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Old October 2nd, 2017, 07:52 AM   #1
isuoboe
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Tire installation DIY?

I'm riding a 2006 ninja 250. 12K on bike; 7,456 miles on tires; OEM Dunlop (I replaced the originals at 4872m due to cracking in 2014 so they were probably 8 yr. old.) Wear indicators on rear tire now indicate I need to replace it soon. Front tire doing much better.

My most important question is about experiences people have had replacing their own tires. I do most of my own maintenance and repairs. I had a dealer replace the tires last time and was very happy because the wobble the bike had (which some riders think is normal for this bike) was gone after the tire installation, I assume because of the good job they did with alignment. At $25/tire for installation I was happy (but I also like doing it myself)!

Other questions:
1. How does 7,456 miles on the R tire compare with what others get on rear tires on pregen bikes?
2. Last time I bought tires (2014), although I saw people on these forums talk about other tires than the stock Dunlops, I didn't see any that really were "correct" for this bike. (Slower speed, or lower load rating, or not exact size). Now I see several out there at cheaper prices and good ratings. Was I just blind before? The dealer also said there weren't any other choices. (Maybe that had to do with what a dealer makes on the OEM.)

Thanks for your input.
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Old October 2nd, 2017, 08:09 AM   #2
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Here's some specific info on tires for the Ninja - https://faq.ninja250.org/wiki/Tires

There are choices (unlike what the dealer told you), but they are limited due to the Pregens 16" rims. Later models (2008 and up) have 17s, and a lot more choices.

We have had Pirelli MT75s on one and Diablo Scooters on another Pregen, and they were good, but I have experienced issues with Pirelli's rubber compound (on both cycle and auto tires). The tires tend to be very good initially, but the rubber dries quickly and cracks way before it should.

Dunlop original replacements aren't that great, so I'd consider other options.

Look around, and keep that in-mind, when you are shopping.

Changing tires without the proper equipment can be a real pain. It can be done, but plenty of people try it once before taking them in to a shop. Most reputable shops will spin balance them as well, which is something most DIYers can't do. Tires are not perfect, or the same every time, so they should be balanced when changed.
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Old October 2nd, 2017, 08:35 AM   #3
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I change all my car and motorcycle tires myself, using a slide hammer type bead breaker, a couple irons and some good tire lube. The key is to get the beads of the tire squeezed together so they drop down in the center section of the rim, giving enough slack to get the bead off in one place without difficulty. Same with the new tire going on... make sure the bead is down in the drop center everywhere except where you're working. With stiff tires and narrow rims, I've occasionally had to get someone to stand on the tire to squeeze it into the drop center for me while I'm using the irons, but I can usually stand on one side while prying at the other and do it alone. If you try to pry a tire on or off without paying attention to the bead position, it can be very difficult, and even damage the tire bead.

To balance motorcycle wheels, I support the axle in a vice and make sure the wheel spins easily, then stick weights on until the wheel doesn't prefer to stop in one place when spun slightly. In my experience, this will balance them accurately.

I currently have Bridgestone BT45s on my pregen and they handle great, stick great, and give decent life. The miles you got from the rear tire sound good to me.

Putting new tires on probably fixed the wobble. When front tires get worn they often get a little squirrely. The is no "alignment" to do when installing tires, just making sure the bead is completely seated all around. Wire spoked wheels can get out of true and need truing to fix wobbles, but with our cast wheels, they don't go out of true unless they get whacked good.
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Old October 2nd, 2017, 09:12 AM   #4
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Yeah, 7500-miles is about right for bias-ply rear tyre. Tyre technology has improved by leaps and bounds since these bikes were new. Unfortunately, better-wearing, higher-grip radial tyres aren't available in Ninjette 16" sizes.

Dealers tend to only give you choices on what they have in stock. Mostly OEM stuff, which tends to be low-end stuff. There are better choices on the market. Going with H-speed rated tyres may be better as they'll run cooler at any given speed and pressure, resulting in better wear and grip.

As for changing tyres yourself, lookup various Youtube videos on how to do it. You'll need beak-breaker, tyre-levers, and compressor. I like to heat up tyres with tyre-warmers to make them softer and easier to unmount/mount. Last tyre I mounted was Alpha-13SP. Casing was so soft I was practically able to mount it by hand like bicycle tyre! Just needed one last section flipped with tyre lever.

There's come-to-you mobile mechanic around here that charges $15/tyre with wheels off or $25/tyre wheels on. Even easier to find a DIY shop like MotoGuild S.F. and use their tools.
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Old October 2nd, 2017, 10:07 AM   #5
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From helping my husband change tires on the bikes, I don't think I have the skill or strength to do it solo. Proper tools are helpful, and he watched a lot of videos on how to make it easier.

As far as what tires to use, I have been significantly happier with Shinkos than I was with the Dunlops that came on the bike (which were awful, especially on grooved concrete).
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Old October 2nd, 2017, 11:10 AM   #6
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Yeah, of all tyres I've used on my CBR600RR, radial Shinkos have been most troublefree and long-lasting over 10k-miles; on my 3rd set now. As grippy as the Dunlop Q2s I had previously, but much longer lasting.

Balancing is important as well, especially if you go fast! Before mounting, I find actual heavy-spot on my wheel (all previous weights removed). Then I mark this spot (not always at valve-stem), and line up yellow-circle of new tyre to that spot. This lines up heavy spot on wheel with light spot of tyre and minimal balancing weights needed. If less than 10gm weights needed, I don't bother putting any weights on at all. I use one of these eBay balancers. Verified balance after 1st time with one from MotoGuild SF and it was spot-on.
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Old October 3rd, 2017, 02:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkv45 View Post
Here's some specific info on tires for the Ninja - https://faq.ninja250.org/wiki/Tires

There are choices (unlike what the dealer told you), but they are limited due to the Pregens 16" rims. Later models (2008 and up) have 17s, and a lot more choices.

We have had Pirelli MT75s on one and Diablo Scooters on another Pregen, and they were good, but I have experienced issues with Pirelli's rubber compound (on both cycle and auto tires). The tires tend to be very good initially, but the rubber dries quickly and cracks way before it should.

Dunlop original replacements aren't that great, so I'd consider other options.

Look around, and keep that in-mind, when you are shopping.

Changing tires without the proper equipment can be a real pain. It can be done, but plenty of people try it once before taking them in to a shop. Most reputable shops will spin balance them as well, which is something most DIYers can't do. Tires are not perfect, or the same every time, so they should be balanced when changed.
Thanks JKV45. I've looked again at how-to videos on tire changing and I think I pass this DIY project up. Money isn't that big an issue. I appreciate the link to tires.
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Old October 3rd, 2017, 02:32 PM   #8
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Putting new tires on probably fixed the wobble. When front tires get worn they often get a little squirrely. The is no "alignment" to do when installing tires, just making sure the bead is completely seated all around. Wire spoked wheels can get out of true and need truing to fix wobbles, but with our cast wheels, they don't go out of true unless they get whacked good.[/QUOTE]

Thanks!
I had the impression there is alignment to the extent that if the rear tire isn't aligned with the front (i.e. both tires must be straight), which could happen with careless chain adjustment. I put a mark on each chain adjusting nut to make sure I turn each the same amount.
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Old October 3rd, 2017, 02:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JacRyann View Post
Yeah, 7500-miles is about right for bias-ply rear tyre. Tyre technology has improved by leaps and bounds since these bikes were new. Unfortunately, better-wearing, higher-grip radial tyres aren't available in Ninjette 16" sizes.

Dealers tend to only give you choices on what they have in stock. Mostly OEM stuff, which tends to be low-end stuff. There are better choices on the market. Going with H-speed rated tyres may be better as they'll run cooler at any given speed and pressure, resulting in better wear and grip.

As for changing tyres yourself, lookup various Youtube videos on how to do it. You'll need beak-breaker, tyre-levers, and compressor. I like to heat up tyres with tyre-warmers to make them softer and easier to unmount/mount. Last tyre I mounted was Alpha-13SP. Casing was so soft I was practically able to mount it by hand like bicycle tyre! Just needed one last section flipped with tyre lever.

There's come-to-you mobile mechanic around here that charges $15/tyre with wheels off or $25/tyre wheels on. Even easier to find a DIY shop like MotoGuild S.F. and use their tools.
I looked at the motoguild site. That is really cool!! I'm sure if there were anything like that around here (central Iowa) I would have heard about it by now. I will definitely visit it when I visit relatives in San Francisco!
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Old October 3rd, 2017, 02:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isuoboe View Post

Thanks!
I had the impression there is alignment to the extent that if the rear tire isn't aligned with the front (i.e. both tires must be straight), which could happen with careless chain adjustment. I put a mark on each chain adjusting nut to make sure I turn each the same amount.
You're right that the rear wheel should be installed so the wheel is aligned with the centerline of the motorcycle, but if it's off a little, wobble isn't a symptom.
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Old October 3rd, 2017, 02:43 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by CaliGrrl View Post
From helping my husband change tires on the bikes, I don't think I have the skill or strength to do it solo. Proper tools are helpful, and he watched a lot of videos on how to make it easier.

As far as what tires to use, I have been significantly happier with Shinkos than I was with the Dunlops that came on the bike (which were awful, especially on grooved concrete).
Thanks. (That's "my" bike in your picture by the way). Your comments are really relevant. I was considering shinkos since I saw some with a really good price. And also your comment on grooved pavement because this has been an issue for me.
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Old October 3rd, 2017, 02:48 PM   #12
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I also change all of my own tires, both dirt and street. To me, it's hardly worth the hassle and cost of taking my wheels some place to get them done when I can do it myself in under an hour for both. Removal and installation takes longer than the actual tire change, once you're familiar with the proper technique.
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Old October 3rd, 2017, 06:26 PM   #13
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Yellow '06 bikes- we rock!

But yes, I didn't like the Dunlops that came with the bike. They tended to wander on grooved concrete. The Shinkos stick much more solidly. Much happier.

Tires are a personal thing, and what one person likes won't necessarily have anything to do with what the next person likes, but you won't know what you like until you try some.
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Old October 3rd, 2017, 07:05 PM   #14
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A little video I like for the new people.

Link to original page on YouTube.

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Old October 3rd, 2017, 08:52 PM   #15
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Tire sizes

I really appreciate all the input to my original post (Tire installation DIY).

I hesitate to use a different size than OEM. Is there any official/manufacturer recommendation of acceptable alternate sizes? What guidelines do any of you use to determine what alternate sizes (or specs) are OK?

On lists of tires that "fit" I see 90 instead of 80 aspect ratio; and P & H speed ratings instead of S. 90 might make my speedometer more accurate (at highway speeds it reads about 5 too high). P speed rating is 93; S is 112. While I'm not likely to ride 93, someone else might to see if the bike goes as fast as it's supposed to. (And I have read that the speed rating is for the tire when it is new; the owner's manual gives lower minimum tire depth for <80 than for >80.)

Thanks for your input.
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Old October 3rd, 2017, 10:11 PM   #16
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Here's guide to tyre sizing. Quite a lot of people have gone to 90-series tyres. Opens up more options on different brands and models of tyres you can use.

https://faq.ninja250.org/wiki/Ride_h...ent_tire_sizes

Speed-rating is spec on how well tyre resists heat-buildup due to casing flex. All tyres will flex certain amount at contact patch based upon load and pressure. Higher speed ratings means tyre will stay cooler at any given speed. I suggest no lower than H-rating.
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Old October 3rd, 2017, 10:17 PM   #17
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You might be surprised how fast you can end up going. I've hit my highest speed on the road to Vegas and am riding a bit faster on the freeway than I may have expected.
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Old October 4th, 2017, 11:05 AM   #18
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Here's video on how to seat bead without compressor to provide large in-rush volume of air.

Link to original page on YouTube.

Link to original page on YouTube.

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Old October 4th, 2017, 11:30 AM   #19
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Here's video on how to seat bead without compressor to provide large in-rush volume of air.

Link to original page on YouTube.

That's some sketchy s***!
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Old October 4th, 2017, 04:32 PM   #20
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Seating the bead was for me the easiest part of changing the tires. We used a bicycle floor pump.
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Old October 4th, 2017, 04:41 PM   #21
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It's nice when they go well, Kerry. If the rim is wide and the tire doesn't want to expand to the flanges, it can get very difficult. The last Dodge van tire I did must have been at the bottom of a stack of tires for a while. It was nowhere near wide enough to try to seal on both flanges at the same time. After trying some tricks that didn't work, I got out a piece of foam pipe insulation and put it between one tire bead and the rim flange, making the other bead of the tire seal against its flange. Then I put enough air in the tire to pop that side on, let the air out, removed the foam insulation, and lifted the rim while putting air in. Then that second side sealed and seated.
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Old October 4th, 2017, 04:50 PM   #22
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That's some sketchy s***!
Wish I knew this trick earlier. Ended up having to compress centre of tread with ratcheting strap to bulge sides out. Then sealed both beads well enough for bicycle pump. Only had to do one tyre that way, then I got compressor.
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Old October 4th, 2017, 07:29 PM   #23
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You might be surprised how fast you can end up going. I've hit my highest speed on the road to Vegas and am riding a bit faster on the freeway than I may have expected.
This is true. I know. In away I guess this is why we like these bikes. It's amazing that I can be cruising at 60, and get to 70 without knowing it. I would rather have the safety edge. I will be happy if the tires I choose are "H" and I think I won't choose a "P" even though I don't intend 93mph.
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Old October 4th, 2017, 07:40 PM   #24
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The speed ratings are for sustained speed, not short bursts.
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Old October 4th, 2017, 08:10 PM   #25
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The speed ratings are for sustained speed, not short bursts.
Right. BTW, Congrats Triple Jim
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Old October 5th, 2017, 04:33 AM   #26
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Bead breakers are pretty cheap on ebay, but before I had one of those I just used a big c-clamp I had. A set of 3-4 motion pro spoons and up to 4 rim guards, but I will say 2 rim guards is not enough.

Also, an interesting note: baby ninjas are harder to do than supersports. Not sure why, but I think it's because the little valley where the bead rests as you are spooning it off the other side is a lot smaller. Tire changes on my 675R were much easier.

You need a 125+ PSI high volume compressor to seat the bead most of the time. Also don't forget bead lube, and don't use windex like some people say. I use Xtra Seal 1Gal Slik Bead Lube. I like that stuff better than the grease based lubes because the tire is lest likely to have a bead leak later.
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Old October 6th, 2017, 02:36 AM   #27
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I have just fitted Pirelli Diablo Scooters in OEM sizes, rides lovely.

A set of manual kit for tyre changing (bead breaker, levers & rim protectors [4+ of each is good], balancer) with cost about 200 here in the UK. You'll also need access to an airline with good flow. Sometimes you'll get lucky and the tyre will seal well enough to be blown onto the bead with just a hand bicycle pump (I've done it once on a Kwak ER6N a few years back!) but it will knacker you out. The problem is when the tyre won't seal at all and your car tyre pump can't flow enough air fast enough to overcome the leaks. I had to use a local tyre shop's airline for my front wheel!

It can save you money in the long run, but it costs a bit up front. Unless your changing tyres 3-4 times per year, it probably isn't worth the faff.
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Old October 6th, 2017, 09:09 PM   #28
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A little video I like for the new people.

Link to original page on YouTube.

DANG. I'm still in disbelief but for sure I'm gonna try it. I've got the Dawn I wonder if he uses Gorilla Tape or what?

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Old October 7th, 2017, 05:51 AM   #29
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^^^ Very impressive!

Yes, he said Gorilla tape.

He didn't put pressure on the tire though. He could have mounted a 17" tire on a 16" rim, just for the show. LOL
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Old October 7th, 2017, 07:56 AM   #30
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^^^ Very impressive!

Yes, he said Gorilla tape.

He didn't put pressure on the tire though. He could have mounted a 17" tire on a 16" rim, just for the show. LOL

Thanks, I didn't hear him say Gorilla tape. Yes, I hope it's not a spoof. I wish he had an easy way to get the old tire OFF. Well, if it doesn't work I'm only out a roll of Gorilla tape - I use Dawn anyway.

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Old October 7th, 2017, 08:29 AM   #31
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I wish he had an easy way to get the old tire OFF.
(maybe your wish was rhetorical, but...) After breaking both beads loose from the rim, find a way to squeeze the beads together so they drop into the "drop center" part of the rim everywhere except where you're using irons on it. You may have to enlist someone to stand on the tire to squeeze the beads together while you work, especially on very old, stiff tires. If you don't get the beads into the drop center, you will think there's no way the bead will ever come off. When you do get them to drop in, the rest is easy.
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Old October 7th, 2017, 08:48 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Triple Jim View Post
(maybe your wish was rhetorical, but...) After breaking both beads loose from the rim, find a way to squeeze the beads together so they drop into the "drop center" part of the rim everywhere except where you're using irons on it. You may have to enlist someone to stand on the tire to squeeze the beads together while you work, especially on very old, stiff tires. If you don't get the beads into the drop center, you will think there's no way the bead will ever come off. When you do get them to drop in, the rest is easy.
Since I live alone an 8" "C" clamp is my friend. The first bead isn't too hard but even though I have rim protectors the second bead is a bee-ach. I worry about mucking-up the rim and having to install a tube.

Bill
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Old October 7th, 2017, 09:56 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by cuz View Post
A little video I like for the new people.

Link to original page on YouTube.

That is awesome. Totally agree on Dawn dish soap, that is the easiest I've seen a tire go on a rim, ever.
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Old October 7th, 2017, 10:22 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by JacRyann View Post
Here's video on how to seat bead without compressor to provide large in-rush volume of air.

Link to original page on YouTube.

Link to original page on YouTube.

The fire method works, I've seen offroad guys do it successfully multiple times.
I use a ratchet strap, wrapped around the tire. You have to be kind of careful, but you just crank it down enough so the beads are pushed up against the beads of the rim and the use an air compressor to push the tire up over the bead. I've done it on scooter tire, mower tires and motorcycle tires.
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Old October 7th, 2017, 10:40 AM   #35
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I've used Dawn for mounting lube, but this stuff is the best I've ever used. It's been around for many decades. This is a lifetime supply:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old October 7th, 2017, 11:58 AM   #36
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I just use soapy water. Then try to rinse most of it off before inflating. I've had tyres spin 180-degrees on rim before.

Here's some more mounting tyres with FIRE!!
A fuse is such an innovative idea!!!

Link to original page on YouTube.

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Old October 7th, 2017, 01:04 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Triple Jim View Post
I've used Dawn for mounting lube, but this stuff is the best I've ever used. It's been around for many decades. This is a lifetime supply:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
I've never used this stuff but it's a more convenient size.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01H6HMPRK..._t1_B00TXHMUOA

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Old October 7th, 2017, 01:33 PM   #38
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There's nothing inconvenient about a gallon of tire lube as far as I'm concerned, but then I change all the tires on four cars, four motorcycles, and a Ford tractor as they need it.
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Old October 7th, 2017, 03:59 PM   #39
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There's nothing inconvenient about a gallon of tire lube as far as I'm concerned, but then I change all the tires on four cars, four motorcycles, and a Ford tractor as they need it.
My next tire change should be about three years from now. I sure don't need 8 lbs. of the stuff. I draw the line on changing my car tires as I don't have the equipment. Tractor tires - no way. That would require the help of two men and a boy.

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Old October 7th, 2017, 04:17 PM   #40
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For car tires it's the same equipment I use for motorcycle tires, two irons and my bead breaker. Same for the tractor tires. The biggest pain with the tractor tires is the 35 gallons of antifreeze to take out and put back in. You've seen my slide hammer bead breaker, haven't you?
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