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Old 6th December 2010, 20:08   #1
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Default Wheel Balancing dynamically on my Superbike

I have been putting some decent mileage on my bikes lately, and as a result had to have the rear tires on both the CB1KR and the Nightster recently changed. When I changed the tire on the CB first, (the Michelin 180/55/17s are a lot easier to find than HD tires), I realized that I would not be able to balance my wheels, as the wheel, though very much like a car alloy, because of the single sided swingarm, would not fit on any standard balancing machines as the centre shaft would not fit the small hole on my wheel. Thus started my hunt for a solution.

Quick online reviews and searches suggested that I did not have much to worry about, and that new SBK tires are made with great precision, and that a 20 gm weight across from the valve stem should suffice. So, thats what I did, and left the original weights which were on the rim intact. No noticeable problems while riding.

But, I was not satisfied, and late night searches online revealed to me, a new solution out there: Dynamic wheel balancing. There is a product called "DynaBeads", which is gaining great popularity among bikers in the US, and there are discussions about it in a lot of bike forums. Some people were swearing by it, and some were calling it snake oil. I tried buying some Dynabeads from their website, and through some other resellers, and was hard finding one that would ship to India. And the ones that I did find wanted $50 to ship a $20 product.

Further research revealed to me what these Dynabeads actually are, and I started searching locally, and I managed to find an Indian manufacturer making the same product, with better specs!!

So, getting to the main topic: Dynamic wheel balancing involves inserting tiny ceramic balls into your tire through the valve stem (or directly during tire installation), which will be freely rolling around inside your tire and based on a combination of centripetal forces and inertial forces, will place themselves correctly in the lighter side of the wheel thereby balancing your tire. Sounds like humbug? Well, I thought so too, but that wasnt going to stop me from trying.

I would like to report that I have successfully inserted and tested on both the CB1KR and the Nightster with amazing results. Handlebar vibrations have dropped significantly for both the bikes. Noticeably smooth ride and no issues found till speeds of 160 kmph. (Havent had opportunity to go any faster).

As a SBK rider in India, with limited access to service and tools like motorcycle wheel balancers, this solution was like a godsend for me, and want to share with the TBhp community for other users. Apparently this technique originated in the commercial vehicle market with guys throwing anything from golf balls to BBs to achieve same results. Quite popular with the Offroading crowd as well where rockcrawling and getting weights thrown off, or getting mud cakes on the wheels was a constant problem. Also a hot favorite among vintage car owners.

I did a quick search on the topic but did not find any directly relevant threads, but I think some members already know of this and found one post mentioning it.

Ride Safe.
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Old 6th December 2010, 21:15   #2
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Thanks gthang for sharing this piece of valuable info. Question is:

Is this efective on 4 wheeler tires?
Where Available in India?
Cost per tire?
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Old 7th December 2010, 01:12   #3
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@narayanang76,
Thanks. Yes, it does work for 4 wheeler tires as well. The higher the side profile, the better the results.

However, after having installed and tested on the Civic, I noticed that it does not offer any advantages over conventional balancing on a standard car. This is an ideal solution for SBKs, Offroaders, and Vintage cars, and other hard to conventionally balance wheels.

The cost comes out approx. Rs.250 per tire with the beads, but is a one time installation for the life of the tire, and are reusable.
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Old 7th December 2010, 12:52   #4
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The conventional wheel balancers can easily do the balancing for bike wheels too. It requires an accessory attachment for the balancer. Since the requirement for balancing is very low in our country, the tyre shops usually do not buy this accessory and hence very difficult to find a tyre shop equipped with one. You might be able to find such balancers at the oem service outlet. I strongly feel that balancing the wheel on a good wheel balancer will give you the best results, be it a bike or a car.
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Old 7th December 2010, 12:58   #5
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If you did pictograph the procedure, I request you to post it.

It shall be of much help to others.
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Old 7th December 2010, 13:33   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajman28 View Post
The conventional wheel balancers can easily do the balancing for bike wheels too. It requires an accessory attachment for the balancer. Since the requirement for balancing is very low in our country, the tyre shops usually do not buy this accessory and hence very difficult to find a tyre shop equipped with one. You might be able to find such balancers at the oem service outlet. I strongly feel that balancing the wheel on a good wheel balancer will give you the best results, be it a bike or a car.
I did look around nearby for shops with that attachment, but no luck. Apparently there is a guy in Cbe that has one, but it was locally machined, and the shaft adapter itself was not balanced. Apparently so, heard from my mechanic, cannot verify.
After much research, I concluded that the beads are a more efficient procedure to balance and they offer additional benefits such as longer tire life and even wear (no cupping). Results which I am yet to verify. But as far as the balancing and vibes go, they are working like a champ.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
If you did pictograph the procedure, I request you to post it.

It shall be of much help to others.
Sorry, I did not pictograph it, as both bikes were done together and I was more concerned about the beads dropping and running around. There are several links with photographs as well as youtube videos of the same.

I did not want to post all the details involved since that might have led to a really long writeup. If anyone is genuinely interested in trying these, I will provide the info required to source very high quality beads in India.

I would recommend all bikers try this just for kicks, although it might take some time and little money to experiment, but will be worth it, IMHO.

Ride safe.

P.S. The physics of this require speeds of at least 50km/h for it to start working. The negative effects of an imbalanced tire also starts working at roughly those speeds. Might not be of much use if you are doing just rush hour city runs primarily.

Last edited by gthang : 7th December 2010 at 13:38.
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Old 7th December 2010, 14:57   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gthang View Post
I did look around nearby for shops with that attachment, but no luck. Apparently there is a guy in Cbe that has one, but it was locally machined, and the shaft adapter itself was not balanced. Apparently so, heard from my mechanic, cannot verify.
.
Where are you located? (browsing through my mobile so the location isn't displayed)

I am located at cbe and can guide you to someone who has a good equipment for this if you are interested.
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Old 7th December 2010, 18:45   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajman28 View Post
Where are you located? (browsing through my mobile so the location isn't displayed)

I am located at cbe and can guide you to someone who has a good equipment for this if you are interested.
Thanks. I might have been interested before I stumbled upon the beads. Now I am a firm believer in the beads, and am in fact trying to introduce it to others, hence, the creation of this thread.
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Old 7th December 2010, 20:29   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gthang View Post
Thanks. I might have been interested before I stumbled upon the beads. Now I am a firm believer in the beads, and am in fact trying to introduce it to others, hence, the creation of this thread.

Is this usable only in superbikes or normal indian bikes like pulsar,karizma use it too?
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Old 8th December 2010, 03:59   #10
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Originally Posted by sagarpadaki View Post
Is this usable only in superbikes or normal indian bikes like pulsar,karizma use it too?
Technically, it should work on any tire/wheel combo, tubed or tubeless.

Best used in an application where imbalanced tire effects are more apparent. Small capacity bikes with lighter weight and harder compound tires, and generally slower speeds do not exhibit any tire imbalance vibrations nor do they affect wear as much. Usually so. If you are experiencing high vibes and suspect tire imbalance, you could try it.

I had posted this thread in the Tire/Wheel section so that some Offroaders and vintage car guys might also see it, as they are some who could benefit from this technique. But the mods felt fit to move it to Motorbikes section.

Anyways, if anyone is interested, the beads are Zirconium Silicate ceramic balls, used as grinding media, and available in India. I used the 1mm dia. balls.
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Old 13th December 2010, 22:19   #11
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Originally Posted by gthang View Post
Technically, it should work on any tire/wheel combo, tubed or tubeless.


Anyways, if anyone is interested, the beads are Zirconium Silicate ceramic balls, used as grinding media, and available in India. I used the 1mm dia. balls.

Where to get these?Which type of shop has these?
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Old 14th December 2010, 08:40   #12
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Where to get these?Which type of shop has these?
AFAIK, they are not available in any shops. You will have to contact specialty suppliers who can source these for you. There is an Indian manufacturer who will send you the small quantity you require if you request. I do not want to post their address in a public forum. PM me, and I can send you their contact info.

After posting the thread, I have realized something. There is not really a whole lot of potential users in India for whom this technique is of much use.

The main clientele for this "bead balancing" are in western countries where driving is usually at relatively high (60 - 80 mph) and uniform speeds for almost all vehicles including commercial vehicles. Commercial vehicles have been found to have fuel efficiency gains of 2% using these beads, which can be significant over the life of the vehicle. Offroaders, scooters, vintage cars, motorcycles with customs wheels who dont want ugly weights, and other users all have one thing in common. They all drive ~70 mph on the freeway. They need balanced wheels, and at these speeds, the beads work.

In India, commercial trucks could actually do with balanced wheels which could save them tire costs drastically. But the whole trucking business in India seems to be run so illogically, purely based on maximizing profit on every run, the long term life of the truck be damned. So many of them overloaded running so inefficiently. They can rarely reach speeds of 80kmph nor maintain it. So, I think the idea of beads to save 2% fuel and claims of upto 30% tire life would be the last thing on their mind. Exception would be Volvo and other inter city coaches who do maintain higher speeds.

Offroaders like Gypsys and MM's with monster tires and mudboggers could use this since normal weight balancing is hardly reliable for them especially after an OTR where some tire spinning and/or mud is involved. But these vehicles rarely go over speeds of 80 kmph on the highways where they would find out that their tires are out of balance.

When you think about it, only cars, suv's and some bikes are capable of going and maintaining speeds of 80 in India. The regular weight balancing shops are such a common sight in India now that it would be the most practical solution for regular cars and suvs. But, your tire balancing is only as good as the technician who did the job. There are several variables which could lead to error in standard balancing, starting with the tire dimension input step. I've had balancing wobble on my Civic right out of the Honda service center on 2 occasions. Thankfully I have a friend owned tire shop where I can supervise the work. But after installing the beads on the Civic, I no longer have to worry about balancing again for the life of the tire. No ugly weights on my alloys, either.

I know the beads work because it took some fine tuning with the amount inserted to stop the steering wobble on the Civic. The motorcycles worked right off the bat with the recommended amount.

Now, the main stumbling block: sourcing the beads. If you were in the US, you could just go to Dynabeads website, and order the amount you need for your application, wait for the courier, install them and away you go. In India, you could do 2 things. One, you could pay the ridiculous shipping charges and get them from Dynabeads, or Dynaballs, or Equal, all companies with similar products. Or, you could do what I did and source the material from its original market, which is in rolling mill grinding. The only hitch is that they are used to supplying in 25kg packs which is way too many beads, unless you want to do a whole truck fleet or something. If you send a special request they might send you 1Kg, which also is too much. One SBK tire needs only 2oz for rear and 1oz(~28 gms) for front. 1 Kg costs about Rs.2500 including shipping. I needed enough for installing these on 3 cars/muv and 2 sbks, so 1kg seemed OK for me.

So, I guess now I see the wisdom in the moderator having moved this to the motorcycle section, as SBK riders are the only real potential users in India at the moment. Since their numbers are increasing even though the service and support industry for them is not keeping pace. I dont know much about the sbk service scene in metros, but sbk wheel balancers were hard for me to come around. Although, there was an offer from a TBhpian (ajman28) in Cbe who knew where to do it locally. Maybe most guys have access to them and are getting it done. I dont know. I do know that riding with balanced wheels is something that you have to experience to feel the difference.

I was really impressed with the beads, and thought of shouting it out to the world, and did so by posting it on TBhp. Dont really think it is something that will be of much help to most.

Thanks for reading my ramblings.

Ride Safe.
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Old 14th December 2010, 10:01   #13
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Default Re: Wheel Balancing dynamically on my Superbike

thanks for the information gthang.

found a video explaining the theory behind it.

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Last edited by jeepster : 14th December 2010 at 10:02.
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Old 14th December 2010, 13:05   #14
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Default Re: Wheel Balancing dynamically on my Superbike

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There is an Indian manufacturer who will send you the small quantity you require if you request. I do not want to post their address in a public forum. PM me, and I can send you their contact info.
Dear gthang,

Unless specially specified by the Indian Manufacturer not to, you should post the contact details here on the forum so that everyone can see directly instead of everytime PMing you. This is the whole point of an open forum, to share knowledge. Anyways, PM me the contact details if you do not want to post it.
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Old 14th December 2010, 15:23   #15
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Dear gthang,

Unless specially specified by the Indian Manufacturer not to, you should post the contact details here on the forum so that everyone can see directly instead of everytime PMing you. This is the whole point of an open forum, to share knowledge. Anyways, PM me the contact details if you do not want to post it.
The manufacturer of these beads makes them for a totally different purpose and is used to selling large shipments. Not that it will happen, but, I dont want them bombarded with queries about small batches thanks to my posting.

I have already provided the info, i.e., what the beads are, Zirconium silicate ceramic beads. This is not info that you can obtain easily. You can use google or other engines and get several sources for that product.

I will PM you the Indian manufacturer details.
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