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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter #1
About three years ago I purchased my Road King Std. from a good friend. I stepped into his shoes with how he had set the bike up. I hated the spoke wheels and wide-whitewall tires that he had put on. Yeah, it looks good when kept spit-shine. But I don't want to spend time rubbing down each spoke (strike one) and scrubbing on the whitewalls (strike two).

Well, strike three occurred a couple of weeks back when I was down in Arkansas for CMA Colors Rally. My son (riding with me) and I were out deep in the Arkansas mountains when I got a flat - on the back tire.:thumbsdn:

Later I was able to get the bike trailered back to a bike shop and I was told that a tire that would fit my bike was available (cool!).:thumbsup: However, when my bike showed up the smiles turned to frowns when the available tire was a tubeless one. This, of course, is strike three.:badmood:

I am having some decent-looking blacked-out nine spoke cast wheels put on. And, naturally, tubeless tires. I wish I could ask my friend (who has since passed and "went home to be with the Lord") what was he thinking when he ordered this bike to have laced wheels? For a regular bike rider who often finds himself riding out away from civilization, laced wheels are a bad riding experience waiting to happen. -2$en#e-
 

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Infidel
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6,331 Posts
NodakGus said:
For a regular bike rider who often finds himself riding out away from civilization, laced wheels are a bad riding experience waiting to happen. -2$en#e-
I've been rolling on laced wheels since my RK was new. Never had any problems (knock on wood) but I'm anal about replacing my tires.

Several years ago, DP had a couple of threads on his experiences with spoked rims. They let go on him at speed *twice*.

There's a lot to be said for tubeless rims and tires.

wyo
 

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Premium Member
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591 Posts
I'm with you Gus,

I just ordered new Metzelers for my Wide Glide. I am swapping to the 9-spoke wagon wheel style rims from the touring models. If nothing else, I feel like I can use a can of fix-a-flat with them and limp to the nearest rest stop. They are black and look pretty sharp too.
 

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Knower of Stuff
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1,978 Posts
Well Gus, I have to agree with you. I changed the spokes on my Heritage to Pro One Storm wheels about 6 years ago. Never regreted the change. Easy to clean and I carry a plug kit to cover the flats. It will get me to a shop.
The shop should have had a tube for your wheel. Most tires are tubless, even on spoke wheels, they just have a tube in them.
A lot of people like the look of spokes, that's why it is a $450 option on a lot of bikes, but if you tour, tubless is the way to go.-2$en#e-
They do make tubless spoke wheels now, but strike one is always there, a pain to clean.
Good luck with your chose.
Please note, that with tubless tires, you can pick up a nail and not go flat right away. It is a good idea to inspect them and check your air pressure often. Plus side is, it is not a blow out like with a tube.
Glad to hear, even though you did not say it, that the flat did not cause an accident.
Ride safe.
 

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Ghetto Blaster
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3,768 Posts
to each his own

NodakGus said:
About three years ago I purchased my Road King Std. from a good friend. I stepped into his shoes with how he had set the bike up. I hated the spoke wheels and wide-whitewall tires that he had put on. Yeah, it looks good when kept spit-shine. But I don't want to spend time rubbing down each spoke (strike one) and scrubbing on the whitewalls (strike two).

Well, strike three occurred a couple of weeks back when I was down in Arkansas for CMA Colors Rally. My son (riding with me) and I were out deep in the Arkansas mountains when I got a flat - on the back tire.:thumbsdn:

Later I was able to get the bike trailered back to a bike shop and I was told that a tire that would fit my bike was available (cool!).:thumbsup: However, when my bike showed up the smiles turned to frowns when the available tire was a tubeless one. This, of course, is strike three.:badmood:

I am having some decent-looking blacked-out nine spoke cast wheels put on. And, naturally, tubeless tires. I wish I could ask my friend (who has since passed and "went home to be with the Lord") what was he thinking when he ordered this bike to have laced wheels? For a regular bike rider who often finds himself riding out away from civilization, laced wheels are a bad riding experience waiting to happen. -2$en#e-
Is it not possible to run a "tubeless" tire with a tube? Maybe I'm wrong but the tire would go JUST as flat whether tubed or tubeless (excluding run-flats), and where you are geographically located when it goes flat is just bad luck...which would suck whenever or wherever, either w/ spokes or not...
I have logged many miles on Metzeler ME880's w/ tubes AND spokes with nary a problem. I wouldn't own a HD bagger with the stock cast spokes for any longer than until I could afford to replace them with spokes. Just my .02¢
 

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Knower of Stuff
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1bdbagr
Is it not possible to run a "tubeless" tire with a tube?
Yes. I always ran Dunlap D402 tires on my spoke rims with tubes. The D402 is a tubless tire.
Maybe I'm wrong but the tire would go JUST as flat whether tubed or tubeless
True, but a tubless tire with a nail in it will usually take its time going flat if the nail is still in the tire. A tube tire with a nail in it, goes flat almost immediately. The difference is getting a little squirlly at 60mph or having the rear end get real loose at 60mph.
In addition, I can plug a nail hole in a tubless setup, which I can do on the side of the road very quickly. This will get me to a shop for a new tire.
With a tube setup, I have to fix or replace the tube. Takes about 2 hours, a set of tire irons, and three friends to lift the bike onto wooden blocks to fix a tube flat on the side of the road. Done it before and it ain't no fun.
A lot of people love spoke wheels with tubes, and I ride with a few, and they have never had issues. My luck has been different even though I also replace my tires before they hit the wear indicator, and I perfer to run tubless rims.
 

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Premium Member
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290 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Lunker said:
I'm with you Gus,

I just ordered new Metzelers for my Wide Glide. I am swapping to the 9-spoke wagon wheel style rims from the touring models. If nothing else, I feel like I can use a can of fix-a-flat with them and limp to the nearest rest stop. They are black and look pretty sharp too.
Those are the exact ones that are going on mine. The blacked-out spokes, with blackwall tires and a black powder-coated twin cam engine ought to compliment each other. I am also stuffing a patch kit with CO2 cartridges down into lower recesses of my saddle bags as well.

The bike shop I referred to was the mechanic's shop that is on the grounds of Christian Motorcyclist Assn property down by Hatfield, AR. It is a great shop. But, the shop exists to help bikes that come to the CMA rally. Lifts and tools galore but they do not carry a full inventory of supplies. They just did happen to have the right "size" tire in the shop (but it was tubeless).

My 11-year old son and I were spared any nastiness as a result of the flat. It was already flat when we were ready to ride that particular day right after breakfast. That is definitely a entirely fortuitous (shall I say... Providential) event for the two of us!
 

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XLIII
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10,078 Posts
Honest, I have not seen a street tire that was NOT marked "Tubeless" in a long time.
Including the ones that come from the factory, with tubes, on your spoked wheels...
 

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Registered
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9,250 Posts
MegaGlide said:
Honest, I have not seen a street tire that was NOT marked "Tubeless" in a long time.
Including the ones that come from the factory, with tubes, on your spoked wheels...
Mega -

What's that EMC Comp nut thingee in your signature all about??? Just had a fellow I rode with and know from the boards trash an engine over a loose comp nut and I've been nervous since. DEtails?


GC
 

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Premium Member
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6,979 Posts
For a while I wished I had gotten the spokes on my Dyna, but have since decided the cast wheels don't look so bad. However, I'm seriously thinking about pulling them off when the snow starts flying and polishing the finished surfaces. Should look pretty sharp like that.
 

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Premium Member
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245 Posts
real dinosaurs like...

black painted wheels and spokes. I ran spokes and tubes for years, it was all we had, BUT a stock bike had some kind of a stand that could get either wheel off the ground. It's still no fun levering a tire off to change the tube, but I've done it lots of times. By the way, several folks have had a problem with the CO2 cartridges notbeing able to fully inflate a tire, nor can they deal with a slow leak. I carry a small air pump, but then, I've got bags and I often travel on back roads far from anything.
 

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What about using a product such as Slime to seal a nail hole in a tube?

It's used for mountain bikes and works even with multiple holes. I've seen it sold for automotive applications too.

I'm kind of wondering since I want to put black spoked wheels on both ends of my Night Train.
 
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