Dirt Bike Tire Change - When? How much? Balancing? Rim Locks?
November 23, 20216 min read
Owning and riding a dirt bike includes doing the necessary maintenance on the bike to keep it operating at optimal performance and safety levels. Tire maintenance is one of the components on your dirt bike that you will need to monitor and change from time to time. Knowing when to change your tires, whether you need to balance the tires, need rim locks, and how much it costs is important knowledge to have.
Changing the tires on your dirt bike is necessary if the tires are older than 1-year and showing typical signs of wear. The cost to change both tires can range between $190 - $390, depending on your bike and the type of tires. A rim lock is necessary, and ideally, it is wise to balance the wheels.
Tires on a dirt bike are a component that you will need to change fairly frequently, so understanding the ins and outs about this aspect of taking care of your bike is important. Changing tires too soon is a waste of money, and changing too late could result in further damage, so timing it right is in your best interests. Knowing the cost will allow you to budget for the expense and plan to do the change when it is needed.
When Should I Change My Dirt Bike Tires?
You should be monitoring the conditions of your dirt bike tires on a regular basis to make sure they are still in good condition. This will optimize the best performance out of the bike and give you a good grip in off-road conditions.
When you inspect your tires, there are a few clues you can look for that will be indicators that the tire needs to be changed or if it still has a few miles left in it.
Worn tire knobs. The knobby tread that is on dirt bike tires is the first place to look for indications of wear. Tire knobs that are rounded out and no longer have clear edges or are torn and shredded will result in poor grip in off-road conditions.
Cracking. Visible cracks that appear at the base of the tire knobs, in between the knobs, or on the sidewalls are a clear sign that the tire needs to be replaced as soon as possible.
Discoloration. An old tire no longer looks black but rather a faded grey. A tire in this condition is either old or has been exposed to the sun for a long time. Either way, the tire gets brittle when old and exposed to the elements and will develop cracks and lead to the failure of the tire if it is used in this condition.
Hard rubber. If the rubber feels hard and is difficult to depress with a finger, it could indicate that the tire is old or it has been stored in less than ideal conditions. Either way, it should be replaced.
The bike tires are more than 1 year old. If you ride often, you may need to replace your tires every 6-months or so, but if you ride less often, you could probably get away with changing them once a year. This parameter needs to be monitored in conjunction with the other checks.
If your bike tires are displaying any one or multiple of these indicators, then it is definitely time to change your tires.
What Does It Cost To Change A Dirt Bike Tire?
There are a few costs besides the tire that you will need to take into account when it is time to change the tire on your dirt bike. The costs will depend on whether you will be changing the tire yourself or taking the bike to a tire shop to have it done for you.
There are several choices you can consider to change the tires on your bike, which will have varying costs associated with them.
Take the bike into a bike shop, tire shop, or dealer to have the entire job done by them.
Remove the wheels and take them to the shop or dealer to replace the tires.
Do the complete job yourself.
Taking your bike to a dealer is obviously the easiest way to get the tire change done since you won't need to have any of your own tools, but this route is certainly not going to save you any money.
The second option of removing the wheels from the bike and taking them in will save you some costs on the labor charge to get the job done.
Doing the tire change yourself will require that you have the necessary tools to get the job done. This will have an initial outlay in cost for the tools, but once you have them, the costs moving forward will only be the cost of the replacement tire.
Labor costs to change a tire on your dirt bike will vary from location to location, but the average is around $20 to $40 per wheel. Some places will charge more for the back wheel tire change because of the extra work involved in removing this wheel. Some shops may charge between $40 to $80 for a back wheel tire change.
This cost could be reduced if you take the wheels off yourself, but for this, you will need a good quality bike stand, but as a dirt bike rider, you should have a bike stand already.
The cost of the tire will depend on the size of your bike and the terrain that you normally ride. To get an idea of the costs, however, you can expect to pay between $40 and $80 for a front tire and anywhere from $50 to $130 for a rear tire.
Don't forget that you may have to factor in the cost of replacing the inner tube if you are not running tubeless tires. The inner tube could cost you anywhere from $20 to $30 per tube.
Do Dirt Bike Tires Need To Be Balanced
Balancing a dirt bike wheel or not is a variable that you will need to decide for yourself. The need to balance or not will depend on the quality of the tires that you put on your bike and the surfaces on which you ride.
A good quality tire on a quality rim will probably not need balancing, but a cheaper tire may well require balancing. If you ride very rough terrain, it is likely that balancing is not needed, but if you are riding varied terrain where you can get to high speeds, then balancing is probably a good idea.
Generally speaking, it is preferable to err on the side of caution, and if you are in any doubt, rather have your wheels balanced. It won't do any harm, and the wheels would be balanced should you need it.
Do You Need A Rim Lock On A Dirt Bike?
There is some debate about whether a rim lock is needed on a dirt bike, but in my opinion, it is an important necessity on a dirt bike.
The function of a rim lock is to prevent the tire from moving on the rim during braking and acceleration. If a rim lock is not in place, the torque of braking or acceleration could cause the tire to spin on the rim, which can potentially rip the valve stem and result in a flat tire.
My personal feeling on rim locks is that it is better to have it installed and not need it rather than not have it installed and discover that you needed one!
Replacing tires can be a costly undertaking, especially if you need to do it frequently. Learning to read the signs to know when to change the tires is an important aspect of any bike ownership.
You can always try to limit the costs by doing much of the work yourself, but to achieve this, you are going to need some gear and some tools. Fortunately, these are mostly a one-time purchase and will save you money in the long run.
If you decide to go the DIY tire change route, at Risk Racing, we have quality dirt bike gear and accessories at great prices to get the necessary equipment to get the job done!