Tire change and balance, how much should it cost? - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 40 Old 10-03-2012, 03:04 PM Thread Starter
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Tire change and balance, how much should it cost?

I am toying with the idea of changing at least the rear tire on my KLR. It currently has an IRC Trail Winner GP110R on it, which seems a bit squirrely on the freeway to me, even though everything I have read says it's a good tire. It may be the issue is the riding style of the PO, as the tire seems to be worn flat on top, and I'm putting quite a bit of wear on the sides of the crown.






Anyway, I'm looking at a MEFO Explorer from Twisted Throttle.

So, I called the guys at RideNow, and they quoted $66 for mounting and balancing a tire I purchased elsewhere. I'm curious, is this normal? (seems high, but what do I know?) Back in the day, I changed my own tires, and never balanced them. I am older and somewhat wiser now, but I'm still cheap! That's why I bought the KLR in the first place!
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post #2 of 40 Old 10-03-2012, 03:15 PM
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Cliffmeister2000-

Changing the tire on the KLR is a chore you can do yourself, especially if you've done tires in the past.

My Achilles heel is the front one; I'm prone to pinching a tube now and then. I have no problem with the rear.

As to balancing, I've never bothered on the rear and have never had any problems with that.

The front is easy to static balance - you can do it in the fork if you don't connect the speedo and pop the caliper back. Easy to make a decent pair of balancing rails, too.

The $66 is probably about right. Dealer shop rates around here are in the $100/hour range. I don't know what they might be over your way. A good mechanic can R&R a tire and balance a wheel in about a half hour. They may be quoting a flat rate to allow for problems. Was that a walk-in with the wheels in hand or a ride in where they also need to R&R the wheels?

I have a local shop that does nothing but tires, and their quote to me for labor was $40/wheel to install tires; I was buying from them. Again, they do nothing but tires and have a low overhead, so their shop rate is pretty low.

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post #3 of 40 Old 10-03-2012, 03:30 PM
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Have you played with pressures? Airing them up really helped them for me.

The 110s weren't my favorite tire, but they weren't too bad, except the let out a good howl in the twisties.
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post #4 of 40 Old 10-03-2012, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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I'm running 36psi front and rear. I have read about folks running 22 psi highway, 15 psi trail, but that seems very low to me?


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post #5 of 40 Old 10-03-2012, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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I forgot to ask if the $66 was on or off the bike. I guess I assumed (I know, bad word) that it was like my car, ride in on old tires, ride out on new. :-)


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post #6 of 40 Old 10-03-2012, 03:50 PM
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36 is too much, try dropping down to 32 in the rear, 28 in the front. It's been a couple years since I ran them, so don't remember exactly.

Prices to have tires mounted, couldn't tell you if that's on or off the bike, but on the bike is always more. You don't have to adjust the chain or mount/dismount brake calipers, etc when you pull the wheels off a car.
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post #7 of 40 Old 10-03-2012, 04:53 PM
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I'd certainly do it for that price, if I was in the business.

KLR is the easiest bike I have ever changed tires on. If you have a good spot to work, a couple of decent spoons, and some kind of tire lube (I use silicone spray), it's a piece of cake to do it yourself. The front was so easy, I hardly needed spoons when I installed my new Shinko 244's couple of weeks ago.

I certainly understand if a person would rather pay an installer. I can respect that. But I like doing my own work. I rode a desk for 40 years, and have always enjoyed banging my knuckles when I can. Moreso now that I'm retired.
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post #8 of 40 Old 10-03-2012, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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It's not the installing, but the balancing I am concerned about. I know what running unbalanced tires can do on a car.

So, I drove (rode) down to RideNow, and they charge $66 on bike to change your tire, $25 if you buy the tire from them. That sounds extremely reasonable. However, the MEFO Explorer I want is $170.50 p;us shipping of $28, plus installation of $66 is an extremely expensive $264 for just the rear tire! I asked the guy what he recommended and he said with all honesty that he was not a dual sport rider, but the Kawi dealership he used to wrench for just recommended OEM, 'cause a set was less than $100.

I'm going to take a closer look at Conti, Bridgestone, etc., so I can get them through RideNow and get them installed for $25. Any recommendations?


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post #9 of 40 Old 10-03-2012, 06:00 PM
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Conti Trail Attacks, dynamite on the asphalt; haven't challenged 'em fully off-road, does o.k. on gravel and packed dirt roads . . .

From their looks, they'd never pass for knobbies, but . . . great on the pavement, quite capable in the rain; YMMV!
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post #10 of 40 Old 10-04-2012, 06:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliffmeister2000 View Post
It's not the installing, but the balancing I am concerned about. I know what running unbalanced tires can do on a car.

So, I drove (rode) down to RideNow, and they charge $66 on bike to change your tire, $25 if you buy the tire from them. That sounds extremely reasonable. However, the MEFO Explorer I want is $170.50 p;us shipping of $28, plus installation of $66 is an extremely expensive $264 for just the rear tire! I asked the guy what he recommended and he said with all honesty that he was not a dual sport rider, but the Kawi dealership he used to wrench for just recommended OEM, 'cause a set was less than $100.

I'm going to take a closer look at Conti, Bridgestone, etc., so I can get them through RideNow and get them installed for $25. Any recommendations?


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FWIW, I no longer balance my tires. None of my KLR riding buddies do either. I find that my Shinko 244s perform completely satisfactorily with no balancing media whatsoever. In days gone by, I had good experience with the use of Dyna Beads for balancing my own tires. But for the last two or three tires, I don't bother. YMMV.
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