Question: What’s a motorcycle’s natural position?

Answer: Lying on its side.

What does this have to do with removing a motorcycle’s wheels? Well, Sparky, if you don’t follow these tips, your odds of seeing your motorcycle achieve its natural position increase dramatically. Any time you lift your bike with a pair of stands and remove its wheels, you’re asking gravity (and Murphy) to take a short holiday. As someone who has had the privilege of catching a bike with a coworker when it slipped off a front stand, I can attest that your options are few when you’re holding up 400 lbs. of motorcycle and have only one foot available to move the front stand back into position.

Study these tips, and your tire changes will go much more smoothly.

  • Old MOron

    I hate working on my bike because I don’t trust myself. I wind up triple checking everything I do, and it takes me bloody ages. Oh well, thanks for the re-enforcement, Evans. And if that’s your wife holding up the tire with her toes, congrats to you both. She has attractive extremities.

    • Evans Brasfield

      Those feet belong to my daughter, but in the latest growth spurt over the last month, she’s grown my wife’s feet. So, I agree. It’s all in the genes, I suppose.

      • Old MOron

        Good man, Evans. I’m sure your contribution to the double helix counts, too.

  • 12er

    Ah the zip ties, brilliant! I always tried to find old cardboard or anything I could stack next to the forks to hold the calipers up. My trusty bag of 1000 zip ties from Fry’s has about 400 left after a decade. Will put them to use next time.

    • azi

      I use string.

  • Hal

    And…watch out for your brake discs when you move the front wheel in/out of the forks. It is remarkably easy to bend the aluminium carrier that the steel disc rides on and give the bike a buckled disc.

  • ‘Mike Smith

    I just hand tighten and say fuckit.


    Another advantage of the single sided swing arm with shaft drive. It is super easy to remove the rear wheel. Front wheel a little more difficult but not impossble. Removing wheels is a bridge I only want to cross if I have to. I need a good torque wrench.

  • http://www.picturetrail.com/bvail Bob Vail

    GL1800 easy peasy. Lay a blanket on the floor and the bike down on its side. All work can be done without a jack. Front wheel is a whole different story though. Don’t try this with a full tank of fuel though :) Video on youtube.

  • insydney

    its amazing how useful milk-crates can be when doing this kind of thing…. especially if you dont have a stool :)

  • insydney

    to stop misplacing bits or forgetting which order they came off in i use egg cartons, you can even have 2 marked L or R, if you really think it’s beyond you to remember things