Centramatic on-board centrifugal Wheel Balancers have been around for more than 30 years saving trucking companies millions of dollars by extending tire life. Now available for Harley-Davidson models, the Centramatic Wheel Balancers ($289.95) consist of a polished stainless steel plate with a tempered aluminum tube so that rust is never an issue. Inside the Balancers is a media consisting of 0.092 Dura Metal Shot in a proprietary synthetic moly with wear inhibitors. Basically, a bunch of bee-bees submerged in fluid that spin with centrifugal force to keep whatever they're attached to-a wheel in this case-balanced! The Balancers claim to extend tire life by 30-50 percent, improve braking, increase ride stability, reduce vibration (ultimately rider fatigue), and increase tire footprint and grip in turns.
We have heard a lot about Centramatic's Wheel Balancers from our Teamster pals, so we rang up the folks in the corporate office to do some investigating. We spoke to Centramatic's Jerry Robertson, director of technical support, about why these balancers are a must-have for motorcyclists.
"The balancer will balance the whole turning wheel assembly. Under different conditions the tire changes shape, so the balance does shift in the rotating wheel assembly because of the free movement of the weight in the balancer. It will move to compensate for any change in the balance under whatever type of condition, like with MPH change whether it's increased or decreased the tire changes shape," Jerry said. "Now you throw in load variables, passenger, luggage, etc., and also road conditions and you have three constant variable changes that can affect the wheel assembly and in turn affect the balance. Keeping the tire in a constant balanced condition under those changing variables, there's a flexing of the tire when it's out of balance, which generates friction, which generates higher heat. Well, the top three reasons for tire wear are out of balance, low air pressure, or heat. Less rolling resistance provides a smoother ride, less fatigue, and increased tire life."
We couldn't have said it better ourselves. After a long conversation with Jerry, we asked him to send us a set to try for ourselves. And as Jerry put it, "It'll put a smile on your face!" B
01 Starting in the rear, we rolled the bike on a bike lift and removed the saddlebags.
02 We then had to remove the right-side muffler in order to slide the wheel axle out to get the wheel off.
03 The Centramatic Wheel Balancer installs between the hub and brake rotor. After removing the single rotor in the rear, we placed the balancer with the flat surface facing the rotor and reinstalled the rotor atop the balancer.
04 We used plenty of blue threadlocking compound on the factory rotor bolts.
05 Rear wheel balancer installation was complete.
06 Moving on to the front, we removed the brake calipers from the fork legs and loosened the axle nut holding the wheel in place.
07 After sliding the wheel off, we removed the rotors from both sides and installed the Centramatic balancers.
08 As you can see, the Balancers are barely noticeable under the rotors and installation is very straightforward.
09 Lastly, the wheel was replaced and the brake calipers were tightened down. It was time to take the bike for a spin. We immediately noticed a difference after getting on the freeway at higher speeds. The King felt as if it was glued to the road with less of a floaty feeling. We're curious to see if the Balancers really do improve fuel economy, so check out baggersmag.com for updates on our tests.