Those glasses rock! Can I change my own tires without buying a fancy tire machine?
Chauncey McGibbons, St. Jacobs, Canada
1 You can change your own tires with some basic tools and ingenuity, but-as with many chores-the more elaborate your equipment, the easier the job. RiderWearHouse (800/222-1994, www.riderwearhouse.com) and Motion Pro (650/594-9600, www.motionpro.com) both have a good selection of reasonably priced tire-changing necessities, and an old 25-gallon oil drum makes an excellent work stand.
2 Remove and clean the wheel, and set aside any spacers and cush drive parts. Unscrew the valve stem to let all the air out. You can break the tire's bead using a proper bead breaker, or something as simple as a few blocks of wood and your own weight. Either way, be careful not to bend the brake discs or damage the wheel.
3 Break the bead around the entire circumference on both sides, and spray a 50/50 mixture of water and dishwashing soap into the resultant gaps between the wheel and tire. On the side of the wheel opposite the valve stem, squeeze the tire and push both beads down into the wheel well. This will give you more room at the opposite side to slip a tire iron in and lever the bead over the rim.
4 Once you have one iron in and the tire over the rim, work a second iron under the bead a few inches away. Continue working the bead over around the tire, leaving the first iron in place and using the second iron successively. After a few iterations, you'll be able to pull the rest of the bead over the rim with your hand.
5 Turn the wheel over, and making sure one side of the bead is in the wheel well, push the opposite side over the edge of the rim and the tire will slide right off. If you have a latching stand, pull the tire up and over the rim. If the tire resists, gently use an iron to persuade it.
6 Clean the wheel well, and spray both beads of the new tire with suds. Check the tire's directional arrow, and line up the tire's balance dot with the valve stem. Push as much as you can of the first bead of the new tire onto the rim and down into the well. Work your way around the tire by hand or with an iron, making sure as much of the bead stays in the well as possible.
7 Use the irons to lever the second bead over the rim, starting opposite the valve stem and working your way around. As you near the valve stem, squeeze the tire so that both beads opposite to where you are working are in the well. The more tire in the well, the easier that last little bit will be. Make sure the tire's balancing dot is at the valve stem, and fill the tire with air until both beads are seated. We'll cover balancing in the next issue.
This story originally appeared in the October, 2003 issue of Sport Rider.