Balancing Beads - A Real Life Test - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 4 Old Mar 21st, 2012, 9:06 pm Thread Starter
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Balancing Beads - A Real Life Test

OK, first I have no affiliation with any bead balancing company. I am an IT person by trade now. However, I used to be a ASE certified master technician and have balanced thousand of tires. I have used bubble balancers, static balancers, home made balancers, spin balancers and finish or On Car balancers. They all have their place and seem to do the job. I have been highly skeptical of this bead solution since I first heard of them.

The ONLY reason I even considered them was the purchase of chrome custom wheels for my 2009 HD Low-rider. As you can see by the images attached, the dealer added BLACK stick on weights to both sides of the rim. 2.0 ounces in the front alone. As far as I was concerned, this was unacceptable. That made me start looking into the bead balancing with earnest. I also have a 2005 BMW LT. I have the similar issues with that bike as well, this just happened to be my test bike for obvious reasons.

I checked out al the Dyna Bead threads and that led me to the CounterAct Beads. I don't know why, but something about the CounterAct Beads intrigued me. I found them on line at a near by (60 miles away) tire supply dealer. I called them and they told me they deal in trucks only and sell tons of this stuff. They said they couldn't help me and directed me back to the manufacturer for motorcycle applications.

The guy from CounterAct was very helpful. He directed me to a site that sold MC kits. I asked him to look at the truck tire supply web site and it turns out they had the same exact applicator and beads. The only difference was I got 10 OZ of beads and the applicator for less than the cost of 4 ounces of beads and the applicator that the MC site was selling. $22.00 for everything including shipping!

The test:

I took the bike out for a ride and got to 70 MPH on various roads. With the dealer installed 2 oz weights the bike rode fine with only the normal HD vibration detected. I then removed all the weights. Took the same exact road at the same exact speeds and there was a noticeable shake in the bars between 56 and 61 MPH. I find that out-of-balance wheels will usually start to vibrate at very specific speeds. This was no exception. I tried the route twice to make sure it wasn't my imagination, I am convinced it was not.

I went home and installed the CounterAct Beads. This turned out to be a big pain in the butt. It took me 30 minutes to get 2 ounces of beads in the tire. Patience is a virtue they say, and if you don't have it just forget these things altogether. In one of the instruction videos, the show the guy flicking the rubber valve stem. Well my stems were rigid and don't move. It was a few beads at a time while kicking the tire throughout the whole process. I lost enough beads that I decided to add another .20 (Point two)ounces to make up for it. NOTE: if you are mounting the tire yourself, you can put the beads in the before you seat the tire bead avoiding the valve stem application completely.

I already had in my possession 4.0 Ounces of silver stick-on weights should something go wrong. With that in mind I headed out for my test drive. 20 mph, 30 mph, 40, 50, 60, 70, 75 mph! No vibrations. I took the test course 2 times. Same result.

Conclusion:

I do not know how these things work. I have an entire collection of books called "How Things Work". And in this case it really doesn't matter. It makes no sense to me at all, but it is my humble opinion that they do indeed work. With that said, I do not think it makes any difference if you use lead weights or beads. They both worked equally well. If aesthetics are of no concern, than there is no reason not to balance conventionally. However if you mount your own tires and do not have a balancer, or do not want the weights showing, this is a very viable alternative.

As for the difference between Dyna Beads and Counteract beads, I have no horse in this race. I assume they work equally well although the both makes claims of their superiority. Both are reusable according to the manufacturers.

Useful links:

Where I bought the beads - (Click on Wheel balancing compounds on the left)
http://yourtireshopsupply.com

Dyna Bead Web Site - http://www.innovativebalancing.com

CouterAct Web Site - http://www.counteractbalancing.com/counteract/

Full HD Video of the beads CounterAct magical gravity defying properties in my garage.
http://youtu.be/W1Yvlf3DZd0

Images of my wheel with ugly black lead weights - attached.
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post #2 of 4 Old Mar 22nd, 2012, 8:49 am
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Re: Balancing Beads - A Real Life Test

I wrote this up for the long distance riders mailing list about a year ago. It explains how the Dyna Beads and similar tire balancers work:

Picture a wheel on an axle that can go up and down. Imagine that the wheel is out of balance, with one part of the wheel heavier than the other. (If you were going to attach weights, you would put them on the side opposite the "heavy" side.)

Now, picture that wheel spinning, out of balance. As the heavy side goes up, it "pulls" the wheel up with it. The axle goes up. As the heavy side goes down, the axle goes down.

Now, drop some freely floating beads inside the tire. The beads have inertia. As the wheel rises up on the axle, the beads (with their inertia) want to stay put, just as the bottom of the tire rises to meet them. This means that they migrate to the bottom of the tire at the same time as the heavy side is reaching the top of its rotation. Likewise, as the wheel goes down, the beads want to stay up, "floating" to the top of the tire when the heavy side reaches the bottom. As the wheel vibrates on the axle, the beads' inertia tend to distribute the beads opposite the heavy spot, in a way that balances the wheel and tire on the axle and dampens vibration.

As long as the wheel is in balance, centrifugal force will hold the beads in place around the tire, keeping the wheel in balance. If the tire vibrates due to imbalance, the beads will come off the tire wall, and their inertia will help them redistribute themselves to put the wheel back in balance.

At least that's the theory. That said, I wouldn't want Dyna Beads in my wheels. They aren't balanced when you start out, and I don't want to think about ceramic beads bouncing off the internal TPM sensors. Besides, my gut tells me that ordinary weights are a better solution. Weights are a compromise, and so are Dyna Beads, but I prefer the compromises of using weights.
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post #3 of 4 Old Mar 22nd, 2012, 9:24 am Thread Starter
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Re: Balancing Beads - A Real Life Test

XMagnaRider,

Thanks for that. I found a video last night that has great visual on this principle. They use large visual balls and stop motion so you can see what's happening. As for the beads not working at low speeds, that's what steered me to CounterAct as opposed to Dyna Beads. As you can see from the video in my original post, the beads cling to the container. CounterAct states they will stay where they are needed on the outside wall of the tire for up to 2 weeks. So low speed balancing is always correct and damaging other things like TPM are not a concern. That's their claim anyway, I don't' have a clear tire to prove it.

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post #4 of 4 Old Mar 22nd, 2012, 10:13 am
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Re: Balancing Beads - A Real Life Test

I've been using the Dnyna-Beads for my tires for the last four years with excellent results. I haven't heard of this CounterAct, will have to check them out.

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