Just read the thread about tire balancing & wheel weights & was wondering about the beads that you put inside the tire for balancing . I read quite a bit about it a while back & it seemed to have mixed reviews . Some people said the beads did a fine job & some said not so much . Anyone here have any experience using them or thoughts on their use ?
My experience with the beads is with motorcycles.
When I began changing my own tires on my motorcycles I was apprehensive about the balancing. The beads sounded like a great idea and they were simple.
My first use of these was about 6 years ago. I mounted 2 new tires and added the suggested amount of beads per the manufacturer’s instructions.
I found I got a pretty significant vibration.
I then tried adjusting the amount of beads in the tire by adding more. I did this a couple of times before I decided that the whole idea was bad. At that point I took the wheels back off the bike, dismounted the tires and removed the beads. I made up a balancing stand using a couple of jackstands and a long steel rod for the wheel to roll on and balanced using lead weights that I got from the local tire store at no charge. All traces of vibration were gone.
I gave up on the beads for a long time but now I have a bike with a rear wheel that bolts up to a flange instead of having an axle that passes through so I can’t use the jackstand method with it.
So I decided to give the beads another try.
My experience was exactly the same as the previous time I had used them. A very noticeable vibration.
I took the wheel back off the motorcycle, dismounted the tire and vacuumed out the beads. I didn’t have a good way to balance the wheel so I just put it back on the bike with no weights. All traces of vibration were gone.
I am a firm believer that the beads to not work based on my experience and experimentation.
However I know there are plenty of people who are firm believers that they do work.
Centrifugal force (yeah, I know, it isn’t really a force, but bear with me) will cause the beads to move to the area(s) in the carcasses’ inner surface that is/are farthest from the axis of rotation. This in NOT necessarily, indeed not likely, the lightest sections of the tire. Even if it were, the bead would have to be a weight roughly equivalent to the difference between the light segment and the heavy segment to help… a bit too light, and they’ll do no good, a bit too heavy and they’ll exacerbate the problem.
The beads are just more “snake oil”. Another scam to empty your wallet. Nothing more.
Now, as regards the “centrifugal force”, I recognize that it’s inertia trying to overcome centripetal force, but that’s an argument for physics class. The world understands the term “centrifugal force” and I’m gonna stick with it… except in physics class…
+1 to mountainbike’s comment.
These “balancing beads” would only work on a consistent basis if the laws of physics could be repealed.
Yes, there may be some odd cases where they seem to work, but in the vast majority of cases, they would yield no benefit, and could actually worsen an existing imbalance problem.