AKA 2 In 1 Handheld Wheel Balancer w/Clay (UPDATED!)
This is the UPDATED Version 2 AKA 2 In 1 Handheld Wheel Balancer! The V2 balancer now uses a threaded pin with knurled components to secure the wheel in place, instead of the o-rings that are found on the original.
The 2 in 1 handheld wheel balancer has been meticulously engineered to balance most 12mm hex and 17mm hex wheels, including 1:10 buggy, short course, 1:8 buggy and truggy. The sleek, lightweight design fits in any toolbox without taking up much room. Package includes one balancer and one block of balancing clay.
Items Featured In These Videos:
- AKA44001C: Wheel Balancing Clay
- AKA44006: 2 In 1 Handheld Wheel Balancer
- AKA44007: Multi-Tip Tire Punch
- AKA44008: Mini Pump Bottle w/Locking Cap
NOTE: The AKA44006 Wheel Balancer is not compatible with stadium truck wheels/tires.
This product was added to our catalog on February 17, 2015.
Getting home early this morning from work I just had to play with it a bit. I had read the reviews on this product prior to ordering and figured I'd give it a shot. I had seen the first gen tool before and I was really liking the way AKA had updated the tool. Seemed to be a much better, or more secure, setup. Already knowing there could be some excess friction from the rubber sealed bearings, I set out to pop out the bearings (a 1.5mm wrench is all you need to pull the shaft apart) and was going to do some fairly routine bearing prep to help,free them up. I first tightened the small screw some to see if the tool would be too tight, which it was. Once apart, I was looking for a small shim to set the end play a little looser once the screw was fully tightened, in the hopes that the bearings would spin a bit more freely. Just as I was about to add in a small shim, I found a larger shim behind one of the bearings (guessing about a 0.10 thickness). Pulling that shim out and reassembling the tool and getting the screw as tight as I was looking for, I had just a bit of end play and the bearings spun with out too much friction, and were better than I thought they would be for rubber sealed bearings. Next up was going about balancing a set of 1/8th Buggy tires I had ordered at the same time I ordered the tool. Overall, I was pretty happy with how the tool worked and balanced a set of tires. Only slight issue I had was trying to hold the tool steady enough to not influence any extra movement on the tire/wheel. Took a little time to get it held right, but worked. I'd say it's worth the money and has more pluses than minuses overall. Small, lightweight, pretty easy to use, easy to store, and can be used on more than just 1/8th tires/wheels without needing to buy extra adapters. Not as stable as other types of balancing tools that aren't hand held. So I'll give it a 4 out of 5)
Also, this friction fit does start to slip out and give the wheel lots of play, so you have to constantly push it all together to keep it tight and accurate.
Honestly, I'd be embarrassed to sell this product if I owned AKA, especially with the great reputation they have for their wheels and tires. Why didn't they just use a taper fit for the pin that inserts into the handle (like an R8 taper that milling machines use to hold their tools) and have it magnetically lock together? Perhaps it would cost more for a magnet and a steel washer than two crappy little O-rings, but at least you'd have a product that works over and over.)
I called aka for support and got voicemail. They never called back to help. I picked up a second one fearing that the first was defective, it was better, but pretty much same story. Another annoying observation was that the clay was not packaged tightly and was hardened in both packages.
I use this to get a baseline and then go to my trusty magnetic balancer that always picks up a bit more imbalance for me to take out.
Message to AKA: fix these minor issues and you will have a winner. Also, return customer calls in a timely manner. Better yet, just return them in the end.)
But: They should have used some more time testing this tool out, here we go:
1. It don't fit all rims as it should, even AKA rims do not balance in this. But that is not all, see #2.
2. When you mount the balancer on a freshly built wheel (or any wheel of that matter), the pin with the o-ring that is supposed to hold the tool and wheel together when you spin it will slide out due to the weight of the wheel making the pin slide out and get the balancer and wheel unbalanced. I tried to wipe of all oil of the pin and o-ring to get it to be a better fit with some resistance in it, but the o-ring is very small (Due to pin diameter). This pin should have been maximized in diameter so the pin and o-ring could be bigger and giving the proper resistance making the tool holding the tire together while balancing. The way it is now, you can easily just use a hex driver with the same diameter as the holder in the rim as a balancing tool, because that is what it does really... To bad, it is great looking tool and small enough to have with you and I can't really understand they did not notice this under development.
I will be buying a HUDY balancer instead, but I really wanted a simple, small balancer I could have in my field set-up to bring to races, but instead I could just used my screw drivers I already have and saved the money on this one.
However, I will see if I can improve it and come up with an solution to this, if so I will post it here.
Only 3 point, and that is one to much but I give them that one extra for trying... And it did come with some clay as well.)
The problem is in the execution. The balancer is not smooth there is obvious resistance on the spinning pieces. I noticed on the removable tire fitting the red cap does come off with a rubber ring on the inside which leads me to think you have to balance the balancer as in a couple occasions it has its own balancing issues. When you pay 33 bucks or so for two sets of bearings in simple machined part you might hope to see more precision. After fixing it up a bit the thing is a bit better but kills the simplicity of just getting something thats ready to go. The different sizes do work well but if you have say a losi 22-4 and balancing the front shallow hexes comes up you may or may not be out of luck. On mine it did just barely catch the inside edge but its so little that if you worry about this application you should stear clear.
There are better options out there but it does support 3 wheel types at lower cost than most.)
The o'rings broke after couple time of use. amain did send me some replacement o'rings but they broke as well.
I feel AKA should trade me the updated version for my older version.
How about that amain hobbies, help out a good customer.)