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4Takt

Can XR wheels be made tubeless?

12 posts in this topic

It may potentially be a stupid question, but I've never owned a motorcycle with tubeless tires, so please forgive my naivete.

I have two sets of wheels for my XR650R and keep street tires on one set. My tires of choice are Avon Distanzias, which are actually tubeless types. Of course I use it with an inner tube.

So, if I duct tape the center of the rim, could I get it sealed enough to run the Distanzias tubeless?

I'm thinking I would save quite a bit of unsprung mass, especially since I should be able to do away with the rim lock. Should be much easier to balance, too.

What do you guys think, will it work?

4Takt

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No.

You will need rims that specifically accomodate tubeless tires.

I guess it's possible someone may make some, but the brakes, sprocket and axles will have to bolt onto your bike.

Honda made the FT500 which is / was a 500 Single street bike (my brother owns one). I highly doubt it's a bolt on affair, but that is probably the route you may have to go.

PA Kevin

TT Mod

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No.

You will need rims that specifically accomodate tubeless tires.

I guess it's possible someone may make some, but the brakes, sprocket and axles will have to bolt onto your bike.

Honda made the FT500 which is / was a 500 Single street bike (my brother owns one). I highly doubt it's a bolt on affair, but that is probably the route you may have to go.

PA Kevin

TT Mod

Yes,

Supermoto wheels are made tubeless all the time. There are kits available for just this. Granted SM wheels are wider, but the same concepts apply. I would worry about rim locks as offroad tires can spin on the rims without them. There is even a guy on Supermoto Junkie Forum that made his own tubeless conversion using Silicon and duct tape. Says it has held air for two years and only cost $10

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Yes,

Supermoto wheels are made tubeless all the time. There are kits available for just this. Granted SM wheels are wider, but the same concepts apply. I would worry about rim locks as offroad tires can spin on the rims without them. There is even a guy on Supermoto Junkie Forum that made his own tubeless conversion using Silicon and duct tape. Says it has held air for two years and only cost $10

I stand corrected! :applause:

I would think a specific rim that will seal the bead would be needed.

I'll go back to my corner... :D

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Yes,

Supermoto wheels are made tubeless all the time. There are kits available for just this. Granted SM wheels are wider, but the same concepts apply. I would worry about rim locks as offroad tires can spin on the rims without them. There is even a guy on Supermoto Junkie Forum that made his own tubeless conversion using Silicon and duct tape. Says it has held air for two years and only cost $10

Bingo.

On adventure rider forum, they even have some tiger guys that did the conversion to stock wheels using spray on bedliner.

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There are several issues here.

First, using a tube in a tubeless tire. While this can be done, it's not safe with extended high speed riding. Tubeless tires are not designed to be used with a tube. They might not be a smooth on the inside as a tube type tire. The tube and tire rub and generate heat. This can cause the tube (or the tire) to fail. Radials are particularly bad in this respect. While you can get away with a tube in a bias tire, never use on on a radial.

Second, is sealing the rim. To use a tubeless tire the rim must be sealed. Not an issue with a cast mag type wheel , as it's just one piece of metal. For your spoke type wheels, each of the spoke must be sealed. You can't use a rim lock because the rim lock hole must be sealed. Perhaps you could with rubber gaskets and some silicone.

Third is the valve stem. If you look around a lot you can find valve stems that will fit the small hole that you rim has. Normal valve stems for bikes (and cars) use a .453 size hole. I have an old street bike , a 1980 CM400T. It has cast rims, but came with tube type tires. I now have tubeless tires and it was a pain finding the small valve stem. I think the size is called .327. I have used these, but I had to use silicone to get them to seal. They leaked without it.

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There are several issues here.

First, using a tube in a tubeless tire. While this can be done, it's not safe with extended high speed riding. Tubeless tires are not designed to be used with a tube. They might not be a smooth on the inside as a tube type tire. The tube and tire rub and generate heat. This can cause the tube (or the tire) to fail. Radials are particularly bad in this respect. While you can get away with a tube in a bias tire, never use on on a radial.

QUOTE]

Define extended high speed riding.

My XR has 3500 miles on a set of radials with tubes (Pirelli Corsa's with Maxxis tubes). I have seen 100 mph and always cruise on the highway at a minimum of 75 mph for 10 miles to and from work.

Never say never.

Infact there are thousands of supermoto bikes across the world that run tubes with the latest sportbike radial tires. The issue to speak of don't exsist in the SM community.

I do agree that offroad tires are not meant to be run tubeless. Mountain bike tires are not meant to be run tubeless either, but they have kit for this as well. I think someone simply needs to try it and see what happens, I am sure it can be done.

MGS

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I would worry about rim locks as offroad tires can spin on the rims without them.

Do Super Moto bikes use rim locks? I thought they were supposed to keep the tire from moving so that the valve stem of the tube won't get damaged. Why would I need them in a tubeless setup?

4Takt

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Define extended high speed riding.

My XR has 3500 miles on a set of radials with tubes (Pirelli Corsa's with Maxxis tubes). I have seen 100 mph and always cruise on the highway at a minimum of 75 mph for 10 miles to and from work.

Never say never.

Infact there are thousands of supermoto bikes across the world that run tubes with the latest sportbike radial tires. The issue to speak of don't exsist in the SM community.

I do agree that offroad tires are not meant to be run tubeless. Mountain bike tires are not meant to be run tubeless either, but they have kit for this as well. I think someone simply needs to try it and see what happens, I am sure it can be done.

MGS

10 miles is not extended riding. A whole tank at 75+ is more like it.

I came to this conclusion after doing some research. The reason for me is I got this old CM400. I was given a radial for it. I put it on with a tube as that is how the old tire was mounted. After riding the bike around for 1000 miles or so, I began to wonder if it was OK or not. I looked around on the internet. The manufacturers say in big bold letters "DO NO USE TUBES IN RADIAL TIRES." Pierlli is a bit of an exception as they allow specific tubes in the Phantom SportsComp radial tire. They say no for your Corsa's. On newsgroups and bike oriented websites, everyone echoed the same thing. The only exception was the supermoto sites. For peace of mind I removed my tubes. Not too hard for me since all I needed was a valve stem that sealed.

On the practical side, of course it works. It's been working for you for 3500 miles. Since SM bikes are so light, the tires are only loaded a fraction of their weight rating. That means the heat buildup is low. The excess heat from the tube will not over heat them. The other issue is abrasion between the tube and the tire. When I took my tubes out, I was surprised at the amount of abrasion. New tubes might be a good plan when you get new tires.

What's the bottom line? Well maybe never is too strong of a word. If you aren't loading the tire much, a tube should work. If you tried it on a heavier bike like a Harley, or a high speed race bike like a CBR1000RR, you are asking for trouble. A SM bike is neither of those things, with weights around 300, and speeds not much more than 100.

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No SM tires don't require bead lock.

Off road tires use very aggresive tread patterns to make up for the lack of grip in dirt, sand, small rocks, roots.... When an offroad tire suddenly get grip for whatever reason, the force can spin the tire on the rim. Because offroad tire use tubes, the tube can also spin with the tire and rip the valve stem off and ruin your day.

I am not sure if would be needed on a tubeless setup as there wouldn't be a tube to worry about. I would worry about the tire spinning on the rim, this can cause a lose of tire pressure and slowly deflate the tire if repeated many times.

It really depends on what you are intending to do with the bike.

MGS

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10 miles is not extended riding. A whole tank at 75+ is more like it.

I came to this conclusion after doing some research. The reason for me is I got this old CM400. I was given a radial for it. I put it on with a tube as that is how the old tire was mounted. After riding the bike around for 1000 miles or so, I began to wonder if it was OK or not. I looked around on the internet. The manufacturers say in big bold letters "DO NO USE TUBES IN RADIAL TIRES." Pierlli is a bit of an exception as they allow specific tubes in the Phantom SportsComp radial tire. They say no for your Corsa's. On newsgroups and bike oriented websites, everyone echoed the same thing. The only exception was the supermoto sites. For peace of mind I removed my tubes. Not too hard for me since all I needed was a valve stem that sealed.

On the practical side, of course it works. It's been working for you for 3500 miles. Since SM bikes are so light, the tires are only loaded a fraction of their weight rating. That means the heat buildup is low. The excess heat from the tube will not over heat them. The other issue is abrasion between the tube and the tire. When I took my tubes out, I was surprised at the amount of abrasion. New tubes might be a good plan when you get new tires.

What's the bottom line? Well maybe never is too strong of a word. If you aren't loading the tire much, a tube should work. If you tried it on a heavier bike like a Harley, or a high speed race bike like a CBR1000RR, you are asking for trouble. A SM bike is neither of those things, with weights around 300, and speeds not much more than 100.

I hear you, but... Of the 3500 miles on my tires, half is at 75 mph or better. Since a modern sportbike tire's life in only 3-5K miles, I would consider this a good test. I am due for new tires soon. Pirelli Sync's are on my wish list.

Truthfully, I was concerned when I first mounted the tires. The Corsa's do have written on the sidewall in bold letter "tubeless type only" I think, or something to that effect.

My point is, it is common place in the SM world to run tubes in radials, and not just Pirelli's.

I also agree to follow the manufactures guidelines unless you have some compelling reason not to. I am in the process of building an ultralite (~100 pounds) trail bike and could use the weight reduction in anyway possible.

Maybe I will try it and post the results!

MGS

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