Tube Type Tires Vs. Radials

While this might seem like a very elementary topic to most, I have had several customers ask me what is the difference on tube type tires versus radials. That seems straigtforward enough, let’s explore:

Tubes are a critical part of a tube-type wheel assembly. With a tubeless tire and tubeless wheel (radial tires), the air is contained within the assembly. With a tube type rim and tire combination, it is the tube that contains the air.

When fitting a new tire on a tube-type rim, a new tube should be fitted at the same time. Old tubes can become stretched and, if an old tube is fitted inside a new tire, it can crease or fold over itself and fail due to chaffing and thinning of the rubber. Always ensure that the rim band is in good condition, that spoke ends do not protrude and are covered to avoid tube damage. Loose objects may also damage tubes.

It is important that you fit the correct size tube in a tire. Always check the size markings on the tube. The exact size marking on your tire must also appear on the tube. Never fit tubes on radial tires nor fit radials to rims requiring tubes.

My finding is that most people prefer the tubeless tires.  Tubeless tires can at times involve the hassle of a split rim and having to pay extra $$ for any tire work. Tubeless run cooler, generally run longer, and sometimes it can be a problem finding tubes.

Radial tires lay all of the cord plies at 90 degrees to the direction of travel (that is, across the tire from lip to lip). This design avoids having the plies rub against each other as the tire flexes, reducing the rolling friction of the tire. This allows vehicles with radial tires to achieve better fuel economy than vehicles with bias-ply tires. It also accounts for the slightly “low on air” (bulging) look that radial tire sidewalls have, especially when compared to bias-ply tires.

So in summary, tube-type tires have the tire, the tube and flap, are basically more complex and take longer to change out, but have sealed in air. Radial tires have steel belts are single pieces, more easily replaced. Please feel free to comment or visit our website

One thought on “Tube Type Tires Vs. Radials

  1. Good article, thanks for sharing! With so many tire options it can be challenging to differentiate between tube tires and radial tires, as well as all brands and terrain types.

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