It was time for tires! Sadly, I neglected the fundamental maintenance point of replacing tires on Margaret’s bike. We kind of glanced at them a few times but never really lifted the bike up to get a good look at the rear tire. The front was almost in the red for changing, so I suppose I let the back one go for whatever reason. I decided to be honest about my neglect and post about it even though it muddies my face. All is good, though, there were no incidents, and we changed them.
Taking The Wheels To The Shop
This time we decided to remove the tires and take them to Swifty’s to have them mounted and balanced. I used to take the bike in and let them do all of the work, but I was feeling adventurous this time. It seemed a good time to make a video of the entire front and rear tire replacement process. This isn’t something everyone will want to do, so I kind of held off on making a video of the process. It requires a bit more time, lifting the bike, and leaving it suspended while taking the wheels in to have a new tire mounted and balanced. You won’t save all that much doing it yourself either, so it might be something most people will just avoid.
Some Idea Of Cost
When you consider the time and effort involved to do tires yourself, you have to determine if it's worth what you're going to save over just taking the bike in and having your local independent motorcycle shop do the work for you. Labor will run you about .5 hours for the front tire removal and installation, rear-wheel will run about 1.5 hours, so 2 hours total in labor.
Depending on the rate, you're looking at just over $200 in labor. Mounting and balancing will run another $70 to $100 total for both tires. So call it $300, in the end, to avoid having to do what is shown in the picture above. If, however, you decide on doing it all, I would arguably still take the wheels to your local shop to have them professionally mounted and balanced. There are some videos of “shortcuts” of different methods of mounting and balancing, but it's my opinion they are not good ideas.
Let A Shop Mount and Balance The Wheel
We took the wheels to Swifty’s in Fort Worth, TX, where we purchased the new tires and had them mounted and balanced. Eric was kind enough to do a video on the pros and cons of self-mounting and balancing and even took us into the shop so we could photo and video the proper process.
We hope the video will give a better insight into why you should let a shop do this part professionally instead of using some of the mickey mouse techniques I’ve seen online. Not only did we compile a couple of fantastic information videos, but we also had a great time at their shop and had fun. Not only will your local independent motorcycle shop professionally install your tires, but they will also be more competitively priced than a Harley dealership, and you will be supporting local businesses.
Adjusting The Spokes & Trueing The Wheel
We also had them adjust the spokes while they had the tires off the wheel. This is called truing and is an art in itself. The process also requires specialized equipment to do properly. Spoked wheels should be checked every 5k miles and trued every time you need a new tire. It is an extra cost, but that’s what you get if you want to have spokes! We did a video on the pros and cons of trueing a wheel yourself. It will be a couple of weeks before I get that one published, though, so keep a lookout for it.