Tubed vs Tubeless motorcycle tires, converting tubed to tubeless and the Tubliss system - Scenic Skip to main content

Tubed vs Tubeless motorcycle tires, converting tubed to tubeless and the Tubliss system

By 03.11.20207 Comments

Most adventure motorcycles come with tubeless tires nowadays. There are still some models with tubed tires though, like the Tenere 700 and the 2020 Africa Twin Standard (the Adventure Sports does have tubeless tires). So, what’s the advantage and disadvantage of both systems?

For most simple punctures, a tubeless tire is much easier and faster to fix on the side of the road. By simply inserting a plug in the tire you can have a tire fixed in 5 minutes, without taking of the whole wheel. Here’s a video showing how that works:

However, if we’re talking about bigger punctures or even slices, or punctures in the side wall of your tire, a quick road side fix with a plug is not possible.

When would you use tubed tires?

So, when would you use tubed tires as apposed to tubeless tires? Good question. There actually aren’t that many advantages over a tubed system in adventure bikes. In lighter enduro and motocross bikes you’ll see tubeless systems a lot more. In off-road situations with light bikes, tubed tires are more resilient. They puncture less fast, especially when running lower pressure in the tires.

But… this advantages is actually not the main reason why tubes are used. Tubes are used on wheels that aren’t air tight. Spoked wheels to be exact. Most spoked wheels leak air where the spokes meet the rim. Putting in a tube eliminates that problem. Nowadays even spoked wheels can be airtight though, eliminating the need for a tube.

Changing / Inserting Tubes

For adventure riding, I personally would always go for a tubeless tire whenever possible. Because these give you the possibility to insert a plug whenever possible, but also keep the option of inserting a tube for bigger punctures or slices that can’t be fixed with a plug. Here’s a video on how to change a tube. As you can imagine, this is significantly more work than a 5 minute plug.

Now… above video shows you how to exchange the tube in an already tubed tire. To insert a tube in a tubeless tire is a bit more difficult. You’ll need to remove the valve stem from the tire too (because the tube obviously has a valve stem already) and tubeless tires are often a bit thicker and harder to get off the bead. Here’s another video where a tube is placed in a tubeless tire on an adventure motorcycle.

Converting to tubeless

We read above that tubes are mostly used because spoked wheels leak air, but that tubeless systems are a lot easier to fix along the side of the road. This is the reason why some people are converting their tubed tires to tubeless tires. This is mostly done by Africa Twin and Tenere 700 riders as these bikes still come with tubed tires. The conversion, in essence, is pretty simple. It consists of putting silicone on the inside of the rim, where the spokes meet the rim, effectively sealing the point where air leaks. Here’s a video:

This conversion is done with some basic materials from Home Depot, but there are also entire kits out there that contain all the materials you need, like this set from outex. From what I’ve read on fora, results seem to vary. Some get an airtight seal, while others don’t and end up butting the tube back in.

Tubliss system

Lastly, I wanted to discuss the Tubliss system. This is another system that can turn a tubed tire into a tubeless tire… well… sort of. Here’s Lemmy at Revzilla again, explaining the Tubliss system.

It seems to only be used on dirt bikes, but I was wondering if there’s anything like this available for bigger (wider) tires on adventure bikes. If you have more information on that, a comment below would be highly appreciated.



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  • Mark says:

    I had a puncture in an Africa twin rear Tyre and it was a pain. Had to call roadside assistance- this would put me off ever buying a bike with tubed Tyres ever again – don’t like spokes either as they are harder to clean.

    • Guido says:

      Harder to clean yes. But, apparently spoked rims are more durable. Can take a beating better, and can be fixed more easy when traveling in remote places.

  • Kam says:

    While increasingly number of new adventure bikes in the middleweight category are going to spoked tubeless rims, many older ones like the BMW F800GS are still tube rims. However, if your rear wheel rim has a safety bead, it can be converted to tubeless. OUTEX makes a kit for sealing the spoke holes. There are number of videos online and forums which discuss how to convert your tube adventure tire to tubeless. ADVrider has a couple of dedicated Threads just on the topic of tubeless conversion. Look under Triumph Tiger 800.

    Normally Woody’s Wheel Works does not convert the front wheel to tubeless. However, recently they posted some new parameters:


  • Guido says:

    I haven’t made my final choice yet on my next bike, but if it would be the Yamaha T7 I would very likely convert the rear to tubeless with the OUTEX kit indeed. (I’ve linked to it in the article). And, if possible, I’d put a Tubliss in the front. Not sure if the front is narrow enough for that. Will investigate once I have the time.

  • jeanny caldwell says:

    thoughtful insight.

  • Jack Atkins says:

    I asked Tubliss if they considered making the system for 17″ rear wheels and 19″ front. They replied that there wasn’t enough interest to justify it. I have to think that there may be some DOT compliance issues as well. They specify offroad use only but there are many adv’ers using them on the street. I have used the Tubliss system in my dirt bikes for several years with no issues. The added weight of a second valve does require more balance weight than standard tubed wheels.

  • ADStryker says:

    I’ve looked into Tubliss-type systems also for ADV bikes, but I haven’t found one that is designed for the wider wheels of an ADV bike. Safely converting an ADV bike to Tubliss (which has some advantages other than convenient flat repair) apparently requires also converting to a set of narrow dirt-bike wheels. If I did this, I’d probably run a TPMS on both the low-pressure tire chamber and the high-pressure internal Tubliss chamber, because a failure of the high-pressure bladder could cause the tire to come off the bead, and that would be bad news at speed.

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