Do You Need To Balance A Motorcycle Tire – Many ATV owners are used to balancing their vehicle’s tires, so they wonder if the same principles apply to ATV tires. You will feel some vibration in most unbalanced ATV tires and this begs the question:
Do you balance tires on quad bikes? ATV tire balancing is optional. Off-road and utility driving at lower speeds usually do not require a balanced tire. Aggressively threaded mud tires are difficult to balance successfully. Trail riding, racing or other higher speed applications benefit from tire balance.
Do You Need To Balance A Motorcycle Tire
The purpose of balancing any wheel is to reduce or preferably eliminate vibration caused by damage or imperfections in the rim or tire.
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Each imperfection creates a hard spot that throws the wheel off balance as it spins. If the balance is off, the wheel will start to vibrate more and more as the speed increases.
You bring it back into balance by adding small weights to the light spot of the tire. Enough weight is added to bring the center of gravity back to the center of the wheel.
The vibration of some unbalanced tires is so small that it is practically unnoticeable. Meanwhile, at the other end of the scale, you have tires that vibrate so much that it negatively affects the handling of the motorcycle.
Rider preference and what type of riding the rider does most often will determine whether they choose a tire/rim balance.
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But even if you decide that your tires really do need to be balanced and your ride calls for it:
Can you balance an ATV tire? Yes, you can balance an ATV tire if it has a removable center cap. Or at least you can drastically reduce the existing vibration. However, traditional methods don’t work as well if you do a lot of off-road driving with a lot of mud and dirt.
PS: Some steel ATV rims have a center hole that is too large to use the taper to center the rim on most cheap tire balancers. If that’s the case, you’ll need to find creative DIY methods or take the tire to a dealer who has the right tools.
The traditional way to balance a tire is to add fixed weights to the rim, known as static balancing. Sticky weights or rim-mounted weights are the most common types of fixed weights. This method works well for most road tires.
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The problem with these methods of balancing ATV tires is that the weights can come loose and throw the tire out of balance. This is due to the rough handling of these tires compared to car tires and other road tires.
If you mostly ride on smooth gravel roads, paved roads, and only the occasional light terrain, you probably won’t have any problems using these types of weights, even if they are a little exposed.
Sticky weights are the most common of the two on ATVs because they are quick and easy to use.
However, weights with high-quality adhesive tape must be used and the rim must be cleaned with a degreaser when installing them. Otherwise, the scale may not stay put for long.
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If you don’t want to do the balancing yourself, you can ask a tire shop to do it for you. Costs $10-$15 per tire.
However, with ATV tires being a known problem, you may have trouble finding a tire shop willing to do the job for you. They don’t want to deal with weight loss complaints all the time.
Some even claim that ATV tires are not suitable for their tire machine. While this may be true, it is often just an excuse to avoid dealing with ATV tires. Most ATV tires are fine for a regular tire changer.
Static balancing with solid weights is generally considered better than placing a balancing carrier in the wheel.
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But if you do a lot of riding in deep mud and on trails with lots of rocks, dirt, sticks, and other debris, sticky weights may not be your best bet. Wet mud, rocks, and debris knock the weights off quickly.
For this type of driving, the best choice is to use the so-called balance legs. These are small ball-shaped balls that go inside the tire.
As the tire starts to rotate, the pellets disperse inside the tire. The lugs naturally resist the force of the tire’s hard spot and effectively self-balance the tire while driving.
The beads are only a few mm in diameter and are usually made of a ceramic material.
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Using a special tool, you inject the balls through the tire valve. However, some people find this method inconvenient and time-consuming.
If you know how to break a tire bead, it will probably be faster and easier. This way you can pour the beads directly into the tire before putting it back on the rim.
Warning: Do not use tire beads with green slime or other tire sealant that you have put inside the tire. The sticky slime prevents the beads from spreading properly. As a result, you can end up with a tire that is even more out of balance, as well as a big mess when you need to remove the tire and fix the leak.
Dynabeads is one brand that offers this product. Their website lists the recommended amount of tread needed for different sizes of ATV tires. An alternative is to ask your local truck tire shop, as tire strips are usually used to balance half tires.
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Another advantage of tire treads is that they can be reused when you replace worn out old tires. Read this guide to learn how to change an ATV tire at home.
Some riders use tire chocks to balance their ATVs and other off-road tires. The principle of the method is called hydrodynamic balancing.
Rehvilima is designed to prevent or repair leaks in all terrain tires. Because it’s liquid, it has a leveling effect on the tire, but neither the manufacturer nor other riders recommend using it for this purpose.
Mucus only stays liquid for a year or two. As it hardens, it loses any leveling effect and you have to apply more slime.
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An alternative product is Ride-on tire sealant and balancer. This product is advertised as both a sealant and a tire balancer, and it stays fluid longer.
Whether or not you should balance your ATV tires depends on the type of tire you have, the type of riding you do, and the conditions you ride in.
You can get ATV tires for a variety of riding applications, from smooth and stable off-road radials to oversized dirt tires.
Road tires benefit from balance because they are typically used at higher speeds.
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All imbalances are more noticeable as the speed increases. Sticky weights are also likely to stay in place since you probably won’t be riding as much in rough and muddy conditions.
On the other hand, mud tires are mostly used at lower speeds. At speeds below 20-30 mph, there shouldn’t be any major problems even if the tire is severely out of balance.
The large lugs on these tires make them unsuitable for high-speed trail riding and are very difficult to balance. You have a hard time keeping the weights in place and the vibration from the big ears is always there anyway.
Another aspect to consider is that larger ATV tires can take months to straighten after strapping. If you balance a new tire with adhesive weights this way, you’ll probably have to redo the job after a few months.
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An unbalanced bike puts a lot of stress on your bike’s suspension, bushings and bearings at higher speeds.
The heavy lugs on the mud tires make matters worse, so if you plan on driving them at higher speeds from time to time, the balance may pay off.
When playing in the mud, it doesn’t matter if the tire is balanced or not. Any mud in the rim will throw the tire off balance and no amount of weight can stop that.
And as we’ve discussed, adhesive weights, clip-on weights, or other types of weights attached to the outside of the rim won’t last long in harsh riding conditions. But again, because of the low speed, this won’t be a problem for you.
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The same applies to other modes of driving where speeds are low. When balancing your wheels for technical off-road riding, rock climbing and most utilitarian jobs, you’ll hardly notice the difference.
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