What about tires?

The trip to Colorado and beyond will take us into terrain that is not really compatable for stock tires. We looked at multiple tire options to use on our bikes. The major consideration was where we were going on this trip. We decided that a 50/50 or a 40/60 tire would be best suited for our needs, instead of the 90/10 tires that came on our bikes.
We looked at the Michelin Anakee Wild, the Continental AKC 80, the Heidenau K 60 Scout and the Kenda Big Block. Wear was also a concern for us, as well as increased off road traction. These two concerns seem to trade off with each other. After a long deliberation and much internet time looking at video reviews and reading the comments and thoughts of other riders we both chose the Heidenau K 60 scout.
Our trip from Michigan to the Southwest corner of Colorado will be on all secondary roads and some expressway. Our travels following the BDR route through Colorado the Wyoming will be mostly trails, gravel roads, fire lanes etc. Then back to mostly pavement as we aim for West Yellowstone, Montana. There we will meet up with our wives to view the eclipse and travel the area for a few days. Then back on the road home, where we will try to add more gravel and trails as we travel through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
We estimate 5000 miles on this trip and it should be a good test for these tires which will see maybe 30% off pavement use, we shall see. I’m looking forward to this ride and the new adventure of mixed riding, on and off the pavement.
We looked to our local cycle parts dealer for the tires we wanted and he could not access the Heidenau’s tires, so we purchased them on line. When Bill took his wheels and tires to the same dealer that could not provide us with the tires he charged $70.00 to mount the 2 tires. Bill stopped by my place and we decided to purchase a tire changer and away we went.
We purchased a Harbor Freight unit that did not quite meet our needs, so we began modifications to the unit and purchased a No Mar tire changing bar to help protect our rims. I proceeded to take another educational journey into the work of tire changing with a machine. I have changed a number of motorcycle tires in the past from my dirt bike days and have used spoons, and had to deal with tubes and wheel locks. Now we are tubeless and have anodized, painted or chromed rims. We would prefer not to scratch them. I made poly inserts for the tire clamp part of the changer and after my first attempt at tire removal I had to go back and run screws into the poly blocks to secure them to there sockets in the changing unit. Having now secured holding the rim I mounted the changer on a heavy plywood covered pallet and went to work. The unit was not that stable and moved around way too much for me. But for right now I am living with it and will modify it when I return from this trip.
I used my fancy new changing bar on the front tire and after a U Tube video on the use of the bar, I started getting the hang of using it, the front tire was done. Now the back tire. The old tire came off in good order but while trying to put the new rear tire on, the pallet that the changer was mounted to, seemed to be spinning at the same rate of rotation as my attempt to rotate the mounting bar on the machine. To finish mounting the tire, I reverted back to spoons. All is OK and we are off to balance the wheels.
We have also purchased a static tire balancer which I will now attempt to use to balance my tires. The front tire balanced was balanced with the weights from the factory left in place. The rear was out of balance so I removed the factory weights and rebalanced the wheel adding weight in a different location then the stock weights. The balancing went well and after the test ride it seemed like I had not made anything worse, so the tires are done.
Upon my return I will make modifications to the changer and find a way to better secure it so that the skid the changer is mounted on does not turn as fast I’m tuning the tire changing bar.

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