Posted by Jeremy Schakel on September 28, 2019
If you've found your way here, its probably because you're tired of pinch flats, punctures, rim damage, and lack of traction, among a bunch of the other disadvantages that come with running a conventional inner tube in your dirt bike tire.
Mountain bikers were one of the first on the scene running tube-less setups in 1999 when Mavic first introduced a tube-less wheel system. In the moto world, tube-less wheel set ups did exist, but usually only in the pits on un-obtainium "Works" bikes. At the time it required high tech expensive wheels, seals and other tricks to make it work, making tube-less wheels unrealistic for most riders. That was, until Nuetech stepped up and decided to change all of that.
Nuetech, the creators of Tubliss have two flagship products to help riders dial in their rolling stock. For pure competition and trail riding, Nuetech's NitroMousse is a go-to for our racers and hard core enduro riders. An absolutely flat proof tire insert, this is a great solution for many riders, especially for competition. However mousse's do come with some considerations for all around use that we'll explore in an upcoming article. Nuetech's groundbreaking product that changed it all for the moto masses is Tubliss. We've been running Tubliss on our own rides and setting our customers up with the system for the last 10+ years. It's a set up that works, and works well. We've become so accustomed to it being a requested upgrade that we sometimes forget there's still a lot of riders that haven't heard of it or all the benefits that come with using it. In short, Tubliss replaces the tires conventional tube with a high pressure 100-110psi inner bladder shrouded in an outer casing that creates a dual pressure chamber!.....Ok, yeah but again, what does that mean?
It means you get to ditch the conventional inner tube, say goodbye to pinch flats forever, protect your wheels, leave your tire spoons at home, longer tire life, and unlock massive, and we're not exaggerating here, massive traction gains. All this with puncture repairs where it takes longer to get your tire plug and shot of co2 out of your pack than the repair itself. In addition, Tubliss maintains the ability to dial in any tire pressure you want, and for most riders, way easier tire changes than conventional tubes or mousse's!
BUT....we thought it would be way more fun to go out and "try" and destroy things!
For reference, first we'll talk about what what rolling stock we used to test the system. Same as the NitroMousse, we have some go-to competition tires for racers and extreme conditions, but for this test we went with a tried and true dual sport tire, the Kenda Equilibrium. Across the board we've had great results with the Equilibrium as an all around solid performing tire for dirt bikes and smaller dual sport bikes. The Equilibrium has been around for a while and is designed as a knobby\trials hybrid. What you give up in some* braking and cornering ability you gain in super grippy gummy soft tread blocks in a long* life DOT tire. It's easy to test a stiff as a brick style tire at 0 PSI with Tubliss, so we chose the Equilibrium because it's a KNOWN really soft carcass tire. This is perfect for torture testing with low pressure, high and low speed blunt hits, mixed with reckless abandon for the tires and wheel set we were using!
We tired to put this combo to the test the same way we think most of you would. While all of us dream, most of us aren't PRO. But, we all still ride hard and push our own personal limits. We put the this tire combo on 6 other bikes, with riders with different skill sets. We're blessed to be able to ride in the PNW, which means that we can be rolling coastal single track, mountain switchbacks, and high speed desert runs all within 2 hours. Sustained high speed (at least for us, remember, were not all pro's ;) 55-85 MPH on rides / races like the Desert 100, LAB2V, etc. and fast technical rooty, rocky, sharp edged goat trails with tire pressures set at 4.5 -12 PSI for all of it. A few of the riders didn't like the softer feel of the tire at the lower pressures, but this tire really starts working at its full potential running single digit psi.
Photos by PhotosBySteve / LAB2V photographer
All of the things we've become accustomed to with Tubliss; longer tire life, traction, easy flat fixes, rim protection, and more importantly, completed rides and races without wheel failure, while running a really soft tire....even flat? CHECK!
But wait, there's more!
We decided to take some already used and abused tires, run the front at 7 psi, and the rear at 0 - 4.5 psi (most of the time at 2) in a local area that offers everything from tight lock to lock single track, sharp rocky and rooted uphills /downhills, high speed hard-pack / gravel transfer sections......AND exposed re-bar (from failed trail / tread block) shooting up from the terrafirma. Perfect! If the tire went flat we didn't stop to plug it until the next transfer / hardback section. The bike we used was one of our shop mules, a KTM 450 and the rear Equilibrium already had around 650 hard miles on it. Half the tread depth, 2 psi, and a full contact patch to really expose the soft thinner parts between the knobbies? Even better!
What happened? Exactly what we hoped for! After 60+ miles of "trying to destroy the tires and rims, we had 4 rear and 1 front puncture(s), rims no worse for wear and the chance to really test how well Tubliss protects, locks the tire to the rim, makes tire repairs a breeze and gives awesome drive and traction that you just can't get with higher tire pressures! Let the picture and captions fill in the blanks!
Photos by Jeremy Schakel
Puncture #1 Required 3 plugs!
Photos by Jeremy Schakel
Puncture #3 required 2 plugs
Photos by Mark Bright
Easy flat repair. Find the leak, clean / ream the puncture, install a plug, a quick shot of co2 and BRAAAP!!
We run little bit of non-toxic biodegradable & water soluble sealant that usually seals up the small punctures without repair, and helps make it easy to see the bigger punctures that need a plug or.....4! We've even been successful using multiple plugs sidewall punctures and cuts.
Another great benefit to running the Tubliss system is it allows most riders to condense their tool kit's. I personally used to carry tire irons and at least 1 tube, but no longer do unless on a multi day ride with no access to spare parts. Aside from my regular tool kit, for flat repairs I usually only carry a few plugs, a cut down reamer & plug tool that I use my multi tool as a handle for, and an inflator with a couple co2 cartridges. As a back up I also have a very small bicycle pump that fits in the same tool bag. Short of catastrophic tire or wheel failure, no more removing the wheel and spooning tires on the side of a trail! Do that a couple times on a 95°+ degree day and see how cheerful you are when your done!
Photos by Jeremy Schakel
To say we value the all the benefits of the Tubliss system would be an understatement. They perform fantastic, add huge benefits, and should a flat occur, quicker repairs get you back out on the track or trail sooner!
Want more info on Tubliss? Click the links listed above or go here.
All prices are in USD.