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Old 03-27-2014, 10:33 PM   #1
Falang OP
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Cheap Easy Small and Effective Airhead Wheel Balancer

I made it many years ago and used it single-handedly every time I changed tires on my airheads. I changed all my own tires; I was too cheap to pay a dealer. Motorcycle tires did not last long in the 1970s and the rear tire would often wear out during a long trip, especially when riding two-up. It fits in the palm of my hand, and of course resided in the toolbox under the seat, along with a handful of spare balancing weights. No tools other than a pocketknife are needed to make it:



Instructions are hardly necessary, just find a tree branch to hang it over, or improvise with a clamp or locking (Vise-Grip) pliers from a road sign or other man-made protuberance. Put the axle through the wheel and rest the axle on each pair of bearings so it rotates freely, with the heavy side eventually coming to rest at the bottom. Put a balancing weight on the top and try again. It's tedious but easy. The wheel-balancing procedure is best accompanied by beer, about one can per balancing weight.
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Old 03-28-2014, 12:10 AM   #2
Bill Harris
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Thumb

Dang. Wondrous in utter simplicity of the true Airhead tradition.

Bravo.

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Old 03-28-2014, 09:18 AM   #3
supershaft
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That's as good as many wheel balancers being sold today. Better than the ones that have sealed bearings (more friction). Real balancers have open ball bearings inside of large sheet metal discs that the axle rides on. They spin MUCH easier for more accuracy and less patience required. Win/win.
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Old 03-28-2014, 09:43 AM   #4
SculptD
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Nice. And it's almost like they are right here on my countertop as well. Granite is good.

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Old 03-28-2014, 10:07 AM   #5
danedg
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You're on the wrong plane



This little jobber fits up plumb through the bearing stack. Add weights around perimeter until the bubble "squares".
The wheel is not only level it is balanced.
Vech sells 'em.
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Old 03-28-2014, 07:45 PM   #6
photorider
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Brilliant.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Falang View Post
I made it many years ago and used it single-handedly every time I changed tires on my airheads. I changed all my own tires; I was too cheap to pay a dealer. Motorcycle tires did not last long in the 1970s and the rear tire would often wear out during a long trip, especially when riding two-up. It fits in the palm of my hand, and of course resided in the toolbox under the seat, along with a handful of spare balancing weights. No tools other than a pocketknife are needed to make it:



Instructions are hardly necessary, just find a tree branch to hang it over, or improvise with a clamp or locking (Vise-Grip) pliers from a road sign or other man-made protuberance. Put the axle through the wheel and rest the axle on each pair of bearings so it rotates freely, with the heavy side eventually coming to rest at the bottom. Put a balancing weight on the top and try again. It's tedious but easy. The wheel-balancing procedure is best accompanied by beer, about one can per balancing weight.
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Old 03-29-2014, 07:10 AM   #7
tominboise
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danedg View Post
Vech sells 'em.
Could you add a little detail on who or where Vech is?
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Old 03-29-2014, 07:55 AM   #8
Renner
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Craig "Vech" Vechorik
http://www.benchmarkworks.com/

one of those indispensible asset to the vintage beemer community

cool balancer, think I'll order one.
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Old 03-29-2014, 08:18 AM   #9
Bill Harris
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"Me Too".

Or I may pick one up at his get-together in April:

http://www.benchmarkworks.com/rallies/veteran.html

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Old 03-29-2014, 04:09 PM   #10
Brun
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Am I doing it wrong by making use of the existing wheel bearings?
I just clamp the axle horizontally in my woodworking vice. The wheel rotates very easily.
I like the string idea for when I'm away from the Big Toolbox. Thanks for that.
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Old 03-29-2014, 05:06 PM   #11
Big Bamboo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brun View Post
Am I doing it wrong by making use of the existing wheel bearings?
Yes, the seals are dragging and throwing off the accuracy.
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Old 03-29-2014, 06:27 PM   #12
Falang OP
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I looked to see if I had a photo of the MacGyver wheel balancer in use thirty years ago. I don't. But I did find this one from 1983 of a friend and I about to use it on our /6 bikes (it is sitting in the toolbox on the lower left). The photo reminds me of why it was used so much in parking lots and motel rooms, hanging from the shower curtain rod.

When I lived in Vancouver in the 1970s and 1980s, motorcycle parts and accessories were significantly cheaper in the USA. So when it was time to replace the rubber, my friends and I would leave Canada with worn-out tires and our first (or last) stops were the motorcycle shops south of the border ... to "retire" the bikes.



Coincidentally, MacGyver - an American TV show about the practical application of scientific knowledge to common items, duct tape, and a Swiss Army knife - was produced mostly around Vancouver.
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Old 03-29-2014, 06:49 PM   #13
danedg
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Falangs wheel balancer is as beautiful in it's simplicity as it is practical. Well done.
I think Benchmark Works' horizontal balancer follows the same philosophy. Dead simple and logical.
If my lousy ISP would cooperate I could give you the part number. I think it's ACC034. $38 It's in the Tools section.
Would I use it to balance the wheels on my Bonneville salt racer? No.
Would I use it to balance the wheels of an old R Something chugging through the hills? Absolutely.
I had planned to visit Sturgis this Spring myself...

danedg screwed with this post 03-29-2014 at 06:59 PM
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