by A. Silviera
There is a sure fire way to break a bead on your tire. 'Got sand?'
Yep, got sand and will tell a story. Of course, the focus of this little ditty has everything to do with how to be a bead breaker the right way, not the wrong way. But hey, why would anyone want to do anything the easy way, right?
We came up over the ridge of a gnarly dune, swung down around Mother Nature's sweet curves, hugging the dune at a 30-degree angle. Next thing you know, there was only chaos, and the ground was gone.
Sand flew everywhere and then the sand rail was leaning up against a fricken log layin' out in the middle of nowhere. As we got the sand out of eyes and determined we were both OK, we look around to inspect the damage. A quick assessment revealed the right rear tire had sustained a catastrophic tire broken bead event. Long story short, we were 3 miles out in the middle of nowhere and sitting there alone.
As fate would have it, some other sand freaks where out makin' crazy and found us. We got out the tow strap and under the power of others, we were dragged shamefully back to the parking lot. Now this event is, of course, the opposite of how a person should break their bead on purpose.
Sometimes, when you don't have the proper tools, but you need to get that bead to break on purpose, you must improvise. There are some profound and useful recommendations to follow.
To start, never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever use a sledgehammer on the side of your tire. Winston Churchill said this, I think. The results can be bad for you, but God forbid the rim sustains damage.
Next, there is the old trick of finding wood and making a creative Lincoln log type configuration, using your body weight and other fixed objects to bust the bead, but face it, you will look like an idiot doing it this way.
There are solutions out there that might fit your budget or your needs when thinking of keeping those rims in pristine shape. Some people say a giant C clamp works. It would have to be damn big depending on the kind of tire you are working on.
There is this thing called the Tyrepliers, but that cost somewhere around $75 and it's heavy and not too portable.
You can purchase a construction tool called the SuperBar, but you might want to modify it a bit if you are concerned about popping a tube on a motorcycle tire/rim combo or scratching up your fine lookin' rims.
There's a thing out there called the Tire Bead Popper too, for only $20 bucks. It's light and sturdy and made of a plastic composite that won't wreck your rim.
Ultimately, the difference between breaking a bead with something other then a sand dune is that it is a planned event. When you do it on the dunes accidentally, it's a bitch. When you need a bead breaker in your garage or on the side of the road, if you don't have the right tool, you will still get the same sand dune result; it will still be a bitch.
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