From your mud-covered Jeep to your favorite street cruiser, there’s nothing worse than the dreaded tire wobble. A wiggling, wobbling tire can range from uncomfortable noise and unusual wear patterns to complete loss of control around curves and bumps. Many riders are forced to replace their entire wheel to fix the issue. If you’re struggling to restore your smooth ride, learn how Dyna tire balancing beads work and whether they cause more harm than good.
What Are Balancing Beads?
Have you ever seen a ceiling fan wobble out of control as it spins? It’s usually because a single blade is missing or has an uneven weight. Your tires work pretty much the same way. Any small imperfection in the tire can cause it to rotate unevenly. A small spot can cause irritation, a large one can be down-right dangerous.
In order to balance your tires again, one popular DIY method is Dyna Beads or another balance bead brand. Applying your balancing beads will feel like filling up that old bean bag chair you used to have.
Small, high-density ceramic beads are added to the inside of your tire. These beads are relatively lightweight, but a small pile of them can add up. As the tire spins, balancing beads naturally roll to the opposite side of the tire. This helps center your tire and, in theory, removes the wobble.
Installing balancing beads is a pain-free operation. Most kits come with an easy applicator, a valve core remover, valve cap and replacement valve core. Simply use the kit to pop out your old valve core, insert a measured amount of beads, depending on your tire dimensions and then add a new valve core and cap.
Your kit will come with a measurement chart, so don’t worry about guessing how many balancing beads your tire will need. Most beads are made out of ceramic or other durable material, so you won’t have to worry about moisture damage or other issues. They’re lightweight and compact enough to throw in your travel kit and apply whenever you feel like, from your home garage to the side of a dusty back road.
While your local mechanic may complain that you can’t remove these beads, it’s actually not that hard. If you’re finished with your tire, or if you need to break the tire bead to patch your tire, you can carefully pour all the loose beads into a cup and save them for the next tire. Inspect your balancing beads before reusing, but these sturdy ceramic balls typically hold up to rough riding without cracking, chipping or collecting moisture.
Do They Work?
While the idea is awesome, some mechanics are concerned about the practical application of balancing beads. Their biggest concern is that they can damage your tire and are difficult to remove. Do Dyna beads cause damage? While you may not be winning any brownie points with your local mechanic, as a DIY rider these little beads are a safe and effective way to add some extra mileage to that old tire.
Balancing beads undergo rigorous testing to ensure they won’t harm tires. Whether you install them in a brand-new aftermarket wheel or you’re still rocking your classic OEM tire, these little beads aren’t going to damage your tire.
However, the only complaint about them is their specialized use. It’s true that they won’t cause damage, but the jury is still out if they do any good. For some issues, these tiny beads are practically made of gold. For many other imbalance issues, unfortunately, you’re better off spending your money elsewhere. You may get a sense of the type of imbalance you have, or you may have to guess whether balancing beads work for your issue.
Types of Imbalance
To better understand the effectiveness of balancing beads, you need to understand verticle vs. lateral imbalance. For vertical imbalances, your balance beads are well worth the price and ease of installation. A vertical imbalance happens when your tire is heavier or larger on one end vertically than another. A lateral imbalance is the same idea, only laterally.
This all sounds well and good, but it’s very difficult for even seasoned riders to distinguish lateral and vertical imbalances. That means that you’ll be investing in a balancing bead kit with the hope that it works and won’t be sure until after you’ve installed them.
Whether you’re experiencing a minor wobbly or a major bump, you won’t know which way it’s imbalanced. The old fashioned way of balancing your tires will still work, but you’ll need to determine whether it’s lateral or vertical before you can be confident that balancing beads will work.
Signs of Imbalance
If this is the first time you’re hearing about imbalanced tires, or if you’re not sure whether that’s the issue you’re dealing with, here are a few signs of a motorcycle tire imbalance. First, the most obvious sign is additional vibrations. If a smooth highway or clear back road feels like a washboard two-track, you’ve either got a suspension issue or an imbalanced tire.
Improper tire balance also lowers your fuel economy and will start to create uneven wear patterns on your treads. It’s definitely not something you want to keep limping around with, so it’s important to deal with it sooner rather than later.
Restoring Your Bike’s Balance
If you’re willing to invest in a tire balancing machine, or willing to trust your favorite bike with a mechanic, then a tire balancing service can be the most effective way to restore your comfortable, fuel-efficient ride. While you’re shopping for the best motorcycle oil, have your mechanic pop your wheels off and hook them up.
However, if you’re looking for a more affordable DIY solution, particularly if you’re on the other side of the country from your trusted mechanic, tire balancing beads can be a cost-effective solution for vertical imbalance. Try them out for yourself and determine whether they’re the cure-all treatment you need. If not, they should provide moderate relief from wobbles and give you the stability you need to take your bike back to the shop. Shop online for great deals on balancing beads and kick that wobble to the curb.