How to Change a Dirt Bike Tire

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If you ride your dirt bike a lot, you’re going to experience a tire change sooner or later. Whether it’s due to a flat or your tires have worn out, changing them is something you can do yourself so that you can get riding again as quickly as possible. 

With the right tools and a little practice, you’ll be a tire changing expert in no time. 

Use these tips from MotorcycleZombies.com to get started. 

Tools and Materials Needed to Change your Dirt Bike Tires

Before you get started, you’ll need the right tools and supplies to change your tire. 

At a minimum, you will need:

  • Wrenches to remove the axle nuts as well as the tire stem nut and rim lock nut. 
  • Tire irons to install and remove the old tire. 
  • A tire stand
  • Some gloves to protect your knuckles.
  • Soapy water or tire changing lube. 

You’ll also need a new set of tires and tubes, along with some rim tape if yours is old and worn. 

How to Read Dirt Bike Tire Sizes

Before you change your dirt bike’s tires, you’ll need to be sure to have the right sized tubes and replacement tires first. 

Reading tire sizes is fairly straightforward, but if you’re new to it, it may be a little confusing. 

The easiest thing to do is to simply read the size printed on your old tires, and buy direct replacements. But, if you don’t have the old tires or don’t know their size, you’ll need to know how to read tire sizes. 

Tire sizes are listed on the sidewall in a set of 3 numbers, which correspond to:

  • 1st number: The width of the tire. 
  • 2nd number: The height of the tire. 
  • 3rd number: The inside diameter tire (this number corresponds to the diameter of your rim.

Tubes also correspond to tire/rim sizes. Be sure to pick one that matches for your bike. 

If you’re unsure which tires to run on your dirt bike, you should refer to your owner’s manual. 

How to Remove a Dirt Bike Tire

Your first step in changing your dirt bike tire is to remove the old one. 

To do so, you’ll first need to remove the wheel from the bike by loosening the axle nuts.

For the rear wheel, you’ll need to slide it forward in the swing arm to slip the chain over the rear sprocket. 

Next, you’ll need to:

  • Deflate the tire, if necessary. 
  • Loosen the tire stem nut and rim lock. 

Once everything is loosened, you’ll need to break the bead to remove the old tire. 

You will need to pop the old tire bead out of its seat in the rim so that it drops down towards the center of the rim. 

Use a tire spoon to get it loose and work your way around the rim. 

With one side loose, you’ll now need to work your way around the rim on the other side to lift the tire over the wheel. 

Take your time and use multiple tire irons in conjunction to make the job easier. 

If the bead is fused with the rim, use tire lube or soapy water to help you along. 

With the old tire and tube removed, take some time to clean up the rim, replace the rim tape, and inspect for any damage. 

How to Put on a Dirt Bike Tire

Now you’re ready to install your new tube and tire. 

To make the job a bit easier, you can use a little baby powder or tire lube on the tube and tire rim. 

To start, you’ll need to get the first side of the tire over the rim. You should be sure to look for the tire rotation arrow to make sure the tire is facing the right way. 

Additionally, you’ll notice a yellow mark on the tire that indicates its lightest point. This should be aligned with the valve stem and rim lock portion of the wheel. 

Next, you’ll place the tube inside the new tire and pull the valve stem through the hole. Inflating the tube slightly can help you get it on and align everything. 

You can use a valve stem puller to help save your hands. 

The next step is the hardest: pulling the other side of the tire over the rim. First, be sure that the tube, valve stem, and rim lock are all aligned. 

During this step, you’ll need to be careful not to pinch the inner tube with your tire irons. 

Work slowly in small sections to lift the rest of the tire bead into the rim. 

Once each side of the tire is inside the rim, you’ll need to:

  • Inflate the tube to seat the tire bead fully into the rim. 
    • You’ll need to over-inflate the tube for the bead to pop into its seat. 
    • You can confirm that the bead is seated by running your finger along where the rim and tire meet.
    • You may also bounce the tire gently to help it seat. 
  • Deflate the tube to its proper PSI after seating the bead. 
  • Fully tighten the rim lock. 

(Another useful tip is to use the zip-tie method to change your motorcycle tires.)

Finally, install your tire back onto the bike, tighten the axle nuts to their required torque specs, and get riding! 

What is a Rim Lock on a Dirt Bike?

On off-road dirt bikes, a rim lock is a necessary part of your rim, tube, and tire. 

A rim lock’s purpose is to keep the tire secured to the rim. 

It sits between the tire and the tube and works by clamping the tire bead to the rim via a bolt that you can tighten. 

A loose rim lock or an improperly installed one will allow your tire to spin around the rim and your tube to puncture.