This is one of the subjects that raises a lot of arguments among motorcyclists, a bit like talking about hard or soft panniers, and other gear to choose for your adventure. Tubeless tyres, compared with tube based ones, do indeed offer some advantages. Although most of the enduro and dual sport bikes still have tubes, the big adventure motorcycle brands have almost all switched to tubeless.
The advantages of tubeless tires, in my opinion, outweigh those of using tubes. Other than being old technology, tubes require a lot more work than their counterparts if they’re punctured. I’m mostly basing my opinion on personal experience. When I had a puncture on my 1190, I simply had to find the hole in my tyre and use one or two plugs to patch it up. This was almost an effortless procedure since I didn’t even need to remove the tyre from my motorcycle.
I have heard stories of tubes bursting while riding at high speed on highways, or other riders having to patch their tubes three times in a single day, and so on. The effort of removing the wheel, the tyre and finally mending tube before reassembling the lot, by yourself sometimes, under the sun or in the cold… it’s not an idea that sounds appealing to me.
A lot of modern motorcycles already come with tubeless technology and I believe that this is the way to go, considering the quality of the tyres we possess nowadays. I’m sure there are still some aficionados of the old tubed tyres, and I guess that if you have narrow tyres, fixing the tube four times a day is not too bad a procedure.
Keep in mind that another downside of tubed tyres is having to always carryspare tubes, compared to the small plugs that are required to fix tubeless tyres. Ultimately, even the bicycle industry is switching to tubeless tyres, which are more durable and easier to fix. More evidence that tubeless is probably the way to go.