Tire Balancing Beads

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

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 [email protected]. 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.

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