Sunday, May 10, 2015

Changing The Vespa Wheel

Pride they say comes before a fall so I keep my fingers crossed and in the humblest possible way let me say my experiment with restoring an old Vespa to daily service seems to be working out quite well. So much so I have ridden it enough to wear out the rear tire.
It's 3500 miles I haven't ridden the Triumph which I am now only using intermittently to keep the mileage down. Besides, having worn out a tire on the old Vespa, instead of taking it in to the shop and paying $60 for labor I changed the tire myself. Check out how cool this is. 
 First you order a replacement tire from Amazon at $33.00 with free delivery. Three days later you get a Serbian(!) made S83 by Michelin. In the meantime you have exchanged the worn out rear with the spare tire so you aren't running on a bald tire. When the new tire arrives you remove the spare: 
 And take the old bald tire off the rim. The rim is bolted together so all you have to do is take off five nuts and then stick a screw driver into the edge to break the bead.
You can try using your clown shows to break the bead on the wider half of the rim but the flat blade screwdriver is the back up option.
 Then you stick the thin half of the rim inside the new tire and inner tube, and carefully stick the other half of the rim on top and bolt the two halves back together. The system is actually idiot proof as there is no direction of rotation on the S83 tire and the rims only go back together one way. Very brilliant.
To get the rear wheel off I bought this nifty jack stand from another Vespa enthusiast who made them in his workshop and advertised them online for $25. Beautifully simple and effective. The stand travels in the glove box along with the three way box wrench that is designed to work as a spark plug wrench and tire  removal kit all in one. Dead easy!
The T shaped box wrench undoes the wheel from the hub, splits the rims and loosens the spare wheel from it's carrier. That, the jack stand and a six inch screwdriver just in case are all you need for the job.
The fully inflated rear wheel is a bit of a bugger to get out once it is off the hub. It takes practice and you have to remove the rear mudguard to get it out without leaning the scooter over. Some people just lean the scooter on it's side to take the rear wheel off.
I dare say the spare could be installed in 15  minutes if one had a  bit of practice and were in a rush to get somewhere. I took about an hour to bugger about and get the job done.
 Now all I have to do is wear the spikes off the brand new rubber. Easily done.
 No tire irons were hurt, or even used, in this job. Very nice.