F650 Tire FAQ
by David #476
Please read the Disclaimer before attempting any work in this FAQ.
Updated 23 June 2004 by Scott, ID #1244
That depends on what you do or intend to do with your bike. If you intend to ride on pavement only, you're in luck. Every tire manufacturer makes several types of tire in sizes to fit the F650. The choices range from sticky sport-oriented tires to harder, long wearing, touring type tires which will last much longer at some small deficit to the handling.
If you intend to ride off-pavement there are more variables to consider. Do you ride a mix of 75 road/25 off-road or the other way round? Is the percentage more lopsided one way or the other? Off-road tires can be grouped into two types as well. You have your dual-sports and your off-road MX/Enduro types.
While some Inmates are quite pleased with the Bridgestone Trailwings that came on their bike, reporting good longevity, most inmates who have tried nearly any other tire report that handling and confidence are greatly improved by abandoning the Bridgerocks. Michelin T66 and Metzeler Tourance tires are two of the favorites for those who favor highway over dirt in their dual-sport percentage mix. Avon Gripsters are another offering with vocal aficionados who tend to have a slightly higher dirt percentage than the previous two.
Dual-Sport tires can be further sub-grouped into two groups: Block tread designs which are more oriented towards the highway side of things, (The Bridgestone Trail Wings or Metzeler Tourances that came with your bike are of this type), and knobby type more towards the off-road side of things. The characteristic they both share is that they are DOT rated. This is important if you plan on spending hours on end at highway speeds because the manufacturer has certified with the DOT that these tires will do this without coming apart. Examples of the knobby type are the Metzeler MCE Karoo and the Continental TKC-80 Twinduro, or Metzeler Sahara. All these tires come in a size that will fit the F650, although sometimes not in the suggested 100/90-19 or 130/80-17 size.
When we move to MX/Enduro tires things get a little sticky (pardon the pun). The F650 and GS come with wheel sizes (most notably the 19" front) that are somewhat less common for off-road bikes and most tire manufacturers only make this type of tire in 21" front sizes. (If you have a Dakar, you're in luck!).
There are several remedies for this. Some members have replaced the entire front ends from off-road bikes (the benefit of which is greater ground clearance and suspension travel, as well as a 21" front tire). Others have had the rim and spokes replaced with a 21" Excel and re-laced by Buchanans Wheel. (Benefit here is a much stronger rim, but stock hub uses stock brake and Speedo set up) Another option is to use 100/90-19 REAR tires mounted backwards on the rim. I personally have used this option and it is the best solution for "off-road" with a stock bike I've found. It required cutting the outermost knobs down about 1/2" with a sharp knife to clear the fender, but it went like stink in the dirt. While the rear 17" is easier to fit, a greater variety of off-road tires are available in 18" size. This requires the new rim option and care must be taken to assure clearance of the tire against the swingarm. This can be accomplished by adding a link to the chain and moving the chain adjuster towards the rear off the bike or by buying a smaller diameter tire. Both have ramifications in handling and gearing, so consider this carefully.
The down side to using this type of tire is that it is NOT DOT rated. Use at your own risk! Another bummer is that they are LOUD on the street, because the knobs are pointed (when new) instead of flat like the DOT knobbies and the designers waste no time on making them quiet as they do with all street and dual-sport tires. Although I found the handling to be acceptable, be careful. Riding on dry pavement with an off-road knobby is like riding on dirt with a street tire. You need to increase your braking distance and reduce your lean angles.
Q. OK. So, I realize that there are a lot of variables of course, but would a high-mileage touring tire have at least as good wet and dry grip on pavement as something like the Tourance? Michael #941
A. The short answer would be no, Michael. All other things being equal, the mileage that you can get out of modern tires has a lot to do with how soft and sticky is their rubber compound. A soft sticky tire tread will grip the pavement better, but leave more of itself behind as you ride along. Where things get complicated is how the construction, flexibility, design (radial, bias-ply, bias-belted), aspect ratio, diameter, width, tread profile, rain grooves and other factors enter into the equation. To make matters worse, many high-mileage tires are designed for much larger and heavier bikes than the F650 and are also designed to be mounted on tubeless wheels. Installing a tube in a tubeless tire will cause the tire to run hotter than the tire engineers planned on and a hotter tire will usually wear faster and have a lower maximum speed rating. What all this means is that you pretty much have to go by word-of-mouth to find a tire that works well on our bikes while also providing good mileage. Richard #230
BMW recommends a bias ply front and a radial rear tire. I'm sure there is a valid reason for this, but it severely limits the choices of rubber for your bike. While many street tires and a few dual-sport tires (mostly of the block tread design), are available in Bias Front/Radial Rear types, most aggressive Dual-Sport and all MX/Enduro tires are bias ply. If at all possible, I would try to pick tires that meet your needs as well as follow the recommendations of BMW, but don't let it be a limiting factor. Many of us have run bias rear tires such as a Michelin Sirac with no detrimental effects. A radial Dual-Sport tire will disappoint if most of your riding is off-road, especially in loose material.
They are many answers to this question, and just about everyone has a different one. Many folks on the list have experienced better tire longevity on some brands at higher pressures than the ones recommended in the owner's manual (and on the sicker on the swingarm). The best rule of thumb is that your hot tire pressure should be between five and ten percent higher than the cold pressure. That is if you inflate the tires to 36 psi when cold, when the tire is hot it should be 38 to 40psi. Any more or less and the tire is over or under-inflated. This rule also takes into account the varying loads you could put on your bike.
See the Tire Opinion FAQ for comments on tire inflation.
There are several answers for
this one. One has to do with the style of the rims. For whatever reason, probably
cost, the tubeless type of wire spoke rims as used on the R/GS series were not
used on the F's. Because the spoke nipples are inside the bead of the tire much
care and considerable luck would be needed to keep air inside the tires, one
reason for the tube. Others have to do with riding off road. With the low pressures
used for off road riding, it would be very easy for a tubeless tire to pop it's
bead off the rim, and having a tube inside gives a little extra insurance against
punctures. The plus side of this is that should a puncture ever happen, a simple
fix of the tube gets you back on your way. Many off roaders carry "Slime" or
some other puncture repair along with some way to re-inflate the tire, either
CO2 cartridges or a pump. If a flat happens, you're back on your way relatively
quickly. With a tubeless tire, while emergency plugs are available, they are
just that and a puncture pretty much dictates a new tire for safety reasons.
It is fine to put tubes in tubeless tires. In fact all tubeless motorcycle tires say, either on the tire or in the manufacturer's literature words to the effect, "Install tube when used on tube-type rim."
Q. What is a tube-type tire? Benefits/drawbacks? Differences vs. tubeless? Manolo
A. Tube-type tires are always bias-ply tires (usually marked with a tubeless/tube-type designation on the sidewall). They supposedly have a slightly different bead configuration than do "pure" tubeless tires and are specifically designed to accommodate the installation of tubes. My guess is that the design is more resistant to heat build-up, due to the weight and friction of the tube, and may not have the same air-proof coatings inside the tire and stiff sidewalls as a tubeless or radial tire may have. This may be why the tubeless radial tires that BMW specifies for the rear wheel of our bikes are so difficult to break the beads loose from the rim. The front tires, which are not radial in design, seem to come off more easily than the rear tires. In my experience, both types of tires hold air and seem to work OK. Richard #230
Would you believe just about everything you need to know about a tire, including when it was made, is contained in the article: What's in a tire besides air? De-mystifying the black art of tire designations ? This comes from the American Motorcyclist Association. Will in CA
A KLR riding friend of mine and I have been discussing and debating various tire
choices. My friend is a big proponent of putting an Avon Gripster (provided they
are really being produced) on the back and a Sahara on the front - he says
there's no adverse affect to mixing tires like that.
However, in the MSF class I took last weekend, the instructor was vehemently against mixing tires. Opinions? Seacuke#1214
A. MSF has a strict party line about many things. Like using all four fingers on the front brake. They won't support mixing tires. As long as you don't mix drastically types, you should be fine. I've used mixed high performance radials to good advantage. Even the carcass type isn't all that important, if you look at the Classic. It came from the factory with one radial and one bias ply, if memory serves. Your friend's combo for dual sport riding sounds like a good one. Harl#380
A. All bias ply or all radial are best choice. Some combinations are actually illegal in the UK. The manufacturer and style of tread should make no difference if they are both approved, but you may notice a different feel. Andy#982
A. This is a legal liability issue here, not a technical question. As long as it fits, doesn't get in the way of anything, and you do the job right, you can mount anything you want. Flash#412
A. I concur with BMW's recommendations. You can run radial tires at both the front and rear, but you need to use a higher pressure in the front tire to keep the bike from understeering around corners (which can cause other problems). Their recommendation to use a radial rear and a bias ply tire for the front is the best combination, in my experience. Richard#230
Q. Has anyone
ever stuffed a 160/60-17 onto the rear rim of a Classic F650? I happen to have a
pretty decent tire handy. Will it fit? It really looks wide, but I had to check.
Someone here must have tried! Andy
A. It fits fine but needs a wider rim. 4.5" is the correct size. Chainsuk
A. Anyone considering using non-homologated tires on their bike, particularly those doing a super motard conversion might be interested in consulting this Rim Width/Tire Size Chart Flash #412
Q. Does anyone have experience with running knobbies (Conti TKC80 for example) with the low TT [Touratech] fender? How much room is in there? Bike in question is a 03 Dakar. Rene
A. Apples and Oranges, I know, but on my '99, TKC's fit fine with the OEM fender (small square knobs) but real-off road knobs (Maxxis with tall pointy knobs) needed a trim on the outside row of knobs, and still grabbed rocks and threw them up against the fender and eventually broke my fender extender. I wouldn't think you would have clearance problems, but if you do, a serrated knife makes short work of the offending knobs. David #476
A. With street tires, the big concern is caking up the tire with mud, then locking the wheel when the mud fills up the clearance between the tire and fender. Not sure if "knobbies" can cake up in the same way or not. Marty #436
A. I put some 1/2" chrome plated spacers under my TT fork brace to raise the fender a little after a mud-cake problem. I forget the name of the company that makes chrome plated fasteners, but I got them from the local hardware store. You'll need longer fork brace bolts too. RodP
As always: YMMV
Q. It appears that I
may possibly have a bent rim after having a new tire installed. Could it be
something else and how do I check?
A. "...you wrote 'When the bike is on the center stand and running in first gear, you can see a significant wobble back and forth of the tire'. What's more important is whether the rim wobbles. You need to check that out, 'cos it's possible that the tyre is not properly seated on the rim, with the tyre-walls not sitting correctly against the rim flanges. You can check for rim wobble, just by laying a pencil on the swing-arm, close to one point on the rim, then rotating the wheel by hand. If that's ok then it's likely you'll need to re-visit your tyre dealer, (or whoever did the job), to get the job done properly.
Just to make it a bit clearer after re-reading my previous post - Sometimes when a tyre is fitted the tyre bead does not slide up hard against the rim flange, but the side-wall folds over and it *looks* like it's up against the flange. Sometimes there is a thin raised line of rubber on the side-wall, which should run close to and parallel to the rim to indicate that the tyre is fitted correctly. Close inspection should reveal whether or not that's correct in your case.
...you wrote 'The thin rubber line on the tire next to the rim wanders toward and away from the rim noticeably on one side.' That may well be it. Once when it happened to me the tyre fitters had to put around 100psi in the tube before the tyre popped into place correctly, even though they lubricated the bead and rim thoroughly. Once it was in place they obviously reduced the pressure (I was stood well away when I saw the pressure gauge going round the dial)." (Trevor #999)
Some Q&A on Fixing Flats at Home and on the Road
How can I learn to change my own tires?
A. "Check the tire companies' web sites. Some of them have an FAQ for tire changing. You might also check out this site: http://www.clarity.net/~adam/tire-changing-doc.html " (Richard #230)
Q. Any advice on using tire irons, especially on the road?
My tire irons are not particularly long. Perhaps with longer ones I wouldn't need the breaker. But I have it and don't travel for months at a time much these days. On the Guzzi list, it has been suggested that Gunk Waterless Hand Cleaner is the lubricant of choice for tire un/mounting. A small container is available AND you can use it to clean yourself up after doing the dirty deed.
I buy bicycle patch kits. I buy a new one every year whether I opened the last one or not, because the glue dries out even in the sealed tube. Also, as soon as you open the tube, buy a new kit.
Tire irons are available any place that sells motorcycles or parts. I got my very compact, dual-action bicycle pump at Target for about $8 or so. It stows nicely in the tail section (with my complete open-end wrench set).
In a pinch, you can break the bead using a car jack and a car, IN THEORY. Maybe next time I change tires, I'll try this in practice.
There are two issues with the rim on the F. The first is the almost complete lack of drop to the center. This means that after the bead is broken, you can't get "relief" by putting the un-mounted portion down in the center very far. That means you need to use your tire irons nearly all the way around the tire, dismounting as well as mounting. The other issue is that, I believe, the radial diameter of the rim at the place where the bead seats (not the sides) is too damned big. If it were maybe 0.100" smaller in diameter, it wouldn't be nearly so difficult to un/mount a tire. And the lack of drop center means it wouldn't be likely to dismount itself in a blow out situation anyway.
My experience and understanding of third world countries is that there are PLENTY of tire repair people and places along the main roads and in every village. So, I'm not sure you even need to KNOW how to do it yourself if you're willing to wait for a ride down the road a few klicks. However, if you go off-road and have a flat... if you can not fix it yourself and did not bring enough water to survive the walk out... the circling scavengers will spot your position for the folks who may come looking for you, albeit too late. The only way I can think of to break a bead on the road (I'm not into the run-a-truck-over-it method) is to buy (or borrow) a large C-clamp at a local hardware store. Flash #412
One suggestion for you - do a tire change or flat fix at home at least once, before you even consider trying it on the road. The front tire isn't too bad, the rear is rather difficult. I've done plenty of tires, and I couldn't imagine doing it for the first time by the roadside at night in the rain.
And it's the rims that make tire changing difficult, mostly the rear rim. The front is basic tire changing. (Todd #389)
By the way, you and others who have commented on the difficulty of breaking the bead on the 650GS rear tire are absolutely not exaggerating. I did it for the first time last week, and don't see how it could possibly be done with tire irons only. I had purchased a Tire Wizard solely for that purpose and it did work, with a lot of effort. But, I'm not sure that a wheel that is that difficult to change has any business off-pavement in the backcountry. I took the Tire Wizard with me on the trip I just finished, but, although it's light by tire changing tool standards, it did add significant weight to my luggage, which wasn't good when bouncing around on unimproved Forest Service roads. Whatever I ultimately decide to do about wheels, one thing I will definitely do is change the rear to something which can be changed as most tube-type tires can, with tire irons only. When riding in remote areas I plan to carry the Quick Jack sold by Motion Pro, or at least I will after I verify it works with a F650. This is basically a telescoping rod with a small base plate on one end and a frame hook on the other. It's used on the opposite side of the side stand. However, I haven't actually used it yet (no remote area trips lately) so I can't say with certainty that it will work on a 650, which I believe is near the top of its rated weight capacity. I know it will work on lighter bikes. I'll try it in the garage and post the result if anyone's interested, or if anyone has already tried one perhaps they could let us know if it works. It's inexpensive, light and compact - about 10 inches long when not extended and about a pound in weight. It's Motion Pro part #11-012. Mike #926
Get 2 of the the longest tire irons you care to carry. Find some that do not have a "I" or "H" cross section, this will minimise damage to the rim. breaking beads can be a problem, when you are in the field look around for a hunk of wood or two (flatter and longer the better, milk crates, park benches, almost anything can do), place one under the tire (not rim) sort of tangential to and just skimming the outer diameter of the rim, this one will try and shear the bead off the rim. If you have a second log/board, place this one parallel to the first on the other side of the rim ass'y/rotor, but this one goes under the rim as well as the tire, this one is to hold the wheel ass'y up off the ground and protect rotors and keep the wheel from flopping around when you get to the next step. Jump up and down on the other side of the tire just above the spot where the wood is skimming the rim in the bead area, concentrating the force nearest the bead. if you are near civilization (or just a car) use the cars jack to jack a car up placing the jack on your tire in the above scenario instead of your jumping foot. lacking that, set up the tire in bead breaking position (as above) and have a buddy ride his bike over your tire (not rim!). If none of the above works, ride the tire flat to a place where you can fix it, but be prepared to buy a new tube and/or tire." (mtiberio)
I assume you're talking tubeless here (or you have already removed the tube, ed.). Remember to clamp the tire beads together so that it drops into the lowest part of the rim when removing/installing. Failure to do this will make it VERY tough to get that last little bit on. I use an eight inch Vise to break the bead. I always imagine I will be able to talk a gas station into letting me use theirs... (Paul)
Your best bet may be to buy a Tire Wizard and learn how to use it. As a complete tire changing tool, it takes up the smallest amount of space for doing the greatest amount of functions. The only way I can think of to break a bead on the road (I'm not into the run-a-truck-over-it method) is to buy (or borrow) a large C-clamp at a local hardware store. I know for a fact that a C-clamp will work. When I broke my official J C Whitney "motorcycle tire bead breaker" trying to break the bead on the rear tire of my 1997 bike, I grabbed a C-clamp off my workbench and that did the job. Richard #230
Had a puncture on the DR at the weekend but simply put it on its side and got on with the repair. I wouldn't want to do this on the Dakar though! My thoughts are: rear tyre – lean bike over as far as possible on side stand and place suitable object under the right-hand swing arm to hold wheel off ground; front tyre – lean over as far as possible on side stand and place suitable object under bash plate to hold front wheel off ground. Would this work? Anyone tried it? Mike in UK
On one of my very first trips [’01 Dakar] I picked up a nail and got a rear flat. Not having a centre stand or other tools for that matter, I bought a can of flat-fix-it-type stuff and filled 'er up. By the time I got home three hours later, that rear tire got extremely hot. The next day, I took the tube out and replaced it. Getting the tire off was easy and breaking the bead was no big deal. I used some ABS plastic ammo boxes under the centre of the bike using a small auto jack to lift it up into place while sliding the boxes into place. Be careful... easy to lose the bike's balance when using a small jack like that. Put it all back together again and still got another 7500 miles out of that tire. If I were on the road without tools, I'd use road recovery. If that weren't an option, I'd get it off the ground somehow. One of the next purchases will be a decent centre stand. I've already put together a small pump and carry tools/tubes when I'm away from home. I don't think carrying a service stand is feasible. Gerry #951
I've not yet lifted the GS tires from the ground, but with my old DR600 it was very easy. Lean it over the side stand until the rear tire is in the air and just put something like a jerry can (in the Sahara Desert) or an aluminium pannier under the engine protector. I've even used a stick which I found on the side of the road for that. You can do the same thing with the front tire, just balance it a little different. But make sure to open the locking nut before lifting it up. Flat-tire spray sometimes helps as well, but usually just for a day or so. If you want to carry anything to be prepared, I'd suggest that. It usually gets you at least home. Ralf
When I head off on a remote trip (i.e., no cell service, few cars), I started carrying the usual stuff: tube, irons, patch kit, CO2 cartridges, and a small hand pump for the next flat (when the CO2 is gone). And Richard's C-clamp. Then I actually changed the tires last fall, and learned it would be a real bitch to change a tube without some kind of lift. A centre stand would be nice. Lacking that, a small hydraulic automobile jack and short piece of 2x4 seems to work pretty good. Indeed, this is how I changed the tires. Oh, and a small piece of 4x4 under the side stand; a rock would probably work too. To stabilize the bike, I ran straps from each handlebar to the rear of the bike (seemed too wobbly otherwise once it was jacked up). Using just the side stand and something else for the 3rd leg is an interesting idea, but it may be quite wobbly. Be good to try that in the comfort of your garage first. And have someone standing by to catch the bike if it takes a plunge. Until then, when I head out this spring I'll toss that extra 5 pounds(?) of metal in the travel bag. . . just in case. I carry a bottle of Slime as a first line of repair. If that doesn't get me back to a shady garage stocked with cold beer, THEN I would begin the tire removal process . . . Scott #1244
Q. How do I change the tires myself? Any good advice?
Three tire irons on my 21" wheel worked quite well last week when I removed my Sahara's and installed my TKC's. Took about 60 minutes, and that included reading the "tire removal" manual. And best of all, no bloody knuckles! I did use a small strip of wood crossways through the spokes to hold the first lever down while I worked the remaining two (kind of a "second hand"). The back tire took longer, about 2 hours, but I did it twice because I pinched a tube or something. Anyhow, just wanted to say that if you haven't tried it "the hard way", it isn't ALL that hard after all. But I do have lots of practice with some very difficult "aero rims" on my bicycle . . . (Scott, ID)
I changed from T66 to TKC-80 this summer when I was travelling in Iceland. I did it with some help of my brother. He is 100kg+ and has a garage in Reykjavik. The procedure: 1. Get a 2"x4" 5m+ wooden board. The longer the better. 2. Take off your wheel. 3. Lay your wheel on the ground, use something under to protect the brake disc and rim edges, perhaps some short 2"x4" wooden board.4. The trick is to use the long wooden board as an lever, so that you multiply the downward force on the tyre bead. So put your bead under the wooden board, perhaps a half meter from one edge. Put that edge under something so that it can't move upwards. Stand and if necessary jump up and down on the other edge of the wooden board. Get someone else if necessary to join you. Work your way around the bead and do the same on the other side. 5. Change your tyre as usual. Count on 3-4 hours the first time you change the tyres, and don't worry about the balancing. I just left the balancing as it was and haven't had any problems with that. (Spakur #1117)
New rear TKC80 yesterday. Breaking the bead is getting easier with every tyre change - because I'm not expecting it to be easy! My method (less than 10 mins) - place wheel on floor (protected by thick carpet) disc uppermost. Dig heal into bead and jump up and down. Move 3" further round and repeat etc. Before three full circuits the bead pops off. It doesn't feel as if the tyres moving but stick with it. I then turn wheel over lifting the disc off the ground with two 3" x 2" wood. Bead pops off before one full circuit. (paul W)
After about 5 attempts at bead breaking with eventual success and lots of expletives I have now sussed the bead break :) I've done it twice now, once with a worn tyre and once with a nearly new one. Both in under 5 mins. Remove the valve and release the holding nut. If you feel like it, squirt some soap in to the area of the rim you will be breaking first (opposite to the valve). Then the trick is to use the side stand and place the rear tire to the side of the engine. so that the long side of the side stand is parallel to the rim. then standing one foot on the wheel, pull the bike towards you and on to the tire. rock the bike back and forwards a few times and pop off the bead it comes. once the first bit is off you are home dry. Note: using the side stand with the wheel in the wrong position is quite useless, it seems the power will not go in to the right place. (James #848)
I recently lost ANOTHER wrestling match with a rear tire. Even with the Tire Lever, three tire irons and lots of Ruglyde (tire lube), I could only manage to remove the old tire, get one bead of the new tire on, with the second bead just under 2/3 on before meeting my match (and scratching the rim deeply in several places). The guy at the Yamaha shop thought I was a wuss (by his look) when I asked him to "just finish mounting it." Ten minutes later (with the aid of his tire mounting machine) he had a new respect for F650 rear wheels/tires. (Marty #436)
I removed the old Trailwings and installed the new Dunlop D604s yesterday. The front tire was not hard. I only had tire irons but it was ok. The rear tire was different. Finally I got it, but it was not easy. Not really sure how it finally happened but wow! Putting the new tire on was not as hard as taking the old one off but it’s surprising how tough the tires are. When inflating the new tires if you put the slippery stuff on the inside edge of the rim, the tire seats very nicely. Summary: you can break the bead with only tire irons; use the slippery tire stuff (or something else but anything free from BMW is good) including when you’re ready to inflate the tire; use something to protect the rims from the tire irons; balancing the wheels with jack stands and the axle works good. Will in CA
Napa sells RuGlyde for $14 a gallon. Buy some. Use LOTS. You'll cuss less. Flash #412
I went in with some friends and bought a tire machine. I highly recommend it if you have the means. I think we paid 400.00 dollars. The machine has paid for itself many times over. The machine we have is a Coats 200. Steve#417
Q. Got my first flat, pulled a huge pin out of my rear tire and have some Questions. What's the deal with slime, can I use it? Will it help my situation now? The tire thread is fairly worn (about 7K on the bike). Should I just get a new tire and tube?
Q. What about using dish-soap or other lubricant to aid in mounting a tire?
If you mount your tire using dishwashing soap as a lubricant, you will find that the lubricant simply dries. When subjected to water, it becomes a lubricant again. Now suppose you take your Dakar off-road. Now suppose you find that you need to lower the tire pressure to about 10 psi to make the tires function well in the loose dirt/gravel. Now suppose you traverse a creek. Now suppose your tire lubricant decides to become a lubricant again. Suddenly, the rim rotates in the tire and rips the valve stem out. A patch kit won't fix that. If you are going to carry a liquid for that purpose, carry Son of a Gun (tm) or Armor-All (tm), or better yet, tire mounting lubricant. Those fluids get absorbed by the rubber in short order. (Flash #412)
I absolutely agree with what Flash said. Too much lube/residue or the wrong type of lube is a BAD Thing. Changing a tire on the bench, I use no lube, maybe a damp rag. Changing on the road, I concede you need something. Even dish soap diluted 1000:1, but not full strength. Unless maybe you have rim locks. (Todd #389)
To stir some controversy: Dishwashing soap is very usable as a lubricant when changing tires. This is also the CW among gang at the Norwegian Offroad Touring Club). They're also very clear that any silicon based lubricant is a very bad idea. Soap or not, a lubricant should be used when mounting tires, because a) the tire maker says you should. b) The guy at the tire shop uses it. Ask to have some of his lubricant goo in a small jar if you're woozy about the soap. c) It will save you a lot of effort and grief if you lubricate. You don't need the largest tire irons in the shop if you lubricate properly. d) The bead will seat perfectly, first time and no hassles if lubricated properly. (Oyvind#1052)
I do not recommend Armor All for a tire lube. Although I used to use it too, eventually I realized that it stays slippery and will make the tire more likely to pop off the rim if it deflates on the road, or slip on the rim if the pressure gets low – possibly tearing the valve stem out of the tube. In a pinch, use soapy water. Richard #230
This subject has come up in the past, and I must say I'm still a skeptic. I've used Armor All type material to assist in tire changing for over 15 years and have never experienced any bad results. All my riding friends do the same, and none of them have either. Changing tires without some sort of lubricant would be terribly difficult. (I tried it once and damaged the bead trying to lever it over the rim.) So the question here is, is Armor All more likely to cause this to happen than other lubricants? I personally doubt it as some (not a lot) of the Armor All is rapidly absorbed into the tire material which then quickly becomes tacky, and isn't slippery at all within a fairly short period of time. Perhaps if someone went out immediately after mounting tires in this way and subjected a tire which was neither a tubeless tire nor a tire with a rim lock (as dirt bikes have) to very high stresses, it could spin on the rim. Otherwise, to me it seems exceedingly unlikely, but that's only a personal view, of course, and could be wrong. For many years I have thought that a petroleum-based lubricant should never be used on tires. But, I recently had tires mounted at a long-established motorcycle accessory store in the Bay Area. The employee who did the work was obviously very experienced and very skilled at changing tires, far more than I am. To my utter amazement, he used WD 40 as a lubricant. I've since worn those tires out and they suffered no ill effects from the WD 40, so apparently my long-held opinion was wrong. Perhaps this is one of those "your mileage may vary" areas. Or, putting it another way, one person's "conventional wisdom" may not be the same as another’s. I would be very interested in hearing if anyone has actually experienced tires spinning on the rim and tearing the stem, and the circumstances. If this is a real possibility with Armor All, I had better change my ways. Mike #926
So I discovered the hard way what happens if you neglect to wipe off the excess Armor All you used to mount the new tires. Combine that with a tight, quick U-turn and you find the horizontal attitude real quick. To make it more embarrassing do it in front of a van full of people on their way to a Mother's Day brunch. The new tires worked a lot better after I cleaned them up and hit them with a sander and 100 grit paper. I hope the van mom didn't use me as example in a lecture to the kids on the dangers of motorcycles! Mom may not realize the dangerous part is the dim-wit behind the bars. :-0 Brad #1002
Q. Will not be going far off road in near future but have been to places where cell-phone has no signal and wondered whether I should be carrying gear to repair a tube. Can't find much in FAQ? (you can now!)
The tyres on the 650 are seriously hard to remove and it's very easy to pinch tubes when doing field repairs. And yes, I *HAVE* field patched tubes, for me the 650 is in the "too hard" category. You have pliers in the BMW tool kit to remove nails, I'd say slime + some means of inflation is your best bet. CO2/pushbike pump/compressor are common choices. The bike pump works, but is hard work, and on an F there seems to be nowhere to stash one. Only relies on muscle power but uses a lot of that. CO2 works, until you run out of CO2 .... Compressor is probably the best bet, the bike is electric start anyway so if you can't run the compressor, you can't start the bike either. Slime is a terrible long term fix, but you can crawl to the nearest gas station in short hops if you have to, and stopping every 5k's to re-inflate will STILL be faster than a single tyre change. (If the hole is so large you can't do that, I doubt you'll patch it either .....) (Pete)
Q. How do I get the valve stem back through the rim?
Q. Any advice on not pinching the tube when reinstalling the tire?
Q. What options are there for inflating a tire after a repair?
A. The Tyre Pump section of the Tools FAQ says it all.
Q. What options for Tools are there for Breaking the Bead?
1. Tire Wizard - http://www.ctm-design.com/prolevr/
Here are some photos of the Tire Wizard in action.
A buddy of mine borrowed mine (I've never had a need to use it myself) and he struggled until reaching the boiling point and then gave up on it. The new item mentioned by Richard (Tyreplier) looks like a better option if you are headed out on a looonngggg trip. The Wizard weighs more too." (RogerN #827)
So I used that confounded contraption known as the Tire Wizard this afternoon to change the front tire (19" TKC80). I picked the front to get some practice before doing the rear. It took me about 90 minutes including the time I spent bandaging my hand. I remember now why it's a good idea to wear gloves when doing this kind of work. (???)
I'm not so sure I like this thing. It is kind of scary and a bit tricky to use. Does this thing really make tire work easier? The tool kind of wobbles all over the place and you have to really work at getting it positioned just so or else it slips off with gusto. They say practice helps but how many of these do you really want to do just for practice! I have to say it is strong though. Strong enough to survive a few angry flings around the garage. But I haven't sweat and sworn this much in a long while. I told my wife, after she asked if I needed help, to stay as far away from me as possible. I was NOT in a good mood. Despite all my ranting and whining I guess I'll give the rear a shot. I fully expect to end up taking it to a shop to be completed but the sweating and swearing reminded me of the good old days when I fixed things with brute force and ignorance. Too bad the T.W. doesn't come with a video. Might shorten the learning curve and create a few satisfied users instead of grumps like me (BradG #1002)
Yeah, baby! I win. That rear tire was no match for me. :-) Used the Tire Wizard on the rear wheel to swap TKC80s this afternoon. Done in 60 minutes. It was actually easier than the front but only because of the practice I got doing the front yesterday. The T.W. did make popping the rear off the bead a simple matter. It was easier to use the second time around but I still think it's kind of whacky. On installation I used a trick to get that last few inches of the second bead over side of the rim. It is real important to get as much of the new tire into the rim drop as possible but it is not easy to get it stay there. I got it to stay using a tie down strap wrapped around the wheel and tire. Squeezing the beads together and into the drop as I cinched up the strap. This holds it in place while you lever the rest of the bead over the rim. Lastly I think this part is easier with irons and then the T.W.. BTW, I was unable to do this without marking up the rims here and there. You've got to just not care in trade for self reliance and saving a few bucks. (BradG #1002)
The Tire Wizard won't help you remove the tire any more than tire irons, but it will help you break the bead. If you have something else to break the bead, tire irons are fine. (Mark #403)
No more Mr. Wizard. I just finished mounting the new Anakees and I have to say it just keeps getting easier. Not that it is easy, because it still requires some effort. This time around I popped the beads on both front and rear by standing on them. Then I used the Tire Wizard just for the tire irons to peel and remount the new ones. Honestly, breaking the bead was easier this way than with the Wizard. If you weigh less than 180 pounds, “your mileage may vary”. Brad #1002
Some tires can not be broken by standing on them. The T66 was an example of this. The Wizard works very well for breaking the bead on any bike tire. I used mine to fix a front tire on a Honda last weekend. The rider was riding 2-up and did not have a clue what to do. We were in the north Georgia mountains late Saturday afternoon. The only other option for them was a truck. Steve#417
2. Tyreplier - http://www.extremeoutback.com
4. Manual Tire Changer
I recently got the
Harbor Freight tire-changing device (parts 34542 & 42927), and I've spent
the night trying to figure out how to use it. The instructions are horrendous. I
haven't seen the Tire Wizard's instructions, but I bet these would rival
those... it's like they omitted about 80% of what needs to be done. So I gave up
and took my tires to a dirt shop. Here are some pictures of my shabby operation:
the whole operation; the top half, i.e. the Motorcycle Tire Attachment; the
I had posted those
pictures asking a question about how to break the bead with the pictured tire
changing device. To actually break the bead with that tool, you put the tire
on the ground and use the lever (it is on the right side of the third
picture). Seacuke #1214
Instructions from Mark #403 for the Harbor Freight Motorcycle Tire Changer
Put the tire on the ground and break the bead. Turn it over and do the other side. For the front wheel, I put a 2x4 on the other side of the wheel when the disk side is down to keep it off the ground.
Now put the wheel in the clamps. Put the middle post in, before clamping the rim. Clamp. Use some lube. Wedge pointy side of the long bar (flat side against the rim) under the bead, bring the long bar across the wheel to pop the bead over, and use the centre bar as a pivot, pushing the long bar around in a circle to work the bead over the edge. When you get to the clamp arm and can't go any further, remove the long bar, and start again from a new position until you've got one bead over the rim.
Remove the tube and swing it over the clamp arm and let it dangle out of the way.
Repeat with the long bar, bringing the other bead up over the same side of the rim to remove the tire.
Check rim tape. Remove centre bar, remove old tire and tube. Put new tire and tube where the old ones were, noting the rotation direction on the tire. Replace centre bar.
Put tire on top of rim and push bead over edge as far as possible by hand. Use other end of long bar ("hook end") and hook over rim right at the edge of the bead where you want to keep pushing it down. Long bar goes hook-side down with the other end of the hook pointing in the air...this will be pushing on the bead to seat it, and will run along the other bead at the same time. Again, using the centre bar as a fulcrum, push the long bar clockwise to seat the bead. Sometimes the hook wants to work itself out. Keep the push-end of the long bar a bit elevated. You'll get it. When one side is over the rim, put your tube in...use a little talcum. Now work on the second bead in the same way as the first.
Take the wheel out of the clamp before inflating or you won’t get it out. I inflate twice. Once to seat the bead, then I remove the valve core to let the tube settle, and inflate again to proper pressure. I remove the weights, put the wheel onto the centre bar of the tire changer, and lay it across two jack stands. Spin. Heavy side ends up at the bottom. Put a piece of tape at the top of the rim to mark your spot. Spin again and see if it ends up in the same place. Once you've found the heaviest spot, put a couple weights at the opposite side, close to centre. Spin and see if it's pretty balanced. Add weight as necessary.
And as for bolting it to the floor...once you see how much force you need to apply to the long bar pivoting around the centre bar, you'll see why there is absolutely NO WAY you could use this thing any other way. It MUST be very securely anchored.
Good luck. Once you get it, you'll see it's not so bad. Mark #403
5. Kowa Tools Bead Breaker
I saw an ad in the MOA Owners News magazine for Kowa Precision Tools which showed a picture of their KF-1-20 motorcycle tire bead breaker. It looks just like a very large C-clamp (which means that it should work just fine). There was no price in the ad, so I visited their web site, and guess what? The tool is not listed. However, I have one of their catalogues at home and have found their tools to be of a better quality and higher price than similar tools from Motion Pro. I guess anyone that wants to inquire about the bead breaker will have to call: 1-800-824-9655 Richard #230
6. Tire Irons
Recently I have had good success breaking the bead on a rear F650 wheel with Aerostich's Titanium Tar Irons. The trick is to go around and around and around and around, levering the bead toward the centre of the wheel a millimetre or two at a time until you finally get it far enough in to use your boot heels. Lubrication helps a LOT. I use Son of a Gun (or equivalent) because I'm too lazy to buy a(nother) gallon of tire mounting lubricant, which works LOTS better. Flash #412
The most important part of this process is the tire. The knobbier a tire is, the better it will do in fresh snow and slush. On the other hand, dirt specific tires have less of a contact patch and will not stop as well as a more street oriented tire on dry pavement and will also have less traction than a tire with more studs and surface area on compact snow. I decided to go with a 90/10 Kenda Trakmaster II DOT knobby. Mainly I got those tires because they were cheap and they were one of the few sets of matched knobbies I could buy. I also tried a 50/50 tire, but the casing was too hard to accept the stud. Some tires just won’t take studs.
In nearly 1000 miles, my tires show minimal rolling wear and the edges of the front tire are slightly rounded on one side from braking. This is due to the metal spikes sticking out of the tire- they relieve the individual knobs of a significant amount of pressure but also decrease the size of your contact patch and reduce traction on bare pavement. Keep in mind that reduced contact patch = extended braking distances and less overall traction, especially when cornering.
The studs I used for my tires are 13mm automobile studs. They are inserted using a stud gun attached to an air compressor. This is expensive equipment and I was able to get my tires done at the local tire shop instead for $10/tire. You may have to search for a tire shop willing to work with you. This is a generally easy project but it can be difficult to find the right dimensions for the studs to seat right. I took each tire in 3 different times for test studs before drilling all of the holes. My shop also used some kind of lubricant to help seat the studs that reduced the amount of knobs that had cracks around the edges of the holes. Using glue is not necessary.
I decided to stud about half of the knobs on my front tire to make it perform better on dry/wet pavement. I haven’t noticed any problems with this setup but my minimum braking distance still increased about 30 percent from the original Bridgestone Trailwings. I studded every knob on the rear tire except for the outside edges. I figured if I ever got that far over on snow I was going down anyway and I might as well have the extra traction for emergency manoeuvres on dry/wet pavement. So far the outside knobs still look new.
The diameter of the stud is just under 3/16”. I used a 3/16” all-purpose drill bit with a locking collar for the front tire and I wrapped the bit in duct tape for the rear tire after losing the set screw for the collar. I preferred the duct tape, but it’s harder to set up. When drilling the front tire, the collar slipped once and the bit went straight through the tire. I repaired the hole with a string patch and trimmed it flush with a knife on both sides. If you drill a hole completely through the tire, do not try to stud it. It could rip the casing and ruin your tire.
I found that the perfect depth was exactly
the length of the stud- from base to tip. This may differ from tire to tire but it’s a good
place to start. The rear tire was a harder compound than the front and required a little
more time per hole and I had to stop the drill and roll the bit around to loosen up the
rubber. To date I still have every stud; none have fallen out. The only way to remove a
stud once it’s in your tire is with a good pair of pliers. I decided that it’s better to
drill a little deeper and then do a couple hundred miles of pavement to seat all of the
studs and wear the rubber down to the proper depth- just poking the tip out of the rubber.
These tire have worked out much better than I’d hoped. The handling is definitely different due to the shape of the new tires and the studs track badly in rain grooves, but I can straight-line accelerate in the snow nearly as fast as I can on dry pavement in snow up to 2" deep. I have ridden in snow up to 10” deep with no problems at all. I actually prefer deeper snow to well-traveled snow. Traction is still shaky on compact snow but on ice, fresh snow, slush, and bare pavement the tires have performed beautifully.
Opinions on studding tires