F650 Wheel Balancing FAQ

edited by Kristian #562
Please read the Disclaimer before attempting any work in this FAQ.
Last Updated: 16 June 2006, by Winter #1935

Home Tire Balancing

by Harl #380, January 21, 2000

This procedure describes balancing the tires for your F650 at home. It is pretty universal, but won't work for certain types of rims, notably BMW/Triumph/Ducati/Honda rears from bikes with single sided swingarms. However, it'll work for just about everything else. It's a good idea to read the entire article to familiarize yourself with what's going on. Like most tasks you'll get better with experience. If you're not comfortable with the procedure or your abilities, take your wheel to a shop and have them do it. The author and publisher accept no responsibility for improperly balanced wheels or ensuing problems they might cause. Properly followed, the procedure will give you a good tire balance without any expensive equipment.

Stuff you'll need

Getting to it

Some folks don't feel the need to balance tires for "dirt bikes." That's great, if you're talking about something like a purely off road vehicle. However, most F650s spend most of their lives on the road, and an imbalanced tire at even 55 miles can be uncomfortable and even dangerous. You probably want to change your own tires and balance them to save a bit of money, but sometimes just doing it yourself is enough of a motivating factor.

We'll start at the point where you have the worst part of the job behind you, the new tire is on the rim.

Make sure all the old weights are off the rim.

  1. Slip your balancing tool through the wheel.
  2. Sit on a stool (or bend your knees and squat) and pick up the wheel, supporting your elbows on your knees.
  3. It's important to keep the wheel and tire as vertical as possible. The picture shows the squat method.
  4. "Rock" the extension gently in your hands so that the extension rolls back and forth in the wheel bearings.
  5. You don't have to rock very hard, just enough to make the wheel move. The motion causes the wheel to "roll" on the extension. The heaviest point on the wheel will migrate to the bottom of the wheel's travel. It'll roll back and forth a few times on the extension until it finally stops.
  6. Mark the very top of the tire with a crayon or chalk.
    This is the lightest place on the tire/wheel assembly.
  7. Clean a flat section of the rim with the carb or other cleaner adjacent to the mark on the tire.
  8. This provides a good clean mounting surface for the tape on the weights.
  9. Take one of your old weights, or cut a new piece about 1.5 oz, and tape to the clean spot on the rim with a small piece of duct tape.

    If you're using new weights, don't pull the backing off the weight just yet!
  10. Resume your squat/sit with the tire, placing the taped weight at the 3 o'clock position.
  11. Rock the axle again.
  12. The wheel will probably move again. If the weight moves toward the bottom of the wheel's motion, the weight is too big. If it moves to the top, it's too small. Proceed to the next step. If it doesn't move or moves very very slowly, run immediately to the nearest Lottery outlet and buy some tickets, then skip to Step 10.
  13. Adjust the amount of weight you tape to the rim and repeat

    This is a trial and error approach that you'll be better at with experience. You'll learn to estimate how much to change the weight. If the tire moves slowly don't change the weight much, more if it moves quickly.

    Note: If the required weight is more than four ounces, deflate the tire, break the bead loose, move the tire 180 degrees on the rim, re-inflate, and return to your tire/wheel assembly is seriously out of balance. Moving the tire may help. Did you line up the balance mark when you mounted the tire?
  14. Cut a piece of new tape weight the same weight as the used piece (or peel the backing of the new weight you're using) and put it on the rim.
  15. Mount the weight as shown in the picture. An improperly mounted weight could be pulled off by centrifugal force, making it more like a bullet...
  16. You're done! Remount the wheel, using all the proper torque specs, and go for a nice smooth ride!

CBOA Wheel Balancer

Ok, I've checked out all the commercial offerings in wheel balancing, and I'm wondering if there isn't an easier way. My idea is a thin cable, suspended from the ceiling through the center of the wheel. Not sure what I'd use to center the cable in the wheel yet, but probably something similar to the "universal" type cones they are using on the horizontal balancers.

So, with the help of my buddy gravity, the heavy part of the wheel droops floorwards. Stickum weight to counter the droop, and the wheel is static balanced... right? Anybody ever tried something silly like this? Will it work? Problems? Ideas? Suggestions?

I've got some ideas for making the actual use easier than trying to string a single piece of cable through the wheel and then hanging it up, but am just trying to validate the concept at the moment. dmemt #1464