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A lesson learned in wheel balancing...

Marlen Padberg

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Marlen Padberg

I have a story of woe, thought I should share it so you can avert the same mistakes I made.


Last year I was out with a friend, ran over some debris and put a small bend in the lip of my front wheel. Not too worried - it was holding air and still was in balance, so I rode it the rest of the season, dismounted the wheel over winter, removed the now worn-out front tire and brought the wheel in to a local wheel repair place to straighten it. The wheel, being Aluminum, wasn't "straightened", but built-up with aluminum welding, then machined back into the correct profile and re-finished. The shop did a very nice job. I typically handle my own tire changes, so ordered a new front tire, re-mounted the brake discs, and decided to be extra careful about balancing. I balanced the bare wheel (with no tire), then mounted replacement tire, and balanced the wheel and tire together. Balanced perfectly. I also measured axial and radial run-out to ensure the wheel was true. .005" inch (5 thou) run-out is well within the acceptable range. Wheel went back on the bike. My first ride, I experienced some vibration from the front, and was wondering where I went wrong.


Here's the lesson learned. My wheels have TPMS sensors, and to balance the wheel, I needed to add 25g of weight. I added this as a single weight. I then mounted the tire, and another 7g of weight to balance it. Motorcycle wheels being what they are, where do you add these weights? To the edge of the rim with 2-sided tape. Well, those 25g are enough to add a shimmy, even tho the wheel is balanced. To correct it, I removed the 25g, and added 4 x 7g weights (2 on each side of the wheel), and cut a 7g weight in half to finish balancing the wheel. No more issues.


If you think about it, while the static balance was OK, the weights were not evenly distributed on the wheel, so it would try and flutter a little bit (wobble?). Its good now tho...


FYI, I have a static wheel balancing stand, and have been balancing and mounting tires on bikes for all my friends for a good while. I'll remember to distribute the weights more carefully in the future.


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