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Wheel weights

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Until recently, I've always had the dealer mount and balance my new tires.  I had probably an ounce or so on the rim of stick on weights.  I'm guessing on the amount, because I didn't look closely at the numbers on the weights when I took them off.

My dealer raised his prices significantly and it pissed me off.  Yeah, I can afford to pay what they charge, but it was the principle to me.  So I bought the Motion Pro 08-0536 BeadPro Forged Steel Tire Bead Breaker and Lever Tool Set.  It works.  

The next step though, was balancing the wheels.  The options I saw were:  

  • Buy a static wheel balancer.  I'm cheap though and wanted to avoid not only the cost, but the storage space it would take in my garage.
  • Balance beads or something similar.
  • Ride-on
  • Nothing

I ended up using balance beads.  The tires I put on rode extremely smooth.  I was a happy camper.  That was in May.

In August, I changed tires again.  This time, I didn't put anything in the tires.  The tires I put on ride extremely smooth.  I'm still a happy camper.

So...why did I "need" the stick on weights originally when the dealership was changing the tires?  I have no clue.  I suspect the balance beads spread out as they are supposed to...but weren't needed.  

There's discussion on other forums about tire and wheel balancing.  Word back from the tire manufacturers are that the quality standards are so high nowadays that the tires don't need balancing.  If balancing is needed, it is for the bike's wheel.

My recommendation is to install the tire.  If there's a "dot" on it, put the dot near the valve stem.  If there's no dot, just install it.  See how it rides.  If you need balancing, then use either beads or Ride-On.

Ride-On (and probably Slime) will work under the same principle as the beads do.  The material shifts to balance the tire.  If the tire gets a puncture, you have a chance to repair the leak with the Ride-On installed.  I'd be a little leery of using it, if you don't put on many miles.  I've used Slime in the past and it worked well.  But then I rode it daily.  By the time the tire was changed, the Slime had become tacky in the tread area of the tire.  If I had let the bike sit for six months of the year...would it have become a tacky lump in the bottom of the tire?  Ride-On says it will balance your tire.  Does it stay liquid?  Or does it become tacky over time like Slime?  I don't know.

The balance beads seem to be fine.  The only downside is that if you get a puncture, you can't use something like Ride-On or Slime.  I would think it would cause the beads to clump.


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One of our local tyre store uses a similar argument for not bothering to balance the wheels.  If its not important, why does EVERY bike manufacturer go to the un-necessary expense of balancing every wheel they fit?  I agree that you sometimes can't feel any difference, especially on the rear, but that is probably just luck that your tyre and wheel ended up in balance.  Besides, it is so easy to do.  A  few weights to choose from, the axle or a loose rod running on a couple of external lightly oiled bearings supported by a couple of auto axle stands and you'll soon find out if it needs balancing.  The cure is then simply adding weight at the top of the wheel (heavy side goes to the bottom) until it no longer tends to stop in a particular position.  Average time maybe 10 minutes.  On the other hand, my favourite local tyre supplier/fitter has the necessary adapter for the auto balancer and does it automatically and for free.

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