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Tubeless versus Tubes. IN DEPTH discussion. Tubeless on Snowflake tube type rims; others?? © Copyright, 2014, R. Fleischer section54, subsection 6 http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/ section6.htm This article will discuss in depth: Rim shapes (including BMW rims). Using tubes (or not) on tube-type rims; tubeless operation; repairs; arguments for & against using tubes with rims designed for tubes and not for tubes.
Tires designed for tubes. Tires designed as tubeless (and, if used with tubes or not). Other articles on this website have further information on these subjects, and much more, such as: http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/section5.htm & http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/tirerepair.htm Make a pot of coffee.you are going to need the caffeine to read through the next following.after which you will be reading the rest of MY article.stopping, pondering, thinking. First, a link to a nerdy article that has enough math (enough photos too), from a Goldwing er (Honda Wings have somewhat unique rims) to spin your head, even for the nerdy amongst us. Fine if you want to scan the article, but do see the second part of the article.and then REPEAT that look-see. http://www.goldwingfacts.com/forums/10-reference-faq-forum/400426-design... That article has extensive vector & other diagrams, which may bore you.but, also has some conclusions about contact size & pressures/forces, that may well astonish you.
That article has some real jewels of information here and there, in-between the nerdiness. It really is worth the read. It is one article, followed by dozens of pages of commentary from others; feel free to look at them, if you want to. Amongst the jewels in the article are the definitive details on rim shapes and dimensions of such as motorcycle tire bead areas (thickness and shape too) versus car types; and, the facts about why friction (traction) is INDEPENDENT of contact area.and why wider tires are used to obtain better WEAR from otherwise less-mileage stickier rubber compounds. As you read keep in mind what REALLY happens when you are cornering; & think about the effects if you change a tire size.from, example, a 90/90 to a 100/90; or, 3.25-90 x 19 to 3.50-90 x 19; or, from 4.00 to 110 or 120 metric, etc. Think about what REALLY happens when you go to larger size tires (larger width and/or profile change).
You may be very interested. The article below will present data, discussion, & arguments, for tube/tubeless tires & tube/tubeless rims. Some of the concepts/discussion may require reading one paragraph, & then stopping to think.
It is UNlikely that readers will be able to just read this entire article straight through, & gain the information I would like you to absorb. There are folks (including some that I highly respect) that say you must never run any sort of tire without a tube on wheel rims that were not designed to be run as tubeless. I am personally not that much against the practice. What I believe is not the pertinent thing.what IS pertinent, and why you are reading this article (?), is that YOU gain a good understanding of all aspects & be able to make your own decisions.
I will try to inform you here with UNbiased information. There is a lot of wrong thinking, misconceptions, failure to be open-minded enough.to see the whole picture. There are real reasons to do what the manufacturer of tires, tubes, rims, & motorcycles too!.say to do.which, generally, are to not use rims designed to be used with tubes, as tubeless. BUT.There are things not at all widely known. Keep in mind that manufacturer s are not at all interested in long-winded explanations-information , like in this article you are reading. Such verbose information would tend to cause them a lot of labor in further explaining things, as there are always people who need to contact the manufacturer to make specific points, commentary, or have the makers provide additional information, etc.
Thus, manufacturers tend to make simple, easy to understand statements.do this, or, don t do that. Their company lawyers are probably the ones that promote that attitude.and company policies. Motorcyclists & sidecar/trike drivers do all sorts of non-standard things. Car tires, wide rims, change of rim diameters, LOTS OF ETC. If it was REALLY so vastly unsafe to run tubeless tires withOUT tubes on tube-type motorcycle wheels, why do sidecar rigs, which produce SIDE FORCES that can be EXTREME (2 wheelers do NOT have anything even close to those forces) do NOT have lots of accidents with blown tires, tires coming off rims, etc.? Sidecarists, sometimes, depending on situation & equipment, may install tires in the wrong direction.
NOWADAYS many tires are marked on the sidewall as to what usage is (rotational direction), but SOME tires are marked for one direction OR THE OTHER, depending on if used as a front, or a rear? Many tires are marked for front or rear. SOME tires have BOTH directions being usable. THINK!!! These are only some of the many variable uses.
Sidecar rigs have an EXCEPTIONALLY safe record. Being a statistics and math nut, I could point out that 2-wheeler (and 3) riders have just been lucky, or maybe some real statistical reason is why we don t hear of accidents when folks use tires differently than recommended. But, that does not seem to be the case. I ll try to answer questions in this article.and, I will strongly try to be non-biased in my provided information. Just because many folks use tires & rims in all sorts of non-standard ways hardly means that anything goes.
There are levels of safety in just about everything. Typically, the lower levels of improvements are large jumps. With additional improvements, every slight bit more means more and more effort, & one then might well question why one should go to huge lengths for a tiny improvement. The car manufacturer s, and the motorcycle manufacturers all well know this. Vehicles are compromises in nearly every area. Ultimately, the safest tire/rim usage is to NOT RIDE AT ALL!
I am not being facetious here. Just what are the chance that your particular decision about modifying your motorcycle rim or tire/tube usage will result in an accident; or, result some other situation, versus not having done the modification? What are the REAL facts? Did you know that some have raced Airheads on paved tracks, at high speeds, using BMW Snowflake wheels that were specified for tubes only? Did you know that arguments that tires greatly expand in diameter at high speeds & thus will be likely to have the tire tread move to the center of NON-safety rims, & loose all air very suddenly, is FALSE? In fact, tires mostly expand in width at speed/temperature, & that is typically not any factor in a tire moving to the center of the rim.
Tubes vs Tubeless, from several viewpoints: Before getting into usage/rims/etc., you may want to come back later and review the following article, http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/section5.htm. One specific point is that tubeless tires, all else remaining the same, can be safer, in some respects, than tubed tires, due to less heat buildup, allowing the tire manufacturer to use a softer better griping rubber compound.and there are OTHER good reasons too! Tubeless tires are easier to repair flats on. The wheels can be lighter with the tires mounted sans tubes and this alone improves handling. ETC. All is not necessarily better.
This article is primarily about mixing up tubed tires, tubeless tires, various rim shapes, ETC., but it is only fair to mention those other things. The primary method by which a tire becomes unglued from the rim is from a massive bending of the rim from the tire hitting a large object in the road. THAT can happen with tubeless.or tube type.tires/rims/etc.
The safety bump in a safety wheel/rim , as used with tubeless rims, does not prevent air loss from a bent rim. It does help prevent a very fast air loss that would occur if the tire became un-beaded, & conditions & the rim were such that the tire bead would otherwise have moved to the center. Having it move outwards is possible, if unlikely. If you think about it, what about safety bumps or ridges in automotive wheels?.don t those tires get exposed to SIDE FORCES that try to force the bead off or inwards, compared to 2-wheeler s that hardly have much side-forces, comparatively?
What about radial tires on motorcycles, where the tread can move sideways even more? Below photo is of a BMW Snowflake wheel which is designed to be used with a tube. A tube was installed, the rider ran over a brick, which bent the rim. The tube held air; the rider returned home safely. If the rim had been converted to tubeless use, would the tire have lost pressure?
How fast? No loss? It is entirely possible that if the tire/rim in the photo did NOT have a tube, it may or may not loose air, but certainly would have if the bent area was deep enough. There is no question in MY mind that IF the bent area was severe-enough, the air would have disappeared from the tire VERY rapidly in a no-tube situation. If the rim was already of the tubeless type with no tube, a severe bend could also cause the tire to loose air very quickly. A valid argument can be made for situations where there IS a tube, & a puncture or otherwise a flat causes the tube to be squeezed outwards some, and then sliced open by the rim itself.
That will result in a fast exit of air. Loss of air, how & how fast, is the PRIME argument for/against using a tube-type rim as tube-less (AND EVEN WITH TUBES!!). Yes there are general arguments about which is better, tube or tubeless, even on rims being used as designed.
Reasons offered by those who desire tubeless tires.and reasons some do not want tubeless. (1) Easier on-road tire repair. I think THAT is the PRIME REASON usually given, if asked.
Other reasons include that tubeless tires MAY loose air from simple punctures more slowly (reasons for such thinking are almost never EXPLAINED). With tubes, THEY HAVE TO BE FIXED BY A PATCH, which is all more labor intensive; AND, which means wheel & tire removal. (2) Possibly reduced weight, which could mean better handling & mileage. A MAYBE. The tire might weigh same, or more, too. (3) No need to carry a spare inner-tube(s); repair kits can be simpler, take up less room.
Those can be true. However, there are other factors, not the least of which is if the tubeless tire deflates and moves inwards some.you may have trouble getting it back to full bead contact so you can inflate it; and, a bend rim may mean you need to install a tube to get home. (4) Possibly deeper tread on some tires, as tubeless tires can run cooler, so tread might be made deeper. Without a tube, the tire temperature is less, & the tire tread may last longer; or, a better rubber compound could be used. Note that these arguments in (4) are not necessarily exactly true as all tires are designed to be run between certain temperature limits, otherwise the rubber does not perform as desired. Still, withOUT a tube, the tire manufacturer probably can produce a better handling longer lasting tire.
(5) A tubeless tire can be ruined by some types of punctures; $$$ replacement; while a tube type might need only patching of the inner tube patching or a simple innertube replacement. Seldom do folks say that they know that tubeless tires with a seriously bad puncture must be REPLACED, NOT repaired (or, repaired only temporarily, & then ridden at low speeds, until they can obtain a NEW tire). Sometimes they DO KNOW, & ignore these things. Thus, under some circumstances, a tubeless tire can be costlier, require slow speeds, etc. (6) A tube should be considered, as far as carrying a replacement, and not just, or in place of, patching equipment.
(7) Spare tubes take up on-bike storage room. (8) In the boonies, tubes allow you to reduce the tire pressure greatly, when needed. If you run as tubeless, and depending on what type of rim, you may well not be able to run quite low pressures. (9) What type of tires are used by BMW on their G/S and GS bikes that are sold for on/off road use? What is different about the rims?.and I don t mean just the later GS rims that have the spokes outside of the normal in rim area.
THINK!!! (10) Did you know that some folks ride on TUBE type tires withOUT tubes, EVEN ON tube type rims? Tube type tires are supposed to not have the rubber pressure sealing layer inside.
?? (Sidecarists are more likely to do this, but it is hardly all that popular to do so). (11) YOUR arguments, here:______________________________________________. I have mixed feelings about things I have mentioned so far in this article. Riding safely, without incidents, on tubeless tires without tubes on tube type rims (probably the situation most cited in the various arguments) has been probably done for millions of miles. MY CONCLUSION, AFTER STUDYING WHAT INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE, WHICH IS NOT MUCH.IS THAT IT IS LESS SAFE.
That hardly means it is totally unsafe or even largely.not even moderately. I think it appears to be VERY SLIGHTLY less safe. What IS the percentage or some other statistic, however possibly presented. of UNsafe.?? It is my belief that less safe is far safer, over-all, than many will say or even believe.
It is your choice, anyway. It is only reasonable to point out that motorcycling is a more dangerous thing to do, than to use many other forms of transportation. Humans like to do certain things that are fun, yet dangerous. Perhaps the better statement might be what is YOUR level of safety? Do you wear All The Gear All The Time (ATGATT)?? ALWAYS?.100.000%?
Wear easy to abrade-through-to-your-skin common jeans? Always wear proper boots? Armor padding? Leather is safer than nylon products like Cordura.what about YOU?
What is more dangerous, not wearing ATGATT, or running tubeless on snowflake wheels? Is it really fair to ask that question at all? Would this argument/question be better if I put it in other terms? What are the statistics between rides or miles, and incidents/accidents, even severity.. due to not riding as ATGATT..versus..tubeless use on tube type rims (or, any other combination), for any problem at all? Is riding on tubeless tires as tubeless, on tube-type rims, more dangerous?
Less dangerous?.than exceeding the posted speed limit? Riding on a wet road? Riding on gravel? Riding on half-worn+ tires? Drinking? Slightly low tire pressure because you did not check the pressure?
Not wearing gloves on a hot day? I could make a very long list. What about the REAL statistics about riding on tubeless tires without tubes on tube type rims..versus using tubes? NO ONE, NO COMPANY, JUST NO ONE, to my knowledge, has any such meaningful statistics. I have heard of ONE accident.and the details are NOT clear. Am I promoting use of tubeless tires on tube type rims?
Well, not really. Just trying to get you to actually think, and not blindly accept someone s (or some company s) statements..and.why the heck should YOU pay attention to MY writings? When I started riding there were no such things as tubeless tires for motorcycles.
That means that the inner walls of the tires were not officially sealed to prevent air loss. The truth probably is SOME tires were sealed OK.or sealed enough on the inside.& might have been useable as tubeless.but we never thought of it.well..no one I personally knew had discussed nor tried it; and one of the reasons was that flats were repaired by installing patches on the TUBES, and all riders knew how to repair their tubes, and just about 100% did so. BUT.tubeless tires are NOT a recent development, at least not for CARS. Although invented & patented decades earlier, it was ~1955 that tubeless tires became mostly standard on automobiles. Before that time, tires required a separate inner tube which failed (besides punctures) now & then because of incorrect tire fit, friction between the tire wall and inner tube generating excess heat, rusted rims which let tube movement be abraded by rust scale, etc.
There are plenty of cars and trucks with tube type tires being driven with tubes, with the same old problems. Tubeless tire technology does away with the need for an inner tube & it is well-accepted by the various manufacturer s, that tubeless tires INCREASE safety (at least on rims designed for them, as the manufacturer s don t want to discuss that too much further). A reason is that a simple puncture typically releases air more slowly than with a tube, mostly due to valve sealing fitment (adding sealing rubber at the tube type valve stem is an entirely special argument and discussion). Another reason is it could be CHEAPER, with no tube required. That also means less labor to install the tube and tire. Another reason is longer tire life would be possible (less heat build-up), so one could design for longer life.or higher performance with some additional life.
Manufacturer s are also using increasingly lower profile tires, and getting away with it (usually such tires produce a hard jarring ride), due to accumulating changes in suspensions, public acceptance, lighter cars, and other things. To a MUCH LESSER extent (in favor of industry going to tubeless tires), was Public Demand, which may surprise you, until you think, just a bit, about it. The reason it was so little desired by the public, hype & advertising aside, is that cars carry spare tires & FEW drivers actually repaired a tire themselves with a punctured tube. They installed the spare tire/wheel, and at the next convenient Gasoline and Service Station VERY commonly would have the puncture repaired, the wheels swapped so the temporary spare ( space
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