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Alex Asigno
Alex Asigno

Fitting Balancing & Running In Your Tyres

Fitting new tyres

Basically, there is little difference between fitting a motorcycle tyre and fitting any other sort. The real skill comes in knowing what to look for and knowing how to accomplish the tyre change without later endangering the rider or damaging the bike.
Most riders should know how to take out a wheel but there are still many who don't. There is a potential for enormous damage to be caused if this is done badly. Modern wheels can be delicate and very expensive things; they can have coatings on them that can be damaged, torque settings can be critical and great care must be taken with the brake mechanism.
If there isn't a mobile fitter or a mechanic who can get out to you, you really need to know how to get the wheel out and put it back properly. It would pay to find out how to do this and, if your bike has only got a side stand, you may also be wise to invest in a paddock stand for your garage. One-wheeled bikes don't tend to last too long on side stands!
Magnesium and alloy wheels can be a problem when removing tyres. They can bend and distort if not handled carefully. The experts use the proper equipment to ensure no damage is caused.
When fitting a tyre (especially tubeless) it is important to ensure the bead line is visible around the whole of the circumference.
It may be necessary to put a bit of pressure into the tyre to do this (usually you hear a pop when the bead locates) then adjust it back down. However it is critical that the pressure is not excessive or the tyre could explode. You should use a 'cage' when blowing up tyres if at all possible.

While the wheel is out

This is the time to have a look at the bits you can't always get at. For example the rim should be inspected for damage or rough edges, wheel bearings can be checked for play and spokes can be cleaned and checked for tightness.

Balancing tyres

Modern tyres are fairly well balanced right from the start (when properly fitted) but it is still advisable to have the front wheel balanced to get rid of any lingering vibration. These days this can be done at the same time the tyre is fitted. There was a time when it was no good balancing a wheel until the tyre had suffered a bit or wear!
Properly equipped motorcycle tyre fitters will have access to a balancing machine and it really is advisable to spend the extra couple of quid getting them to use it.

Running in new tyres

This is really important. The number of riders who have crashed on new tyres is legion. Tyres need to be 'run in' before they should be expected to cope with hard riding or braking. The first 50 to 100 miles is critical. Ride smooth and slow for this period and your tyres will perform at their peak for the rest of their lives.
Information kindly supplied by ATS Euromaster

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