Have you ever felt your motorcycle pull to one side or had difficulty steering your ride recently? If so, it is most likely that your motorcycle wheel is not balanced. This might leave you wondering what happens when a motorcycle wheel is out of balance.
An imbalance can lead to faster and uneven tire wear. It causes vibrations that affect the stability and balance of the motorcycle. This can affect handling and even lead to an accident in extreme cases.
In this article, I will discuss a few products that will help you balance your motorcycle in your garage itself. These motorcycle wheel balancers will help you tune the wheels to your liking, allowing you to get the performance and life out of your tires while keeping you safe.
I will also discuss methods of balancing your wheel and the symptoms one might encounter if you have an unbalanced wheel.
I have also included a motorcycle balancer guide to help you do your own research before choosing a product that meets your needs.
Here are some of the best motorcycle wheel balancers that we have tested:
1. BikeMaster Wheel Balancer and Truing Stand
The first product on our list is the BikeMaster Wheel Balancer and Truing Stand. High quality steel plates used in its construction ensure that the product can support a range of tires with widths between 30cm and 54cm.
It also comes with a bubble level balancer that allows users to balance the wheel quickly and precisely. It also has a variety of cones and shafts to ensure that the wheel is properly supported during the process of balancing.
This product offers great value for money as it helps riders avoid expensive trips to the garage every time they need to get their wheels checked or balanced. It is simple to use, with a number of tutorials available online to help one get accustomed to this product.
However, a lack of spare parts and a slightly higher price point may make riders on a budget think twice before purchasing this product.
During our testing we found that the initial assembly is quite simple, the product lacks an assembly manual, which is not too expensive to publish considering the cost one pays for it.
The product that we got has some minor issues, the wheel is not rotating freely at first, but after some cleaning and applying some grease, it works absolutely fine. When you first hold this one you should feel the weight and you realize the quality of the metal used to make the balancer.
Pros and Cons
- Made of high quality materials and robust construction
- Accommodates a variety of wheel sizes
- Quick wheel balancing and truing, simple to use
- Bubble level allows for precise balancing
- Lacks assembling instructions
- Reports of bent balancing rod on the arrival of product
- Lacks replacement parts
2. Goplus Motorcycle Bike Wheel Balancer
The Goplus Motorcycle Bike Wheel Balancer features on this list of top motorcycle wheel balancers thanks to its sturdy heavy-gauge steel construction and attractive price point. Here are a few features that stand out when it comes to this product.
The centering cones located on the wheel shaft ensure that users can balance their wheels quickly and precisely, even if they do not have previous experience.
It is also flexible, allowing users to balance a number of wheels belonging to dirt bikes, cruisers, sports bikes, and other models. Its feet have a locking mechanism as well as a bubble level to give users precise truing options.
It is a very useful tool for riders who encounter bad roads on a regular basis, allowing them to maintain and balance their wheels without having to go to the nearest mechanic.
However, this product does not come with an assembly manual, which can make initial assembly quite tricky for first-time users, but all the parts align easily, but there is a minor issue, the allen bolt doesn’t fit properly, you have to get your own allen there.
It also has a few quality control issues as a result of which a number of customers have encountered defects while unboxing their product.
Pros and Cons
- Great value for money
- Heavy gauge steel construction supports a variety of wheels
- Easy to set up, wheels can be balanced quickly
- Rust-resistant finish for more durability
- Multiple reports of uprights being bent
- Customer service not very responsive
- Reports of poor quality bearings
- No assembly instructions are included in the package
3. TiAMAHAUL Portable Motorcycle Wheel Balancer
Next on this list is the TiAMAHAUL Portable Motorcycle Wheel Balancer. It comes with an iron construction covered with a black powder finish to give it a longer life and prevent rusting.
The center cones are adjustable, allowing users to balance wheels between 13.8mm and 38mm width using this product. It also comes with its own bubble level and adjustable feet at the four corners, allowing you to set the machine up quickly and precisely.
Users looking for a cheap and easy-to-use wheel balancer will enjoy using this product, as it allows them to complete balancing and truing a wheel at home, without having to pay a hefty bill at the local mechanic.
However, the drawbacks of owning the product include quality control issues with the shaft, as a result of which many users have received products in which the shaft was bent. It is also not the best product to choose if precision is the key focus for you purchasing a new wheel balancer.
Pros and Cons
- Bubble indicator for proper level indication
- Quick set up and easy to use
- Cost effective solution
- Number of complaints regarding a bent shaft
- Balancer cones are not precise
- Ball bearings interfere, prevent the wheel from rotating smoothly
4. Motion Pro 08-0538 Axis Wheel Truing-Balance Stand
Unlike previous models in this list, the Motion Pro Axis Wheel Truing Balance Stand stands out thanks to its unique design, which supports the wheel from only one side.
As a result, you get easy access to the inner spokes and rim of your wheel, allowing you to balance your wheel in a precise manner. This product is capable of accommodating the wheels of most dirt and sportbike models available in the market.
The hub cones on the shaft ensure that the wheel is firmly held in place while the ball bearings allow the wheel to rotate freely for precision balancing and truing.
As a result, this product is a favorite amongst customers looking for a portable product that can be stored easily. However, its major drawback is its inability to support heavier wheels of bikes like Harleys and other cruisers, which restricts its usability.
A number of customers also reported having to send their product back due to improper packing while shipping, which damaged the product.
Pros and Cons
- Collapsible design for easy storage
- Proper set up instructions and easy to assemble
- Easy to use for wheel balancing and truing
- Unobstructed access to inner spokes and nipples
- Lacks bubble level indicator
- Not suitable for heavier or larger wheels
- Reported issues of product damage during shipping
- Users reported bearing seizing, prevented the wheel from rotating
5. Tusk Motorcycle Wheel Balancing and Truing Stand
The last product on this list is the Tusk Motorcycle Wheel Balancing and Truing Stand. This balancer comes truing stand offers great value for money as well as a number of features that make it easy to use even for amateur riders.
The sturdy frame is designed to accommodate a variety of wheels of different motorcycle models. The center shaft has adjustable cones to keep the wheel in place, allowing users to get a precise balancing experience.
The bearings are smooth and allow the wheel to roll freely without much resistance as well, making the entire process a lot simpler. Users have a rim pointer to help assist in the truing process of the wheel, making this a versatile and portable product to have in one’s garage.
Users reported delayed service from customer care when they called regarding minor issues with the product. However, its versatility and ruggedness certainly made it a great investment for riders looking to reduce the number of trips they make to the garage to get their wheels balanced.
Pros and Cons
- Sturdy construction
- Smooth bearing action for precision balancing
- Rim pointer to assist in truing
- Accommodates a variety of wheels
- Customer service is not very prompt
What are the symptoms of an out-of-balance wheel?
The most noticeable issue that you will encounter when your wheel is out of balance is vibrations. If this happens while you are riding on well-paved roads, then there is most likely a wheel balance issue. Vibrations due to tire imbalance are also more pronounced at certain speeds only, making it easier to detect.
If you inspect your tires regularly, then another symptom of an imbalanced wheel is uneven tread wear on the tire. This is because the weight is distributed unevenly on the wheels, which leads to more weight leaning on a specific side of the tire.
Another common symptom of a wheel being out of balance is when your fuel economy drops. If you do not have any specific engine or fuel-related issues, then it is better to get your wheel checked to see if the balance is right.
If you feel like steering your motorcycle needs more effort than normal or wobbles a lot, then it is a telltale sign that your wheel needs to be balanced right away. If this is the case, you must stop riding the motorcycle immediately as the loss of balance can lead to you losing control and meeting with an accident.
If you drive regularly on uneven roads, then it is best that you inspect your wheels frequently as they are more susceptible to getting out of balance in such situations. This will allow you to prolong the life of your tires and ensure safety and comfort while riding.
How to Balance a Motorcycle Wheel?
Balancing a motorcycle wheel is an easy procedure that is often overlooked by many riders. It helps improve the performance of your motorcycle and increases rider safety by minimizing vibrations and ensuring optimum balance.
Wheels can go out of balance over time due to rough riding conditions. They can also be an issue in new wheels which may suffer from slight manufacturing defects.
If you have a motorcycle wheel balancer, then balancing a wheel takes just a few minutes and minimal space. It does not require any specific motorcycle-related knowledge, with numerous resources regarding the same available online nowadays.
Here is the basic method of balancing a wheel using a wheel balancer.
- Remove the wheel from the motorcycle and detach all attached components including the brake calipers and axle.
- Place the wheel on the wheel balancer by passing the shaft through the center of the wheel. Ensure that the cones of the balancer are placed such that they secure the wheel and allow it to spin without any wobble.
- Now spin the wheel to notice if there is any friction due to the bearings of the balancer. If not, you are good to start the actual balancing process.
- Spin the wheel and allow it to come to a stop without any external force. Once the wheel stops, mark the upper portion (12 o’clock) of the tire as this is the lightest spot on your tire.
- Now turn the wheel to the left and right by 90º and leave it. If there is an imbalance, the wheel will rotate back such that the lightest part returns to the 12 o’clock position.
- Now add wheel weights or wheel tape to add weight to the lightest part of the wheel and repeat step number 5. Keep adding the weights in different orientations to help fine-tune the balancing process.
- On repeating step 5, if the marked portion does not rotate back to the 12 o’clock position, it means that your wheel is now balanced.
- Remove the wheel from the balancer and connect it back to your motorcycle.
This procedure for balancing a wheel may vary for wheel balancers manufactured by different brands. Thus, it is better to refer to the instruction manual for the product you have purchased to know the best way to balance a wheel using it.
How to Balance a Motorcycle Tire Without a Balancer?
Although it is not advised to balance a motorcycle wheel without a wheel balancing stand as you may not get the most accurate results. However, it is possible to get the job in emergency situations where you cannot access such equipment.
- Firstly, you will have to place your motorcycle at a height. Then remove the brake calipers or the chain depending on the tire you are going to balance. After this, loosen the axle shaft of the wheel such that the wheel rotates freely with reduced effort.
- Now spin the wheel and notice the position where it comes to rest. Mark the upper most part of the wheel at this rest position with tape or chalk to indicate the lightest part of the wheel.
- Now turn the wheel to the left and right by 90º, that is the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions and see if the marked portion of the wheel returns to the 12 o’clock position.
- If this happens, add or remove weights from the wheel till it no longer moves when turned to the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock. This helps you find the static balance of the wheel.
- Once this is complete, put back the brake calipers and tighten the axle shaft of your motorcycle to ensure the wheel is firmly secured. This will then allow you to ride your motorcycle with a balanced wheel.
Motorcycle Balancer Buying Guide
If this is your first time buying a motorcycle wheel balancer, then this buying guide will help you understand the various aspects of this product. This will allow you to prioritize your requirements and purchase the product that is within your budget.
- Type of balancer
There are three different types of balancers available in the market today; Spin balancers, static balancers, and bubble balancers.
Spin balancers are the most commonly used types of balancers in the market. They help balance a wheel in minutes, in which the user spins the wheel that eventually comes to rest with the lightest spot in the upward position.
However, these machines require extensive calibration and are not the most versatile when handling wheels of different sizes.
Bubble balancers use a liquid level indicator to help a user balance their wheel using a 4 point measurement. However, this type of balancing, which was used widely in the past, is not very accurate and has seen its popularity dwindle over the years.
Static balancers are the most durable and simple to use a type of balancer available. They are used in a wide variety of applications including motorsport.
They are known for precise balancing and tuning, making them ideal for those looking for the most balanced and true wheel.
- Size and weight
The size of the balancer comes into question if you do not have large storage space. While some balancers have a foldable design, others can be disassembled and reassembled easily, making them convenient for storage. It can however affect the accuracy of the product.
The weight of the balancer is important if you are looking for a balancer that is portable and convenient to carry around. A lightweight and sturdy balancer can be useful for motorcyclists looking to take a balancer amongst other tools to a day at the track.
- Axle and cones
The axle or shaft is the main component on which the wheel rests while balancing. A good axle must be straight and perfectly round for precise balancing.
It must also be hard and must resist bending due to the weight of the wheel, which can have a negative impact on the process. Most axles are made of tool steel, making it ideal for varying wheel sizes.
The cones are the elements on the shaft that support the wheel. They help prevent the wheel from wobbling while spinning, allowing you to balance the weight correctly.
Cones made of steel or aluminum are durable and hold their shape. The cones must also be perfectly concentric so that they do not change the mass of the wheel when holding it on the shaft.
Bearings are a critical element of wheel balancers. They allow the wheel to rotate freely and smoothly, ensuring that the wheel rests at the actual lightest part. The bearings must not cause additional friction that may end up offsetting the balance of the wheel, which can lead to erroneous balance corrections.
After careful consideration of all the products in the best motorcycle wheel balancer list mentioned above, I personally felt the BikeMaster Wheel Balancer and Truing Stand was the best product in the list.
Despite being on the more expensive side, it offered a number of features that made it convenient for a variety of requirements.
Its sturdy construction and easy assembly ensured that users could get their wheels balanced in no time. It also provided a bubble level indicator to ensure users could balance their wheels precisely.
Other products on the list also had similar features but fell a bit short when it came to the quality of the shaft and bearings. Many users reported bent shaft issues and seized bearings, which the BikeMaster Wheel Balancer was able to avoid for the most part.
I hope that this article has given you all the information you need to purchase the wheel balancer that meets your requirements.
Having one of these will help you have a smoother and safer ride while prolonging the life of your wheels and tires. It will also help you avoid trips to your local garage and save you a lot of money in the long run.