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Dirt Bike Tire Change Photo Gallery

We all need fresh tires, but putting them on can be a hazzle. Follow this 12-step guide and with practice you will be spooning like a pro in no time.

Slideshow
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Step 2: Place the wheel on a hard, flat surface with the sprocket side down. Loosen the valve stem lock nut and then remove the valve stem core. Loosen the rim lock nut to the end of the threads but do not remove it. Use your fingers or a tire spoon to push the rim lock inwards so that you will be able to break the bead.
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Step 3: Break the bead on both sides. Use your hands to break the bead by pushing downward on the sidewalls. If too difficult to perform by hand, try using a tire spoon to leverage downward. If that also fails, stand with one foot on each side of the tire and press down and inward with your bodyweight. Make sure to spread the weight as evenly as possible on opposite edges to avoid bending the sprocket or brake rotor. Flip the tire back to the sprocket-side-down position when both sides have been popped.
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Step 4: Starting opposite of the rim lock, place three tire spoons roughly four inches apart under the tire edge. Pry the first one over and tuck it under the brake rotor followed by the next two. Remove the first and place it another four inches beyond the third and continue to work around the rim until the entire side is free.
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Step 5: Pull the tube out of the tire, replace the valve stem core. Inspect for signs of wear and set aside. Do not remove the rim lock or rubber strap.

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Step 6: We use the over-over technique which might seem counterintuitive at first, but with the sprocket side up, perform the same spooning action and pull the tire over the edge of the rim so that the wheel is completely inside the tire. Stand the wheel up and rotate it until the bead lock is at the bottom nearest the floor. Bounce the wheel to force the rim in to the tire cavity. This should create a gap at the top. Grab the rim and the tire above it and force it off the wheel. This will take a little muscle, but if the rim is deep enough into the tire it will flex and come about halfway off. This will allow you to pull the rim upwards and free of the tire.
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Step 7: Clean and check the rim, bead lock and rubber seal for wear or damage. Replace as needed.
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Step 8: Starting with the sprocket side, spoon the new tire onto the rim. Start at the rim lock and push the bolt to create space for the tire bead to fit between. You should be able to force at least half of the tire on by hand before using the spoons.
Note: Use Windex to lubricate the rubber. Window cleaner is slick but evaporates quickly once the job is done. Use it liberally and don’t be afraid to give the tire an extra quirt if it starts to dry out. Soapy water works as well, or in a pinch (like on the trail) just water is better than nothing.
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Step 9: It’s a good rule of thumb to replace tubes whenever you change a tire, but if the original is still usable then it’s ok to re-install it. Locate the valve stem hole from the side you just spooned on. Insert a tire spoon as if you are going to pull the tire back off, fold it over and pin the spoon handle under the sprocket. This will create space for you to work in when trying to install the valve stem. Flip the wheel over so that the brake rotor is up. Place a foot in the middle of the rotor and squat down to provide pressure. Lift up on the tire sidewall with one hand and use the other hand to tuck the tube inside. Once the valve stem is through, use the lock nut to keep the stem from pulling back through. Proceed around the rim making sure that the tube isn’t twisted or folded on itself. It helps to have a little air in the tube, but not enough to stretch the rubber.
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Step 10: Starting at the rim lock, place one spoon on either side and use your hand to push the rim lock bolt to create space for the tire. Spoon the tire into place and use the third spoon to move about halfway up the rim on either side in small increments. Make sure that the tire bead is pushed down into the rim well on both sides to allow the tire to spoon on with less resistance. If you find yourself fighting the tire excessively on the spoons, make sure the bead is pushed down. This can be the difference between a ripped bead, sweat and cursing or a simple installation. Don’t forget the Windex!
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Step 11: Once the tire is completely on, check for any visual signs that the tube might be pinched. Once the coast is clear, add air until the tire bead pops on both sides. If stubborn, use some more Windex to help ease it on. Often pulling the valve stem core and completely flatting the tube once or twice helps if the tube is being extremely difficult. Once the bead is secure, adjust the tire to the proper inflation and tighten the rim lock and valve stem nuts.
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Step 12: Replace the wheel and make sure the axle is clean and has fresh grease. Adjust the chain as needed and go ride.