AT Wheels Balancing Guide
Hey there! It occurred to me that most people out there are not balancing their pneumatic wheels. This is a serious problem and should be addressed asap as unbalanced wheels will lead to unwanted vibrations and dangerous speed wobbles.
Why can’t my wheels just be balanced straight out of the factory!?
There are tons of reasons, and to name a few:
- Non-homogeneous materials. Even if factories adhere to a nano-meter precision, materials are inherently non-homogeneous and will have imperfections.
- If your balanced wheels gets dinged up/ scratched up, your wheel will be thrown out of balance, even if it’s in the slightest bit.
- The valve is only on one end of the tyre. Logically speaking if the rim and/or tyre design does not compensate for this, it will always be heavier at the side where the valve is at.
- You change your valve cap or lose your valve cap, that will lead to a slight off-balance.
- There are probably tons of reasons as to how your wheel can get thrown off balance, but I think you get the gist.
How can I best mitigate against this?
While imperfections are inevitable, we can try our best to statically balance the wheel. This means that your wheel will have a centre of rotation concentric to the rotational axis of your axle and bearings. In this guide, i’ll make guide you through a simple, cheap and easy setup to get you started in balancing your wheels. I’ll be using Bergmeister wheels for reference in this guide. Wheels that use a different bearings sizes will require different components, but the concept remains the same.
Note : You CAN simply balance the wheel on your truck axle; you just have make sure that the wheel is perpendicular to the ground before attempting to balance it. The setup explained below simply helps me make my workflow easier when I have to balance multiple wheels. Alternatively, you can use other methods to balance your wheels, like I said, the concept remains the same, just make sure they’re balanced!
What you’ll need for my setup:
I will include links on where to get the odd parts from Amazon but do note that you can get them for MUCH cheaper from Aliexpress/Alibaba/Taobao. What’s important is that you know what to search for.
1x 8mm Shaft (approx 150 to 300mm will do).
Lots of 8mm spacers. (you should already know where to get these).
Some spare 2x4s or 2 boxes/ wood blocks/ whatever blocks that are of the same height to create some clearance between your wheel and the surface you’re working on. (If you want to make something like what I have in the pictures below, below are the dimensions for you to cut it out of a 2x4 wish a jigsaw/ hacksaw).
How do I set it all up?
- Set your spare 2x4s/ boxes to be of the same height and check them with a level.
Align the parts as such in the picture above and secure the Linear Shaft Supports (however you want to do it, using epoxy, screws, clamps, white sticky juice, you choose.) Just make sure it doesn’t come flying off when you give the wheel a spin later on.
Slide your wheel in and secure them with a shaft collar so that it doesn’t slide horizontally along the shaft.
- You can balance more wheels at one go if you have a shaft that’s long enough . With a 300mm rod, you can balance roughly 2 to 3 wheels at a time. Also, I have a very long shaft, so I can balance up to 8 wheels at once. just saying.
- With either setup, you can now watch the youtube guide below. It’s the same as balancing a motorcycle wheel, just with a different jig.
- Which ever method you choose, here are some weights you can use to balance your wheels:
What should we be looking out for to tell if our wheels need to be balanced? What symptoms would an unbalanced wheel display so that we can tell when they should be removed and balanced?.
- If you spin it by hand and realize that it acts like a pendulum on an axle (sways back and forth while it’s slowing down) - that’s when you need to balance it.
- If you throttle up on the bench and realize your trucks are vibrating uncontrollably, that’s when you need to balance it.
- I have never seen a stock AT wheel that doesn’t need balancing. All automobile tyres need to be balanced before they’re installed on your ride too.