Marc Parnes - Portable wheel balancer

[ November 24, 2009 ]

At $105 for the wheel balancer, it's not cheap.  In fact you can get a counter top wheel balancer for under $100.  I've seen prices as low as $79.99.  So why would anybody want to purchase a more expensive wheel balancer?  Well, the one word listed in the name says it all... "Portable".  Yes, Marc Parnes' wheel balancer is portable and weighs next to nothing.  It's ideal for hauling out to the middle of nowhere to balance your wheels after a tire swapping session.  In my case, I don't intend to use it in the field.  However, I will carry the little balancer on a trip just in case.  My intent is to use the balancer in the comfort of my garage to change tires whenever I want.  Does it happen often?  For me, I change out tires at least once a year.  I easily put on 12K miles each year as I use my bike to go almost everywhere.

Regardless of whether I'm on travel or at home, I use my panniers to prop the wheel balancer up to balance my wheels.  There is no reason for this other than creating an "in the field" habit of doing business.

Using the wheel balancer is very easy and quite intuitive.  The trouble to be had is more related with getting the wheel off of the motorcycle, and yes that's another story.

Having experience with the counter top balancer and the portable balancer, I like the portable balancer better.  It doesn't have some of the friction issues seen with a balancer that uses two bearings per balancer axle.

For me this little balancer has more than paid for itself.  I've used it to balance the TKC-80s for the Mammoth trip, when I put the old Anakees back on after the Mammoth trip, and when I swapped the Anakees out for the Conti Trail Attacks.  Of course this doesn't count the number of times I've also worked on my brother's F650GS's wheels.

It's a 5 out of 5 folks.  It's well worth the money and it doesn't take up a lot of room in the garage.  In fact, it lives in once of my pull out tool drawers.

Now if only I can get wheel weights with 3M indoor/outdoor double sided tape instead of the regular foam double sides tape.  The regular foam double sided tape fails on me more often than not.  As a result, I pull the foam double sided tape off and install my own 3M double sided tape to make sure the weights stay right where they're suppose  to be.  The other good deal with using the 3M double sided tape is that it can easily be removed from the rim as opposed to the foam double sided tape.  No Goo Gone is needed.  If Goo Gone is used, it doesn't make a mess.

A roll of 3M indoor/outdoor double sided tape and a bunch of weights with the 3M tape.

Hint:  The red dot painted on the tire by the manufacturer is normally the light side of the tire.

Written on: November 24, 2009
Last modified: November 24, 2009