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Old 03-20-2007, 09:06 PM   #1
space OP
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Balancing tires -- tools needed?

So I'm setting out to put new tires on my 1150GS and DRZ400S. My guiding principle is minimal tools. First off, I'm short on cash right now. But more importantly, I want to know how to change my tires while on the road. (OK, not literally on the road. That would be stupid. But you know what I mean.)

After looking into balancing, I found plenty of pages like this one:

http://www.largiader.com/balancer/

Looks great and probably makes the job really easy. But why not just PUT THE TIRES BACK ON THE BIKE AND SPIN 'EM?? Seems like the common-sense approach, and no money or extra tools are required. I'm just wary that I must be missing something. Please enlighten a tire changing noob.
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Old 03-20-2007, 09:25 PM   #2
JimVonBaden
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The main reason you can't do it on the bike is drag.

The wheel bearings and dust caps/bearing covers create enough drag on the axle that you would not get anything near accurate for balance.

On the other hand, balancing a wheel on a dirt bike isn't critacal, and some feel the same way about street bikes as well.

If you are on the road changing a tire, you can skip the balance and just fix the tire. Doubtful you will notice untill you are at speed on the road. And even then it wont be dangerous or dramatically affect handling.

Jim
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Old 03-21-2007, 05:05 AM   #3
swjohnsey
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I disagree. It has been my experience that if you take the caliper off (which I usually do anyway) the wheel bearings are adequate to balance the wheel/tire. I'm not sure about the BMW set-up with the rear wheel. You can probably do it with the wheel on the bike. I usually support the wheel on the axle between a couple of chairs/milk crates/cement blocks.
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Old 03-21-2007, 08:02 AM   #4
kerhonky
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The one and only time I've changed a motorcycle tire myself, I balanced it using the axle, but not on the bike. I supported both ends on speaker cabinets. I have had no issues with balance of that tire, even up to highway speeds.

If you're in doubt as to whether there's too much drag using the axle, I would suggest adding a little weight (maybe a 0.25 oz weight) to the rim before you change the tire, and see if it's enough to make the tire spin on the axle. In other words, support both ends of the axle, and turn the tire until the added weight is at the 3:00 or 9:00 position, and let go. If the minimal weight is enough to make the tire spin until the weight is at the 6:00 position (or better yet, enough to make it go past 6:00 and then swing back, like a pendulum), the drag on the axle is probably not enough to affect your balancing.

All this comes with the caveat that you'd be taking the advice of someone who:

a) is not a motorcycle mechanic;
b) has minimal experience balancing tires; and
c) does not go over 75 miles on his motorcycle, so balance issues might not show up.

FWIW.
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Old 03-21-2007, 08:15 AM   #5
Papa Dulce
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The Marc Parnes product set up on simple auto jack stands has worked well for many a tire arond here. Take your time and sip a beer while you spin the wheel. Successfully used on maybe close to 50 tires between several rider buddies. Make sure the jack stands are level.
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Old 03-21-2007, 03:44 PM   #6
space OP
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Thanks for the advice. I'll try it on the bike, and if that doesn't work maybe I'll invest in one of the Mark Parnes balancers. Look good, and I like a multi-bike tool. (That way I can have my friends give me beer in return for balancing their tires. Everyone wins.)
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Old 03-21-2007, 05:29 PM   #7
Lurch II
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Papa Dulce
The Marc Parnes product set up on simple auto jack stands has worked well for many a tire arond here. Take your time and sip a beer while you spin the wheel. Successfully used on maybe close to 50 tires between several rider buddies. Make sure the jack stands are level.
Papa
+1

I, too, have the Marc Parnes product. Trick little balancer. I spin the tires between two chairs in the kitchen, never had an issue. Have done both my bike and MrsL's F650GS, front and rear, no problem.
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