Keeping motorcycle tires balanced is crucial for long-term performance. While there are a few ways of doing this, it’s worth gaining a basic understanding of how motorcycle tire balancing beads work and if they are effective or not.
Motorcycle tire balancing beads do work. They have been proven to extend the life cycle of a tire, but you should take care when installing them as too many beads can have the opposite effect. They can also take time to install, but they are a cost-effective option for balancing motorcycle tires.
We’re going to take a deep dive into all things motorcycle balancing beads down below. So, if you’re unsure of these beads or are curious to know how they work, we have all the information you need, so keep reading!
What Are Tire Balancing Beads For Motorcycles?
Motorcycle tire balancing beads are small, spherical-shaped objects that are made out of either steel, ceramic, or some other compound. They are designed to correct an imbalance in your motorcycle tires by acting as a counterweight for the tire where it’s needed.
Balancing beads are often used in other vehicles, especially on larger vehicles where balancing with weights might not be feasible. They work the same way in motorcycles, but there are a lot of different options available.
Balancing Bead Science
When at rest, gravity pushes the balancing beads to the bottom of the tire, which is where they will remain because of the laws of physics. The beads only get to work when the tire is in motion.
When in motion, the beads will become more evenly distributed around the tire and then stay there due to the centrifugal force holding the beads in place. If a tire is balanced, then the beads would remain evenly distributed throughout the inner tube.
If a tire is having balance problems, it creates “heavy spots.” These are portions of the tire where more force is being applied. If the force is too much, it can create wobbly wheels. Inertia pushes the balancing beads away from the heavy spots, thus contributing to the stability of the tire.
Do Motorcycle Tire Balancing Beads Actually Work?
There’s lots of discussion around motorcycle balancing beads, and some swear that they work, while others deem them to be inefficient or useless. The fact is that a large proportion does believe they have effectively balanced their tires, and many riders report that their motorcycle has never felt so smooth!
Why the discrepancies with experience? Well, balancing beads come in various different forms, as there are different brands, makes, and materials used to make them. Balancing beads also have to be installed correctly, or they won’t work at all and may hurt your tire’s balance.
Balancing Bead Brands
There are many different brands of balance beads available, and not all are equal in their effectiveness. Some of these brands include Dyna Beads, Counteract, and ABC Balancing Beads. All have their strengths and weaknesses, and doing a little research on each brand will help you decide whether you want to opt for balancing beads on your motorcycle.
The materials used can have a large impact on how effective balance beads can be. Some brands have beads with electrostatic properties, which helps them fix their position in the tire and prevent clumping.
Some brands go to great lengths to ensure that each bead is perfectly spherical, to make sure there are no rough edges or imperfections that can cause wear and tear inside the tire.
How To Use Motorcycle Tire Balancing Beads
Balancing beads aren’t too difficult to use. Most balancing bead kits will come with a small injector bottle that you can use to apply the beads into the tire. Some brands have a disposable bag that you can place into the tire before mounting it.
Depending upon which balancing beads you have, they might be installed differently. With that said, many kits come with a tool that you can use to remove the valve core on your tire. Some balancing beads can be installed alongside tire pressure monitoring systems, but not necessarily all brands.
Once you’ve carefully removed the valve core and let the air in the tire out, you can use the tube and container to squeeze the beads into the tire. It should be noted that it can take some time to get all the beads into the tire. It’s a good idea not to hurry this as you don’t want to cause any damage to the valve or tubing.
If In Doubt, Find An Expert
If you’re unsure of what to do, seek help from a qualified mechanic or specialist. They will help you install the beads or give you recommendations based on your tires. Don’t apply excessive force to the valve, and take your time if it’s the first time you’ve ever used balancing beads to prevent damaging the tire.
How Many Balancing Beads Do You Put In A Motorcycle Tire?
Most tire balancing bead brands will recommend half an ounce (14 g) in the front tire at the bare minimum. You should never exceed 2 oz (56 g) in the front tire. For the rear tires, most brands will recommend no more than 2-3 oz (56-85 g). Using too many beads can make the balance worse.
While the number of balancing beads you need for your motorcycle tires can differ depending on your tire dimensions, these are general rules of thumb to follow that you can use to start. To reiterate, don’t go over the numbers here, as more is not better when it comes to balancing beads.
KEY POINTS• Tire balancing beads can improve your motorcycle tires’ balance
• They’re not all created equal
• You need to be careful not to use too many balancing beads in your tires
Motorcycle Tire Balancing Beads vs Weights
Balancing With Weights
Using weights to balance a tire is a tried and true method. Some will get their tires balanced at a mechanics’ garage, where they can use sophisticated computers to work out how much weight the tire needs and where it needs it.
But there are downsides to using weights. For example, as tires age, the weights can contribute to wear and tear because heavy spots on tires can change over time. If you use your bike off-road, weights might not be the best idea. The impact from jumps and drops can knock weights out of position, and weights might wear your tire treads down because of the extra pressure they exert.
Balancing beads are cheaper, require fewer tools to install, and are easier as a do-it-yourself method. They can prolong the lifespan of a tire, and once you put balancing beads in, they don’t wear out or need to be replaced, as they’ll last the whole lifecycle of the tire.
With that said, balancing beads do come with a whole set of problems of their own. For example, not all balancing beads are created equal. Cheaper materials and poorly shaped beads can irritate the inner walls of your tire, potentially causing damage.
There is a whole host of claims and benefits attributed to balancing beads, and while some motorcyclists are convinced they are the best way to balance tires, there’s not been unanimous adoption of balancing beads.
As with many things of this nature, the decision ultimately lies with you. Weights are a tried and tested way of balancing motorcycle tires, but they aren’t a solution to every problem. Poorly installed weights can cause as many problems as dodgy balancing beads can.
Balancing beads are cheap and convenient, and they can work. You do have to be careful of what you’re buying, as there’s a huge variety in quality across different brands. You should also be careful installing balancing beads, as being careless will often backfire and potentially cause tire problems.
Motorcycle tire balancing beads can work, but only if they’re high-quality and installed properly. Always pay attention and do your research when looking at these accessories, as not all tire balancing beads are created equal. Tire weights are an alternative to balancing beads.