The last time you might have heard these two kinds of tires would be from a sales guy at the showroom eager to sell you a motorcycle. The newer tubeless type, no doubt has its advantages over the old tubed ones. But does all of it really matter?
Tubeless tires are by design to be airtight. Meanwhile, a tubed tire is made with a separate air holding component that holds the pressurised air.
In times before tubeless tires, a tubed set was preferred due to several reasons. Primarily it was due to the rubber’s varying properties that are dependent on how it’s manufactured and treated. To keep up with long rides and punishing roads, the outside of a tire was expected to be tough enough while the tube needed to be soft and flexible to fit inside the tire. Hence using two types of rubber for two different purposes led us to build the tubed ones.
While we bid farewell to spoked wheels on cars a long time ago, it was retained in the motorcycling arena. Spoked wheels, nonetheless, has an unnamed charm that mag wheels cannot pull off. Similarly, it is hard to make the traditional spoke wheels compliant to tubeless tires due to the holes for lacing spokes into the rim.
On the other hand, one piece wheels call for easy fitting of tubeless tires due to better isolation for holding air. The industry started turning out strong, precise, airtight wheels that made the tubeless revolution possible.
Tubeless tires, on the other hand, feature a host of advantages that range from reducing weight to helping the bike run cooler, all while handling punctures better.
Ride over a nail at 120kpm with a tubed tire and you will see your tire deflate in a matter of seconds. This could pose great safety risk while riding on highways and higher speeds. On the other hand, tubeless tires can capture the nail in the tire’s thick main layer, sealing around the intruder to keep the air inside.
Tubeless tires call for slow deflation which can help you get off the road slowly and calmly unlike the sudden deflation in tubed tires. Another aspect of tubed tires is the ease of repair. A temporary fix for a nail in your tire, while standing alongside a busy highway is much easier than tubed ones which call for the removal of the tire in order to patch the hole.
(Image Source: Gumtree, Goaz)