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How to Safely Remove Your Motorcycle’s Tire for Inspection or Repair

How to Safely Remove Your Motorcycle’s Tire for Inspection or Repair

May 5, 2021

If you own a V-twin cruiser bike, there are a few things you can’t avoid as part of motorcycle maintenance. One of these is changing your motorcycle tires or even removing one of them for repair or inspection. Most people prefer going to a mechanic for this, but you can choose to do it on your own to save time and money. So, how do you remove a motorcycle tire safely? 

The process shouldn’t be challenging so long as you have the right tools and knowledge to do it. Whether your tires are tubeless or otherwise, the procedure is straightforward.

Recommended Tools 

Before you get started with a DIY motorcycle tire change, make sure you have the right tools for the job.

  • Motorcycle tire levers
  • Bead breaker
  • Motorcycle wheel protectors
  • Valve core tool
  • Proper tire pressure gauge

Step 1: First, refer to your motorcycle owner’s manual for specific instructions on removing the front or rear wheel from your bike. You’ll need to lift your bike off the ground and remove the axle so the wheel can come off freely. 

Man with a motorcycle up on a work table

Step 2: Once the wheel is off, go ahead and deflate the tire completely. First, remove the valve stem core from the inflation valve stem. Use the special valve core tool we mentioned above to avoid damaging your valve stem. This is critical whenever you want to remove a motorcycle tire. Avoid using pliers or other tools. 


Step 3: Now, it’s time to break the bead that holds your motorcycle tire to the rim. For narrow tires, you can use a benchtop vise to get the job done. However, for the larger V-twin cruiser bike tires, especially the rear wheel, you need a special bead breaker with integrated tire spoons, which you’ll use for the next step. Don’t make the mistake of using a hammer to break the bead, as you may damage the rim in the process. Apply sufficient pressure on the tire at multiple points to make it easier to break the bead. 


Step 4: Now comes the most critical part when learning how to remove a motorcycle tire. After breaking the bead, use the tire spoons (set) to level off the first side. Longer tire spoons always make the job easier and usually work better. First, slide the spoon between the motorcycle tire and rim using the bent or hooked end to grab the tire’s edge. Then, out the end of the tire iron towards the center of the tire rim. This pulls the edge of the tire up and over the rim. You’ll need multiple spoons to ensure the edge of the tire stays in place as you work your way around the motorcycle tire. 

Man in black working on a motorcycle with a removed front tire

Step 5: In case you have a spoked motorcycle wheel with a tube, go ahead and remove it by unbolting the valve stem carefully from the rim, then slide the tube out between the motorcycle tire and rim - you should now be familiar with this step when you want to remove a motorcycle tire. If you’re doing a DIY motorcycle tire change, it’s always best practice to also replace the tubes as they’re relatively cheap. Now, repeat steps 4 and 5 to lever off the other side of the motorcycle tire. 

Bearded man removing motorcycle tire

Step 6: Carefully inspect the condition of the tire both outside and inside. Check the inside of the rim for any debris or rust. For steel rims, use a wire brush to get rid of the rusting and then spray the wheels with a spray-on corrosion inhibitor. 

closeup of dirty tire

Step 7: If you’re replacing or changing the tire with a new one, you need to coat the edges of your new motorcycle tire with hand soap or the more effective bead lube - this should be part of your motorcycle maintenance kit. This makes it easier for the tire to slide into the rim. Now, use the fork to lever one side of the motorcycle tire. You can use your knees to hold the new tire in place.

front motorcycle tire

Step 8: If the new tire is tubed, insert the tube between the tire and rim while ensuring it’s not kinked or twisted. Carefully push the valve stem through the rim hole. Go ahead and lever the other side of the motorcycle tire onto the rim using the tire levers. 

person putting motorcycle tire back on

Step 9: Reinstall the valve stem, then inflate the tire until it’s completely seated on the rim. Inspect both sides of the wheel to verify that the tire is correctly seated all around the rim. Remount your motorcycle wheel and check that it has the recommended pressure. Recheck to ensure that all fasteners are installed and properly tightened before giving your new tires a test ride. Now you know how to remove and replace a motorcycle tire. 

Man in jeans riding motorcycle

Get Your Replacement Tires Online

If you’re looking to replace your old or worn tires, get started at West End Motorsports. We bring you the best selection of tires for V-twin cruiser riders from brands you trust so you can shop with total confidence. Order motorcycle tires online and aftermarket parts and accessories to customize your bike and enjoy guaranteed fitment and free shipping for orders over $99.