Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My first flat tire of 2009

Just this weekend, I was telling a friend how amazing it was that I hadn’t had a flat tire in 2009. This weekend I also purchased a tire repair kit for my SV650 (the ural has a spare tire onboard and the WR250R has a set of spare tubes).
This afternoon a couple co-workers came over to my cube and let me know my rear tire was a bit low and that I should check it out. When I got outside, the rear tire was completely flat.
flat ural tireInstead of being upset, I was actually excited to change the tire! I was too eager to change it, and I forgot to take a picture until after the tire was nearly off. I watched the maintenance videos last week and felt confident I could do it. I grabbed the manual and read the page through again on changing tires. I also watched the video again on my phone; it seemed easy.
I first tried the Ural air pump to just put air in the tire thinking, somehow, it had leaked out. This is when I also had my first RPOC moment… the tire pump didn’t fit on the tire correctly and it wouldn’t lock in and just leaked air instead.
ural on the center standLets see, step one in the manual is “lift the motorcycle onto the center stand.” The center stand doesn’t have a nice lever to hold with your foot. I wasn’t strong/smart enough to figure it out, so I grabbed two co-workers to help me lift the bike onto the stand.

I set about removing the cotter pin with the supplied pliers, and then took the axle nut off. So far so good. When I got over to the other side, I found I needed two 17mm wrenches to remove the axle pinch bolt.
why doesn't it come with two 17mm wrenches??No problem, I thought, I’ll just grab them from the supplied tool kit… hmm… only one 17mm wrench here… lemme double check… yes only one… lemme check the toolkit list in the manual… yes, only one 17mm wrench is supplied (second RPOC moment). I tried the one 17mm wrench and the supplied pliers – no go. I ended up going back inside and asking around the building until someone came up with some vice grips which worked great.
take the black plastic thing off first!After I removed the pinch bolt, removing the axle was easy. The tire also came out rather easily. It took another check in the manual to figure out I needed a special tool (in the kit) to remove the spare. Spare removed, I tried to mount it on the bike, but it wouldn’t fit. I tried for a while and then took it out to compare the two tires.
That’s when I noticed the black plastic ring on the inside on the spare… I removed that and it went right on. The rest was pretty easy. Re-inserting the cotter pin was slightly annoying.. apparently they work better when completely straight.. who knew? Inserting the cotter pin before tightening the axle pinch bolt makes things easy too.
ural after tire change
I put the tools away and went back inside to put my gear on. I stopped by Sears on the way home and purchased some extra tools to make the next tire change a bit easier.
new tools for the ural
1) a pair of needle nose pliers
2) a pair of vice grips
3) a small bottle jack
4) a metric socket set (with a 17mm)
I also put my bike pump into the tug (sidecar) until I can buy a smaller one that fits in the trunk. I also need to add a light of some sort. A 12V light with a cigarette adapter would be perfect.
When I got home, filled up the flat tire to 40psi, and am currently waiting for it to go flat again. I can’t find any nails or anything else wrong with the tire, and I can’t hear any hissing. I’m stumped. I might just replace the tube with a heavy duty tube for good measure and call it done.
The ride in was very comfortable with my new heated gloves despite it being 2F. The ride home was also nice with a 500% increase in temps (10F)! I’m happy I had the opportunity to learn in the parking ramp rather than on the side of the road. I’m also very thankful to have such helpful co-workers!

UPDATE: I found the problem with the tube. The tube was pinched by the spoke bolts.


  1. good job with your first tire replacement....

    re putting the tug onto the centerstand, it's actually really easy. Lower the stand till it touches the ground, place left foot on it to hold it in place. With both hands,grab under the rear fender support bar and lift the bike there, at same time pulling it towards the rear to lock the centerstand in place. I also bought a small bottle jack to do this but it's not needed, it'll come in handy for other things though.

    check this video out where I learned this technique:


  2. Thanks for the tip on the center stand! I have been stumped since I bought the Ural. I also think it would help to remove the sand bags in the tug. :) :)

    I need to return my bottle jack and get the next size up. It can't lift the rig high to get the tug wheel up.

  3. How fortuitous for you ... yo1ur preparations paid off big time! Hope next year is a trouble free as well

  4. Thanks Chuck. It has been a great 2009, and I feel very lucky to have enjoyed nearly 15,000 trouble-free miles.

    I hope your 2010 is just as good!

  5. Chris:

    don't you just hate it when there is no visible sign of a puncture. How did the air come out ? What happened to me was the air was low and going over bumps it just leaked out from the rim seal. Tire got ruined when it went flat and got pinched while rolling.
    glad you got mobile with a little help

    bobskoot: wet coast scootin

  6. Bob: yes! I still have no idea why the tube is leaking. When I replace it with an Heavy Duty tube, I'll take the old one into the bathtub and figure it out, so I can stop wondering.

  7. You did ok but you violated the first rule of hassle free riding. Never jinx yourself by saying things like that! :)

  8. Replies
    1. own a 2009 patrol and just changed the rear wheel. Only 3000K and the tire is nearly worn out. Using a vid and tools plus an extra 17mm had no problem. Good tip on using center stand. Mike