Tubeless tyres are generally considered safer because they don’t lose air suddenly in case of a puncture. Air loss is gradual. In case of a puncture by a nail or so, one can simply fill air in the tyre and drive or ride to the nearest puncture repair centre.
Punctures can be repaired without having to remove the tyre from the rim, by simply plugging the leak. Also since there is no tube within the tyre, there is less friction and the tyre tends to stay cooler. It’s also easier to balance a tubeless tyre as there’s less uneven weight in the tyre.
Spoked wheels require tube-type tyres to prevent air-loss through the rim.Photo: The Quint
Tube-type tyres are still used in many applications – from heavy duty tyres to motorcycle tyres. For motorcycles, specifically, most bikes that come with spoked wheel rims run tube-type tyres because it’s difficult to provide an airtight seal over spoke anchor points.
Why do motorcycles have spoked rims in the first place? Spoked wheels are more flexible and can take a beating especially over bad roads, without breaking. They can bend and be straightened out later.
Similar is the case with steel wheels used in heavy-duty vehicles. Even if the rim bends, the tyre will not face a loss of pressure due to the tube inside. That’s not the case with alloy rims (which can crack) or tubeless tyres, which will lose air if there’s a rim bend.
So while tubeless tyres are far more convenient, in certain applications, tube-type tyres will continue to prevail.