of the most popular webBikeWorld articles ever was
review of Rod Neff's
motorcycle wheel balancer, first published about 8 years ago. I
think Rod has since stopped manufacturing it,
unfortunately, because it was very popular with "do it
yourselfers", and ours has served us well
The reality is that a motorcycle wheel balancer isn't
actually used very often, but if you
commute by motorcycle or take many long-distance rides
or tours, you're
probably going through tires much faster than you'd
If so, there are significant savings to
be had by mounting and balancing your own tires --
which can cost as much as $50.00 per tire
if it's done at a shop -- so owning a good motorcycle tire balancer and
tire changing tool can pay off in the long run.
It was the first time I actually
witnessed it in action, and all I can say is "Wow!"
-- what a difference from my
usual "farmer's" method of muscling the tires off
and on the rims with a couple of cheap tire irons.
I'm getting too old for that nonsense, and the
No-Mar is a must-have for high-milers who change a
set or more per year. Definitely a worthwhile
investment, so check out the video and the
No-Mar motorcycle tire changer review.
OK, back to balancing...I've known
Motorsports' motorcycle wheel and tire balancers for some time, and now that
we've used one, I can definitely say that the
product lives up to
its reputation. Something about it speaks
quality; it's a professional, precision tool that is
well designed and beautifully made.
The Tachyon balancer is available in
several different sizes, with a variety of parts and
accessories and cones, arbors and adapters are
available to fit just about any motorcycle wheel (or
airplane wheels or boat engine propellers) made,
including rear wheels for BMW, Ducati and other
single-sided swingarm types.
Tachyon Motorsports uses the word
"arbor" to refer to the shaft and cone assembly.
It wasn't immediately obvious to me that the
cones are available in either aluminum or stainless
steel or which features might be useful, so make
sure you study their website carefully;
it's all there, but it may take some careful reading
to understand the array of options that are
The Tachyon balancer is sold in kit form,
and the lower-priced kits come with aluminum cones
while the higher-priced kits have stainless steel
cones. Customers can also design their own kit
and choose "One from Column A; one from Column
B...etc." to put together a custom balancer package
with their choice of balancer frame size, cone size
and type, adapters for single-sided swingarm rear
wheels and more.
Tachyon Motorsports also sells some
nice-looking wheel weights and all the other goodies
you'll need to get the job done easily and
efficiently - Rick.
Tachyon Motorsports Elite 1 Motorcycle Wheel
and Tire Balancer Kit by Chris B. for webBikeWorld.com
Upon removal from the box I could tell this was one
well-made piece of equipment. As an Automotive
Technician for nearly 40 years, I have an
appreciation for simple but excellent construction.
During the setup, I was surprised to
discover that it is not
necessary to level the Tachyon balancer, as long as
the floor or surface is relatively level to begin
with. The balancer I've been using does need
to be leveled each time it's used. The Tachyon balancer has
four rubber “feet”, one in each corner, and simply
sits on these 4 points and keeps itself level on
The Tachyon balancer has the usual two uprights
with a pair of
sealed bearings mounted on each. The arbor, or
bar, rests on top of the bearings and rotates during the balancing
The balancer also has an optional adjustable pointer with a plastic
tip that moves both upward and inward for checking
or truing a rim. This pointer is easily adjusted
with good sized knobs and a fast pitch on the
Tachyon Motorcycle Wheel and Tire Balancer - Elite 1
Kit with optional wheel truing pointer.
Most forged, stamped, cast or
non-spoked wheels shouldn't need truing unless the
bike has been in an accident, but spoked wheels
sometimes need tightening or adjusting to get the
wheel to run true, and the Tachyon balancer can be
used for that job.
Setting the rim up for balancing is a simple matter
of passing the precision ground rod through the center of the
rim and sliding the self locking cones snug against
the hub. The cones are either aluminum or
ground stainless steel (preferred). Since this
is an Elite 1 kit, it came with the stainless steel
The rear wheels from BMW and some
other types of single-sided swingarm motorcycles
have a large center diameter "hole" in the hub, and
Tachyon sells adapters that can be used with the
cones for these wheels. The cones are
available in either 1.5" or 2.0" diameter, so check
to see which one you'll need.
These cones are slick! They
will slide on to the ground shaft in only one
direction, towards the smaller end, which is the one
that goes against the hub.
There are no set screws used on the
adapter cones on the Tachyon balancer. To remove or loosen
the Tachyon cones,
it’s a simple matter of pulling back on the collar
on the large end, which releases the locking
mechanism and allows the cone to slide back. Simple,
but very effective. Just how I like it!
By the way, before you start,
remember to remove the old wheel weights from the
It's a good idea to center the wheel on the rod
before placing the rod on the balancer. This
the cones really shine -- making an adjustment is a
snap, unlike my old balancer, which requires a locking
screw be loosened and re-tightened each time.
Place the tire and rod assembly on
the balancer, with each end of the rod sitting
between the pair of sealed
bearings. Let the tire go and see if it turns on its
own. If it does not, turn it 90 degrees and let go.
If it’s out of balance the heavy spot is going to
“fall” to the lowest point.
The tire is going to
“see saw” back and forth and then come to a rest. Notice we’re not spinning the tire, just allowing it
to “fall” on its own. See the video below,
which illustrates this.
Allow the tire to turn on its own while paying
attention to how fast it moves during this stage. It
will aid you in determining how much weight to add
The instructions say to make a mark at the “low”
(heavy) point (6 o-clock), but I prefer to mark the
“high” (light) point (12 o-clock) because that’s
where I’m going to be adding the weight.
Until you get a knack for guessing how much to start
off with, try starting off with ½ ounce (14 grams). I keep some old weights I’ve removed just for this
purpose. Tape the trial weight near the center of
the wheel at the point where you made your mark with
some masking tape or duct tape.
Now move that spot to either the
9 or 3 o-clock position and see if the wheel “falls”
back to the same places or changes. It should do one
of three things: move back where it was, fall to the
bottom or not move.
If it moves back where it was, more
weight must be added. This is where watching how fast the tire
“falls” comes into play; if it “falls” ½ as fast as
before, then I would add ½ the weight previously
If the mark moves to the bottom (6 o-clock), then subtract some weight.
If the wheel does not move then you’ve hit it on the
nose. But, to be sure, rotate the tire to different
positions, hold still and release. If it’s balanced,
it’ll either stay in place or only move slightly.
Once the tire is balanced and no longer rotates on
its own, remove the weights that were temporarily
attached with the masking tape or duct tape and
replace them with either the new stick-on weights or, if
your rim accepts them, you can use the hammer-on style
Unless the weight is placed directly in the center
of the wheel, divide the total amount
by two and place ½ on each side of the rim. If using
stick-on weights, be sure to clean the surface with
alcohol or glass cleaner to ensure they stay put and
don’t fly off the first time the bike gets up to speed.
Repeat the process with the other wheel and you’re
I found the balancer by Tachyon to do an excellent
job and to be more accurate and sensitive than my
old balancer. Of course a lot of this is
determined by the quality of the bearings and shaft,
and the Tachyon's bearings, the ground shaft and the
stability of the balancer frame seem to make a big
With This Link to the Motorcycle
Superstore and Support webBikeWorld!
Review: Tachyon Motorcycle Wheel and Tire Balancer
Retail Price: $139.95 (w/aluminum cones) to $244.95 (w/stainless steel
Various parts and accessories are also available.
in: Minnesota, U.S.A.
Date: May 2008 Comments: The Tachyon balancer is
available separately and the company has a "build your own" option for
customers to choose various size balancer frames and accessories.
Tachyon Motorsports provided the balancer for this review (info).