Friday, May 7, 2010

GS500 Front Tire Replacement

This post documents putting a new Pirelli Demon Sport Touring Front Tire size: 110/70H-17 on my 2007 GS500F.

Tools Used:
1) Get the front tire off the ground. If you still have the center stand, this is easy. I put two 50lb sand bags on the rear seat, and the front tire stayed in the air.
2) Using the 14mm socket, remove the two bolts holding the front brake caliper on.
Place a rag on top of the fender to protect it. Lift the caliper out of the way and place on top of the front fender.
3) Using the side cutters or pliers, remove the cotter pin from the castle nut.
4) Using the 19mm and 17mm wrench, remove the castle nut from the axle.
and pull the axle out.
5) Remove the tire from the bike
6) With a valve core tool, remove the valve from the valve stem to let all of the air out of the tire.
7) Break the bead on the tire. There are a lot of different ways to do this. Some of them easier, but I thought I’d try something new with this tire change and try C-Clamps. Tightening the clamps on the tire will break the bead.
One side of the tire’s bead broken away from the rim.
I found it helpful to use a rim protector to get the bead on the other side broken.
8) Once the bead is broken on both sides, you can start using tire levers to lift one side of the tire over the edge of the rim. Use the rim protectors to avoid marring the paint. Liberal use of Windex help lubricate the tire off the rim.
9) When the first side is completely off, flip over and push off the other side. Again, use the Windex to make this part easier.
IMG_1476 IMG_1477
The new and old tire side by side:
10) When mounting the new tire note the direction arrow on the tire and align appropriately.
11) Using more Windex and rim protectors, lever the first side of the tire on.
12) Once the first side is on, lever the second on. Windex helps a lot. Also make sure to keep the tire pushed down in the rim. This keeps the tire in the narrow part of the rim making it much easier to lever that last bit of tire over the edge.
13) Replace the valve and lubricate the tire again with Windex. Use an air compressor to quickly fill the tire. This will cause the bead to seat on the rim. You will hear two loud “pops” as the bead seats.
This little compressor works great and was only $10 at a local auction.
14) Fill the tire to the recommended 33psi
15) mount the tire on a balancing stand and balance.
This tire was balanced by adding three 1/4oz (7g) weights.
16) Remount the tire to the bike and torque to the following specs:
Front Axle Nut: 30 ft-lbs
Front brake caliper mounting bolt: 30 ft-lbs
17) Replace the cotter pin with a new one
18) Take the bike for a ride
19) Enjoy a cold beverage!
I recognize using C-clamps and levers is the “hard way.” I do own a tire changer. It brakes the bead in a few seconds compared to the minutes it takes with the clamps. It also dismounts and mounts the tire far faster and easier than levers. Good tools cost good money, but save LOTS of time.
I bought the tire changer last year when I realized how many miles I was putting on my bikes and how many my wife was also riding. We needed between three and five sets of tires a year between all of the bikes. At $70-$100 per set to have them professionally installed, we recouped the cost of the tools in one year.

Related Article:

  • GS500 Rear Tire Replacement

    Written by Chrisluhman for Everyday Riding. All rights reserved.


    1. Excellent lesson.

      You know, I have a probably grew up tinkering, taking things apart, etc.? I learned to work on my bicycle out of necessity but that was about it--but I learned a lot doing so. Repairing bigger vehicles was, the most part, off limits along strict gender lines. When I took my first motorcycle maintenance class I noticed that all the guys had some basic knowledge that they came with, really simple things that everyone took for granted like (righty tighty and lefty loosey) and the names of tools beyond the basic hammer, screw driver, pliers. The only girls I knew growing up who had an opportunty to learn fix big things had brothers and/or father with whom they worked side by side.

      Okay, you've given me a blog idea! Didn't mean to get carried away!

    2. Sharon, Thank you. I was encouraged to disassemble things when I was younger. My father tried to teach me how to work on cars and other things mechanical, but I had no interest. I never really started learning until I bought my WRX in 2007. Which I sold last year. Bikes are easier to work on than cars. More fun to ride. Theoretically cheaper, but with gear and farkles, I think it's a wash.

      I had the same observation in my first moto maintenance class this year. The instructors were good though, they brought up the tool names and righty tighty...