One crucial aspect in keeping your bike performing in its optimum condition is by taking care of the wheels. Trivial it may seem, but having the knowledge how to balance a motorcycle tire is an essential element in preserving your bike.
What do we mean by having your tires balanced?
Most of the time, your tire has a heavier side compared to the other side. If you let your wheel spin freely and it stops at a certain point and then you move the wheel again 45 degrees and let go of it and it goes back to that point again, chances are, your motor wheel is not balanced.
The reason why your wheel’s weight should be evenly distributed is that it causes for some very unsafe riding conditions. After putting hundreds of miles on your bike, the rubber from your wheel will have uneven wear. Also, if going at higher speeds, there is a danger that your wheels will wobble and it could even cause accidents or worse, endanger your life.
It is therefore important that whenever you buy brand-new bike tires, or have your tires changed, you need to have them balanced. It is better to be safe than sorry.
If you are putting your bike’s tires by yourself, you must know how to balance a motorcycle tire.
There are several ways how to know if your wheel is balanced or not, but let me give you two ways in how to know if your motorcycle tire is balanced or not. First, you can use a mechanism to determine where the heavier part of the wheel is, and second, you can rely on gravity using your motorcycle.
On the first one, you can use a stand or a “dynamic balancing machine.” These mechanisms are available in many tire shops or online shops, and you can set it up easily in just a few steps. These stands are ideal for checking the wheel balance because they are equipped with axels that minimize friction and therefore allows the wheel to spin freely. There are instructions how to mount the wheel on the stand, and there are various ways to go through depending on the manufacturer of the stand.
Once the wheel is in the stand, let the wheel spin at a fast speed and take note of the place where the wheel stops on its own. The side that’s at the bottom is usually the heaviest spot. However, in order to be sure, put a piece of tape on that side and let the wheel spin again at least 3 times. If the place where you put the tape consistently ends at the bottom, then you have an unbalanced tire with you.
The second way is by taking advantage of gravity and just using your motorcycle. For the front wheel, you’ll want to loosen up the axle pinch screws and the axle to decrease binding and let the wheel loose, however leave the axle in position. Get rid of the brake caliper or press the pads back in the caliper body. For the back wheel, take the chain off and take out the caliper or press the pads so that it does not touch the disc.
Let the wheel spin and note where it comes to stop. Once again, hold on to the side which is nearest the ground, and mark it with a tape, chalk, pen, or pastel, and note that directly across the heaviest area of the wheel is the lightest part.
Hold the heaviest part that you have marked in the wheel and turn it 45 degrees. If you let it go and it falls back to the spot where you put the tape several times, then you are sure that it’s the heaviest spot.
Whether you used the stand or just your motorcycle, now that you have identified the heaviest part and the lightest part, it’s now time to distribute the weight evenly.
One way how to balance a motorcycle tire is by adding weights. Once you have identified the lightest part, which is 180 degrees from the heaviest part, you can now start to stick some weights.
There are some weights that are sold online which are for the sole purpose of balancing a wheel. They are tiny squares that you can stick on the side of the wheel.
Repeat the above action till you’ve achieved balanced weight or when the wheel stays stationary if you move it 45 degrees or 90 degrees. Don’t be bothered by the slightest difference in the wheel balance if you are not a motorcycle racer. Most of the times, it would not matter on the road anymore.
Now all you have to do is put the wheel back, re-install the chain, pump the brakes, tighten up the axles, and tighten everything on the motorcycle once you are done.