Checking Your Rims for True Before Changing Your Tires
by Tim Bond
This post applies to all rims but in particlular the commonly dinged 3-spoke BMW wheels.
First off, most wheels are dinged by insufficient tire pressure (PSI). Check it often! Buy a good PSI indicator and you’ll never regret it.
With the newer tires and suspension you should leave comfort to the suspension and keep the air up to AT LEAST the factory recommend pressure. That’s what I run but that’s on racetrack-like roads. If your commute includes expansion joints, 4×4’s or potholes big enough to bury small animals in, you may want to increase the PSI to the pressure indicated on the tire’s sidewall. I recommend the 10% between cold and running differential to gauge where the PSI should be set.
So now I hope you’re just checking to see if any of those things you hit did any damage to your rims prior to a tire change. This is a good idea because rims CAN be bent by the tire machine if you’re going to have the tire changed at your dealer. I’ve seen the big 4 foot tire irons do some damage. A good tech can change a tire w/o much force at all.
To check the rear is easy. Just centerstand your bike and give the rear wheel a spin. If you have any doubt, hold a marker pencil on the swingarm. Have someone spin the wheel while you check for eccentricities. While you’re down there, shake the swingarm back and forth to see if there’s a “click” there indicating worn or loose swingarm bearings. Very common so check!
For the front, have your helper sit on the rear seat or jack up the motor to raise the front tire off the ground. Do the same spin check holding a marker on the outermost surface of the rim. The front wheel shows the most common dings as it’s the first to get whacked. Eccentricities CAN be corrected (by qualified wheels specialists) almost as easily as they’re obtained.
If you’re changing the tire yourself, use the sun to help you out. Set your tires out in the sun and they’ll become supple and very easy to mount without damage to the rim. When soft enough you won’t need more than the stock tire irons. Use your gloves to keep those irons from marring the painted surface of the rim.
I hope this helps some but if the worst happens you don’t have to buy new rims. I have jigs to correct wheels and the worst part is paying UPS for shipping, not BMW for new wheels.
_______________________________________________ Tim(Bondo)Bond 606-873-6686 3455 Oregon Rd Wire Wheels MC Svc Versailles, KY 40383 _______________________________________________