit. You can use it as a bead breaker and to hold a tyre in the rim well. Three levers are easier than two and you don't need twelve footers.

Once you've had a tyre off, lube the new one as it goes on. No tyre shop ever does this, it's good for their business that you need a press to do a job that a 4-inch lever should achieve. Tyre lube is best followed by grated up hand soap in water. At a push WD-40, lithium grease or washing up liquid all work they just might give issues (corrosion etc.) later.

Don't forget the rim protectors, they aren't just for the shiney chrome brigade, a badly placed lever will dent a rim.

Check the rim tape and feel inside the tyre for additional nails. I've seen plenty of high speed tube changes ruined when matey had another flat three miles down the road due to the second nail he didn't look for

"High pressure" for bead seating means 50 PSI, not 150. If it hasn't seated at 50 you need grease, a reposition on the rim and maybe a different tyre. Go too high and you'll start to wreck the tube before you've turned a wheel. There are pictures on every sidecar website of Goldwings that have had car tyres fitted on the standard rim, had the bead seated at massive pressure and subsequently exploded.

Dump the foam, it doesn't work. Slime and Ultraseal work up to their limits but are messy when they finally fail.

The 21-inch tube thing is a gimmic used by racers. The same lunatics save less than the weight of my breakfast by drilling holes all over the place and carrying various adjustable spanners and 70-quid aluminium widgits for undoing/rounding off the nuts. It's fine if the worse that can happen is that you loose a position in the championship, but a third puncture in a day due to overloading the wrong tube up some trail in Kazakhstan can loose you days or weeks if you shred the tyre. Do the job right to start with and know it's good for thousands of miles IMHO.

Fit a flap to the front mudguard. A lot of rear punctures are caused by detritus lined up by the front. The "fashion" mudguards on the bikes do nothing. Extent the mudguard with a bit of cut up oil bottle, conveyor rubber or plastic fenda-thingy and you save hassle.

Get some baby wipes, tyres are always filthy and you don't want that inside your gloves.

Warn your wife/Girlfriend about why you are going out and buying baby powder, hand wipes and tubes of lubricant, it saves time

Don't let any of this stuff put you off. Practice and you'll be self sufficient Only trouble then is you'll aquire a stack of part used tyres as you start to experiment with different types. I'm growing potatos in mine

Andy
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  #9  
Old 14 Mar 2010
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WD duck oil works a treat ,
tempreture helps no end , getting them on and off
you shouldn,t have a problem , i have to stick my tyres in the airing cupboard to soften them up here .
I,d always use the wright size tube .
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  #10  
Old 14 Mar 2010
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Even if you never change your tyres yourself, home or away, you should at least know how to....

You just never know.

Being stranded in the wilderness for the sake of not knowing how to fix a flat is just crazy....
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  #11  
Old 15 Mar 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Threewheelbonnie View Post
Check the rim tape and feel inside the tyre for additional nails. I've seen plenty of high speed tube changes ruined when matey had another flat three miles down the road due to the second nail he didn't look for
This is excellent advice, I should have mentioned it . With thorns or cactus spines, (you get a lot of these in England? ) you can run your hand through the tire and realize you've got 3 or 4 more hidden spines you didn't pull out. This is how Baja riders have 8 flat days Been there, done that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Threewheelbonnie View Post
Dump the foam, it doesn't work. Slime and Ultraseal work up to their limits but are messy when they finally fail.
Slime is water soluble and cleans up in two minutes. With a tube and Slime, there IS not a mess unless the tube is shredded. Rare. When I hear this stuff it makes me realize folk have never actually used Slime before, or are using the old style sticky Fix-A-Flat foam crap they used to sell. Slime is totally different, not a foam, not sticky and it works! It is not new, we've been using it for over 10 years here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Threewheelbonnie View Post
The 21-inch tube thing is a gimmic used by racers. The same lunatics save less than the weight of my breakfast by drilling holes all over the place and carrying various adjustable spanners and 70-quid aluminium widgits for undoing/rounding off the nuts.
Gimmick? Come to California and meet some real desert racers. It's not a gimmick. We learn a lot from racing and racers. Pick up the useful stuff, let the rest go. 21" tubes have worked for thousands of riders for decades. Not just racers, just normal dual sport guys too.

I said use a 21" tube "In a Pinch". This means if you are out of rear tubes, use a 21". I carry both sizes. BTW, Racers don't stop to change a tire, they just ride it flat round to the pitts, then the crew just fit a new wheel. Running a 21" tube will never cause damage to a tire, it might go flat, little else would happen unless you rider is dump enough to ride the flat across Mongolia.

On a rare occasion a 21" may fold or crease funny and get flatted, but I've not seen this happen .... in about 30 years. A motorcycle is not an outfit. On an outfit you can haul spare wheels/tires, jacks, Beer and G clamps. Not so much on a bike!
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  #12  
Old 15 Mar 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickey D View Post
Slime is water soluble and cleans up in two minutes. With a tube and Slime, there IS not a mess unless the tube is shredded. Rare. When I hear this stuff it makes me realize folk have never actually used Slime before, or are using the old style sticky Fix-A-Flat foam crap they used to sell. Slime is totally different, not a foam, not sticky and it works! It is not new, we've been using it for over 10 years here.

I've used slime, thought it'd save space on the solo. It sealed the first dozen holes but the nail was still in there and eventually found the tube seam, made a V-shaped cut and went flat. The only solution was to get the tube out, which as I wasn't carrying irons meant a shop. Fortunately this was France on a Tuesday not Mongolia, the UK or any other backwards place where such repairs take forever. I still have the front tube filled with the stuff and it's still oozing sticky green goo onto into the box of spare tubes after goodness knows how many washes (the goo floats as a sort of scum, which in my mind isn't soluable). It's messy and ultimately seems pointless if you are going places where you'd still need to carry the irons.

I'd use a front tube in the rear at a push, but we are talking heavily loaded overland bikes here. I'd want the wrong tube out ASAP which means more mess and hassle switching back when you find the right tube (I guess racers do that after the race?). Two correct sized tubes versus a single 21-inch is a lot of risk for little saving IMHO. No idea how Desert Racing would relate to doing thousands of miles a week at 40 mph with a ton of gear on the bike, don't they have helicopters and 4x4's along for when they run out of their sponsors brand of sun block?

Andy
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  #13  
Old 15 Mar 2010
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I found silicone grease worked very well in helping get the tyre on. Also smeared it all over the inner tube so it could wriggle about inside the tyre. NO idea if it helps or not, but so far so good...
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  #14  
Old 15 Mar 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave ett View Post
I found silicone grease worked very well in helping get the tyre on. Also smeared it all over the inner tube so it could wriggle about inside the tyre. NO idea if it helps or not, but so far so good...
It might (or might not) mousses are slapped with the stuff to allow fitting and it's supposed to prevent overheating (messy & sticky but strangely fun)

For a tube, I'll stick with talc in the tyre and on the tube with a little bit of tyre-soap or WD40 to help seat the beads.
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  #15  
Old 15 Mar 2010
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I don't think Mickey was saying carrying only 21" tubes as a suggestion for overlanders. Though I have read somewhere on here in the past someone propose to do just that and I agree it's daft. But it's a good tip for days out trail riding. And it's worth baring in mind for if you ever are in the middle of Mongolia or somewhere and lose or wreck all your rear tubes but still have a good 21"er. Same for using 18" or 19" in a 17". And some people report successfully using smaller tubes when it's all there's been available, eg 18" on a 19" wheel.


I don't carry anything to lube the tyre/rim for puncture repairs on the road. I can't be doing with the hassle of carrying yet another plastic container to break or burst and make a mess of my other gear. If I feel like using a lubricant when changing tyres at home, I generally use window cleaner spray as it's quick and not messy.

I've recently heard the theory that if you use too much washing up liquid or similar as a lube for refitting tyres after punctures, it increases the chance of patches not sticking effectively. Makes sense to me.

For getting the bead to seat evenly on tubed tyres, bouncing the tyre hard on the ground works though can be doing it for up to 10 or 15 minutes sometimes! If you don't bounce it straight the wheel will go flying to one side, so don't bounce it so it can bounce either towards or away from you - If you bounce it hard enough it'll hit you in the face and it f-ing hurts!

Rimlocks. As well as letting you run ultra low tyre pressures, rimlocks also reduce the chances of damaging the tyre if you choose to ride on a flat. I guess they also make the bike more rideable as the tyre can't move quite as much.
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