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Thread: Tubes or tubeless?

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    Senior Member Eryx's Avatar
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    Tubes or tubeless?

    First, thank you Pashnit for this new Adv section. I am not quite ready to go down to Panama, but I am thinking about it. Let us get that new section to use.

    The new bike I bought is shod with Continental TKC80, but the front is tubeless and the rear has a tube. My goal with this bike is to be able to repair a flat if I get a flat in Lala Land, and I wonder what is best.

    Like every kid, I repaired tires on my bicycles and I feel I could do that on a motorcycle, but that means carrying irons all the time. Tubeless repair kits seem a little better and lighter as far as packing goes. Carrying both is even worse since the 990 has NO storage room, not even under the seat.

    I think I will go for tubes since I also would like to be able to replace the tires on my own. Even if the local Sunnyvale shop does not charge much, knobbies tend to melt very quickly with my weight (on the throttle). Is there a tubed road or half-and-half tire that does not require a press to break the bead, by the way?

    Hoping some of these questions make sense, where does everybody stands? And, does that really matter if I do not balance a tubed knobby tire?

    Thank you,
    =oSÚ
    Eric
    Last edited by Eryx; 03-29-2008 at 08:58 PM.

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    Yes, I'm the guy pashnit's Avatar
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    Re: Tubes or tubeless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eryx View Post
    First, thank you Pashnit for this new Adv section.
    Your welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eryx View Post
    I also would like to be able to replace the tires on my own.
    Eric, this is mildly related, but I've always changed my own tires (for the most part) and will sheepishly admit I use the hillbilly method of a c-clamp and elbow grease to break the bead. I just got this: http://www.bestrestproducts.com/cele...s/beadbreaker/ and changed my front the other day with the 'BeadBrakr' (same guys that make the Cycle Pump). It's designed for riders to carry while traveling really- likely the intended buyer is a dual sport type. It did work, although I had to remove both rotors to position it properly. As soon as I can find time to build the webpage, will add this to the Pashnit Moto Store, sells for $150. Now that I've used one of these devices (this is not the only one on the market), I'm wondering what I was thinking for the last 15 years breaking the bead by hand. On another mildly related note- I bought a balancer ($100) from the No-Mar guys a year or so ago.

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    Last edited by pashnit; 03-29-2008 at 11:23 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Eryx's Avatar
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    Re: Tubes or tubeless?

    Yes, I read this before with interest and it has its place in this section. However, if I was going for elsewhere, I would prefer a few pieces of milk bottles, some soap and a heavy set of tire irons. The last thing you want when you are in trouble is your backup letting you down. A heavy piece of metal can help in many ways, from pitching a tent to venting a pitch.
    --
    Eric
    Last edited by Eryx; 03-30-2008 at 12:46 AM.

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    Go'n some place new...... 2on2off's Avatar
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    Re: Tubes or tubeless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eryx View Post
    The new bike I bought is shod with Continental TKC80, but the front is tubeless and the rear has a tube. My goal with this bike is to be able to repair a flat if I get a flat in Lala Land, and I wonder what is best.

    Is there a tubed road or half-and-half tire that does not require a press to break the bead, by the way?

    Hoping some of these questions make sense, where does everybody stands? And, does that really matter if I do not balance a tubed knobby tire?

    Thank you,
    =oSÚ
    Eric
    The BMW big GS's are available with spoke wheels designed for tubeless tires. Those BMW wheels and tires need a bead breaker to get the tire off, at least that is my understanding as I have not changed the tires myself.

    Your KTM, on the other had, has spoke wheels designed for tires with tubes, as far as I know. I don't believe your wheels are set up for tubless tires so I'm very concerned that you do not have a tube on your front tire. I can't call the KTM dealership to confirm this because it is Monday and they are closed.

    I have TKC80's on my Honda XR650L that are designed for tubes and that is how they are set up. I have the TKC's balanced when they are installed and the installer said the side wall was soft indicating you do not need a bead breaker to get this tire off the rim. The Dunlop 606's I have used have much stiffer side walls than the TKC80's on my XR650L and the 606's didn't need a bead breaker to get them off the rim. The 606's give better traction off road but are noisier on road and wear out quicker than the TKC's.

    I have been very happy with my TKC80's on both the XR650L and my GSA. I would highly recommend those tires for almost any trip. They work well everywhere. They just don't last as long as Tourance Tires but I don't know if they make that tire for a bike designed to use tubes and my guess is that you would need a bead breaker for that tire.
    I came to ride and ride and ride and ride............

  5. #5
    Senior Member Eryx's Avatar
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    Re: Tubes or tubeless?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2on2off
    Your KTM, on the other had, has spoke wheels designed for tires with tubes, as far as I know. I don't believe your wheels are set up for tubless tires so I'm very concerned that you do not have a tube on your front tire. I can't call the KTM dealership to confirm this because it is Monday and they are closed.
    I just had a closer look at my front wheel. The tire is of tubeless type, but looking at the valve, it looks like there is a tube in.
    --
    Eric

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    Re: Tubes or tubeless?

    I don't know if it would work very well in an offroad application, but there is a process that can seal spoked/tubed rims and allow you to run them tubeless. Not every rim can be sealed, but Buchanan's in L.A. along with WheelWorks in Garden Grove can do this.

    I had a Triumph Bonneville with a sealed rear rim and went about 18k miles with no problems at all. Whether or not the rim is suitable depends on the amount of "drop" in the rim, not enough drop means not enough room for the sealant.

    Just thought I'd mention it... Ed

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    Diggin'dirt motorrad's Avatar
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    Re: Tubes or tubeless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eryx View Post
    I just had a closer look at my front wheel. The tire is of tubeless type, but looking at the valve, it looks like there is a tube in.
    --
    Eric
    Hey Eric, this is what I thought. Just because the tire has tubeless written on side wall does not mean it does not have a tube within. The wheels, especially if spoked, usually are the clue. If spoked, like most dirt bikes, even my 650GS, and I assume your KTM 990 stock spoked wheels, require a tube, regardless of what the tire says. The special BMW 1200GS spoked wheel option have a design with spokes terminating on outer part of wheel rim, thus providing an airtight seal between tire beads, so no tube required.

    Now on your question if tubed or tubeless is better. Almost all dirt bikes have spoked wheels and thus tubed. Probably for a reason, given tougher riding terrain. Tubeless tire are easier to plug, especially a rear. Removing the wheel, breaking the bead to fix a tubed tire takes irons, strength, and a practiced skill. Although if a tubeless tire cuts a sidewall, or breaks the bead and flats, can be a bigger pain.

    Can be an endless debate if one is better than the other. Only advice is to know what you're running with, have proper repair items with you when riding, and practice the repair procedures on an old tire/wheel.
    Last edited by motorrad; 04-02-2008 at 04:43 PM.
    You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need - The Rolling Stones

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    Adventurer joefromsf's Avatar
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    Re: Tubes or tubeless?

    Quote Originally Posted by motorrad View Post
    Hey Eric, this is what I thought. Just because the tire has tubeless written on side wall does not mean it does not have a tube within.
    Hey Tom, Don't you have some experience trying to "plug" a "tubed" tire?
    --Joe

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  9. #9
    Diggin'dirt motorrad's Avatar
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    Re: Tubes or tubeless?

    Quote Originally Posted by joefromsf View Post
    Hey Tom, Don't you have some experience trying to "plug" a "tubed" tire?
    Good memory Joe. About 4 years ago I picked up a nail in a Monterey parking lot during my work lunch break and flatted the rear. I remember being kind of excited, as I actually had my tire plug kit with me in tail bag. I had bought it because the Metzler Tourance tires that came with my bike had "tubeless" written on the side wall. So I pull out the nail, ream the hole with provided pick to round it out, use the gizmo to insert a plug, and snip off the plug end. Perfect, so used the CO2 cartridges to inflate, and nothing. Use them all, and still have a flat. I'm checking the plug and it looks perfect. So I call BMW Santa Cruz County on my cell and talk with service and they immediately point out my F650GS has spoked wheels, and therefore requires a tube. So the nail must have punctured the tube as well as tire. Dooah. I was in a time pinch to get back to work, so used a can of fix a flat gooo. It worked, was able to ride the bike and I was sure to warn the shop about the gooo next day when I took it in to replace the tire and tube.
    Last edited by motorrad; 04-02-2008 at 04:34 PM.
    You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need - The Rolling Stones

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    Re: Tubes or tubeless?

    One BIG reason to stay with tubes is the ability to radically drop your tire pressure for soft dirt and not have to worry about breaking the bead. I'd say that if the rim is not designed (like the big GS rims are) for tubeless, don't change it.
    Matthew 7: 21-27
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