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Thread: harbor freight tire balancer

  1. #1
    Craig in NM
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    Question harbor freight tire balancer

    anyone tired one? was it any good? c n nm

  2. #2
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    My buddy has one and also their tire changing station. The balancer is OK, the changer is junk. You'd be a lot happier with either a NO MAR or Marc Parnes outfit.

    http://www.nomartirechanger.com

    http://www.marcparnes.com/

    If you going to do the work, and you'll be saving some $$, invest in a better tool.

    I have the harbor freight lift and I love it, so I'm not anti HF.
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '05 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
    Suzuki DR 350

  3. #3
    Registered User
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    Nomar also has a less expensive tire changer made under the cyclehill name. This unit got a good write up from Webbikeworld. I have one but have not used it yet. The unit is made very well and is priced much better than the Nomar commercial unit and I figure it will "pay" for itself in about three sets of tires (tire cost, labor, etc.) for my RT and wifes ST. You can, I am sure make friends happy by helping them out when needed. You may want to check it out at www.cyclehilltirechanger.com .
    Larry

  4. #4
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    I have one of the HF balancers. The BMW adapter wobbles, and the bar is not straight. Sensitivity is about 1/4 OZ but accuracy, is at best one ounce on the rear, front is a bit better, but not much. For the price, the stand is good. I need to order a straight ground bar from someplace like McMaster Carr and see how it does then.

    As sold, it will fix gross imbalance, but no better. I will make it better, but right now is not so good.

    Rod

  5. #5
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    Just for reference, the Nomar (and I assume Marc Parnes) will pick up 1/16 oz weight. That is, once balanced, if I cut a 1/4 oz weight in 4 pieces and put one piece on the wheel, it will detect it. That's good enough for me!
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '05 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
    Suzuki DR 350

  6. #6
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    I used to do a lot of test and measurement. The 1/16 OZ figure is sensitivity. How about accuracy/repeatability?

    Balance a tire. Take it off the balancer. Put it back on with the cones/adapter, and shaft in a different place. Check again. Does the tire still show in balance or does the balance shift? If it shifts by how much? Try this for several places. If for example it indicated 1/4 ounce worst case, then the accuracy would be 1/4 OZ +- 1/16 OZ

    It takes both attributes to make a good static balancer. I could increase the sensitivity of the HF unit by removing the seals from the bearings, washing out the grease, and leave the seals out. However, it would not do any better balancing because of the accuracy issue.

    Rod

  7. #7
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    Good point. I have done this several times. I've used different cones, turned the rod around, tried both sides of the rod (it does not have to be centered), and changed the wheel position on the rod. The Nomar always shows the same spot as heavy, certainly to within an inch of rotation.

    The stand does not have to be level, either. Certainly I put it on a fairly level solid surface, but if you play with it, you see that it doesn't matter much.
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '05 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
    Suzuki DR 350

  8. #8
    erickson9502
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    I havent used the Harbor Freight balancer but the tire changer kicks butt along with the table lift.

  9. #9
    Registered User stkmkt1's Avatar
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    I bought the HF balancer along with the BMW adapter. The adapter does not fit my bike - GSA. So I bought the Parnes unit. It seems to work ok. I know it seems to "spin" a lot more freely than the HF unit. I don't need the tire changer but I did buy the HF bead breaker. It works great for me. I also bought the Stop & Go bead breaker. It broke one side but I could not get the other side of the wheel to break. Can't believe I could not get it to break. So I used the HF breaker and it broke right away. Of course, the two units are quite a bit different.
    '09 BMW 1200 GSA, 2013 BMW 700GS, 2000 Goldwing SE, '09' V Star 950, '09 Honda Rebel,
    '77 Honda 750A. Holding at six til I get new garage built - need more room for more bikes!

  10. #10
    Jeff K. PlaneGeek's Avatar
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    One of my co-workers owns a HF changer that he uses on his Suzuki and swears by it. I haven't tried it yet, but I may on my next set.
    Jeff K.

    Salem, OR
    2008 Silver R 1200 RT

  11. #11
    Registered User kgadley01's Avatar
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    I still change my tires by hand, although I do have a bead breaker. I got my balancer on E-Bay for $75.00. the cones and the rod are solid stainless steel. it works very well.
    AKA SNAPGADGET
    Lifes too short to ride an ugly Motorcycle

  12. #12
    Wired for sound! UncleMark's Avatar
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    I've prolly done 60 changes on a NoMar and Marc Parnes set-up... I have had only two come back... one was a bad tire and one was a set of weights that got thrown (or pulled off - in my opinion).

    M. Parnes for static balance... only way to fly!
    "Uncle Mark"
    BMW MOA Member #127457 - '06' Ocean Blue 1200 LT

  13. #13
    Craig in NM
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    H F tire ballancer

    Thanks guys, I have a H F table and the black chock, both are fine had them for about 3 years now, seem to have a firends or my bike on the table about all the time...I will try the H F balancer, hope it works out as well at the other things from H F....Craig in NM

  14. #14
    Registered User lkraus's Avatar
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    There are a couple problems that have come up in the past two and a half years since you started this thread.

    I have had the Harbor Freight balancer for about five years and it worked OK with my Yamaha wheels. One of the allen screws on a cone has a stripped socket - easily replaced.

    First, they have apparently changed their packaging in a way that causes the axle to bend in shipping. There are currently many negative reviews because of this on their website. It is a standard 1/2" size if you want to replace it, but why should you have to?

    In spite of the continuing claims printed on the box, in the printed manual, and in the current online manual they have NO adapters available for BMW or H-D wheels. After I purchased my RT, I exchanged several emails with a very uncaring "customer representative" over this issue to no avail.

    Rather than purchase an adapter from another company that may or may not have worked with the HF setup, I bought a complete new setup from Marc Parnes. I'm very happy with it and will probably be putting the HF set on craigslist any day now.
    Larry
    2006 R1200RT

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