Last night I took my Electra Glide up to my buddy Brian's house to put a new tire on the back. He has a tire changer.
It's not a hydraulic, nor motorized changer, but largely a platform with tools to make tire removal and mounting a lot easier. You still have to apply some elbow grease, and it's a lot easier if you have a second set of hands too.
This was probably the third time I had taken my bike up to his place to put a new tire on, and this time everything went so smoothly. Contrast that to the previous times when we had to learn how to use the tire changer, and when we made the mistake of leaving the brake disc on the wheel and ended up warping it.
What also made it fun is that this time we had a couple of other buddies with us as well, and the four of us took turns unbolting parts, removing the wheel, getting the old tire off, putting the new tire on, balancing the tire, and putting it all back together.
And Brian had lots of his homebrewed beer available. So we were hanging out in the garage, with beers in hand, taking turns wrenching on the bike, and having a good time.
We even got to do some evening riding too. What happened is that a torx socket we were using to remove the brake disc snapped and broke. It was a Craftsman brand tool, and fortunately the time was 8:00pm, giving us just one hour before Sears closed up for the night. So we hopped on our bikes (Brian has two bikes so I rode his other one) and off to Sears we went. The guy at the tools department gave us a free replacement, and we were in and out of there in five minutes.
And it was a perfect night for a ride too. Temps were still in the 70's at that time, and very little traffic to deal with.
Had I have taken the bike into a shop to get a new tire put on, this whole night would not have happened. Yeah, I saved money doing it this way, but honestly the thought really never occurred to me that whole night.
And I'm a city boy who grew up appreciating convenience; it would have been an involuntary neuromuscular reaction to drop the bike off at a shop, even though I had done this at Brian's a couple times before.
Of course it's easier when you have a friend with a tire changer. But the first time Brian and I tried to pull the tire off the rim, he didn't have one. We tried using pry bars, tire irons, a vice, a mallet, even jumping up and down on the tire, and couldn't break the bead. We ended up taking the wheel to a Cycle Gear store where they have a tire changer. But still, it was a couple of us guys off on an adventure, trying to change a tire.
But this night it all went well. Breaking that torx socket actually made the night more fun. Well, after we got done, we set up chairs in the back patio and drank down some more beers, ate some munchies, and enjoyed the rest of the evening.