After Zach’s first poker run we found out he had a flat rear tire on his KLX110. The valve stem was missing! This was a great learning opportunity for him (and an exasperating one for me). We got the bike up on the stand. I coached Zach on the removal of his rear tire. Righty-tighty-lefty-loosey is a hard concept for kids in the digital age, let alone clock-wise and counter-clock-wise, “clock?” “what’s a clock?” He got the hang of it and off came the wheel assembly.Being old school, all I have to change tires on is an old 15-gallon oil barrel. Dig out the trusty tire irons and the old man will show the kid how it’s done. Yeah right! I popped the tire bead and extracted the old tube. It was going good so far.Shove in the new tube, pop the tire back on, and fill it with air and presto-change-o, good as new-NOT! P-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s, how I hate that sound! Extract the tube again, sure enough I pinched it. Big tire irons little-itty-bitty tire and tube. That’s my story and I am sticking to it. Patch the tube, do it all over again. P-s-s-s-s-s-s how I hate that sound! Do it all over again. P-s-s-s-s-s-s-s how I hate that sound! Do it all over again.Finally, Jimmy Lewis and Dirt Rider come to my rescue. Dr. Dirt, Fix A Flat On The Trail page 112 in the January 2009 issue I read the article. I stormed back out to the shop and do it all over again. P-s-s-s-s-s-s-s how I hate that sound! There are patches on patches. I relent and go buy a new tube.I re-read the article; I filed any perceived rough edges off of my 30+-year-old tire irons. I lubed up the whole assembly. Then I had a brain-fart. I took the old tube, the one missing the valve stem, and cut all the way around the outside perimeter. I slipped the new tube inside it. The whole thing went together as smooth as ice. Mounted back on the rim, it even held air!In all my days working on bikes I had never had so much trouble with a tube. Dirt Rider and a Jimmy Lewis ghost-type voice yelling in my head, spurred me on to victory. Moral of the story for my son Zach, never give up! Practice and patience and Dirt Rider magazine will see you through.
Zach’s DadGlad we could help, but our whole staff (except Jimmy) would admit that tires can be frustrating. I think Jimmy could change a cold tire with sharpened screwdrivers. I’m pretty good at it but I pop a tube about once a year when I get sloppy. I’m not sure that the second tube really helped with the changing, unless it acted like a slip-sheet when the tire iron contacted the tube. We used to do that to help prevent flats, though. I have two tire screw-up stories I like. One, I changed a tire on a freezing day, and I couldn’t get the rim lock to act right. I could just barely get the nut started. I did not want to wrestle that tire off in the cold again. Tom Webb pointed out that I could change it at the truck or one the trail. Turns out I got the tire on with the rim lock sideways. Then, while riding with Malcolm Smith, I wanted to look professional as I did a tire change on the trail. Would have worked, too, if I hadn’t packed a 19-inch front tube for a mini bike by accident. I couldn’t use that on a front flat and was embarrassed to need to borrow a tube. And I do hate that Psssss sound. -Karel Kramer