The Tools and Tips to Changing Mousse's on a Dirt Bike Tire
The race is tomorrow and it is very late. Your back is pulled out, tears running from your eyes. The garage closely resembles Hiroshima in 1945 after the atomic bombings. As you go to retrieve the tire iron you just threw out the window in a angry tirade, you're thinking "there must be a better way".
Changing mousse's on your dirt bike should not be hard. In fact, with proper execution, and proper tools, they should be just as easy, if not easier than regular tube'd tires. Let's get started!
Note: Everyone has their own technique to changing tires. This guide walks through how I change mousse's.
Step 1: Prepare the Rim
Clean off the inside of your rim. Apply some good quality, heavy duty tape over the nipples. This seal is important to prevent dirt and water from getting to the mousse. Poke two holes through the tape, one for the valve stem, and one for the rim lock.
Don't forget to install your rim lock and the valve stem! (okay... I'll admit I did this once more than once).
When you install a mousse, you'll have the existing hole from your valve stem in your rim. Some people plug this hole, but I recommend installing a valve stem. After your tire has been installed with the mousse, it may not always bead to the rim. This valve stem is helpful for blasting air into the rim to bead the tire (rim hole may need to be enlarged for the valve stem to fit).
Alternatively you can also take an old inner tube and cut the valve stem out of it to achieve the same effect.
Place the rim on the stand with the sprocket side down (rear tire). This is helpful so you don't cut your hands on the sprocket. While we are here, lets discuss tire changing stands.
Tire Changing Stands
A tire changing stand makes life much easier. Instead of wasting energy wrestling the tire on the ground, a tire stand allows you to put that lost energy to work.
I personally like the Rabaconda Tire Changer as it is purpose built for the task of changing mousse's. The lever arm comes in handy for that last step in mounting the tire, and it also makes removing the tire super easy. The Rabaconda does come at a price - but how much do you value your time saved changing tires?
If you want to save some money, the Tusk tire changing stand comes at a better price and works great. I have changed many tires using this stand, and it holds up well for the abuse it has received!
Step 2: Lube Up!
Glove up, and apply Tire Mounting Grease to the inside cavity of the tire, the tire bead, and to the mousse.
Applying generous amounts of tire mounting compound not only preserves and extends the life of the mousse, it makes installation much easier. I lather tire mounting grease around the entire mousse, as well as the inside of the tire. Heat is the enemy to mousse's, and lubrication combats this by reducing friction. Be sure to periodically pull the mousse out to inspect and re-apply the grease.
Be careful not to get the mounting compound on your brake rotor!
Step 3: Install the Mousse in the Tire
Have you ever wrestled a a greased up python? If you have, you're in luck because that is what this next step is like. Take your lube'd up mousse and insert it into the tire.
Start by pushing one end of the mousse into the tire. Work around until the entire mousse is inside the tire.
Step 4: Mount One Side of the Tire
Check if the tire is directional and orient it accordingly!
Hook one end of the tire over the rim lock. Use tire irons to mount the one side of the tire (this process should be the same when using an inner tube).
I recommend having a couple of various tire irons. First, you need two decent size irons to do the heavy lifting for you (leverage is key). I use two of these irons from BikeMaster:
I use a couple extra irons for pushing the bead of the tire down inside of the rim. This technique is critical for mousse installations, and makes life 100 times easier. By pushing the bead down off of the bead seat, you are giving a slight bit of slack to pull the tire over the edge of the rim (more on this below). I like the Rabaconda tire irons for this, as they also come in handy for all aspects of the mousse change.
Step 5: Finish Mounting the Tire
With the mousse now in the tire, start on the opposite end of the rim lock with two irons and begin mounting the tire. Work around both ends of the tire so the rim lock is the last area that will be seated. Once you start nearing the rim lock, the tire will become fairly tight. Use caution, DO NOT FORCE IT. Take small "bites" with the tire irons as too much force will risk breaking the tire band (ruining the tire). If it feels like too much force on the tire band - STOP and follow the instructions below:
Grab a few extra tire irons and space them around the opposite end of where you are working (across from the rim lock). You are simply just pushing the irons under the rim so that the tire can slide beneath the seat of the rim. What this does is gives extra slack in the tire for you to be able to seat it on the opposite end.
You should now be able to seat the tire.
Step 6: The Rim Lock
During the last bit of step #5, you may seat the tire on top of the rim lock. This occurs because the mousse pushes the rim lock against the bead seat.
If this happens, use two irons to pull the tire back off the rim just at the spot of the rim lock (pictured above). Keep these two irons there, and grab a 3rd iron. The curved shape of the Rabaconda tire iron is very helpful here.
Take the 3rd iron and push against the rim lock while simultaneously re-seating the tire onto the rim.
This last step may take some practice, but after a couple tries, you'll be able to do the end of Step 5 and step 6 all at once.
Step 7: Bead the Tire
Remember that valve stem you installed earlier? Use this to blast the tire with air to bead any area of the tire that hasn't yet beaded. I have found that slightly tightening the rim lock will prevent air from escaping during this step. You want to try to build as much pressure up to bead the tire.
I would be lying if I said I was able to fully bead the tire every time. Most people can't get a full 100% bead. After some hard riding the tire will typically bead. It is not a major problem if it never does bead, but I have found that I have ruined wheel bearings due to the tire being so unbalanced from an unbeaded tire.
Step 8: Finish Up
Tighten the rim lock fully.
Wipe down the grease from the tire. Make sure that no grease got on the brake rotor. Put the tire back on the bike, grip it and rip it!
Leave your tips, tricks and suggestions in the comments.
This guide serves as a useful list of supplies and tools needed for a mousse change. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.