Whether you ran over a nail or have just burned off your tread peeling out, getting your motorcycle tires changed isn’t the funnest activity.
Partly because you hate the downtime that you could be riding, but also because you never know where to take your motorcycle in and whether you’re getting a good deal.
Well, you can stop worrying.
I looked at shops around the country to find what you can expect as a reasonable cost for your motorcycle tire change and what factors can raise or lower the price.
How Much Does a Motorcycle Tire Change Cost?
On average, a tire change for your motorcycle will cost around $50 per tire. This can vary a lot, though, with your cheapest tire changes costing only about 20 bucks and the most expensive running upwards of $200.
Why is it such a big range? There are a number of factors that come into play.
On or Off the Bike
With a car, the tires can be changed in a few minutes because it’s pretty easy to pop off the wheels.
Motorcycles are much more difficult, especially the rear wheel. The chain and brakes have to be aligned afterward as well as balanced.
If the shop does this work for you, it’ll cost more. If you take the wheels off and put them back on yourself, shops usually charge a little less.
Front or Rear Tire
The rear tire is a lot harder to change. If you bring your whole bike in, some shops may charge a different price for the front tire versus the rear.
Like most things, motorcycle tire changes vary in cost depending on what part of the country—or world—you live in. My favorite shop back home in Arkansas charges about $45 per tire while I found shops in San Francisco charging closer to $75 per tire.
As a general rule, your tire change will cost more if you live in an overall more expensive place. That means big cities like New York or LA or expensive states like California or Hawaii.
Type of Shop
You can take your motorcycle to one of three types of shop for a tire change: authorized dealership, local boutique mechanic, or big chain.
An authorized dealership, one specializing in your make of motorcycle, is the most expensive option. Of course, it’s also the most secure since you know the mechanics have tons of experience with bikes just like yours.
For something simple like a tire change, I usually don’t consider this expertise to be necessary, but it’s up to you.
Local boutique mechanics are a bit cheaper than authorized dealerships and what I go with for tire changes. Even though they’re a tad pricier than chains, you can build a personal relationship with a local mechanic who will learn about your bike and your personal needs. You get quality service and support the local economy.
That isn’t to say you shouldn’t consider a big chain, though. For one thing, they’ll save you money.
For example, Cycle Gear charges just $25 if you buy your tires through them. Plus, finding a chain you like means you can use them all over the state or country if you go on long rides. Many even have loyalty programs and discounts.
Type of Motorcycle
Usually, the type of motorcycle doesn’t make much difference when it comes to the tire change price. However, some shops charge differently based on the type of tire: off-road versus street.
Take a look at the Cycle Gear prices I mentioned above. You’ll see that off-road tires are a little bit cheaper to change at just $20 versus street tires at $25.
Buying Tires Too
Many shops, especially big chains, offer extremely discounted tire changes just to get you to buy their tires.
If you noticed from the Cycle Gear prices above, $25 is the price for a tire change if you buy the tires through them, but it doubles to $50 if you buy the tires elsewhere and bring them in.
That brings me to something else important to mention…
How Much Do Motorcycle Tires Cost?
Keep in mind. The prices I mentioned above are for the tire change only. They don’t include the cost of the tires themselves.
Motorcycle tires usually run anywhere from $50 to $200 and depend on the size of the tire and type, whether it’s street or off-road.
Another factor is whether they’re brand new or “retreaded.” Retreaded tires are used tires that have had new tread put on them.
Retreaded tires usually cost between 30% and 50% less than new tires and can save you a lot of money. The authorities have not found them to be any less safe than new tires, but some motorcyclists are still wary of riding on “used” tires.
Can I Change My Motorcycle Tires Myself?
Well, you can change tires yourself. But unless you have all the necessary tools and some mechanic training, you probably shouldn’t.
Just for reference, the tools you’d need to change your own tire are:
- Motorcycle lift
- Tire lever
- Tire pressure gauge
- Motorcycle wheel balancer
- Rim protectors
- Valve core remover
- Bead breaker
And it isn’t just enough to have all these tools. You need to know how to use them and perform difficult parts of motorcycle maintenance like balancing the wheels after you change the tires. Doing it incorrectly could put you in danger.
With all this in mind, it usually makes more sense to have a professional change your tires.
Personally, I like taking my wheels off and bringing them into my favorite local boutique mechanic, buying the tires from the same shop if I can. This gets me good service for a reasonable price.