When to Change the Tires on Bikes

by Contributing WriterUpdated June 12, 2017

Tires are one of motorcycling's most valuable commodities, acting as the first line of defense against road defects and providing the traction required to keep you glued to the road in the middle of a fast sweeping turn. Knowing how long will a tire last and what causes it to go bad will help you assess when it is time to change the tires on your motorcycle.

Under The Hood:

 How to Change the Tire on a Honda Elite CH250

Mount the Scooter on its kickstand. Pull the scooter back onto its kickstand in an open area where you will have room to work. Doing so should cause the rear tire to be lifted up off the ground. Good lighting is helpful. If you have the tool kit that came with the scooter, get it out and ready for use. If not, get your metric socket set out and ready.

Remove the muffler. Loosen and remove the four bolts that hold the muffler in place. Also, do the same with the two exhaust bolts that hold the muffler to the exhaust. Pull gently on the muffler and it should come loose and fall into your hands.

Remove the fender. Loosen and remove the fender bolts that hold both the fender and the stay in place. Lift the fender and stay up and off the scooter and set it aside.

Remove the collars and rear shock absorber. Loosen and remove the two bolts on the end of the axle that hold the muffler stay in place. Pull the stay off and set it aside. Remove the upper shock absorber nut then pull off the outer collar, the rear shock absorber and then the inner collar, in that order.

Extract the tire. Lift the rear part of the scooter up into the air just enough to allow clearance for the tire. Gently push on the tire and it should come loose and fall to the ground.

Put the new tire on the scooter. Follow the directions above in the exact reverse order to put the new tire on the scooter, but be sure to tighten all the nuts and bolts to specifications. Honda suggests the rear axle nut be tightened to 52 to 78 foot-pounds and the right rear shock absorber bolt to 14 to 22 foot-pounds.

Items you will need

  • Metric ratchet set

  • Honda Elite CH250 toolkit (not required but helpful)

 When to Change the Tires on a Motorcycle

Understanding Tire Wear

Most street-based motorcycle tires have a life expectancy of around 6000-8000 miles. High-performance racing tires, which are made of softer rubber compounds, can expect to top out around 3000 miles. Sometimes less. Mileage is a major contributor to the tire's wear, but other factors such as improper inflation and personal riding style can dramatically shorten tire life. Uneven tire wear, which creates wear along one side of a tire, is usually caused by lower than required tire pressure. The rear tire can also be affected by normal day-to-day riding, creating a strip of worn out rubber right down the center line of the tire.

Inspecting your Tires

Inspecting your tires often should become a priority, especially before heading out for a ride. Start by checking your tire pressures. Refer to your owner's manual if you aren't sure what pressure at which to set your tires. Tire pressure values may also be listed on a plate or decal on the motorcycle's frame. Pressurizing your tires to the manufacturer's recommended value will provide your bike with the right amount of traction and shock-absorption needed to operate properly. As added benefits, fuel efficiency and handling will also improve.

Next, check your tire's sidewall for cracks or signs of dry rot. Replace your tire as soon as possible if there is any indication of sidewall damage; this may mean that the tire's structural integrity has been compromised.

Finally, inspect tire's tread area, specifically checking the tread for punctures, flat spots or exposed cords. Measure the tread depth, which should be a minimum of 1 to 3 millimeters deep. Again, if tread depth is less than 1mm deep, or if there are any signs of damage, replace the tire as soon as possible.

Tire Shelf Life

Since rubber has a tendency to degrade as time goes on, tires are limited to a maximum shelf life of 6 years. This rule applies to all tires made for motorcycles and automobiles, new or used. Even though they may look structurally sound, if your tires are older than six years, replace them immediately. You can identify the age of a tire by locating the four-digit number imprinted onto the tire's sidewall. The first two digits represent what week of the year the tire was manufactured, while the last two digits denote the year. So, a tire with 3306 was made on the 33rd week of 2006. Tires made prior to 2000 use a three digit code: 339 or 33rd week of 1999, for example.

 How to Change the Tire on a Yamaha Vino

Rest the scooter onto its kick stand and loosen the rear axle lock nut with a 24mm wrench. Once the luck nut is loose, place the scooter on its center stand.

Loosen the exhaust muffler brackets by removing the pair of bolts above and below the muffler with a socket wrench. Follow the muffler pipe to the motor and loosen the pair of bolts that secure the exhaust to the motor. Place a box under the muffler to support the weight of the loosened exhaust system.

Remove the rear axle lock nut completely and pull the rear wheel off of the axle.

Remove the valve core from the wheel with a core removal tool and allow the tire to deflate. Break the seal, or bead, between the tire and wheel with a bead breaker tool and push the tire downward to expose the wheel's rim.

Use a pair of tire irons placed in the 11 o'clock and 1 o'clock positions to pull the lip of the tire off of the rim. Slide the curved end of the tire irons between the tire and the rim. Press down firmly to stretch the tire over the rim. Hold the 11 o'clock tire iron in place and reposition the 1 o'clock tire iron further down the tire. Press down firmly again to bring more of the tire over the rim. Repeat until the entire outer lip of the tire has been removed.

Pull the remaining lip of the tire to the edge of the rim and stand the entire wheel upright. Slide a tire iron between the tire and outer edge of the rim, placing your hand over the center of the wheel. Hold the wheel between your knees and push the lever upwards to force the tire off of the wheel.

Spray the edges of your new tire with soapy water. Slip the edge of the tire onto the wheel. Insert a tire iron between the wheel and the tire and pull the remaining edge of the tire over rim. Push the tire downwards to bring the remaining edge of the tire closer to the rim. Pull the tire over the rim with a tire iron until it is fully mounted on the wheel.

Set the tire's bead, or seal, against the wheel's rim with an air compressor. Quickly fill the tire with air through the valve stem until the tire "pops" into place. Reinstall the valve core and adjust the tire pressure.

Slide the rear wheel onto the rear axle and tighten the lock nut. Tighten the exhaust mount bolts on the motor. Install and tighten the muffler bracket bolts.

Items you will need

  • 24mm wrench

  • Socket set

  • Socket wrench

  • Valve core removal tool

  • Bead breaker tool

  • Tire irons

  • Spray bottle

  • Soapy water

  • Air compressor

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