How to Change the Tires on a Harley-Davidson Motorcycle
The phrase "when the rubber meets the road" takes on new meaning on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Those 2 rubber tires are key safety features that can mean life or death. It's important to keep good tires on your Harley-Davidson at all times. When it's time to change them, these tips can help.
- Tire irons
- Bead breaker
- Air compressor
- Inflation strap
- Tire-changing stand
- Wheel weights
- Tire mounting fluid
- Scrubber pads
- Tire valve core tool
- Balancing tools
Remove the Old Tire
Remove the wheel according to manufacturer's directions. Use your valve core tool to deflate the tire. Remove the valve core.
Break the bead of the tire away from the rim. Position the wheel on the tire-changing stand. Pull the tire as far to one side as possible. Push the 2 tire beads on the opposite side together and force them into the narrowest part of the rim.
Pry the bead over the near edge of the rim. Insert one of the tire irons between the bead and the rim on the loose side of the tire. Insert another tire iron 3 to 4 inches from the first and the bead should work up over the rim. Keep adding tire irons until the entire side is free from the rim. Repeat the process to pull the other bead off the rim.
Remove the inner tube if that's on your motorcycle tire. Remove the valve stem if it's a tubeless tire. Clean the valve stem hole and bead area. It's important to remove any rust or rubber pieces. Clean the rim.
Install the New Tire
Install a new tube or valve stem depending on tire type. Use wheel mount fluid to lubricate both beads of the tire. Make sure of the tire rotation direction. There should be arrows marking the correct direction. Find the yellow dot on the tire. This is the marker for the valve stem.
Starting with the valve stem push the bottom bead over the rim. Use your hands as much as you can. Carefully pry the remainder over the rim with the tire irons.
If this tire has a tube, now is the time to install it. Carefully put a very small amount of air in it to make sure it is not twisted.
Repeat the process with the other bead. This time start on the side opposite the valve stem. Make sure the tube is not pinched.
Wrap the bead strap around the tire. Tighten it enough to spread the bead. Add air while releasing the bead strap. The beads should seat completely. Make sure the tire and rim are even all the way around. Use a soapy water solution to check for a good seal.
Tips & Warnings
When the tire is back on the wheel, follow directions on tire balancer to properly balance the tires.
A 20 gallon drum with garden hose slit lengthwise and attached around the rim may be used as a tire-changing station. A wooden box with a hole in the middle is another option.
This is a challenging task that requires upper body strength. It requires specialized tools. It may be quicker, easier and cheaper to take the motorcycle to the nearest Harley-Davidson dealer and let the professionals change the tires.