Can You Put A Tube In a Tubeless Motorcycle Tire?



Most riders will know there are tube-tires and tubeless tires, with the difference being whether or not an inner tube is fitted inside the tire.

You may have wondered whether you can put a tube into a tubeless tire and if there are any benefits to doing so; well, we have the answers right here for you.

So, can you put a tube in a tubeless tire?

Yes, theoretically, you can put a tube in a tubeless tire. 

However, it is not necessarily the easiest option, the most advisable, or a good solution to any problems you have with your current tires. 

Why would you put a tube in a tubeless tire?

There are several circumstances where running a tube in a tubeless tire might be a solution to a problem such as a puncture or when riding off-road with low tire pressure. 

Although, the term ‘solution’ should be used lightly and with trepidation as there are definite risks involved, and you might be over-complicating an issue with a more appropriate simple fix. 

Example 1 – A puncture

Punctured motorcycle wheel, a nail sticks out of the tire, tire fitting — Photo

Let’s pretend you are riding along the backroads and you get a puncture in your tubed tire. 

You manage to get hold of the local mechanic, but he only can fit a tube at the side of the road, and the tow truck can’t come and get your bike for several hours. 

The mechanic could fit a tube into your tire, and yes, you would be able to ride on it. 

However, you would have to exercise extreme caution and ride very slowly, so the tube remains inflated and does not fail. 

It could get you to a safe spot where you could get your puncture sorted properly, but that is about it. 

Example 2 – Off-road riding

Ducati Desert Sled

Some riders believe riding with low pressures when off-roading makes things easier and helps avoid punctures. However, depending on tires with low pressure isn’t a good idea as they can pop off the rim.

So, fitting a tube, in theory, would compensate for this by keeping the tire on the rim while running lower than normal pressure. 

The issue is that running a tube in a tubeless tire generates a lot of heat around the sidewall, and it can cause the tire to fail. 

This also combines with the fact that you risk the tube slipping on the rim, which can also cause your tire to fail and come off the wheel. 

Important notes

The size of your bike plays a role in how risky fitting a tube in a tubeless tire is.

A big sportsbike like the Yamaha R1 is heavy and will put a lot of pressure on the tube inside the tire that it may be unable to cope with. 

Something like a Honda CB300R is much smaller and lighter, so it wouldn’t put the same pressure on, but exercising caution is still really important. 

If you fit a tube and the tire fails, it will be a very quick bang with little notice; this can be extremely dangerous on the road at any speed

Alternative options to fitting a tube in a tubeless tire

There are two main options you could think about, the first is to choose a motorcycle that runs the particular type of tire you like in the first place.

Secondly, you could look at swapping your wheels if you are insistent on running a particular tire on your motorcycle.

However, this is a complicated and expensive way to go about things. 

It is important to note that motorcycle tires have been selected specifically for the wheels the manufacturer has produced, and changing things can affect how your bike handles. 

What about a tire mousse?

If you want to fit a tube to ride with lower pressures off-road, then you might want to consider using a tire mousse. (You can see an example here on Revzilla.)

Their purpose is to keep you rolling even if you have a puncture which, of course, off-road bikes are more susceptible to. 

A tire mousse isn’t road legal and not for use at any sort of speed riding as they overheat and fall apart. 

If you mainly ride enduro trails, this could be your best option.

Final Thoughts

Yes, you can put a tube in a tubeless tire in theory, but in practice, it isn’t a great idea due to the risks involved, which can result in your tire failing. 

Also see: Can you plug a motorcycle tire?