Balancing Tires like Racers do. - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-20-2015, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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Balancing Tires like Racers do.

I found out that my shop uses bubble balance like the 150 mph racers do. And since spin balance relies on calibration and skill too, I guess I'll stay with what works.

The beads seem theoretically good, but no one does it here, much less with 500 times experience to be an expert. There are a lot of complications and labor slippages to optimize them, but going with what the racers use with gravity balance is not a bad compromise.

NOW, there must be tricks like balancing the wheel before putting the tire on to minimize weights and maximize tire balance. Or maybe, instead of 2 weights, split them up into 4 or more smaller weights to spread the weight forces over a bigger area to be smoother.

If anyone knows any bubble balance tips to optimize it, please let me know. I'm just getting prepared for when my tire(s) wear out in a few thousand miles. I never did get it rebalanced when I put my Curvey Girl's elbow air valves on, so I may work up a deal to get them rebalanced in the meantime. I did ask my shop if they had their spin balancer calibrated lately, but now i'm glad after researching to have the gravity balanced tires, like the racers use.
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post #2 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-20-2015, 08:13 PM
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I've got a wheel balancer stand that I used when changing tires on my KLR, it worked fine but I sometimes had issues getting the weights. So I went with bead balancing on the Versys. The beads work great. I've been running them for about 6000 miles and have never wished for weights. Beads are easy-peezy, you just squeeze them in the valve and you're done with it. Buy the beads in bulk and they aren't real expensive, if you buy the single tire kits they are pretty expensive.
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post #3 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-20-2015, 08:28 PM
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How do beads work? Do they wind up sticking where they need to be? Or just roll around continually to wherever the extra balance support is needed?

Something goes here...
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post #4 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-20-2015, 08:41 PM
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How do beads work? Do they wind up sticking where they need to be? Or just roll around continually to wherever the extra balance support is needed?
They roll around until about 30mph. They rebalance the tire every time you start moving. They supposedly roll around to the balance point and finally position themselves at around 30MPH. So far, for me, they have worked seemlessly and flawlessly.

Last edited by ray h; 09-20-2015 at 08:44 PM.
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post #5 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-20-2015, 09:52 PM
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How do beads work? Do they wind up sticking where they need to be? Or just roll around continually to wherever the extra balance support is needed?
Balance beads work fine. Never had issues with them. The only reason I can see using them though is if you change tires yourself and don't want to buy an expensive balance machine. You can buy beads online or most tire and motorcycle shops sell them.
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post #6 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-20-2015, 11:41 PM
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How do beads work? Do they wind up sticking where they need to be? Or just roll around continually to wherever the extra balance support is needed?
Counteract Tire Balancing Beads

I always balance mine statically by hand by rocking the greased axle back and forth to help the heavy spot go down, and I simply add the appropriate weight at the opposing side of the wheel. I can then also locate any secondary heavy spots and add a second lighter weight to balance it out.... It really is a piece of cake if you're strong enough to pull it off. I do it while sitting, and resting my forearms on my knees, palms facing down and holding both ends of the axle horizontally.
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post #7 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-21-2015, 07:06 AM
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I use the stick on weights and axle on the jack stand method - never had a problem like this




the weights are about 10-15$ for 100 of them from amazon.
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post #8 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-21-2015, 09:11 AM
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I change a lot of tires, probably because I have my own tire changer.... and no shortage of "friends" that need tire changes.

A couple of years ago, I started mounting tires without balancing them.

So far, I can't tell any difference.

I even told some of my "friends" that I had installed those balancing beads in their tires (without actually installing them) - and they raved how well the beads worked. They told all of their friends and posted same on every forum that would let them.

(sigh)

I'm not at all sure that balancing of a motorcycle tire makes all that much difference - until you get into the larger variety, or if you're mounting a car tire on the rear.

My opinion

Your opinion can, and will vary.

Next opinion, please.


No matter where you go - there you are.
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post #9 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-21-2015, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by kawdog View Post
I found out that my shop uses bubble balance like the 150 mph racers do. And since spin balance relies on calibration and skill too, I guess I'll stay with what works....
Don't forget - racers ONLY run their tires for ONE race, so that has NO bearing on the "real-world" that WE all ride in.

The "beads" work. PERIOD!

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post #10 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-21-2015, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! That looks like the ticket. If nothing else, I need something to balance out my Curvey Girl bent-elbow air valves. That's what my shop I go to uses anyway, so that's what I'll use too!


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Originally Posted by kohburn View Post
I use the stick on weights and axle on the jack stand method - never had a problem like this




the weights are about 10-15$ for 100 of them from amazon.
I understand Fast Eddie, and I never doubted what you said, but I'm NOT going to do anything. If my shop does not do it, or any shop around me (that I'd trust, which is basically only Motor Helmets) then I'm certainly not going to. It's not economical for me to work on my bike for routine things - they are much cheaper than my time is worth right now anyway. But one of these days, I might try to stick balls in my Curvy Girl bent air valves, if they fit.

Motor Helmets mounts and balances a tire ON THE BIKE for $30; and that is at Rocky Mountain ATV retail prices which are the absolute cheapest prices, and therefore the freshest tires available. You just can't beat that with a stick!

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Originally Posted by fasteddiecopeman View Post
Don't forget - racers ONLY run their tires for ONE race, so that has NO bearing on the "real-world" that WE all ride in.

The "beads" work. PERIOD!

Last edited by kawdog; 09-21-2015 at 12:49 PM.
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post #11 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-24-2015, 09:17 AM
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I rebuilt the spoke wheels on my last bike and just balanced them using something similar to kohburn's jack stand method. They ran very smoothly.

Years ago we had a tire disintegrate on the family AWD van in the mountains on a camping trip way out in the middle of nowhere. I limped it down the mountain dirt road to the nearest town on the little space saver. No joy on a tire shop. Finally found a guy with the correct size tire who only had a cheap bubble balance. That tire ran totally in balance.

But I've had more than my share of tires running out of balance at highway speed after being computer spin balanced at brand name tire shops. Maybe it is the operator and not the machine which matters.
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post #12 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-24-2015, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Fly-Sig View Post
I rebuilt the spoke wheels on my last bike and just balanced them using something similar to kohburn's jack stand method. They ran very smoothly.

Years ago we had a tire disintegrate on the family AWD van in the mountains on a camping trip way out in the middle of nowhere. I limped it down the mountain dirt road to the nearest town on the little space saver. No joy on a tire shop. Finally found a guy with the correct size tire who only had a cheap bubble balance. That tire ran totally in balance.

But I've had more than my share of tires running out of balance at highway speed after being computer spin balanced at brand name tire shops. Maybe it is the operator and not the machine which matters.

You are right! The high speed balance calibration is just another variable that can sabotage your correct balance (which the cost of calibration is always at odds with it not being done, in addition to the expertise of the technician - 500 calibrations is a lot to become an expert!)

I finally beat around until Motor Helmets suggested I get beads, lol. I do not know if I still have green goop in my rear tire from a flat before, but it is a little rough in midrange hitting bridge connectors. Top end feels pretty good though. My problem was not getting wheels rebalanced when I got my Curley Girl bent air valves (to save a few dollar

Next tires, I'll get the wheels cleaned and gravity balanced. Then, if I never use the green flat goop, I will have no hesitation to use the beads at the first sign of need to rebalance. They may not be as good in low and mid range speeds (or bridge connectors, and there are a lot of built up expressways in LA), but at top end where you need it most, they perform pretty good. The shop put them in for free just charging me for the bead pack-oz's (1 in front and 2 in rear.)

When I get new tires, if they will let me, I'll have to coach them in tire balancing optimization techniques (like optimizing tire placement - I used to bust tires at Sears Auto This way, it will their knuckle skin at risk and not mine!

Last edited by kawdog; 09-24-2015 at 11:30 AM.
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post #13 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-24-2015, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fly-Sig View Post
I rebuilt the spoke wheels on my last bike and just balanced them using something similar to kohburn's jack stand method. They ran very smoothly.

Years ago we had a tire disintegrate on the family AWD van in the mountains on a camping trip way out in the middle of nowhere. I limped it down the mountain dirt road to the nearest town on the little space saver. No joy on a tire shop. Finally found a guy with the correct size tire who only had a cheap bubble balance. That tire ran totally in balance.


But I've had more than my share of tires running out of balance at highway speed after being computer spin balanced at brand name tire shops. Maybe it is the operator and not the machine which matters.
I know (first hand) of two tire balancing machines that were somehow broken - even showing "good" after the machine calibration procedure. To prove this to one of the tire shops, I brought my bubble balancer along to check the tires that they had just mounted and balanced on my car. Wow, what a difference.

Next day, they brought in a new machine - and it worked just fine

Just pointing out that the balancing machines can sometimes have undiscovered problems.

No matter where you go - there you are.

Last edited by kballowe; 09-24-2015 at 02:30 PM.
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post #14 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-24-2015, 05:55 PM
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IF you ever use "tire-goop" in a tire for wahtever reason - I suggest you DO NOT put beads in. They'll just stick in the goop, NOT balance it!

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post #15 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-24-2015, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by kawdog View Post
You are right! The high speed balance calibration is just another variable that can sabotage your correct balance (which the cost of calibration is always at odds with it not being done, in addition to the expertise of the technician - 500 calibrations is a lot to become an expert!)

I finally beat around until Motor Helmets suggested I get beads, lol. I do not know if I still have green goop in my rear tire from a flat before, but it is a little rough in midrange hitting bridge connectors. Top end feels pretty good though. My problem was not getting wheels rebalanced when I got my Curley Girl bent air valves (to save a few dollar

Next tires, I'll get the wheels cleaned and gravity balanced. Then, if I never use the green flat goop, I will have no hesitation to use the beads at the first sign of need to rebalance. They may not be as good in low and mid range speeds (or bridge connectors, and there are a lot of built up expressways in LA), but at top end where you need it most, they perform pretty good. The shop put them in for free just charging me for the bead pack-oz's (1 in front and 2 in rear.)

When I get new tires, if they will let me, I'll have to coach them in tire balancing optimization techniques (like optimizing tire placement - I used to bust tires at Sears Auto This way, it will their knuckle skin at risk and not mine!
What the heck. I'm very impressed that you've become such an expert in 3 days.
Your first post was asking a couple very basic questions now you were a tire guy at Sears and are going to coach the tires guys at the shop.
Not to be smart because maybe I'm not reading something right but which is it, do you want information about balancing and beading or are you capable of schooling people on proper balance technique?
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post #16 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-24-2015, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
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What the heck. I'm very impressed that you've become such an expert in 3 days.
Your first post was asking a couple very basic questions now you were a tire guy at Sears and are going to coach the tires guys at the shop.
Not to be smart because maybe I'm not reading something right but which is it, do you want information about balancing and beading or are you capable of schooling people on proper balance technique?
I busted tires 35 years ago, I am a methods engineer, and I've learned in the last week several balance optimizing techniques for motorcycle wheels using gravity balance. As well, I do have beads in my tires with sufficient results now. I know what an ergonomic toll on the body digging ditches takes: I don't need to dig ditches 20 years to understand any better.

Mainly though, it's just to check if they are turning the tire 90 degrees in both directions for best placement, cleaning rim sufficiently, balancing weights properly, etc... (yea, I'll get charged more.) You are right though. THEY are the experts. But 1) I just making sure I understand what EXACTLY they are doing, and 2) it's always easy to make things better by tweaking processes (or optimizing.)

I will discuss every thing with my mechanic like always (I always do my due diligence or homework first to optimize his time = $$$). The results are a perfect motorcycle (that just keeps getting better somehow.) Because he is an expert, he makes money from optimizing his time, and I am always pushing the boundaries for mechanical perfection that has many rewards for the owner. HE IS USUALLY right, but there are calculated compromises sometimes I adjust. He does not mind because he is an open-minded professional wrench. Good mechanics and engineers get along well most of the time.

And the reason I ask here is there is a wealth of experts in all areas. My bike is my only transportation and I split lanes: it can never be just good enough! ymmv

Last edited by kawdog; 09-24-2015 at 08:43 PM.
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post #17 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-26-2015, 07:50 PM
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I use the balance on axle method with the stick on lead weights. I put a bead of silicone RTV caulk around the weight, the double sided foam tape seems prone to failure if it gets wet. This is the same method I used for 30 years to balance aircraft nosewheels. Except for the Lear 35s I worked on. They use a little bracket that bolts under one of the wheel through bolts. Any jet with fuselage mounted engines does that to preclude a stick on wheel weight getting thrown into an engine. The nosewheel profile also is not right for sticking weights on.
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post #18 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-26-2015, 08:42 PM
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I have a static balancer (NoMar, came as part of the package when I bought the tire changer). Works great for me.
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post #19 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-27-2015, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by fasteddiecopeman View Post
IF you ever use "tire-goop" in a tire for wahtever reason - I suggest you DO NOT put beads in. They'll just stick in the goop, NOT balance it!
Depends on the goop. "Ride On" tire goop balances the tire great and has the side benefit of preventing a puncture from ruining your day.

The nice thing about either method is that they balance the tire correctly over its entire life. The weights only work until you ride it. Unless the tire wears perfectly evenly (they don't) the fixed weights become more and more useless.
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post #20 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-27-2015, 03:13 PM
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So, after 100,000 miles, the Michelins on my truck, balanced when installed, should be shaking my fillings out by now.
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