This weekend was going to be a maintenance weekend for my ST3. I had ordered a new set of Pirelli Diablo Strada Tires for the ST3 and had them shipped to Dalton’s house. Dalton ended up purchasing a No-Mar tire changer since he wanted to mount and balance his own tires and between the two of us right now, we already had 6 old tires to take off and 6 new tires to mount.
I’ve been so happy with the way the Pirelli Diablo Stradas have lasted on the 954RR. I have 11,650 miles on them now and up until the last few hundred miles, they have performed like new tires. Those will have to be changed out next since I purchased a second set of Stradas for the 954RR as well. After hearing me talk about these great tires Dalton ended up purchasing a set a Stradas for his VFR also. He didn‘t take my word for it though, he read many great reviews on-line about a the Stradas, apparently I’m not the only one that likes them so much.
If you remember my last maintenance post, I was already riding on cords the last time I rode out to Dalton’s. Since I had to ride another 100 miles this weekend I was a bit worried if the rear would even make it. I ended up pulling over a couple of times on my way to Dalton’s house to check the rear tire but when I got there it didn’t look any worst then when I had left my house.
Even though I had two whole days to do only 2 things on the bike - changing the coolant and get the new tires mounted - I’m not very fast when it comes to working on the bikes. And the ST3 isn’t exactly the easiest bike to work on, plus the thing was dirty and I wanted to clean all the parts as I was working on them.
Take fairing off and unscrew the filler cap of the expansion tank (the cap is not shown in this picture, it's hiding underneath the fairings)
Loosen the clamp on the expansion tank radiator hose, disconnect the hose from the radiator and allow the expansion tank to drain
Place a container under the engine, place the motorcycle on its, side stand and unscrew the drain plug located on the water pump cover, allowing the coolant to drain off completely
Closer view of the drain plug
Draining the coolant
Replace the drain plug along with a new sealing washer, fill the circuit with recommended coolant
Allow several minutes for the coolant to fill all internal ducts and then start the engine, bring the coolant to operating temperature (217.4 °F) and allow the cooling fan to start at least once
By the time Saturday evening rolled around, all I had done was changed out the coolant. I changed the coolant out by myself and it was pretty straight forward. I followed the instructions in the ST3 service manual. With the tires I was going to need Dalton's help.
The rear tire is off the bike
Sunday morning I got working on taking off the rear wheel. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the rear caliper bolt off. I struggled with it for a bit, then Dalton tried to get it off and couldn’t either. He put some Kano Kroil on the bolt and it magically just came off although it was totally stripped. I didn’t have any extra caliper bolts with me and since today was Sunday, the dealerships were all closed. That meant I wasn’t going to be able to ride the ST3 home tonight.
Dalton removing my very worn Continental Road Attack with a No-Mar tire changer
Lets check those chicken strips - I can't believe I worn the tire in closer to the edge on the right then the left... I usually lean more to the left and prefer left curves
Dalton mounting my new Pirelli Diablo Strada
Dalton purchased the No-Mar model that sits on the hitch instead of being mounted to the floor, really neat concept especially for people that do track days (left), the No-Mar tire balancer (middle), sticking on some test weights to see how many are needed to balance this tire (right)
We got the rear tire off the ST3, then Dalton took the old tire off the rim and mounted the new tire using the No-Mar tire changer. By the way, the No-Mar tire changer is a great machine. This was the first time Dalton used this machine, the "how to" video on the No-Mar website helped a lot. The process wasn't too complicated and the machine is well built and simple to use although it does require some muscle.
The balancing actually took a while. It just seemed like there was either too much weight or not enough. Finally we got it as close as we could. Since I couldn’t ride the bike back home, we decided to call it a night after the new tire was balanced. We would install the rear wheel on the bike next time, it was getting late. Dalton had to lend me his car so I could get home.