Tubes or tubeless

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by ironjack63, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. ironjack63

    ironjack63 Adventurer

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    Okay, as I have said earlier, I am new to the airhead world just acquiring an '81 R100RT. I bought new Metzlers at Motorcycle Superstore and took them to be installed by a fellow Patriot Guard member that has a motorcycle shop. He called me and asked if I knew that the old wheels and tires had tubes installed. I told him no, and that I thought the wheels were set up for tubeless tires, but I deferred to what he found when he removed the old tires. I thought the so called "snowflake" wheels were tubeless rims. Anyone with more knowledge than me care to comment? I went ahead and had him put tubes back in with the new tires. This old girl keeps throwing me curves as I restore her.
    #1
  2. Twin headlight Ernie

    Twin headlight Ernie Custom fabricated dual sport accessories

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    I've always been under the impression that BMW didn't go tubeless till about 1984. I have tubes in my 78 /7. 2HE
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  3. kaput13

    kaput13 gasoholic

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    Welcome. Your snowflakes require tubes but some have modified their older wheels to go tubeless. Stay with tubes.
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  4. ME 109

    ME 109 Long timer

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    81 require tubes as there is no safety bead on a snowflake,.
    Whether or not you use tubes, is up to you.

    I couldn't make my mind up so I have a tubeless rear, and a tubed front :huh

    There is no winner in this argument, it would appear.
    #4
  5. supershaft

    supershaft because I can

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    Snow flakes are made for tube type tires. They don't have the tubeless safety bead. Even without the tubeless safety bead, I think tubeless tire non-safety bead rims are much safer with tubeless tires than tires with tubes. I know of many people that have converted snowflakes to tubeless. If I had them I would. My dad insisted that I convert my LS to tubeless for my safety before the bike ever hit the road but LS rims are safety bead rims although they came with tubes in them with warnings NOT to use tubeless tires on them. It's kind of a joke but then again it isn't: I always advise drilling a screw into a tubed tire and then drilling a screw into a tubeless tire and watching what happens. The tubed tire will be completely flat in seconds. The tubeless tire will take anywhere from a few minutes to a few years to be completely flat. IF it ever goes flat! Call me crazy but I prefer the latter scenario. Good Luck!
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  6. Masterpotter

    Masterpotter Adventurer

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    I've run tubes on my 81 R100cs for the past 30 years never an issue. Last time I re-did the front I installed the tubeless valve stem from BMW on the front wheel . So far so good, 18 months 5,000 miles. I kind of like the ease of changing tires without tubes. My back up plan, in case of slow leaks through the cast rim was to slime the tire. I'd say it's your bike give it a try.
    I had an r65 with cast rims, without tubes, the hole for the stem was smaller then my R100. The BMW stem on the r65 was not a pull through rubber deal like a car but a gasket type deal. KISS
    #6
  7. 100RT

    100RT Long timer

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    Run with tubes. I have for years as that is the way the rims were designed. My friend hit a pot hole with his 82 R100RT with snowflakes. The rim cracked but the tube kept the tire inflated. Try that with a tubeless snowflake!
    #7
  8. DaveBall

    DaveBall Long timer

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    They were designed to use tubes. I have never had an issue in 35+ years of riding on tube tires with tubes on all my BMWs. Sure, they are more difficult to patch on the road, in that you would have to remove the wheel and pull out the tube and patch it, or replace the tube. But, I have had very few flats in over 500,000 of riding these things. I usually wear out 2 sets of tires a year and always use brand new tubes with each tire change.

    Just put in tubes and ride it.
    #8
  9. ironjack63

    ironjack63 Adventurer

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    My thanks to all who replied. I have not been on this site very long, but have learned much. I would have bet money before having tires installed today that snowflakes were designed for tubeless tires, so shows what I know. Anyway, much thanks for the info and wisdom. This r100rt has already been quite the ride, and it is not even on the road yet. :1drink
    #9
  10. bikerfish

    bikerfish flyfishandride

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    YEP! same here, 4 inch crack and you could SEE the tube, never lost pressure though, able to safely ride off the highway. actually beat the rim back in place and rode VERY gently and slowly to a friends house about 40 miles away and stole his front wheel so I could make it the 500 miles home.
    tubes all the way, hell, on my r100r, it has tubeless tires, but I still carry a spare tube. even if the tire gets cut, a tube and some well placed duck tape will get you down the road to a better fix.
    #10
  11. boxerboy81

    boxerboy81 Stay Horizontal

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    Tubed on the front when I hit a big truck brake on the road! It deflated...slowly in a 3 lane tunnel at peak hour.

    [​IMG]

    I have the valve to mod my rear wheel, but haven't just yet.
    #11
  12. supershaft

    supershaft because I can

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    If I was going to go tubeless with only one rim, it would be the rear rim. Typically speaking (every rule has exceptions) rear tire flats are a lot more dangerous that flats in the front despite a lot of urban legend about front tire flats. The back tire has more weight on it and the tire carcass is much more likely to become a lot softer for it. Total loss of air on a new tire and the tire is a lot more likely to keep its shape longer while coming to a stop. A well worn tire with softer side walls is much more like to collaspe at higher speed. When the tire collaspes and the rim drops down on the road is when the fishtailing starts. The back of the bike will start doing what it wants to regardless. The front tire can be manhandled via the handlebars. Plus that whole scenario is a way less likely to happen in front to start with for the rear having much more weight bias.

    Plus getting a flat in the rear is way more likely. 9 out of 10 flats are in the rear for the front tire kicking up the whatever to poke the rear tire. That's the same reason behind being much more likely to get a flat with new tires. The newer, deeper tread blocks are much more likely to kick whatever up to poke the rear tire.

    Of course, the rim dropping down to the pavement doesn't happen until all the air is out of the tire and all the air leaving the tire before you get stopped is way, way less likely to happen with tubeless tires to start with. Personally, I love all the flats I have had with tubeless with bikes and cars that I didn't even now I had until I saw something sticking in my tire. 9 out of 10 times I then pull it out and repair the flat right there with a galvanizing plug and it's fixed without even removing the wheel. Since I switched to tubeless, I fix most of my flats on my lift when I see something sticking in my tire versus loosing all tire pressure out on the road. IMO, that is one huge safety factor! Convenient too!

    These observations aren't just mine. I have worked with many a long time mechanic that have noticed the same things.

    Tube type tires? Be sure and remove the inspection sticker out of your new tire if it has one. Those stickers can rub a whole in your tube. I have seen it happen numerous times and comparatively I haven't done nearly as many tube types as tubeless. My dad showed me that for the first time while he was repairing a flat at the shop.
    #12
  13. chollo9

    chollo9 Screwed the Pooch

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    You can steer the rear with the bars, your feet, and your ass. I know you can.
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  14. DaveBall

    DaveBall Long timer

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    Almost all tires sold today are tubeless, so when running them with a tube on a rim designed for tubes, they should react somewhat similar to a tubeless tire mounted to a proper tubeless rim. But, I am probably wrong in that assumption.

    Either way, I will continue to run tubes on any rim that is designed for them. I figure that the engineers that designed them probably know a whole lot more about it than I do.
    #14
  15. supershaft

    supershaft because I can

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    I know you can cholo9. Up to a point and then you aren't doing squat about it. I have had a rear flat take me to both sides of the road despite me trying to keep it straight and I grew up riding MX, TT, and short track. Good thing there wasn't any cars coming the other way!

    DB, the air comes out so much faster with tubes from the air getting out of the tube and then out of the tire via the valve stem hole and the spokes. Well, those places and the hole in the tire but the hole around the valve stem is so much bigger. Conversely the hole in the tire is the only place air is getting out of a tubeless tire and very often it doesn't get out at all there for the puncture being air tight or close to it. Sometimes I wonder how it is that tubes on new street bikes haven't been litigated out of existence?
    #15
  16. 100RT

    100RT Long timer

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    Shaft, tell us about the cracked rim holding air without a tube. This should be interesting........
    #16
  17. craydds

    craydds Long timer

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    I have always run tubeless tires on my Lester wheels. Just put on some new Michelin Pilot Activs. I have heard some say that Lesters are not designed for tubeless - one is supposed to use tubes:
    [​IMG]

    I have never had any problems running tubeless:
    [​IMG]

    New Michelins on:
    [​IMG]

    Balanced, and ready to ROLL:
    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. ME 109

    ME 109 Long timer

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    No safety bead on the lesters either by the looks of it.

    Still, if we were worried about staying alive, we wouldn't ride bikes........would we.:D
    #18
  19. supershaft

    supershaft because I can

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    Judging from taking them back off of even non-safety bead rims, I suspect that tubeless are much less likely to come of the same non-safety bead rim than tires with tubes.

    Those look like old K bike valve stems? That's what I use in my LS rims.

    @ 100RT: That would be interesting but, since I am not making any of this up, I can't do it. I can tell you that I have seen cracked and bent rims with tubes in them and the tube let all the air out. I can also tell you that I have seen a few tubes come out of the tire and rap around the axle. The fact is that tube type tires would be better off with safety beads rims as well as tubeless. From what I have seen, tires with tubes need a safety bead rim more than tubeless tires. In fact, I have noticed all the newer spoked rims that I have seen are safety bead rims. That's a good idea IMO. I still think that tubeless is safer than running tubes over 9 out of 10 times we have an issue with tires regardless of rim type. Personally, I have never busted a rim. It might be safer to run a tube if I did. All the nails, screws, welding rod, and whatnot I have picked up in the mean time. I know running tubeless is much safer.
    #19
  20. craydds

    craydds Long timer

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    The bead is smooth - no safety lip/bead. I will have to look at a current model wheel and compare. I've had the rear go flat at highway speed, and had no troubles coming to a stop - just weaving all over the road. The tire did not come off the rim (plugged the tire and rode home), and actually had to bust the bead lose to get the tire off when I got home.
    No, I am not worried. Pretty confident running tubeless on Lesters. If I was worried, I would stay on the couch.
    #20