Wheel Balancing & 'SLIME'

2door

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 15, 2008
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Littleton, Colorado
I'm not sure how many of you bother with wheel balancing but I've always tried to keep them in the ball park. I use solder wrapped around the rim end of a spoke to get the wheel as close to balanced as I can. A day or so ago I was checking my speedo sensor and had the front wheel off the floor and found it very, very heavy at a point well away from my solder wrap. I went through the process again, got the wheel back in balance but after setting for a few minutes I discovered another heavy spot where the wheel sat against the floor. Then it dawned on me. "Duh", the 'SLIME' is running to the low area when the bike is standing still. That makes my efforts to balance useless. Just wondering if anyone else has found that adding 'SLIME' to their tubes has effected the way the bike rides. I have not noticed any discernable difference so maybe it's a moot point. I typically ride in the 15 to 18 MPH range so maybe at those low speeds I wouldn't notice but I've occasionally riden for some distance at 25+ and still felt no undue wheel vibration or hop. Does the 'SLIME' distribute evenly when the wheel is spinning?
 

NunyaBidness

Active Member
Jun 29, 2008
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memphis tn
When you're balancing the wheel, you have it spinning, right? Then after the wheel sits for a minute the slime collects in the low spot. I would think it does the same thing while riding, when you stop it collects in the low spot, then as the wheel starts to spin, the slime distributes through out the tube, balancing the wheel again.

Hope that helps, I'm no mechanic or engineer, just a guy who tries to learn from watching and listening to those kind of people and that was what came to my mind as I read your dilemma.
 

2door

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Sep 15, 2008
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Littleton, Colorado
When you're balancing the wheel, you have it spinning, right? Then after the wheel sits for a minute the slime collects in the low spot. I would think it does the same thing while riding, when you stop it collects in the low spot, then as the wheel starts to spin, the slime distributes through out the tube, balancing the wheel again.

Hope that helps, I'm no mechanic or engineer, just a guy who tries to learn from watching and listening to those kind of people and that was what came to my mind as I read your dilemma.
Nun,
I agree with that theory. It would be interesting to see exactly what happens to the 'SLIME as the wheel spins. I'm trying to invision a parallel and the closest thing I can come up with is my wife's clothes washer. I ran it with only water and put it into a spin cycle. The water seemed to distribute evenly around the tub but that's water, not a viscous consistency like 'SLIME'. As I said, I think, at least for me, it's probably not an issue because I rarely exceed 20 MPH. If I want to go faster I take the hot rod out:)
 

jasonh

New Member
Jun 23, 2008
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Longmont, CO
Yeah, I think it does distribute while you're moving. Best way to balance with slime would be to balance before adding the slime I think.

I recently redid my bearings, and now my wheels will swing back and forth forever before stopping due to the slime constantly redistributing.
 

Bikeguy Joe

Godfather of Motorized Bicycles
Jan 8, 2008
11,843
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up north now
I used slime in an automotive tire, and it wreaked havoc on the balance when the car was driven at anything below 40 degrees F.

I agree that if you slime, balance first, then cross your fingers.
 

mabman

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Oct 4, 2008
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You have too much time on your hands 2door. I have been around bicycles all my life and have never heard of anyone balancing their wheels. As long as they are round and true that is all that really matters for the speeds that these bikes achieve. But their is a definite knack to getting them tensioned properly so that they stay round and true which takes practice. It helps if you learn how to actually build a wheel from scratch.
 

2door

Moderator
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Sep 15, 2008
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Littleton, Colorado
You have too much time on your hands 2door. I have been around bicycles all my life and have never heard of anyone balancing their wheels. As long as they are round and true that is all that really matters for the speeds that these bikes achieve. But their is a definite knack to getting them tensioned properly so that they stay round and true which takes practice. It helps if you learn how to actually build a wheel from scratch.
Mab,
When you're semi retired and the wife works full time...you're right; I've got too much time on my hands:) Nevertheless, balancing can't hurt but I also agree that at the speeds I typically ride, 15-20MPH, it probably doesn't do much. I built a wheel jig some years ago and use it to true my wheels but so far after the first time the rims on the MB have stayed good. I've found that the cheaper the tire the more you can expect lumps. The high end rubber will give you a truer circle and the bumps probably cause more uneveness than any balancing issues. Thanks.
Tom
 

mabman

New Member
Oct 4, 2008
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In the wind
I wasn't sayin' you shouldn't do it, just that I had never heard of it before. When you get a harmonic balancer going maybe you could market it? laff
 

Bikeguy Joe

Godfather of Motorized Bicycles
Jan 8, 2008
11,843
235
63
up north now
I balance all of my wheels, it does make a difference, and you would not believe how far out of balance a 2.125" can get.
 

paul

Well-Known Member
Dec 23, 2007
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Kalamazoo, MI
when i added the slime to my back tire it was way out of ballence. however no more flats which seemed to happen every other day. i think the trade off is more then worth it. slime rules daxtit
 

jasonh

New Member
Jun 23, 2008
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Add a weight to one of your spokes and then go ride at 30mph and see if it matters :)

Ever drive your car without the wheels balanced?
 

Dave31

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Staff member
Mar 1, 2008
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Aztlán, Arizona
Just recently I replaced both my tires. I've only used slime once on the front and i did not like it, I could feel how unbalanced it made my wheel.

When I purchased my tires, I saw they had slime tubes marked down 50%. So i figured I'd toss in some brand new slime tubes with my new tires.

I hate it! Way out of balance, the faster i go the worse it gets.

I dont know if i should try to balance them or just get rid of the slime tubes.
 

bigbutterbean

New Member
Jan 31, 2011
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Lebanon, PA
I've been running with slime tubes for almost 3 years now. I used to constantly have problems with flats, but not a single one since I switched to slime tubes. I've never noticed a difference between tubes with slime and tubes without. I've had my bike up to 33mph, never had my wheels feel wobbly or out of balance. I'll never run without slime tubes again. The alternative to slime tubes, if you really think its a problem, is thorn-resistant tubes. You can also buy puncture resistant tire liners, that go between the tube and the tire. As far as tires go, I prefer black knobby tires with a very tight wire bead. They are not the easiest to get on or off, but once they're on, I've never had a problem with them seating properly. Maybe they just aren't that easy because I do tire changes by hand. Maybe tire levers would make it easier.
 

maniac57

Old, Fat, and still faster than you
Oct 8, 2011
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memphis Tn
I've been running with slime tubes for almost 3 years now. I used to constantly have problems with flats, but not a single one since I switched to slime tubes. I've never noticed a difference between tubes with slime and tubes without. I've had my bike up to 33mph, never had my wheels feel wobbly or out of balance. I'll never run without slime tubes again. The alternative to slime tubes, if you really think its a problem, is thorn-resistant tubes. You can also buy puncture resistant tire liners, that go between the tube and the tire. As far as tires go, I prefer black knobby tires with a very tight wire bead. They are not the easiest to get on or off, but once they're on, I've never had a problem with them seating properly. Maybe they just aren't that easy because I do tire changes by hand. Maybe tire levers would make it easier.
I don't use slime because I've had it get all over the tube after a big puncture and made a g**awful mess. I run a super thick thorn resistant tube and will never go back. I tried slime in several dirt bikes and I never liked it.
Just my personal view as I know a few people who swear by it.It's just not worth the mess to me. Same reason I never used tubeless rims on my roadies. Too much trouble and mess.
 

mybike1

New Member
Dec 21, 2011
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Michigan City, Indiana
I'm a bike shop owner, have been for over five years... worked in bike shops for 8 years prior... here's my 2 cents on Slime or any other generic version... I dont even sell it in my shop. It's more trouble than it's worth.
First of all, yes, it does find any holes and seals them... and yes, your valvestem is a hole. One day you'll go to put some air in your tire and your valve will be sealed shut. then you'll have to remove the core, clean or replace it.
Second, yes, it will unbalance your wheel depending on the brand and temperatures and the age of the slime.
Third, I just hate replacing a blown tube with slime all over the place... if the tube splits open, it goes everywhere... nasty stuff.
I hate that crap.... buy some tuffy liners or a thorn resistant tube or both... stay away from slime.


And yes... some stock wheels can be way out of balance, your average person would never know, but at some higher speeds if your actually paying attention to it, you can feel it. I usually dont bother with balancing my wheels unless they are way out, otherwise I'm not too picky.
 
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bigbutterbean

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Jan 31, 2011
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Lebanon, PA
I'm a bike shop owner, have been for over five years... worked in bike shops for 8 years prior... here's my 2 cents on Slime or any other generic version... I dont even sell it in my shop. It's more trouble than it's worth.
First of all, yes, it does find any holes and seals them... and yes, your valvestem is a hole. One day you'll go to put some air in your tire and your valve will be sealed shut. then you'll have to remove the core, clean or replace it.
Second, yes, it will unbalance your wheel depending on the brand and temperatures and the age of the slime.
Third, I just hate replacing a blown tube with slime all over the place... if the tube splits open, it goes everywhere... nasty stuff.
I hate that crap.... buy some tuffy liners or a thorn resistant tube or both... stay away from slime.


And yes... some stock wheels can be way out of balance, your average person would never know, but at some higher speeds if your actually paying attention to it, you can feel it. I usually dont bother with balancing my wheels unless they are way out, otherwise I'm not too picky.
It doesn't surprise me that being a business owner, you recommend the more expensive solution. You may feel that your personal experience is that slime does not work, but that doesn't mean its fair to ignore the statements of those who have had positive experiences with it. I don't know if maybe there is a difference between the tubes that come with slime and the stuff you add yourself, but I buy the tubes with the slime already in them, and haven't had a single problem with a slime tube in over 3 years. I swear by the slime tubes, and I'm not the only person who uses it with satisfactory results. Slime being the less expensive option, I can certainly live with the "risk" of cleaning slime off the rim should the tube split open. I've had a sidewall wear through and blow my tube, and I pushed my bike home and yeah, I cleaned all the goo off my rim, and I didn't care one bit. I replace my tubes every year, and even with tire liners and puncture resistant tubes, the tubes should be replaced every so often, so I don't see tire liners and tubes being any less expensive in the long run either. Generalized statements are easy to make, but it doesn't mean they are right.