Are Inner Tubes on Big Cruisers a Bad Idea?

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By John Burns

Dear MOby,

Next spring I’m planning – after my 2016 FLHXSE – to buy an Indian Chief Vintage. What irritates me a little big bit is the fact that it comes, vintage committed, with wire-spoke wheels that require tubes. Can you drop me a few bullets about that? Out of your big experience, is this a security issue? Is it talked about anyway? Would you recommend to just ride and don’t think about further?

Interestingly I didn’t find any shops who offer tubeless wire-spoke wheels for heavy cruisers. Where else than in God’s own country would there be more expertise about cruisers?

Kind regards from Vienna,

Dear Gerhard,

How are the sausages this year? Ahhh, not to think about such things further can be a mistake. Since you asked about my experience, all I can tell you is that I did experience a spot of unpleasantness on just such a heavy Indian cruiser a few years ago when I reviewed an Indian Chief Classic in Texas. Here’s an excerpt:

“… it [the Indian] shows no mercy when dealing with potholes and bumps. And whatever its suspension can’t handle is crushed beneath its massive weight and thick, cushy seat. Just keep the gas on and steer with the wide handlebar.

The other thing its massive weight had no mercy for was its rear Dunlop American Elite tire. On my way to College Station one bright morning, I felt a wiggle that felt like a flat and pulled onto the shoulder, where I was enveloped by a cloud of rubber smoke. What the? No flat kit was going to fix the exit wound in this tire, so I was relieved I hadn’t brought one. The very nice lady at AAA informed me over the phone that since I hadn’t paid the extra $7 for motorcycle and RV …read more

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