Whether you are trying to save a couple bucks or just can’t have anyone else to touch your chopper, changing your own tires is an easy task that only takes a few tools to complete. Follow along as I swap out the worn-out tires on my 1964 Panhead, for a new set of Shinko Super Classic 270 tires, just in time for the riding season. Keep in mind that these are non-directional tires, so that can be mounted in any orientation and obviously are fitted with tubes since I running spoked wheels.
After removing your wheel, the first step is to completely deflate the tire by removing the valve stem core. You’ll need a special tool for this which you can pick up at any auto parts store and once you fit the tool into the valve stem, the core twists right out.
Next, you’ll need to break the bead, which just means pressing the tire sidewall off the rim’s shoulder. This can be accomplished with a large C-clamp or a vice if you have one handy. Work your way around the tire, compressing the sides together, until the tire is loose from the rim.
Before I get started on removing the tire, I like to wipe down the edges with Tire Slick (liquid dish soap works too) to help the tire slide easily off the rim. If you are trying to remove an old hard tire, this step can really make the difference between an easy removal, or an afternoon spent wrestling with an old tire.
With the tire sufficiently lubed, it’s time to break out the tire irons. I prefer one long iron as my main tool along with a couple smaller irons to hold the tire in place as it is removed. Work your way around the tire in 2”-3” sections to pry off one side of the tire. If you get too greedy and try to skip ahead, you are more likely to bend your rim while putting too much pressure on it.
Once you have one side of the tire removed, go ahead and pull out your tube. This will make removing the next side much easier.
Continue to the other side of the tire, using the tire irons to slowly work the rim out of the tire.
Lastly, remove the rim strip.
Any rust inside the rim can be cleaned up with a wire brush. I recommend spraying a rust inhibitor on the inside of the rim, but not paint which will cement in your spoke nipples.
Install a new rim strip, making sure to align the notch in the rim strip with the hole for your valve stem.
Coat the tire bead on both sides of the tire with Tire Slick.
Using your tire irons, lever one side of the tire over the rim.
Reinstall the tube, making sure that it is not twisted or kinked. Once installed, inflate slightly (just enough to give it shape) to help ensure that it does not get pinched during the remainder of the tire installation.
Before levering on the other side, make sure that the red mark on the tire lines up with the valve stem. The red mark indicates the lightest point of the tire whereas the valve stem is the heaviest point of the rim. Aligning the two helps to balance the wheel.
Lever the other side of the tire over the rim. Carefully check that the tube is not pinched before inflating. Once the tube is inflated fully, the tire should be seated firmly against the shoulder of the rim.
And that’s it. Now your wheel is ready to be balanced and remounted on your bike. Always remember to take it easy for at least the first couple rides on a new set of tires. Shinko recommends a 100 mile break in period just to be on the safe side.
Enjoy the ride!