The Difference Between Tube and Tubeless Motorcycle Tires

'Can you mount tubeless tires on any wheel?' and other reader questions.

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Pexels/Andrea Piacquadio

Read the opinion of a few mechanics who wrote in about the difference between tube and tubeless motorcycle tires, their use on dirtbikes, and more.

Comstar tires

Q: It has become apparent that I really stepped in it when answering the question about tubeless tires and Comstar wheels. Several readers wrote in to correct my mistake and I thank you all. Here’s a couple of the responses, all of them correct. — Keith

A: In the July/August 2022 issue Rick wrote in asking if he could mount tubeless tires to his 1979 Honda Goldwing. The correct answer is NO NO NO! If the wheel is not stamped TL or Tubeless Tire Applicable, do NOT mount the tire without a tube. The wheel may or may not hold air, but the big issue is that the bead area has to be designed to lock the bead in place. Tubeless rims have a wide flat bead area with a raised ridge on the inside. Without this the bead may separate from the rim under cornering loads. If tire pressure is low, either from neglect or puncture, the tire bead can separate from the rim. The end result is a nasty crash.

Rick also mentioned that the tire would run cooler. He’s right, but who cares? A properly inflated tubed tire will not run so much cooler that the tire life will be significantly enhanced. Unless he’s racing at Daytona he’ll never notice the difference.

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