Dear MOby,

How do tire balancing beads work? I just had a rear tire replaced and the shop installed Dynabeads. I had never heard of them before.

Phil Wilson
Unleaded


Dear Phil,

Dynabeads are little ceramic beads small enough to pour inside your tire through the valve stem. Once inside there, through a miracle of physics nobody understands, they distribute themselves to balance the tire, naturally migrating to the lightest areas. Dynabeads says your front motorcycle tire takes about one ounce of beads, and most rears take about two ounces. Once they’re in there, they continually redistribute themselves every time you ride to keep the tire in perfect balance even as it wears. With them, you supposedly don’t need external wheel weights at all.

At Dynabeads website, they’re the greatest thing since the pneumatic tire itself, eliminating the need for tire-balancing equipment, making your tires last longer and without cupping or weird wear patterns, giving you a smoother ride all the while. They sell them for everything from fleet trucks to RVs to ATVs.

You can spend as much time on motorcycle forums as you want: Some people love their Dynabeads, some like to balance their tires the old-fashioned way – but everybody agrees they seem to work to balance tires, and in most cases better than using external weights.

Downsides seem to be that the occasional bead will get stuck in the valve stem core and wedge it open, leaving you with a flat. Dynabeads says, “If you don’t have the filtered valve-stem cores, simply remember to rotate the valve stem somewhere around the 6:00 position and give the stem a quick shot of compressed air BEFORE checking air pressure. For 90° valve stems, always give it a quick shot of air before checking.” That sounds like kind of a PITA. Then again, DB sells filtered cores for $1.50 each.

Meanwhile on the other side of town, Counteract claims its glass beads are the only way to fly and will even improve your fuel economy.

Dunlop, naturally, and every other tire maker probably, has to poop on the parade by stating on its site: “Dunlop does not recommend the use of dry or liquid balancers/sealers and will not warrant tires into which these materials have been injected. Tire and wheel assembly balance must be checked with a balance stand or computer wheel balancer.”

Counteract returns fire with: “No, Counteract does not void any tire warranties. Due to our patented technology Counteract does not harm the inside of a tire, once removing Counteract from a tire you would never know it was inside. Warranties are only voided if the internal balancer has caused harm to the interior of the tire carcass, or you can tell that something was installed inside the tire. None of these happen using Counteract.”

Pick your side. Let us know how your Dynabeads work out. Seems to us like they’d be ideal for the cheapskate home tire changer working without a balance stand.


Send your moto-related questions to AskMOAnything@motorcycle.com. If we can’t answer them, we’ll at least make you feel temporarily better by thinking you’re talking to somebody who knows what they’re talking about even if we don’t. And if we’re wrong, some smart aleck like Dick Ruble will let us all know immediately.

Recent Ask MOs:
Why Do Nails Only Puncture REAR Tires?
Why is My Suspension So Stiff?
What Kind of Battery Do I Want?

  • JMDGT

    I have never heard of this. What the hell do I know? Nothing.

  • mugwump

    I recently had a shop put these in. I was suprised as I would’ve thought someone would let you know about a thing like that. I can tell you for sure that at about 80 to 90 everything will go pair shaped on you. I confirmed similar complaints during an on line search. The shop got me back in ASAP and we had a brief discussion. I thought after the write up in MCN that these things vanished years ago.

  • motorboy

    I have used them for years-over 10- and I like them they work-biggest problem I have seen is people like to put to much in thinking that small amount is not enough-the old more is better principle

    • michael folk

      i have recycled them from tire to tire ,but ya got to wash them before you use them again and would you believe they work as good the second or third time around .i am cheap but green

      • Daniel Cold

        I reuse them also. Been using them for years.

      • TonyCarlos

        You guys who use them: do you run them with standard weights or without?

        • Tim Puffer

          Without standard weights. I’ve been very pleased with them.

    • Rick Duncan

      I’ve also used them successfully for a couple years. I purchase them in bulk, well by the ounce, online from a tire place. They do sound like “snake oil” but either I’ve been real lucky or they really work. Since I don;t run MotoGP I’ve never had an issue. 🙂

  • Mad4TheCrest

    Always wondered how tire beads behave under braking, especially hard braking. Wil they leave their ‘balance points’ and slew around in the tire; and will that have any effect on stability? Also, at higher speeds or aggressive acceleration and cornering; will they stay in the places they need to be for balancing or will they dance about?

    • deltainny

      The beads are never stationary in the tire. There is no noticeable difference in balance during braking.

      • tt4tibor

        EXCEPT when they clump together.

        • deltainny

          They can only clump together if the installation was bad. Too much tire mounting lube or water in the inflation air can be culprits. I only use a paste-type mounting lube, and use it sparingly.

          • tt4tibor

            Sorry but you are wrong. Tires all lose air over time, and each time you add air you are adding moisture. Unless of course you are anal and make sure that all air going in your tires is dehydrated😉

          • deltainny

            It is not anal to do a good job. Sorry you feel that way. Most commercial facilities that use / supply compressed air have some type of air dryer: Regenerative, Dessicant, Coalescent or Refrigerated.
            My EXPERIENCE with possibly hundreds of tires is zero problems from clumping. With that said, some shops can be sloppy and use too much mounting lube, which is usually water-based. As I said earlier, I use a paste-type lube.
            And no, tires do not ALL lose air over time. Most do, and that is due to miniscule leaks, usually at the rim. Proper cleaning and mounting can eliminate those leaks.

          • tt4tibor

            Phew talk about anal. What about temp and altitude changes? You never have to put air in your tires? Really? Then you’re doing something wrong. And most of us will hit a gas station, not a “facility”, when on the road. Anyway, you can argue about my experience all day, but it is what it is.

          • S S

            I use nitrogen. No issues with tire pressure change

  • The professional party that installs all my Wing tires will ONLY use Dynabeads for balancing motorcycle tires. I have had them in the last four tires and they seem to work as designed right to the end of life of a tire…no weird wear; just the tire wearing exactly as it should. After four tires, I wouldn’t use anything else.

  • Patriot159

    One argument says: “If they work so well, why don’t MotoGP (et al) teams use them?” I don’t claim to have that answer, still wonder why though…

    • Mahatma

      Maybe the QC is so awesome they don’t need ’em?

    • TonyCarlos

      Do you know for a fact that they don’t?

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Balancing beads are for tire longevity. MotoGP uses up the tire in one race. It is better to just balance the tire on the balancing machine.

      • deltainny

        BALANCE is the primary reason for the beads. Longevity is a side benefit.

  • Jon Jones

    Seems snake oil-esque…

  • michael folk

    i have been using them for six years now and they do the job .took a trip around the nation the first year i used them and did notice a nice change in my bmw and a decrease in tire wear .

  • Tim Sawatzky

    I’m no expert, but I just put the Counteract beads in the rear tire of my Valkyrie when I did my own tire change. Seems to work great. Instantly smooth, so far no problems. I believe bumps and braking will not be an issue because they say static electricity forces the beads to the wall of the tire at 4 times the strength of gravity. Anyway, so far so good for me.

    • Daniel Cold

      Not static electricity

      • Tim Sawatzky

        Hmm, I read on the counteract website that unlike the Dyna beads that fall to the bottom, their glass beads stick to the tire with static. I can’t find where on the website that was, but it was referenced in another forum as well.

        • Tim Puffer

          Yes, they are static-y. I installed then myself in new tires and they are slow to pour through the valve stems because if the static ele tricity

  • therr850

    A friend uses them exclusively in his Spyder tires. He seems to think nothing else works as well for the life of his tires.

  • Bmwclay

    Save your money, just dump a load of #9 shot from a .410 shell. Works about the same.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Be sure to leave the gunpowder out.

  • 2wheelsgood

    I vote no. I crashed with a deflated front tire after adding them to the front. It was a tube tire and no evidence of a cut to the tire, I reused it with a new tube. No more beads. Not sure how I checked the pressure that day. Anything that requires you to check your tire pressure in a specific way, or potentially suffer a fatal crash is no good IMO. I also saw a description of a crash like mine on the amazon product page.

  • Brian Clasby

    Perhaps one of those online motorcycle magazines could do some sort of test . . .

    • c w

      a product evaluation on a webmag? be not so preposterous…

  • Pete M

    I recommend Split Fire plugs too.

    • Jon Jones

      Perfect!

  • Thad Stelly

    Haha, if you’re cool with “about an ounce in the front and maybe 2 ounces worth in the rear”, then go for it.
    In the meantime, I cut 7g weights in half because I can balance to that degree.

  • deltainny

    There is a third balancing bead product, Equal. Equal is a plastic (they call it polymer, but we all know what that means) grain, about the size of granulated sugar. I am a small tire dealer and since these products are all primarily marketed to the trucking industry (big trucks use BIG tires and therefore use a lot of the beads) I wanted to try them in my own cars and pick-ups before I installed it into my customers tires. The dynamic balance is better than can be achieved with external weights. The internal beads cannot be thrown off like a weight when you hit a pothole. On a car / truck, the tires wear much more evenly. After a couple years use, I tried it in my motorcycle tires. Same results, although I have never noticed uneven wear on a motorcycle tire, even before using the beads.
    Too much beads can cause a problem, though. Equal told me to use 1 ounce per 13 pounds of tire weight. In 7 years I have never had a. problem with the Equal, in cars, pick-ups and motorcycles of all sizes and types. I would assume the same for DynaBeads and CounterAct, as long as it is measured and installed properly.

  • Mike S

    I had a set of tires put on my Silverado 1/2 ton pickup and these ‘balancing beads’ were used. I was not informed of this until I paid the bill. They worked fine for a couple thousand miles. After that, I could feel that the wheels were out of balance and it steadily got worse until the tires had to come off the wheels to remove the beads. I had the wheels computer balanced & will not use the beads for anything in the future.

  • gunny 2shoes

    They so smoooooooth, been using for years, pop my own tires. Toss the plastic bag of beads into the tire before you heave it on, saves feeding them in thru the valve stem. Hey, he just called me a cheapskate.

  • tt4tibor

    I had really hoped Dynabeads would work, but not for me. I was intrigued and the local tire changer started using them, so into my new Dunlop Roadsmart 2s they went. Didn’t notice any issues on my GTL until several thousand miles had passed. Probably because they spent their time at mostly legal speeds. Took a trip out of the country and as my GTL hit anything over 90 mph, the front end went nuts! Upon returning from the trip, needed new tires. Changed to Bridgestone T30s and during the change, saw that the Dynabeads in the old tires were clumped together. Tire changer and I thought, aha, that’s why the front end shook so badly. Apparently just putting regular air in your tires introduces enough moisture to clump the beads, PITA 🙁 Nope! Unfortunately, that wasn’t the answer. Brand new tires, brand new Dynabeads and upon hitting 100mph, got the same violent shaking. They don’t work for high speeds! Had tires balanced with wheel weights… problem solved.

    • Jon Jones

      Good to know, thanks for posting this.

  • CFLAP

    If you don’t mind adding $25 to the cost of your tire, go for it.

  • Zimmerframe Racing

    Race sanctioning bodies don’t allow ’em, which is… interesting. Since I have a changer, I do a lot of tyres for friends. I’ll put the beads in if they want ’em, but recommend using a balance stand and old-school weights.