I am putting on my NEW tires!
I worked last night and slept until 10:00 am and finally got up to work on installing my new tires. I ordered me some Michelin Commanders for my Kawi 900 LT. I didn't have a real motorcycle jack, so I chocked the front wheel, and used two floor jacks to lift her up for the rear tire removal. I went ahead and pulled both bags off (14 and 10 mm nuts) and left my exhaust pipes alone. I got out my old harbor freight 1/2 inch impact and connected it to my air hose and broke loose the 22mm axle bolt on the rear. I shoulda broke it loose while on the ground, but I did the opposite as usual! Anyway....I loosened the belt tensioning nuts on each side and worked the belt off the pulley and set it out of the way, then removed the axle bolt carefully (not something typical for moi!) and eased the tire down away from the brake caliper. I wired the caliper assembly to my bag frame so it would sit out of the way, then angled the tire slightly to clear my fender, and pulled the tire out and away from the bike. Let me elaborate a little on my mechanical skills at this point for those of you that might be a little intimidated by all of this....I worked at a CAR tire shop for a year and a half when I was in my twenties (49 now...and a HARD 49 at that) and so I'm not scared of the tire part...but I do get concerned about belts and the proper tension/ alignment, so this job isn't bad if you just go slow and really look at things carefully. Up to this point my worst time eater was getting my baby jacked up because I was alone and on terra ferma..not concrete! So here we go....I grabbed a 5 gallon bucket and a milk crate. The BRAKE side will fit in the bucket, but you will need some wood frame or a milk crate for the pulley side. Anyways....I threw the brake rotor side in the bucket, removed the valve core, grabbed my GIANT C clamp and began squeezing on the side opposite the valve stem to prevent pinching the tube. I broke the bead, flipped it over and placed the pulley side in the milk crate. I started breaking that side of the tire, and then all hell broke loose. My wife called and shut me down to go do other crap, so as it stands tomorrow I will finish the bead break, make note of the direction of rotation with a piece of tape, take some old milk jug plastic "sheets" to make a guard to keep my tire irons from scratching up my wheels as I dig in and try to pull the tire off. My point is this....the shops around here want 150 to pull the tires, $20.00 to mount the front and $35.00 for the rear, THEN about ten bucks to balance them.
YOU can do this IF you have the time and a few tools. I wouldn't suggest screwdrivers for the tire because honestly tire irons or "spoons" as we called them are really better in the long run. Look on YouTube and google changing your tires and you would be shocked at how much YOU can do YOURSELF!!! I'm not trying to be cheap. I would GLADLY pay someone else IF I didn't have the time or tools....but for me it's a challenge to be self sufficient. Plus...I love my bike and I want to be the one wrenching it if I can.
I will post the rest as I finish, mostly just to give you a little boost in your attitude towards this. The NUMBER ONE thing is BE careful and SAFE! If that sucker falls on ya it COULD hurt or kill ya, so think worst case every step. My motto is this...if you treat it like its deadly it won't hurt you.
I will also tell how I balance the tires on my next post.