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Q I bought a fresh set of Dunlops for my 2004 Honda CBR600RR online and had them mounted at a local shop. The service department there did a fine job except for balancing the tires on my wheels. According to the guy who did the work, modern tires come pre-balanced from the factory and don't need balancing after they're mounted. Is this true?
A The guy who worked on your bike is either blowing smoke or inhaling it. According to Dunlop Marketing Manager Mike Manning, those tires were not pre-balanced at the factory." They are made within standards to be as round as possible," he says, "but there is nearly always a slightly lighter spot somewhere around the tire. Dunlop tires, for example, are 100 percent mounted and checked for uniformity and balance. The lightest spot on the tire is marked with a dot, which is where the valve stem of each wheel should be aligned. That's the heaviest part of the wheel assembly. Even after aligning the valve stem with the dot on the tire, the newly mounted tire/wheel assembly should be balanced before mounting on the motorcycle. Failure to do so can cause handling issues and uneven wear."
So there you go. We'd suggest you get the bike, or at least both wheels, to a more know-ledgeable shop for a proper balancing job.
I own a 2010 Harley Road King, and have been considering a fuel-map download, along with the installation of an aftermarket pipe. Considering all of the electronic fuel processers on the market now, is one better than the other? Is the map download performed at my Harley dealer better than an add-on unit? It seems the old days of screwing in a bigger main jet are gone.
Carbs and jets aren't entirely gone, but they're going. According to Gene Thomason-head man at Gene's Speed Shop in Torrance, California-having Harley's Stage 1 fuel map flashed onto your stock black box is fine as long as you're taking about a stock bike with a street-spec Harley-Davidson exhaust system. If you're using some other street-legal aftermarket system-something from Vance & Hines, for instance-you're better off with a fuel controller from the same source. "That way you know everything is going to work together, because all the homework is already done," Thomason says. "If you have aspirations of doing other stuff to the engine down the road, like hotter cams, high-compression pistons or more displacement, the next step is a Harley Screamin' Eagle Race Tuner kit or a MasterTune ECM reprogramming tool." Both give you more freedom to re-map the stock control module, making either one a better bet for getting the most out of a really big twin. Thomason prefers either one to a piggyback fuel-control box. However, that freedom assumes a certain amount of experience with the care and feeding of heavy-breathing fuel-injected twins. Inexpert tuners are better off letting a professional tuner handle such an engine's increased appetite.