Balance Your Wheels

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Many people don't bother to balance motorcycle wheels. Many can get away without it and have no ill effects. But why take the chance when it's so easy to do?

The truth is, many modern sport bikes using a good high quality tire need very little balancing. Most of the time you can get away without balancing. But, if you already have the wheel off the bike, it makes more sense to just go ahead and balance it. If you take a chance with not balancing it and find out it needs it, you'll just have to remove the wheel again. Many tubed and spoked wheels need a surprising amount of weight to balance. Especially if a rim lock is involved. Let's get started shall we?

I'll be using the Marc Parnes Products wheel balance available here It's a great product. You could build your own, but I would recommend just snagging this unless you like manufacturing your own tools. Me, I'd rather be riding and this makes it easy.

I'm going to start with the wheel already off. Remove one of the bearing/cone units from the balancer shaft and place it through your wheel. Note, you want the cone to seat against the wheel bearing and NOT the seal. In some cases, you may need to pop the bearing seal out of the hub to get it to seat properly. I have enough clearance in my hub that I do not need to remove the seal. The key is to get the cone to center in the inner race of the wheel bearing. If you have a removable cush drive (that's the thing with the separate sprocket assembly that has all those funny rubber triangles under it). Remove that as well. In this case, I did not have a cush drive.



Next, install the cone on the other side and cinch it down so it won't move using the wing nuts.



Place the bearings on the ends of the shaft and place them on some jack stands or cinder blocks or even get some suckers, er, friends to hold them.


You'll need some tape and something to cut your stick on wheel weights. It also helps if you have some old wheel weights or even fishing lures that you know the exact weight of.


Now, the wheel should have all on it's own found the heavy spot for you. It will the point of the wheel that is at the bottom. Now, grab the bottom of the wheel and rotate it up a quarter of a turn and let it go. The same spot should fall to the bottom again. Repeat by rotating the wheel again a quarter of a turn in the other direction. The same spot should again fall to the bottom. Gravity is wonderful.

Now, and this is the tricky part so pay attention, the place you want to put your weight is on the TOP. The part of the wheel that is now pointing towards the sky is where you want your weight to go. The top part is light and the bottom is heavy. Are you following me here? Eggsellent!

Now tape some old weights temporarily to the wheel. Keep adding weight until you have no heavy spot on the wheel. You'll know because the wheel will stop randomly when lightly spun. It will no longer stop in the same place each time.


Now, add up the weight you taped to the rim and cut yourself off a chunk of the new weights. Stick those to your rim and double check your work.


Now mount up your wheel and you're good to go. Enjoy the nice smooth ride.


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