Balancing your motorcycle tires is an important aspect of maintaining your bike. Unbalanced tires can cause uneven wear which can lead to unsafe driving conditions (up to and including loss of control). Properly balanced tires ensure a smooth ride. Anytime you purchase new motorcycle tires, you should have them balanced. You should also balance your motorcycle tires if the weights happen to fall off, or if you notice your tires are starting to wear in an abnormal way.

Picture of a Motorcycle Cruising Down the Road

How to Balance a Motorcycle Tire and Wheel

With the proper equipment, tools and instruction, you can balance your own motorcycle tires and wheels. We show you how in the instructional video shown below. There are also written instructions underneath. Both the video and instructions include the assembly of the Tusk motorcycle wheel balancing and truing stand first, followed by the actual balancing procedure.

What You Need to Begin

Picture of Balancing a Wheel

While there are many approaches you can take to balance a wheel, it always helps to have the right tools. Stands are available which are specifically designed to balance wheels. Offering extremely low amounts of friction, they allow the slightest weight variation to rotate the entire wheel. This means that if the wheel’s weight isn’t perfectly balanced, the heavy side will rotate to the bottom.

Tools Needed to Begin
Picture of a Tusk Motorcycle Wheel Balancing and Truing Stand Picture of Motion Pro Steel Wheel Weights Picture of a Small Phillips Screwdriver
Balancing Stand Wheel Weights Small Phillips #0 Screwdriver
Picture of a Wrench Picture of a Screwdriver Picture of a Tusk Hex Key Wrench Set
12 mm Wrench Screwdriver or Similar Lever Tool 3 mm and 4 mm Hex Keys / Allen Wrenches
Picture of Nitro Tape Picture of a Cleaning Cloth
Tape Cleaning Cloth

In these instructions, the Tusk motorcycle wheel balancing and truing stand is used. This particular stand is not required; however, some steps may not apply to you if you use a different stand. The principle behind balancing the wheel remains the same regardless of your stand.

Construct the stand.

  1. Install the feet. The feet are important because they help level the entire stand.
  2. Picture of Installing the Stand’s Feet

  3. Install the bubble level.
  4. Picture of Installing the Bubble

  5. Use a small Phillips screwdriver to tighten the bubble in place.
  6. Picture of Tightening the Bubble

  7. Install the uprights. The Tusk stand has two locations where the uprights can be installed – either narrower or wider. The wider adjustment works for most applications.
  8. Picture of Installing the Uprights

  9. Tighten the nuts and bolts on the uprights with a wrench.
  10. Picture of Tightening the Nuts and Bolts

  11. Install the reference pointer. This is used when truing a wheel, but please note that it is not used when balancing a wheel. It is also not designed to touch the wheel. If you intend to use your Tusk stand exclusively for balancing a wheel, you do not have to install the reference pointer.
  12. Picture of Installing the Reference Pointer

Adjust the feet.

  1. By adjusting the feet and using the bubble as your guide, you can get the stand to sit completely level. This is important to do to make sure that your wheel is balanced properly.
  2. Picture of Adjusting the Feet

Assemble the bar.

  1. Orient the cones and the retaining collars on the bar.
  2. Picture of Assembling the Bar

Remove spacers.

  1. The cones must rest on the wheel’s bearing races. You need to remove spacers which are in the way.
  2. Picture of Removing the Spacer

Insert the bar into the wheel.

  1. Slide the bar through the wheel.
  2. Picture of Inserting the Bar

  3. Put the second cone on the other side.
  4. Picture of Adding the Second Cone

Tighten the retaining collars.

  1. Tighten the first retaining collar. Sit the wheel snugly against it.
  2. Picture of Tightening the Retaining Collar

  3. Lay the wheel on its side so that it sits on the retaining collar you just tightened. Put the weight of the wheel entirely on the lower cone.
  4. Picture of Laying the Wheel on its Side

  5. Tighten the retaining collar on the top.
  6. Picture of Tightening the Top Retaining Collar

  7. The wheel can then be mounted to the stand.
  8. Picture of Mounting the Wheel to the Stand

Find the wheel’s heavy spot.

  1. Rotate the wheel slowly. Use your fingers to slow it down as necessary. Once the wheel does not have a tendency to rotate as the result of gravity, you know you’ve found the heavy spot at the bottom.
  2. Picture of Rotating the Wheel

Temporarily add wheel weights to the light spot.

  1. Now that you’ve found the heavy spot at the bottom, you know the light spot is the top. Use a piece of tape to mark the light spot.
  2. Picture of Marking the Light Spot

  3. Arbitrarily choose a number of wheel weights as a starting point to test. Identifying the correct number of wheel weights requires trial and error, so the initial number is nothing more than a guess. For example, you could begin with three, but it doesn’t really matter if you want to begin with more or fewer.
  4. Add the wheel weights to the light spot using tape. Since you only want the wheel weights temporarily added at this point, tape is the ideal application method.
  5. Picture of Temporarily Adding Wheel Weights

Identify the number of weights needed.

  1. Rotate the wheel 90°. This will indicate whether you’ve initially selected too many or too few wheel weights based on where the wheel rotates. If the heavy spot continues to gravitate to the bottom, you’ve chosen too few wheel weights. If the light spot begins to gravitate to the bottom, you’ve chosen too many. It isn’t a bad idea to rotate the wheel 90° in both directions to make sure that you’re measuring the weight accurately.
  2. Picture of Rotating the Wheel 90°

  3. Add or remove wheel weights as necessary. If you began with too many wheel weights, take one or two off. If you started with too few, add one or two. This is why using tape is helpful, as it allows you to easily add or remove the wheel weights.
  4. Repeat until the wheel no longer moves when rotated at 90°. This means that you’ve found the correct number of weights to properly balance your wheel. If you want to, you can rotate the wheel in several different positions to make sure.

Permanently add the wheel weights.

  1. Remove the wheel weights and the tape that temporarily attached them to the wheel.
  2. Clean the surface where you will permanently stick the wheel weights.
  3. Picture of Cleaning the Wheel Surface

  4. Carefully add the weight to the wheel. The Motion Pro steel wheel weights have a sticky surface, so all you need to do is peel the paper backing and apply the adhesive side to the wheel surface. However, if you are using other wheel weights, you will need to adhere it to the surface according to that product’s directions.
  5. Picture of Adding the Wheel Weight

Enjoy Your Balanced Wheel

As you can see, balancing a wheel is something that anyone can do with the right equipment. All you need to do is follow the directions. And once your wheel is balanced, your ride will be that much smoother.

If you don’t already have the Tusk stand and Motion Pro weights mentioned in this article, don’t forget to pick them up.

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What are your tricks to balancing a motorcycle wheel? Leave a comment to share your experience.

Technician Disclaimer