With the advancement in speeds and motorcycle engines technology, auto makers needed to replace the traditional tubed tyres with something else which was more reliable in day to day use, and could withstand higher speeds. Enter tubeless tyres. Both the tyres (tubed or tubeless) have their own sets of pros and cons, but the real advantages of tubeless tyres go way beyond when compared to the advantages of its counterpart.
Tubed tyres generally consists of a tube which holds the pressurized air inside it. This tube is fitted inside a tyre which is thus inflated using the same. The tyre need not to be airtight to hold the pressurized air, as tube is responsible for the same. This tube is supposed to be thin and flexible enough to fit inside the tyre. Tubed tyres are generally seen along with spoke wheels.
Traditionally, spoke wheels were seen on almost all vehicles be it cars or motorcycles, but with the advancements, cars got away with spoke wheels but some motorcycle even today use them (especially adventure and off-road bikes). The reason why alloy wheels were taken into practice was because they very well supported the tubeless tyres, while spoke wheels couldn’t do the same because of the holes which laced the spokes inside the wheel. These holes led to air leakages and hence tubeless tyres couldn’t fit in spoke wheels (though there are some exceptions in extremely premium adventure bikes). The main issue with the spoke wheels is that they restricted the performance of vehicle when it approaches higher speeds. These wheels aren’t the best when it comes to high-speed stability and also they make the tyres warm up rather easily, hence industry upgraded to alloy wheels over spokes.
When compared to tubeless tyres, tubed tyres get flat very often, and then it’s a real trouble to fix them. As every time the tyre is needed to be taken off from the setup, followed by pulling out the tube and then patching up the leakage. This is very time consuming and complicated if you are stranded in the middle of nowhere on a road trip. But apart from these disadvantages, tubed tyres and spoke wheels are great when serving the off-road riding and this is the reason why still many of the hard core adventure motorcycles are seen with spoke wheels.
The need was to design something that could be far more convenient when it comes to fixing punctures. Something that could withstand leakages and still get going, hence tubeless tyres were brought in to the picture. These tyres consist of a single piece air tight rubber unit which sticks on to the wheel and there is no requirement of a tube. These are generally shod to alloy wheels.
The main advantage of a tubeless tyre is seen during the time when it gets punctured. Unlike its counterpart, it doesn’t get deflate or blast instantly, on the other hand, it holds the puncturing element (like a nail) inside the rubber surface and gives additional time to the rider to recognize the blow and pull over safely. Also, such punctures are far easier to fix as there is no need for the wheels to be taken off.
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These tyres are also beneficial as they run cooler, support Nitrogen air filler, and can withstand higher speeds due to cooler running temperature. But compared to tubed tyres, these are slightly more expensive but it is balanced by their cheaper and easy maintenance.
Can a tubeless tyre run with a tube inside?
Well the answer to this question is a straight no because tubeless tyres are designed in a way that their shape doesn’t allow a tube to fit inside comfortably. Even if it is done, the tyres produce a wobbling effect which makes riding more tricky. The only times when it is recommended to a fit in a tube inside a tubeless setup is when there is no other option and the tyre is leaking beyond restoration point.
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