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Old 10-06-2009, 10:08 AM   #1
roadtripp OP
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Heavy duty tubes vs normal tubes

I am fixing a flat rear on my KLR 650. This is the first time I've ever owned a spoked-wheel bike, so I'm inexperienced with tube-type tires. What is the difference between heavy duty tubes and normal tubes? I heard somebody mention that heavy duty tubes are harder to patch - is that right?

Thanks for helping out a noob!
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Old 10-06-2009, 10:22 AM   #2
MrPulldown
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The heavy duties are just thicker. Most Mx and dual sport people seem to prefer them. When installing new tires on my bike I replaced the tubes with HD ones.

Coming from a cycling background most would avoid HD tubes due to the weight. Downhill guys however don't mind the weight nor do motorcycle riders. THough they do not provide more puncture resistance (nails and such), they help avoid pinch flats both on the install and the when you hit something really hard.

I would not think that HD tubes would be harder to patch. Patching is a surface treatment. The thickness really doesn't matter. They are noticably larger. Don't carry a HD as a spare.
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Old 10-06-2009, 10:30 AM   #3
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Lotsa folks like HD tubes. Not me. There is no nail/thorn/screw that goes through a tire that will not puncture a HD tube. HD tubes might some pinch flats while riding with low tire pressure. HD tubes are hard to work with, make the bike handle noticeably worse and cost more.
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Old 10-06-2009, 10:38 AM   #4
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I ran 20,000 miles on one HD tube in a KLR.

I replaced it with a new one and had a very wierd flat. The tube didn't fully unfurl itself after inflation and it folded back on itself on the outside (against the tire).

after 250 miles it got so hot, it burst thru at the creases in the tube. very odd. I've installed alot of tubes and tires on various bikes, but this one puzzled me. I did the baby powder, partially inflated, inflate - deflate trick when I installed the tube, so why it folded over is beyond me.

that said, I didn't mind the HD tubes. The thickness might help avoid a tear during a puncture. I think they may build up more heat though.


there is no perfect answer other than being proficient and have patches and spare tubes.
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Old 10-06-2009, 11:21 AM   #5
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Thanks, guys. I've also heard people say that natural rubber tubes are better with punctures than butyl rubber tubes - is this true?

As far as sizing goes, I'm looking at http://www.bigcee.com/klr650faq.html#wheelstires which says that a 4.00/5.10-17 tube will fit my rear rim. I found a natural rubber tube from Metzeler that will fit 4.10/4.60-17 rims. Will this tube fit my rim?

Thanks!
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Old 10-06-2009, 11:30 AM   #6
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No. Anything that will to through a tire will go through a tube. Natural rubber also looses air more quickly.
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Old 10-06-2009, 11:49 AM   #7
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I only use ultra heavy duty tubes

They last longer and I have fewer flats

I've never had any issues working with them
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Old 10-06-2009, 12:48 PM   #8
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What are the reputable, reliable brands when it comes to motorcycle tubes? Or are they all pretty much the same?
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Old 10-06-2009, 12:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadtripp
What are the reputable, reliable brands when it comes to motorcycle tubes? Or are they all pretty much the same?
I prefer MSR or IRC

But Kenda heavy duty tubes are pretty good too
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Old 10-06-2009, 03:16 PM   #10
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Overkill?

Quote:
Originally Posted by roadtripp
What are the reputable, reliable brands when it comes to motorcycle tubes? Or are they all pretty much the same?
I use Michelin ultra heavy duty and add some Slime too. Any heavy duty will help with friction wear between the tube and tire if you run low air pressures. I run around 10~14 lbs on my dual sport rides and do not want to have a flat in the middle of some two track 4 miles from the nearest road. The slime will stop MOST potential flats from trail objects such as thorns and small nails. I think they say up to 1/8" or so. I believe it also helps balance the tire as it is thrown to the outside of the tire when it spins, evening out the imbalance if you use enough. I use it in my Adventure bike too and have never balanced those tires with no issues well above posted speed limits. Just once to check it
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Old 10-06-2009, 03:50 PM   #11
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I run my tubes over 30,000 and them carry 'em for spares. I don't have any flats and use the cheapest tubes I can find, generally BikeMaster or IRC.
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Old 10-06-2009, 06:09 PM   #12
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I got the heavy duty from Bridgestone. It is heavier and on small HP bikes, you might notice a difference.

I have been flogging them over jagged rocks and hard surfaces. No pinch flats.

Then again, I run a Pirelli trials rear and stay up late at night thinking about changing that tire. Thus, I have the uber tough tube.
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Old 10-06-2009, 07:05 PM   #13
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You can also run some slime.
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Old 10-06-2009, 08:10 PM   #14
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Bridgestone Ultra Heavy Duty, hell, they almost don't need air. I carry a lightweight 21" for a spare. No trouble changing them unless someones trying to help me.
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