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Tire Change: Part Two–Breaking The Beads

Monday, December 31, 2007

Before you tackle a job like changing a scooter tire , you best get yourself a least a pair of these fine motorcycle tire irons because you’re gonna need them! As you will see here now and later in Part Three, other required items such as a jack (yes, from your car), a piece of 2″x4″, some plywood pieces, diluted dish soap, cutting mat, and an air pump will be needed to complete the list for this DIY Tire Change On The Cheap!

Got these ordered at Cowboy Honda. BTW they sell scooters, too. AMT has a 3-pack that would be just perfect for DIY-ers.
Now, on to the first tough assignment–breaking the beads. I say tough, but it can also be kind of fun at the same time because you get to be creative and use what’s available to you, instead of feeling bad that you don’t have a 50-ton shop press. Be careful from here on, Always Wear Protective Safety Goggles (just in case something goes flying toward your eyes or something as unexpected as that were to happen)! Next, let the air in the tire out completely because you ain’t breaking no beads until you do this step! I will let the pictures explain the procedures, more or less, from now.

(Above and below) This is the basic set-up for the bead-breaking.

(Are you laughing at my screen? Let's say someone made it for me, OK!)

Stop! Make sure the tip of the jack is away from your aluminum alloy rim so as not to damage it.

Use you foot (if you must) to keep the opposite end of the tire from rising up as you crank the jack which pushes down on the tire until you hear a satisfying “pop“sound –that means the top bead has been broken successfully. At this time, you may use your feet (if you must), stepping gently down on the rest of the tire (but not on the rim, of course) to help release the bead completely.

Here's another view of the simple, yet effective bead-breaking set-up that really works.

Now, flip the wheel over and up on an old tire and break the other bead, taking care to protect the protruding side of the rim. (Use a piece of plywood in between the tires directly beneath the point where the jack presses down to give it something to press the tire against; otherwise with the tires alone it would be less effective. Again, pay attention so the plywood is not pressing against the rim!) Keep cranking that jack until you hear that “pop” again, release the rest of the bead from the rim and you’re DONE!

Now, go wash your dirty hands and we will pick up where we left off later in Tire Change: Part Three–The Rim.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Saturday, April 18, 2009 2:01 am

    Glad I found this site,I been searching for 3 hours or better &ready to bounce my head off the desk.Hello.I’m Tony and I got a 260 Mainstreet in 2005 and bought a new back tire and 8-inch higher windshield,I’m glad I finally ran into your helpful precedure for the back tire,it will save me alot of time and stress,but I’m not sure how to get the back tire off,I took the muffler off and broke the nut loose,but not sure about the axle?Question? Where can I find a procedure for that,or does the axle stay and you take the brakes loose and a rubber hammer and knock it all off over the axle.I’m 55 and always had bikes and changed to many tires on motorcross bikes and just got thru changeing one on a 1980 GS1100 Suzuki,I redone &put Historical tags on,that thing is a Rocket,and used to belong to all of us hillbillys Idol of racing Bultacos,when we were growing up.Anyways hes dead and now I’m the old 55 year old,and sold my Harley and bought this 260 scooter,for 3,699 in Largo Florida in 2005,and first thing I did was drain the coolant out and flush and refill with 50/50 &wire the electric fan on all the time and took out the thermostat and threw it away,and I’m just now needing a tire,and I ordered me a Michellem and I just am not sure how to take that back tire off.I already printed your steps two&three,I knew it was going to be a ***.If you could guide me where I can find how to get it off,or tell me,I’d be grateful.Yours Truley Tony Preston. Thank You,T.P.

    • Wednesday, April 29, 2009 9:03 pm

      Hi, Tony

      Thanks for commenting on and visiting our site. We do try to stockpile a variety of helpful info for fellow scooterists, who for various reasons, wind up working on their own scooters.

      I believe you have a (Linhai) Main Street 260cc scooter with a Linhai/Yamaha engine and 12″-wheels. I would say that it’s more similar to the Yamaha Morphous in more ways than one (except that the Morphous has 13″-wheels).

      Not having seen or worked on a scooter exactly like yours, I would say that if you have already removed the swingarm, one of th e two shock absorbers, and loosen the nut then you should just be able to slide the whole wheel off (toward you). The axle should not come off in anyway. For a more detailed motorcycle tire change instructions, go here.
      Finally, you want to find out the proper torque setting for the rear wheel nut and use a torque wrench to set that. That may be crucial.

      Good luck and I do hope that you find this helpful.–Lorenzo

  2. dave reeve permalink
    Friday, June 26, 2009 1:08 pm

    i have got a linhai main street 257cc and want to change from uk to portugal reg but to do this i must have a handbook witch i dont have, so could you please tell me where i could get one the year of the scooter is 2004

    • Monday, June 29, 2009 6:32 am

      Sorry, so far I’ve found nothing online. Look for a local Linhai dealer.

  3. Monday, August 17, 2009 1:39 pm

    What exactly is “breaking the beads”? Is it actually “breaking” something? I’m just changing the tube (the tire is fine) and so I’m wondering, is “breaking the beads” just a temporary thing, or would I be damaging the tire doing this, and hence, should I have ordered a new tire along with the tube I just ordered?

    • Monday, August 17, 2009 6:24 pm

      To respond to your question appropriately, Brian, you must first tell us what make/model your scooter is?

  4. Monday, August 17, 2009 6:50 pm

    um, (embarrassingly) it’s a wildfire 50cc (specifically WFH50-S2E).

    It’s got 3.5″ x 10″ tube and tire.

    If you can respond, that would be greatly appreciated. This is a great tutorial, probably the best I’ve found on changing tube/tire yet.

    • Monday, August 17, 2009 8:27 pm

      You got this one, with the face-mask?
      OK, bead-breaking is not gonna break anything if you carefully follow my DIY steps with only one exception. When you mount the tire to the rim (with the tube already inside), make dang sure that the inner tube is in no way pinched. You could even partially inflate the tube for easy installation. A flat tube will more likely be pinched. In your situation, it’s very similar to changing a bicycle inner tube for a clincher tire.
      Good luck!_Lorenzo
      *Also check out this fantastic tutorial on changing motorcycle tire.

  5. Monday, August 24, 2009 3:44 pm

    Oh, so I guess “breaking the bead” means “getting the tire loose enough to kind of move it around enough to get a tire iron in”.

    Well, my problem stems from the fact that I am unable to take my back wheel off because there’s a whole host of things in the way. So I’m left to taking the tire and tube off with the wheel still on the scooter.

    After ordering the recommended tire irons, and not being able to break the beads using the 2×4 method since I can’t get the rim/tire off anyway, I took an alternative route.

    I decided to pull the tube out from rim and tire with the tire still on the rim. I used a series of pliers to do this. Well, after prying the tube out, using the tire irons to get the tire off of the rim was simple.

    I was so excited to get the tube out and the tire off, that I stupidly didn’t check the inside of the tire for what may have caused the flat in the first place…and then failed to remember about what you said about putting the tire back on while the tube is totally deflated (pinching).

    Because seconds after pumping up the new tube, it became flat again. 😦

    If you would like to see imagery of what I did, visit here:

    • Saturday, August 29, 2009 5:45 am

      Failure is the mother of success!

      • Friday, September 25, 2009 5:02 pm

        Well, while your tutorial here is probably the best one I’ve found so far, with the most and best illustrations, there’s something I’m just not getting, because I broke my second tube.

        This time, I even checked and vaccumed out the tire, used talcum powder, I even ordered the tire changing tools. It ripped while I was using those tire-iron things to force the tire back on evidently, because when it was finally all on, I lifted it up a bit and saw two huge holes ripped into the tube.

        I just called and left a message for the only guy I know of around here who works on scooters, but he’s miles away and I’m not sure how I’m actually going to get the scooter there. Sure, I can borrow a truck, but how to get the scooter onto the truck? Hopefully there’s a tutorial about that somewhere.

        I just hate the fact that it’s a god damned tube for christ’s sake, and I don’t understand why it’s not going right. I’m pretty frustrated right now and pretty much hate the world and everyone who has transportation (except the person who’s picking me up in a bit).

        Thanks for the tut anyway.

      • Friday, September 25, 2009 5:35 pm

        You have changed a bicycle tire before, right? Should be similar.
        I hope you figure out what’s wrong soon, perhaps with repeated practices you will.
        Also, if the rip, or pinch holes are small, they could be patched and remain safe.
        Good luck!

  6. Monday, September 28, 2009 9:06 am

    I actually used to work at a bike rental place on a vacation island, and had to replace many many tubes and remove and replace many many tires. That was a cinch.

    The real problem I’m facing with the scooter tire/tube is that even with the tire irons I’ve seen in all the photos, prying the tire itself over the rim is about 100 times more difficult, and it even looks like I’m going to bend the rim, or stretch the tire until it rips.

    I have two solutions ahead of me, pay for someone who’s done this before and watch how to do it exactly, or find a video on the web to see what crucial information I’m just not understanding. Thanks again. So far, I haven’t found anyone else that is having a problem with this except me…so I’m pretty sure I’m just not understanding something that’s probably real simple.

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