Yes, you should balance your motorcycle tires. Your tires are the only thing between you and the pavement. Keeping your tires in top condition is one of a biker’s priorities.
Why should motorcycle tires be balanced?
Your motorcycle tires should be balanced for safety, as simple as that. The only thing keeping you upright and shiny side up is your tires.
In a previous article, we discussed the causes of death wobbles or tank slapping. Unbalanced tires are one probable cause of tank slappers; believe me, that is one biking experience you don’t want!
When should you balance your tires?
The usual time to balance your tires is when you fit new ones. It’s standard practice to balance the tires and change the valves when you fit new tires.
The only other time you would consider balancing your tires is if you feel a vibration while riding. Although there could be many reasons for vibration, tires are a possible cause.
Possible effects of unbalanced wheels
Several symptoms might point toward an unbalanced wheel;
- Vibration in the handlebars or through the saddle
- Uneven tire wear
- Poor handling, particularly in the bends
The vibration will stress the axles and wheel bearings, possibly causing premature failure if not corrected.
How are tires balanced?
The method of balancing is to stick or glue small lead weights to the inside of the wheel. Unfortunately, these can come unstuck or be knocked off when cleaning your wheels. If you lose a balance weight, it is advisable to have them rebalanced.
Tire shops use a dynamic wheel balancing machine that spins your wheels to a high speed and gives them a precise location to fit the balancing weights. It’s a quick and straightforward procedure.
Can you balance tires yourself?
Yes, you can, although it may not be as accurate as a balance carried out by a tire shop.
You can statically balance your wheels using the right tools and some stick-on weights. You’ll need a balancing stand, such as the Motion Pro Wheel Axis Truing / Balancing Stand. How to balance your tires is the subject of another article, but the process is easily achievable by the home mechanic.
You should always have your wheels balanced when fitting new tires or if you feel a vibration while riding. Balancing your motorcycle wheels is a simple process that home mechanics can do if they have the right tools.