Eli5: Why do bicycles have inner tubes in the tire while cars don’t have them?



Eli5: Why do bicycles have inner tubes in the tire while cars don’t have them?

In: Engineering

Car tires are typically tubeless setups, where a tight fitting tire and rim combination is used (sometimes with a sealant liquid) and held in place with air pressure

Tubeless bike tire setups are available, but generally cost more (and there are sometimes issues of incompatible standards) and are less widely available.

(Also tubeless bike tires can be a pain to install or repair without the proper tools )

Car style tubeless tires weigh more, which most cyclists aren’t going to want. They’re also harder to replace. The extra weight isn’t an issue for a car and most people don’t ever have a need to replace just the tire on their own (they replace the entire wheel and take it somewhere to replace the tire later).

Not all bikes have tubes, mine doesn’t, not all cars are tubeless. The tube essentially provides an added layer of protection against puncture. Tubes are used in applications where you’re more likely to experience an issue like puncture or pulling the tire from the wheel causing the air to escape. Farm equipment and off road recreational vehicles are one application for tubes. I use them on my wheelchair and some wheelchair users use an insert to replace the tube and need for air all together. I’m not a fan of those but they do exist.

Most bicycles have spoke wheels, the spokes have holes to go into the rim and arent air tight. They do have tubeless tires for bikes on some rims.