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How much do you agonize when balancing wheels?


bwr

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I did my first tire change last night on my RS. The only hitch was that the Remus muffler (which the previous owner had installed) doesn't have enough clearance between it and the swingarm. So, I had to unbolt the rear hanger to allow me to pry the muffler outwards to gain the added inch or so clearance needed to squeeze the wheel out. (FWIW, I replaced Dunlop D205's with Conti Road Attacks. Just road about 7 miles to make sure the wheels wouldn't fall off (they didn't clap.gif) but haven't really done enough to form an opinion of these tires).

 

I've changed quite a few tires on cruiser styled bikes over the years. Most have had cast iron wheels which I've found fairly easy to balance with a static balancer (Marc Parnes); however, it wasn't unusual to add a couple ozs of weight to get them blanced (sometimes even more). Both of the wheels on the RS are almost balanced without any weight -- I put 1/4 oz on the front wheel and 1/2 oz on the rear. However, they still weren't perfect bncry.gif (which is probably a testament to how sensitive the Parne's balancer is). I wasn't going to resort to chopping my 1/4 oz stick-on weights into smaller bits, so called it good enough.

 

It got me to wondering though, how good is good enough? confused.gif I'd be curious to especially hear from the guys who ride on tracks at super high speeds. Is it worth trying to get closer than 1/4 oz?

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Is it worth trying to get closer than 1/4 oz?

IMHO, no. Marc's balancer is so sensitive it's about impossible to get a perfect no movement anywhere outcome. Those are some good bearings in that thing!
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I have a Parnes balance but don't agonize over perfect balance at all... but then again I don't agonize about many of the popular-to-agonize-over things around here.

 

Serioulsy, if you have it 'close' with a Parnes balancer then it's plenty close for any kind of real-world use.

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skinny_tom (aka boney)

I balance them until adding another 1/4 oz turns the wheel 180 degrees. Then I take that 1/4 oz off and call it good.

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Several points.

 

On my R1200ST, I have been using Pilot Roads, but this last time, my supplier, Southwest Moto tires was out of PR's and I ordered a Conti Road Attack instead, like it so far BTW. Found that the Road Attacks required more weights than the Pilot Roads to correctly balance.

 

Your type of riding will dictate how close the balancing has to be,ie. if you do a lot of high and very high speed riding, lots of over 100 plus for example requires accurate balancing while the rider that thinks 80 MPH is fast does not need as much accuracy.

 

Another note, found that the Road Attack was also a heavier tire than the Pilot Road.

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I STOPPED balancing about 7 years ago, IMHO tires are pretty good these days and I bet you if you were to just mount it and go you would never notice it.

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Paul Mihalka
I STOPPED balancing about 7 years ago, IMHO tires are pretty good these days and I bet you if you were to just mount it and go you would never notice it.
That is correct for may be 90% or better of the tires, but once in a while you get one that needs a lot of balancing weight, and sometimes you get one that is so bad that you have to send it back. That is why some balancing is important.
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I STOPPED balancing about 7 years ago, IMHO tires are pretty good these days and I bet you if you were to just mount it and go you would never notice it.
That is correct for may be 90% or better of the tires, but once in a while you get one that needs a lot of balancing weight, and sometimes you get one that is so bad that you have to send it back. That is why some balancing is important.

 

I have been lucky so far, I have not encounted that bad one yet!

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Having never balanced my own tires (I am going to start though):

 

Is the necessity of balancing mostly related to the wheels or the tires?

 

So can you balance the wheel and then any additional balancing with the tire will be verifying that the tires do not make an additional difference?

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So can you balance the wheel and then any additional balancing with the tire will be verifying that the tires do not make an additional difference?
That's my approach, unless the wheel/tyre combination is badly out of whack I don't make adjustments, with ME880s I never seem to need to change anything.
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Having never balanced my own tires (I am going to start though):

 

Is the necessity of balancing mostly related to the wheels or the tires?

 

So can you balance the wheel and then any additional balancing with the tire will be verifying that the tires do not make an additional difference?

That may be why Ken has had luck not balancing his tires. I balance all my wheels (without the tires) so I know where the heavy spots are, how far the wheel itself is off and how to align the lightspot of the tire. One of my rear wheels is off by 37grams--before I even add the tire! So consider, if I mount a tire that is also out by quite a bit but don't line it up just right (cancelling the difference out) or even bother to balance the tire mounted up, I could have a real problem taking a sweeper at 100+ and hitting rough pavement. tongue.gif

 

YMMV! grin.gif

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russell_bynum

It got me to wondering though, how good is good enough? I'd be curious to especially hear from the guys who ride on tracks at super high speeds. Is it worth trying to get closer than 1/4 oz?

 

3 sets of Pilot Powers on the CBR track bike. Speeds in excess of 160mph at Fontana, and over 130 elsewhere. Never balanced. Never had a problem.

 

Countless sets of Mez-4's, and Pilot Roads on the R1100RT and R1100RS. Both bikes have been north of 120 multiple times. Never balanced. Never had a problem.

 

I'm sure Paul's right and that you will occasionally get one that's way out of balance, but so far I haven't had any issues.

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I do balance my tyers, mostly for peace of mind., so far the balance as been easy to adjust with a little weight. Maybe I should try not balancing and see if i can tell the diff....... I wonder what the difference would be if I washed the crud off the wheel, maybe if i have time i'll mic the layer of crud and see if it uniform around the wheel.....nah, I think i'll go go a ride instead... SUNDAY MORN AND THE DAY IS BRIGHT WhooooHoo

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Just to second some of whats been said:

1) It helps to know where the heavy spot on your wheel is so you can align it with the light spot on the tire if the tire is actually marked. That way you'll use less weight. You only need to check it once and then mark the inside of the rim with a magic marker. Don't forget to clean the wheel first and make sure you remember to check it with the valve and cap installed.

2) Cutting 1/4 ounce weights up is probably a waste of time. I do exactly what Brian mentioned above, get it to where one extra segment is too much, take it off and call it a day smile.gif I've spent some time at the GP watching the techs balance race wheels and tires to see what I could learn and they do exactly the same thing, get it to where one segment is too much and then stop.

3) Maybe I'm just unlucky but I've yet to find a combination of wheel and tire that didn't need at least one weight segment. BMW cast wheels are particularly good in my experience. The worst I've seen are FJR rears. I've had to stick on as much as 2 ounces to get them close.

4) This is off topic but for those who change their own tires whether manually or with the help of a machine, get some RuGlyde from your local NAPA store. That stuff is amazing when it comes to slipping tires on and off.

 

If you ever run into problems or just have questions about balancing or changing tires I'm always available to help.

 

Marc

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mythreesons

When I put my first set of tires on my RT, I ordered a static balancer from California and spent about two hours balancing the front wheel just perfect. Being the typical tech-type I would dismount the wheel from the balancer, remount it, and double check myself. Everytime I did this the weights would have to be moved. I was only dealing with 1/4 to 1/2 oz. of weight so I finally said the heck with it all. I took all the weights off and haven't balanced a tire since. On occaision I've done 120 with no problems. Until I can warrant the time and all the glue marks all over my wheels, I'll continue to slide the new sneakers on and go! cool.gif

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That is correct for may be 90% or better of the tires, but once in a while you get one that needs a lot of balancing weight, and sometimes you get one that is so bad that you have to send it back. That is why some balancing is important.

 

How would one know? Seriously.

 

I'm not sure I even know the symptoms of an out-of-balance tire.

 

I just mostly stopped worrying about balancing at some point, doing it here and there, and I've never noticed any difference. It's possible I've been lucky; you've seen a few more tires than I, after all. Is this one of those deals where I'd definitely notice it if I had a tire out of balance?

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russell_bynum

How would one know? Seriously.

 

Once I was out goofing around in Joshua Tree NP in my Wrangler and I apparently knocked a wheel weight off. On the drive home, there was a very pronounced shimmy/vibration that happened at certain speeds. It went away when I had the wheels balanced again.

 

That's what I'd expect to see on a bike with a wheel out of balance.

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Joe Frickin' Friday
Having never balanced my own tires (I am going to start though):

 

Is the necessity of balancing mostly related to the wheels or the tires?

 

Tires and rims work together. The rim has a heavy spot, typically somewhere near the valve stem (though sometimes a pretty good distance away), and the tire has a light spot, usually marked with paint on the sidewall. You line the two up when you mount the tire, and the amount of weight needed is minimized.

 

Mounted Z-6's last night; front wheel didn't need any weight, rear needed only two 1/4-ounce weights. Estimating from the feel of a bare rim and how out of balance it is, if I totally screwed up and put the tire's paint spot 180 degrees from the rim's heavy spot, I'd probably need a few ounces of weight to balance things properly.

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Lone_RT_rider
Estimating from the feel of a bare rim and how out of balance it is, if I totally screwed up and put the tire's paint spot 180 degrees from the rim's heavy spot, I'd probably need a few ounces of weight to balance things properly.

 

Unless of course you have my rear rim from the RT. Then you would need about a 6 inch piece of I-beam. crazy.gif

 

Shawn

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found this out there and was thinking of using it next time

http://www.innovativebalancing.com/

Anybody who promises balancing related "dramatic longer tire life" does NOT get my money.
The only thing I could think was they're claiming shortened life due to cupping from an out of balance tire, but otherwise, I think it's a good "spin job"! wink.gif

 

 

Unless of course you have my rear rim from the RT. Then you would need about a 6 inch piece of I-beam.

 

Shawn

Shawn, if you still have that bike/wheel, I would recommend balancing the wheel alone next time you change tires and try turning the brake rotor to cancel out some of the imbalance.
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Lone_RT_rider
Shawn, if you still have that bike/wheel, I would recommend balancing the wheel alone next time you change tires and try turning the brake rotor to cancel out some of the imbalance.

 

One problem with that. It's the rear wheel on an R1100RT. The brake rotor is not attached to the wheel. As a matter of fact, there is nothing attached to a rear wheel off of an R1100RT except possibly a valve stem and cap.

 

I have however balanced the rear rim by itself long ago and try to work with the heavy spot to make things a bit easier. The issue with that being that the Avons I run do not seem to have a dot on the tire to indicate where the heavy spot on the tire is. crazy.gif

 

Shawn

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That's what I'd expect to see on a bike with a wheel out of balance.

 

That's sort of what I figured. At one point, I had such a condition on the K12RS front, so I balanced the next tire. Of course, I didn't balance the one that succeeded that.

 

Right now I do it if I find all the parts in one place. My garage does not look like David's recent photos of his.

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Shawn, if you still have that bike/wheel, I would recommend balancing the wheel alone next time you change tires and try turning the brake rotor to cancel out some of the imbalance.

 

One problem with that. It's the rear wheel on an R1100RT. The brake rotor is not attached to the wheel.

Oh yeah--ooops!! I forgot about that. dopeslap.gif

 

Disregard!! grin.gif

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I once had a Metzler front that was 2 oz. off and had a severe shimmy (the spooky kind confused.gif) above 120. I balance on a stand until the wheel stops at a random spot every time.

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