How to Change a Motorcycle Tire

February 19, 2021
People riding on their motorcycles on an open road

You’ve planned a motorcycle road trip for weeks, but when you open the garage door, you see it. Your motorcycle has a flat. For an experienced rider who knows how to change a motorcycle tire, this might be a simple fix. If you’re not sure, it helps to learn what to do to replace your bike’s tire.

To get you on the road again, here’s how to change a motorcycle tire[1] in eight steps .

Step 1: Remove the wheel

Raise the end of the bike to lift the wheel off the ground. Use a socket to loosen and remove the axle. Release the chain and remove the brake caliper. Put your axle back in place to hold the caliper’s position.[2] It’s a good idea to consult your owner’s manual to learn any steps to take that are unique to your bike’s make and model.

Step 2: Deflate the tire

To deflate the tire[3], unscrew the cap on the valve and remove the valve stem core with a special tool. Some valve stems come with built-in caps instead of separate pieces.

When you wondered how to change a motorcycle tire, you might not have realized that you need motorcycle tire changing tools. However, you don’t want to damage your valve stem by trying to remove it with something random from the garage. If you don’t have one already, pause the project and head to your local auto supply store to get a valve core remover.

Step 3: Break the bead

The bead is the inner edge of the tire where it meets the rim. At the auto parts store, you can also purchase a bead breaker tool to make the job easier. Try to find one with tire spoons, which you’ll use to wedge the tire off the rim.

Insert the tool between the tire and wheel rim and move the tool around the bead. Flip the tire over and repeat this process on the other side. You can use a spray silicone lubricant or glass cleaner to prevent the bead from re-sticking as you move the tool around.[4]

Step 4: Pry the bead up and over the rim

Carefully insert a tire spoon under the bead and push down to pull the tire up. Leave a tire spoon in the spot where you pulled up the tire in order to hold it in place.

Use a second tire spoon to pry the tire away from the rim several inches from the first tire spoon. Leave the second spoon in that spot. Retrieve the first spoon and move it a couple inches. Repeat this until the entire tire separates from the rim. Then flip the wheel and repeat the process on the other side.

Alternative step: If your tire has a tube, you’ll need to unbolt the valve stem from the rim and remove the old tube.

Step 5: Clean the inside of the rim and new tire

Wipe out the inside of the rim and the inside of the new tire to ensure there’s no debris. Coat the edges of the new tire with bead lube. Hand sanitizer or hand soap work in a pinch too.[5]

Alternative step: If your tire has a tube, insert the new, uninflated tube into the tire. Be sure to insert the valve stem into the hole in the rim.

Step 6: Put the new tire on the rim

Use the tire spoons to carefully wedge the entire tire under the rim on one side. Flip the wheel over and repeat this process on the other side.

Step 7: Reinstall the valve stem core and inflate the tire

Fill the tire until it’s completely sitting along the rim. Be sure to check the air pressure. You might have to inflate the tire past the recommended riding pressure number.[6]

Step 8: Re-mount the wheel onto the motorcycle

Follow your user manual’s instructions to remount the wheel. Check the air pressure again and adjust the alignment of the rear wheel and chain tension.[7] Ensure that all the fasteners are tight before you head out.

Owning a motorcycle offers great recreational opportunities, but it also comes with responsibilities. From insuring your motorcycle to maintaining it, remember to set aside time to properly care for your bike and learn motorcycle riding safety tips. Before you head out on your next adventure, talk to an insurance agent to make sure your motorcycle has the level of insurance coverage you need.



[2]How to Remove Rear Motorcycle Wheel,” YouTube (September 4, 2016).






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