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Discussion Starter #1
The Vaquero is my first big cruiser and I bought it last year. It is due for new tires already and at the advice of many on this forum I plan on going with the Michelin Commander II's. My question is, where do you guys go to get your tires? Looking at prices I see a wide range in listed price for the tires online and then you have to find someone to install them. Do you guys change the tires yourself? What are expected prices to ride into a shop to have your tires replaced? Is there much of a benefit to take the wheels of the bike at home and take just the wheels in to a shop? I looked at my local dealer and they list the same Michelin tires for $100 per tire more than say Motorcycle Superstore for example.



Looking for advice on the best way to do this.
 

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I change mine own tires. I order online. Have ordered from several places, but most recently have gone through JakeWilson.com and ebay. If you remove the wheel and take it to them, the cost will probably be about 1/3 taking the bike in and having them do it. A decent bike jack will pay for itself the 1st time in most cases from the labor charges themself. Look for an independent shop for the tire change, will usually be cheaper.
 

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Sometimes if you buy your tires from your dealer,he will change them for free,ask about that before you buy anywheres.If he does not or won't,buy online and have some one change them.I pull mine off the bike,take them in to change and that way I can have him check the balance.I pay $20 a tire to change and balance.You can change them yourself and use balance beads but I never tried them so i can't reccomend
 

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I always buy tires online mailorder many years ago. Ebay is a good place also Amazon for the last ones I got.

Before I moved from Nevada to Texas I had a tire changer and balancer in my shop, since I moved to Texas the first place I had to get tires changed was at the nearest Yamaha/Kawasaki shop. They charged $55 a tire and I took the wheels off and took them to them.

I have since then found and have used a small independent shop about 20 miles north of here, same distance as the Kawai dealer, that only does M/C tires and he charges $20 a tire plus balance unless you want beads and it is $4 extra for beads.

So look around. If you can take the wheels off yourself you will save over $110 using a Kawa shop. Or more... The Kawai shop here, labor is $105 an hour.

Also get a lift. Hopefully you have a garage... it makes working on the scoot a lot more bearable. Plus I use it for my riding lawn tractor and other things that need support when the floor jack does not quite cut it....
 

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You need to remember that you will need to get a belt tensioner gauge. I recommend 8 to 10 mm on the deflection as the 3 to 4.5mm is WAY TO TIGHT!! All in all well worth the piece of mind that knowing that the job is done right.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, I found a shop that will mount the tires if I bring the wheels in off the bike. Now the next step, what tools do I need to do this on a Vaquero? I plan on buying the Harbor Freight 1500# jack. I see I need a 22mm axle wrench for the front axle, a belt tention tool, anything else special? What size is the rear axle nut? Any tips for removing both wheels at the same time on this model jack? Any and all suggestions greatly appreciated
 

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I used a 1 1/16" boxed end wrench (small offset) for the rear axle nut. Not sure on the hf lift. I did buy the hf high dollar aluminum bike lift (really wobbly) plus it cost around 150 with a 25 percent off coupon. I returned it immediately! if the steel one works good for you I would appreciate feedback tho. I built a dolly and used my floor jack, which was kind of wobbly getting the bike up but the dolly worked well once I got the bike up, although it needed to be higher than the 8 1/2" height. I am not sure of any other tools needed on the Vaquero as I have a Nomad. hope this helps.
 

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Most of the lifts I have seen seem to be like mine. It is only stable fully extended. Mine is wobbly until then. Once it is extended it is rock solid as your load is then centered over the lift frame.
 

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Yea motorcycle superstore has lower prices and where I bought mine. Local kawasaki dealer charge me like $30 to put the new tire on. I have a HD motorcycle jack stand which can handle up to 1200 lbs. It's not only just for changing the tire but for storing your motorcycle up off the ground for winter storage instead of sitting all winter for period of time with weight all on tires.
I purchased the motorcycle jack stand for $400 I think, don't remember. It works great and has foot pedal to raise and lever to lower. Very sturdy at any height I choose to have lifted too (usually tires are about inch off ground) when storing my VN1700. Jack stand also helps making cleaning the wheels easy as well.

You will also need a new pin for the nut after you remove tire (dealer should have them in stock). If you are a first timer, putting wheel back on is kinda tricky and having a second person to help you would be helpful, but you still can do it by yourself. Stock mufflers I needed to take off to get pin out and wrench on bolt just so you know. If you have after market pipes like Cobra speedster, your access area is much easier and no need to take off mufflers as the bulky mufflers are no more an issue.

Just make sure you align the stand up on frame evenly. The more expensive heavy duty stand is a better option vs the less expensive ones. It will pay for itself in no time. Come to think of it, I bought the stand at motorcycle superstore when I ordered new tire.

http://www.motorcycle-superstore.com/4930/i/k-l-multi-lift?WT.ac=SLIsearch
 

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Most of the lifts I have seen seem to be like mine. It is only stable fully extended. Mine is wobbly until then. Once it is extended it is rock solid as your load is then centered over the lift frame.
This was starting to scare me when I first read it...
 

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I use mine a lot with the tires inches off the ground, but that low the platform is not centered to the base frame. It is past center to the back. As it raises the platform it comes forward about 4 inches as it goes up due to the pivot points. When you see a lift you will see what I am talking about. I have never had any trouble with any scoot I have had on it acting like it wanted to fall off, it just does not get stiff unless it is fully raised.
 

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I just got my first bike a Vulcan 500.and a few days later got a nail in my tire and went flat at 70 mph.long story short got a tire,tube,install for 180 bucks at local bike shop.i took the wheel off myself.hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I just bought a set of Commander II's from http://www.americanmototire.com/, (180/65B-16M/C 81 Rear and 130/90-16M/C 73H Front) for $287.55 out the door with free shipping. This was the best price online I was able to find.



I also bought the harbor freight 1500# lift and ordered the front axle tool & belt tension tool on Amazon. Hopefully I am all set for the wheel removal's now........



Another question: When you take the wheel to the shop, do you guys remove the brake rotors & belt pulley from the wheels first or just leave them on?
 

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I would recommend taking the belt pulley and rubber dampeners out so they won't get lost. You will be surprised how easy all that comes off.

No need to take rotors off just for a tire change.
 

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I just bought a set of Commander II's from http://www.americanmototire.com/, (180/65B-16M/C 81 Rear and 130/90-16M/C 73H Front) for $287.55 out the door with free shipping. This was the best price online I was able to find.



I also bought the harbor freight 1500# lift and ordered the front axle tool & belt tension tool on Amazon. Hopefully I am all set for the wheel removal's now........



Another question: When you take the wheel to the shop, do you guys remove the brake rotors & belt pulley from the wheels first or just leave them on?
I left rotors on, but I did take off pulley and the pizza slice shape rubber off. It was too easy for it to accidentally fall off and I didn't want to have any of them to get accidentally lost after dropping off the wheel.

Just so you know, when you go to put the triangle rubber pieces back in, I had a few times when I was lining up the wheel and inserting the long bolt where they fall out on me. Kinda got on my nerves after the 4th time they fell out on me (mainly cause I have back issues) and sitting on the garage floor and using my foot to allow lift on wheel was causing me pain in my back.

It would be helpful to take a picture with your cell phone of the triangle rubber when they are in the wheel after you take it off. This way just incase of how they were in (one side or the other) you can refer to the picture.
 

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If they fall out you do not have to worry about getting the dampeners back in their original slot. Also there is no backwards or inside out issue as they have connecting strips...

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