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Old 07-27-2014   #1
Felby
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Bubble Wheel Balancer for cage tires... worth it?

Hit a massive pothole in a parking lot today (driving the cage around), bubbled the sidewall on one of the tires. Since I only need one tire and the remaining 3 have about a year and a half worth of mileage left on them, I've contemplated picking up a *gently* used tire (or new) from flea-bay and swapping it out myself.

Any ever use a portable/bubble wheel balancer before?
http://www.harborfreight.com/portabl...cer-39741.html

http://www.autozone.com/autozone/acc...uestid=1647909

Is this a good idea (I think I need some tire spoons and a seal breaker as well) or should I just cough up the extra $100 to have a shop do it? Obviously if I buy the needed tools for this, I'll likely be doing most of my future tire changes myself, so that helps offset the costs over the long run.

Are there any better options here? The tire I need on Tirerack.com is $188, and TireDiscounters is asking $328 for the same tire for installation, balancing, etc. It seems to me it might be worth spending a few extra bucks on equipment if this is something I can tackle myself. Looks like these balancers aren't good for motorcycle tires either, are they?

Awesomely enough, I'm probably due for a new rear on the 1150R before the BRP trip this year, so was already scheming up a way to get a new one of those as well.
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Old 07-27-2014   #2
icantdrive55
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Re: Bubble Wheel Balancer for cage tires... worth it?

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Originally Posted by Felby View Post
... or should I just cough up the extra $100 to have a shop do it?
Man, it's hard to believe that's the going rate for a mount and balance on 1 tire. That's highway robbery!!!

I've got a Coats 220 tire machine if you want to try to do it yourself. Find yourself a used tire, mount it yourself, then take it to a local shop and have them balance it. Pretty sure that if the tire DOES NEED BALANCING, the bubble method isn't gonna be good enough for highway use. I do have a static balance stand for MC tires if you want to do your bike as well.
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Old 07-27-2014   #3
DrewsBrews
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Re: Bubble Wheel Balancer for cage tires... worth it?

A tire that expensive is pretty wide I'm sure and needs to be dynamically balanced (accounts for lateral imbalance of the wide wheel) and a static bubble balancer isn't going to do that. I think tire discounters charged me $30 total to balance all the tires on my car when I purchased them from tirerack and installed them myself.

Hell, if you bring just the one wheel/tire already mounted and ask em to balance it there is a good chance they might do it for free. I've seen many places do that if you make it easy for em. I figure they do so you might come back when it's time to get all new rubber.
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Old 07-27-2014   #4
Felby
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Re: Bubble Wheel Balancer for cage tires... worth it?

Thanks guys, that's good to know. Sounds like balancing myself is out of the question. Bubba, I'm going to call around tomorrow for some prices and see what I come up with... I might take you up on your offer to try out your tire machine once I track down a reasonable tire.
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Old 07-28-2014   #5
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Re: Bubble Wheel Balancer for cage tires... worth it?

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Originally Posted by Felby View Post
Thanks guys, that's good to know. Sounds like balancing myself is out of the question. Bubba, I'm going to call around tomorrow for some prices and see what I come up with... I might take you up on your offer to try out your tire machine once I track down a reasonable tire.
Joseph Cadillac installs and balances all of my 4 tires (bought online) for $40 total. It costs half of what I found the next cheapest place to charge (Walmart).

PM me for more details...
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Old 07-28-2014   #6
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Re: Bubble Wheel Balancer for cage tires... worth it?

Agree with what they said.

I have the Harbor Freight mounting machine, I recently mounted the 4 tires on my Volvo S90. Tire Discounters here in Lexington balanced them for $10.00 each.

I would love to have a Coates machine, they work great.

If I had the money I would probably go with one of these - someday...

http://www.nomartirechanger.com/category_s/37.htm

The HF mounting bar will scratch your rims.

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Old 07-28-2014   #7
DrewsBrews
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Re: Bubble Wheel Balancer for cage tires... worth it?

I used my MC spoons and they worked fine... but that was with regular profile car tires on 15" steel wheels.

Though I did make a bead breaker out of some scrap wood for the project. Hopefully it'll work well on MC tires too.
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Old 07-29-2014   #8
WOZERD
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Re: Bubble Wheel Balancer for cage tires... worth it?

Imagine my surprise out here in the Washington DC area. I wanted to n get my tires roated and road force balanced. I went to the AAA service center (out here AAA has auto service centers they operate themselves) and they quoted me $149.95. I fainted. Then when they brought me to, I laughed hysterically. Then once past that, I told them they were all a bunch of M-F'n crooks!
So, I went to tire discounters. I asked them if they had a road force balancer. They didn't. I figured-- Oh well, it'll be better than it is and way cheaper-- right?
Wrong!
They told me $129.95!!
I fainted. Then when they brought me to, I laughed hysterically. Then once past that, I told them they were all a bunch of M-F'n crooks!
I took my car to Joseph Hyundai in Vandalia. $49.95 for a rotate and road force balance.
I agree with everyone else -- a bubble balancer is a waste of money. And getting your car tires Road Force balanced will (if done properly) make you feel like you are driving on plate glass. 80 will feel like 30 (so be careful).
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Old 07-29-2014   #9
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Re: Bubble Wheel Balancer for cage tires... worth it?

What is "road force balanced" .... haven't heard of that
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Old 07-29-2014   #10
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Bubble Wheel Balancer for cage tires... worth it?

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What is "road force balanced" .... haven't heard of that
It's a balancer that loads the wheel assembly with a roller while it spins on the machine.

It also measures irregularities in the tire and rim independently. Then instructs on how to repair any abnormalities.

It's a huge pain in my ass, in other words.

Most shops around cincy should be charging around $20-25 per wheel for a mount and balance, especially on a loose wheel. This doesn't necessarily mean a road force balance, but if you don't have any bends or dings in the rim and it's a brand new tire, I wouldn't worry about it. A good dynamic balance will suffice.

Mechanics $.02
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Old 07-29-2014   #11
Hyflyer
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Re: Bubble Wheel Balancer for cage tires... worth it?

Thanks for the info. So it's a machine that does the wheel/tire off the car correct? (I was thinking it was done on the car so it balanced everything)
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Old 07-29-2014   #12
icantdrive55
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Re: Bubble Wheel Balancer for cage tires... worth it?

As stated above, it measures rotational balance as well as radial runout on both the tire and the rim. Goal is to 'balance' both the centripetal forces as well as the forces related to radial runout. The reason it's a PITA for tire shops is that if the tire has significant radial runout--with or without centripetal imbalance--it requires deflation and breaking the bead and rotating the tire so that the low point (radially) on the rim is matched to the high point (radially) on the tire. Goal is to get down to less than 10# of imbalance due to centripetal+radial forces. More of an issue with the modern, low profile, stiff sidewall performance tires than the run-of-the-mill minivan 70-series all-season radials….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WpNsa3bFhU
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Last edited by icantdrive55; 07-29-2014 at 09:58 PM.
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Old 07-30-2014   #13
DrewsBrews
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Re: Bubble Wheel Balancer for cage tires... worth it?

yeah I'm pretty sure the road force does all 3 (rotational balance, lateral balance, and runout)

Lateral imbalance occurs when, say, the outside lip/sidewall has a heavy spot somewhere. Now if you static balance it and put a weight on the inside lip then it is balanced rotationally but since the weight is now at opposite sides inside and outside that weight will want to be at the farthest point away from each other causing a wobble. That's why often times weights must be put on the outside lip (even though it "looks bad") Though they can try using sticky weights just inside the spokes as an alternative. MC wheels are so tall compared to the width that lateral imbalance is negligible and static balance is fine.
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Last edited by DrewsBrews; 07-30-2014 at 10:29 AM.
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