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How to Balance a Spoked Wheel

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How to Balance a Spoked Wheel

Crimping solder to a spoke opposite the heaviest part of the wheel/tire

John H Glimmerveen Licensed to About.com

Motorcycle wheels must have their balance checked after fitting new tires and periodically (during service) after that.

Balancing a motorcycle wheel is best done with the wheel in the bike. The advantage of having the wheel in the bike is that either the forks or the swing arm will offer a rigid location for spinning the wheel.

The bike must obviously be off the ground so that the wheel can be spun, and, to make sure the wheel is turning freely, the brakes must be backed off.

Observing the rotating wheel is a good way to check for any out of true rims. To check the balance, the wheel should be spun and left to come to a complete stop. The heaviest part of the wheel will naturally come to rest at the bottom of its rotation, so a chalk mark should be made on the tire at this point.

For optimum results, repeat this process three times and observe where the chalk marks are. If the chalk marks are in three different places and the distance between marks is equal, the wheel is perfectly balanced.

If the marks are at 180 degrees to each other (two at the top and one at the bottom, for instance), the wheel is binding during the rotation. You should repeat the process after ensuring free rotation.

Weights should be added opposite to the chalk mark to counter the heavy point. After adding weight, if the weighted part of the wheel drops to the bottom every time, the weights must be reduced.

If the mechanic is using solder as a weight, wrapped around a spoke for balancing, the length can be reduced to find the optimum weight. A perfectly balanced wheel will come to rest at random positions of the chalk marks.

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