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News How to Balance Your Motorcycle Wheels

Discussion in 'Motorcycling News' at netrider.net.au started by NetriderBot, Feb 13, 2016.

  1. Wheel balancing and rotation is a common practice on cars and it’s easy to see why – the vast majority of cars have equal sized wheels and rubber on all four points – that means that when one or more tyres are out of balance it can cause major handling issues. On motorcycles it’s not such a big problem but nevertheless, it’s still a good habit to ensure your wheels are correctly balanced. And if you change your own tyres, balancing is an easy task to do.

    Many people scoff at buying a wheel balancer – they see the price and think it’s not worth it. But if you’ve developed the skills to change your own tyres it makes sense to be able to balance them as well. And given the prices charged by most mechanics to do so, you’ll recoup the money spent on a balancer within a few sets of tyres. We personally use a motorcycle wheel balancing and truing stand from Bikeservice. It’s top of the line and probably overkill for most as it even includes the ability to measure runout. If you just have non-spoked wheels, a basic balancing only stand is sufficient.

    Before balancing, ensure your wheels are nice and clean – doing this while they’re off the bike is always the best time. If you have old weights on the wheels, make sure you remove them too as well as any spacers that normally sit inside the bearings.

    Tools you’ll need for this job are:
    • Wheel balancing stand
    • Wheel weights
    • Tape/Marker/Chalk to mark your wheel

    Grab one of the cones and place it on the balancing shaft. Tighten it so that it stays in place and then throw a collar behind it and fix it too.

    How-to-balance-motorcycle-wheels-2-450x253.

    Push the shaft through the wheel bearing and ensure the cone sits inside the bearing.

    How-to-balance-motorcycle-wheels-3-450x253.

    Now flip the wheel over. The weight of the wheel should ensure that the cone is inserted correctly into the bearing.

    How-to-balance-motorcycle-wheels-4-450x253.

    Now get the other cone and collar and fix them onto the shaft, with the cone sitting inside the bearing on the opposite side.

    How-to-balance-motorcycle-wheels-5-450x253.

    If the cones have been inserted into the bearings correctly, the wheel should spin smoothly on the shaft.

    How-to-balance-motorcycle-wheels-6-450x253.

    Now place the wheel onto your balancing stand.

    How-to-balance-motorcycle-wheels-7-450x253.

    The first step in balancing a wheel is to find the heavy and light spots on it. With the wheel on the balancing stand, give it a small spin.

    How-to-balance-motorcycle-wheels-8-450x253.

    Don’t spin too hard as the wheel will keep going for a long time. Don’t be afraid to help slow the wheel down gently with your hand.

    How-to-balance-motorcycle-wheels-9-450x253.

    Eventually, the wheel will stop and the point at the bottom of the wheel is its heaviest point.

    How-to-balance-motorcycle-wheels-10-450x253.

    If you need to check, spin the wheel softly again. It will end up at the exact same point.

    How-to-balance-motorcycle-wheels-11-450x253.

    Diametrically opposite the heavy point is the lightest point on the wheel.

    How-to-balance-motorcycle-wheels-13-450x253.

    To mark it, place a piece of tape or mark the tire with chalk or a marker so you know where it is.

    How-to-balance-motorcycle-wheels-14-450x253.

    Now grab your wheel weights. They usually come in sticks of 5 and 10 grams – brake one stick in half and peel off a small amount of the backing tape.

    How-to-balance-motorcycle-wheels-15-450x253.

    Stick that to the wheel where you’ve previously marked it.

    How-to-balance-motorcycle-wheels-16-450x253.

    If you’ve applied the correct amount of weights to your wheel, when you move the wheel it will remain static.

    How-to-balance-motorcycle-wheels-17-450x253.

    If the wheel rotates, it means you’ve got too many weights. If that’s the case, reduce your weighs by half and try again.

    How-to-balance-motorcycle-wheels-18-450x253.

    Once you’ve got the correct amount of weights on the wheel, no matter where you rotate it, the wheel will remain static. This means it is now balanced.



    How-to-balance-motorcycle-wheels-19-450x253.

    If your wheel requires an even amount of weights (say two by 5 grams), it’s best to put equal amounts on each side of the rim as shown.

    How-to-balance-motorcycle-wheels-20-450x253.





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  2. Nice write up
    If the price is prohibitive to some, try this mob. $120 for a balancer. I picked one up on special a few years back, for about $90, used it a lot on my bikes and my mates, very easy to use as per your tutorial.
    Motorcycle Wheel Balancer
     
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  3. That is more or less the method I use.

    i don't have anything nearly as sophisticated - just an upside down U shaped bit of metal in a socketed general purpose shop stand (like you might use off the end of a saw bench) welded up from 6 pieces of RHS, having V shaped supports on the top of the inverted legs. My stand has three interchangeable "heads" one is for balancing wheels, one has a roller for saw work, another has a clamp for holding bicycles aloft for working on them. All made of junk. Cost only time, some welding sticks and power.

    I just hang the wheel on its axle in the Vs and spin, mark where it stops spinning and mark the top with chalk. Repeat several times. If it stops randomly, there is nothing to do. Some fitters spin them on their balance machine and they MIGHT be OK, much more often not. Reason? The size of the weights. They might be in 5 or 10 gram increments. I have a laboratory balance. Small fractions of grams are possible. If it is wrong, I'll pull the weights off and start over.

    I will add weight by adding little (or larger) bits at a time sticking the trial weights on with blue tack. when I've got it right, mark the position for the weights and weigh the lot, including the blue tack, and cut a piece and trim until it is exactly that weight, cut it in half and put each half on each side of the wheel in the marked position. Done.

    I have found "balanced" wheels to be as much as 15 grams out. It makes a difference when you can easily get within 1 or 2 grams and also a difference when one can be bothered to rebalance a wheel when half the tread is gone. A repair is a good excuse for a rebalance. However done, you are adding weight to the tyre in repairing it.

    Finely balanced wheels are so much smoother and work way better on wet roads.

    So what is wrong with my method? -

    It's a bit fiddly. Yeah I know, not everybody has a balance (no I don't deal drugs - it is useful for measuring out small quantities of resin and catalyst accurately) I could do the same with a drinking straw and some pins, plus a little wire. THAT would be fiddly, but just as accurate. Many digital kitchen scales would do.

    The bearing sealing cap can cause stiction with the axle. Leave it off. Make sure that your setup is level.

    The balancing of cast alloy wheels with self adhesive lead weight seems so much more sophisticated than a length of solder wound around a spoke. - easier to clean and will not come off.
     
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  4. Torpedo 7 has some great stuff for really cheap prices. I've bought a fair bit from there and haven't had any issues yet.
     
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