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Hey All,

I'm going to put some Mefo Explorers on my KLR later on this Spring for a ride out to Colorado. Local shop wants $90 to do both tires and that's if I take the wheels off and take them in.

I have the tires, new tubes and the tools to mount them (been practicing on a $20, 18" dirtbike wheel/tire I bought on eBay this Winter) but nothing to really balance them with.

I suppose I could rig up some kind of "static balancer," but does anybody know if it's really necessary? If so, can you relocate the weights that are already on the spokes if needed? I thought due to the relatively slow riding speeds of the KLR, balancing might not be necessary, but noted that my stock wheels/tires have balance weights. I don't know if the spoke weights are there for the tires or maybe just the wheels themselves.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.



Any thoughts, suggestions would be appreciated.
 

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Gee, that's really nice of them to lighten your wallet and have you take off the tires too. I wonder if they would give me such a good deal on my semi. Seriously doing that yourself is one of the reasons so many ride KLR's RTW, it's easy compared to other bikes. Balancing isn't necessary unless you banged a wheel or have a tire with an index mark for the valve stem. I took off the OEM weights on my first tire change and haven't used them since. I ride up to 75mph and haven't needed balancing yet...ride it and see. A pipe and 2x4's work if you need or just swing the brake calipers out of the way and spin them on the bike jacked up..
 

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I use an old axle (you can use any axle or a 5/8 long bolt or anything long enough and about the right size) clamped in the pipe jaws of my vise. Slide the wheel/tire on and in a few minutes you have a balanced wheel. YES you can reuse weights. The bearings add a bit of drag but so far this method's been effective.
 

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I use Dyna Beads for balancing as do many others.

Google it.
 

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I suppose I could rig up some kind of "static balancer," but does anybody know if it's really necessary? If so, can you relocate the weights that are already on the spokes if needed? I thought due to the relatively slow riding speeds of the KLR, balancing might not be necessary, but noted that my stock wheels/tires have balance weights. I don't know if the spoke weights are there for the tires or maybe just the wheels themselves.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.
If you're riding at highway speeds balanced wheels are noticeably smoother.

I use Dynabeads also. They do work bit of a pain to install though. Get the filtered valve cores if you do use them, they will prevent a bead from holding the valve core open.

You don't need a stand to balance the wheel just something to support the axle. You can use solder wrapped around a spoke for a weight, here's a page explaining.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the info, guys. I'm more of a 65-mph guy and don't spend a lot of time running at higher speeds on the Interstate: taking Hwy. 36 out to Kansas so I can keep a leisurely pace.

Think I'll just do them myself, take it for a spin and see what happens. Thanks again for the balancing suggestions.
 

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I put Gripsters on my bike last summer. There's no "light spot" mark on the Avons, and I didn't balance them. No vibration and the bike feels fine, also there's no abnormal tire wear with about 7500 km's on them. If there was vibration after installing I would balance them, otherwise I don't bother. YMMV :D

Cheers,
Stew
 

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I used to just check em' by spinning the wheel on the axle while I hold it.. I finally ponied up the money for a Harbor Freight balancer.. Since I change my own tires, it takes an extra 10 minutes to balance them..

I've had front tire bounce.. I'd rather not have it.. You can balance with the axle to get em' close enough, but since I'm doing street tires, too, I just do em' all.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I never bother. Just spooning them on has worked fine for me.


$90 just to mount tires?? That's CRAZY
That's what I thought. I bought my KLR there and they've done some work for me in the past and have always seemed reasonable, so this price surprised me.

I last spoke with them in the Fall to get an idea of the price and I just wrote back to make sure they didn't make a mistake or something. They still said $90 but were nice enough to add that if I brought them in by the end of March, it would only be $40 per wheel.

The local Mom n Pop tire store said they'd do them for $10-15 a wheel if I brought them in but couldn't balance them: that was before I posed this question here about the balancing.

I believe I'll just do 'em myself a couple of months before my trip and get a few hundred miles on them to make sure there are no surprises. I'll be using the extra heavy duty tubes and it looks like they'll be a handful to get in there without pinching them. They're almost like a tire unto themselves.
 

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The pair of Kenda 761's on my KLR cost me $92 last year.. That's for a pair of tires, shipped, installed, and balanced..

Granted, I did them myself, but it took less than 2 hours to change them in the driveway, and I did have to buy my own beer.. :)
 

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$90 The two local shops I asked were about the same. Seems they flip out when it's found that they're tube type??? Spooning on tires is not one of my favorite activities but for that kind of money I say thanks, but no thanks.

Oh well, it keeps you in practice for a roadside repair.
 

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90$ is the price you pay for buying your tires on the internet and not supporting your local shop.If you buy your tires at our shop and you bring in your wheels we mount them for free.We will not mount tires bought elseware.Support your local shop and they will take of you
 

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Unfortunately, my local shop is a crook.. I'm not just saying that, but I actually turned them into the IL Secretary of State Police for failure to get the title for a bike I purchased from a private party. He had purchased the bike a YEAR earlier, and never got him the title.. (they're allowed 30 days by law) I turned them in and they came up with several lame excuses, but mostly cost me 2 months of riding time until the title finally was transfered to the guy I bought the bike from..

I don't support that sort of customer service..

Truth be told, I've been changing my own tires for 20 years.. Yeah, I'm buying tires cheap off the internet, but every 3rd to 4th tire is FREE because of the savings, and I'm more trusting of myself changing that tire than a greasy kid who was bagging groceries last week..

The only bike I've ever owned that I wouldn't change tires on was my GoldWing, and I ended up having to help spoon them on at a friend's shop because it took 2 fully grown men to get them on..

If you don't have the skill, or are afraid of it, changing the tires or many other maintenance chores might not be for you..

Once I purchase a bike, the only reason it's going back to a dealer is if it's got a manufacturing defect under warranty. If not, I do it myself..
 

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Discussion Starter #15
90$ is the price you pay for buying your tires on the internet and not supporting your local shop.If you buy your tires at our shop and you bring in your wheels we mount them for free.We will not mount tires bought elseware.Support your local shop and they will take of you
The day my tire shop can get in some Mefo Explorers and not try to talk me into buying something else besides what I want because they'd never even heard of them and they're more concerned about making their tire distributors happy than me, that's the day I'll buy them there: not a big dualsport-oriented place I do business with so I guess I can't blame them for blowing somebody off who wants a set of somewhat-unusual tires.

I don't have anything against any of the tires they carry: I just didn't want any of them and I wanted to try the Mefos out.

I guess by the time you save $90 over what the dealer charges you vs. buying on the Internet, it all works out the same, anyway.

I guess buying a $4600 motorcycle there doesn't count as "supporting the shop." That kind of thinking kind of works both ways. I could see it if I hadn't even purchased the bike there, but I did.

No hard feelings against them, though: typical dealership stuff the way I see it and I expect it. I'm just glad I've become pretty adept at shucking off and rolling on tires so I'm not at their mercy on this one.
 

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Dealers

If you can't trust your dealer find a shop you can.We are busy year round and we don't advertise.If we can help you with a problem without bringing your bike in thats good and when you have to bring it in we fix it it right.We are only open Monday to Friday and on weekends we go ridin,racing or I am a MSF rider coach and teaching my passion for motorcycles.
 

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90$ is the price you pay for buying your tires on the internet and not supporting your local shop.If you buy your tires at our shop and you bring in your wheels we mount them for free.We will not mount tires bought elseware.Support your local shop and they will take of you

Yea I wish my local shop would support me...

There's only one left in my small desert town. Typically they are 30% higher on everything compared to an online purchase. I've gone in there and showed them online prices and tried to negotiate their price with the understanding that they have to make more. Doesn't work, they think that they have a monopoly same with the car dealers here BTW.

It's nice having a dealer in town for emergency purchases I guess but they've been out of consumables sometimes and had to order. So for me it's easier and cheaper to buy everything online.

Your "we won't mount tires bought elsewhere atttitude" isn't doing your potential customers any service. If you won't help people out that have "made the mistake" of not supporting you why should they buy from you in the first place? It's that local dealer monopoly attitude.

Want to have a great shop bend over backwards for people. Sure there will be people that will take advantage of you but there will be more that will appreciate it. Service is the only thing a local shop can out compete the online guys with.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
For me and my old Army-damaged back, the worst part of changing tires is having to get down on my knees on the floor and bend and stoop. I'm always afraid the one wrong move will throw out my back to where I can't even ride for a month. I see Harbor Freight has some "motorcycle tire changers" that would at least get things up off the floor to work at a higher level. They're fairly cheap. Anybody ever use one of them. I was looking at their "Portable" Model.

I've also seen plans for homemade platform-type things that just use an old car wheel as an elevated work surface.
 

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Want to have a great shop bend over backwards for people. Sure there will be people that will take advantage of you but there will be more that will appreciate it. Service is the only thing a local shop can out compete the online guys with.
Absolutely!!!

My first BMW was purchased at C and D BMW in Freeport, IL. . I went out of my way to buy everything there, and to recommend them!! They were the definition of customer service!!!

Unfortuantely, they retired, and BMW wouldn't allow anyone to buy the franchise because there was another (very crappy) BMW dealership only 30 miles away.. So the Good shop was forced into retirement, and the bad shop gathered even more bad attitude as a lone BMW dealership in the area, and started screwing people over..

Now we have NO local BMW dealership.. The good one's retired, and the bad one went out of business because of no customers (including me).. If nothing else, having nothing but a crap dealership forced me to learn to do my own work.. I guess I can thank them for that??:ashamed0001:
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Unfortunately, my local shop is a crook.. I'm not just saying that, but I actually turned them into the IL Secretary of State Police for failure to get the title for a bike I purchased from a private party. He had purchased the bike a YEAR earlier, and never got him the title.. (they're allowed 30 days by law) I turned them in and they came up with several lame excuses, but mostly cost me 2 months of riding time until the title finally was transfered to the guy I bought the bike from..

I don't support that sort of customer service..

Truth be told, I've been changing my own tires for 20 years.. Yeah, I'm buying tires cheap off the internet, but every 3rd to 4th tire is FREE because of the savings, and I'm more trusting of myself changing that tire than a greasy kid who was bagging groceries last week..

The only bike I've ever owned that I wouldn't change tires on was my GoldWing, and I ended up having to help spoon them on at a friend's shop because it took 2 fully grown men to get them on..

If you don't have the skill, or are afraid of it, changing the tires or many other maintenance chores might not be for you..

Once I purchase a bike, the only reason it's going back to a dealer is if it's got a manufacturing defect under warranty. If not, I do it myself..
True, I would imagine the tire-changing duties are delegated to the lowest man on the totem pole in the shop so who knows if the person doing it has even any more experience than me and certainly doesn't have to worry about doing a roadside repair in the middle of Kansas on a hot June day if he rushes it or does something wrong.

If I do it myself, I can take my time and make sure it's done right. Plus, the tire-changing I've done is on a practice dirt bike wheel/tire: can't remember the size but it's somewhere between the front and back KLR tires. I should probably get some hands-on with the actual tires that are on the KLR. That beefier back tire will probably be a little more work than my practice one.

For possible roadside repairs, I'll be carrying everything needed to get the front and rear tires off, an Eagle Mike's Quick Jack, three tire spoons, a valve core tool and extra valve cores, a valve core fishing tool (found this was absolutely essential to have with my big hands), spare tubes, a small tube repair patch kit, a tire patch/plug kit, a Slime inflator pump and, of course, a tire gauge that I use regularly anyway. I already had an aluminum c-clamp that weighs practically nothing that I can use as a bead breaker if need be.

I've been using all this equipment over the Winter to practice with just as if it was all I had with me and I know it all works for me. I figure once taking the wheels/tires off will get me familiar with that and I'm going to use the Quick Jack when I do it so I see how it works and what I need to watch out for as far as keeping the KLR stable while up on it.

Anyway, enough rambling. Three more months until I head out on the trip: can't wait.
 
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