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How To Use An Ordinary Board And Cable Ties To Remove A Motorcycle Tire From The Wheel

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If you own a motorcycle with a leaky tire and would like to patch it yourself, then one of the biggest challenges you will face is removing the tire from the wheel. A motorcycle mechanic uses specialized tools to remove the tire, but unless you perform tire work often, it may make little financial sense to spend money on the tools. Fortunately, you can use a few inexpensive items to easily and safely remove a leaky tire. Below is how you do it:

Tools and materials needed

  • 8-foot long two-by-four pine board

  • Saw

  • Measuring tape

  • 24-inch cable ties

  • Plastic spray bottle

  • Liquid dish soap

  • Flat pry bar

  • Corrugated cardboard

  • Scissors or knife

  • Cinder block

  • Helper

Step-by-step procedure

1. Prepare your bead-breaking tools - before beginning, you need to create a couple of "tools" that will help you free the tire from the rim. First, you will need to construct a set of bead-breaking boards. Find a solid 8-foot long two-by-four pine board that does not contain any substantial knots, cracks or other weak spots. Next, measure and cut off a piece of the board 18 inches in length. Cut the other board to 6 feet even by removing 6 additional inches. Discard the 6-inch section.

2. Break the tire beads - lay a flat section of corrugated cardboard on a smooth, flat surface such as a driveway or garage floor. Next, place your wheel flat on the cardboard, sprocket-side up if it is a rear wheel, and position a cinder block approximately three feet from the wheel. Lay one end of the 6-foot board you cut in step 1 on top of the cinder block and line up the board so that it rests on top of the wheel. Ask your helper to hold down the end of the board at the cinder block so it won't move.

Next, lift the free end of the 6-foot board and position the 18-inch board so that its end rests on the bead of the tire. Lower the 6-foot board until it rests on the opposite end of the 18-inch board; viewed from the side, the entire assembly should resemble a somewhat-crooked letter "T".

As the helper holds the 6-foot board on top of the cinder block, apply downward pressure on the long board so that it applies force to the 18-inch board. If you positioned it correctly, the 18-inch board will compress the bead and cause it to separate from the rim. If you are unsuccessful, reposition the boards and keep trying until you are able to obtain bead separation.

Once the bead separates in the first location, turn the wheel over and separate the bead on the opposite side. Use your hands to push in the remaining bead circumference around the rest of the rim on both sides.

3. Position cable ties - after the beads are fully separated from rim, spray a solution of liquid dish soap and water into the space between the tire bead and rim. This will provide lubrication so you can more easily maneuver the cable ties into position. Slide a 24-inch cable tie through the gap between the tire and rim on one side and push it all the way through so it protrudes from the gap between the rim and tire on the other side. Grasp the end of the cable tie with your fingers or a pair of needle nose pliers and wrap it around the tire. Fasten the tie, and pull the tie as tight as you can to pinch the tire together.

After attaching the first cable tie, continue attaching cable ties around the entire circumference of the wheel; in most cases, seven or eight cable ties will be sufficient. However, use additional ties if necessary to pull the tire together, so it can be lifted off the rim.

4. Remove the tire - once all the cable ties are wrapped around the tire, spray additional soapy water around the inside edge of the wheel. Push the flat end of a pry bar into the gap between the wheel and tire and gently lift to pull the tire off the rim. Insert a piece of cardboard between the pry bar and the tire in order to protect the wheel from scratches. Be sure to cut the cable ties as soon you remove the tire to prevent damaging the rubber.

In the future, you may be able to prevent having to replace tires as often by investing in a TPMS for motorcycles. By ensuring that your tires are always the proper pressure, you can reduce the risk of costly damage to them.