WHAT IS IT? The major tire companies have tried to
produce tubeless motocross tires but have either given up
or failed. So, it is surprising that boutique tire company
Hi-Point has found a new and creative way to design a
tubeless offroad tire.
WHAT’S IT COST? $119.95 (rear), $93.95 (front).
CONTACT? www.motomandistributing.com or your
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand
out with Hi-Point ITT tubeless tires.
(1) ITT. The acronym ITT stands for “Integrated
Tubeless Technology.” ITT is a patented idea that uses
a vulcanized layer of nylon fabric to form a tubular air
chamber inside the tire. In layman’s terms, Hi-Point takes
one ply of the tire’s carcass and lets it hang down from
the inside of the tire. It is made of cloth, like the rest of
the plies that form the inner structure of all tires, but it is
vulcanized, essentially rubberized, so that this single ply
can hold air. The single vulcanized ply completes the circle
of the tire so that the tire itself is the tube.
( 2) Tube versus no tube. One of the inherent problems of tubeless motocross tires is that a normal air-filled
tube becomes a second skin inside the tire. This means
that it stiffens the sidewalls. Tubeless tire designers have
to account for the added thickness of the tube and its
resistance to flex when designing a tire. In previous tests
of tubeless motocross tires, the MXA wrecking crew has
had to add extra air pressure to make up for the flexiness
of a tubeless tire. This air stiffens the tire, but at the
expense of the resilience you seek from a tubeless design.
The alternative to adding more air is to add more rubber
down the sidewall to make the tire itself stiffer. This is
what Hi-Point did to help solve the tendency of tubeless
tires to wallow. There are pluses to ITT technology. First,
you can’t pinch flat a Hi-Point tubeless tire because the
tube-like part of the ITT design is integrated into the internal cavity of the tire. Second, it fits any rim brand or style.
Third, there is no friction between the inner tire carcass
and the tube because the tube is part and parcel with the
tire’s inner carcass.
( 3) Unforeseen issues. Since the ITT design completes the circle of the tire, you cannot reach your hand
inside to press the Schrader valve through the valve-stem
hole. Hi-Point includes a valve cap with a string attached
to it. The string is fed through the valve-stem hole to allow
you to pull the Schrader valve through the hole from the
outside. Good idea, but the first rim we tried the Hi-Point
ITT tire on didn’t have a valve stem hole large enough
for the valve cap to fit through. Our solution was to use
a braided-steel valve-stem puller, which threads into the
inner circumference of the valve stem. This is great if you
have a braided valve-stem puller. If you don’t, you will
spend a lot of time fishing for the hole. Rocky Mountain
ATV/MX sells a valve-stem puller for $7.
( 4) Air pressure loss. We expected the Hi-Point ITT
tires to lose air pressure when they sat in the workshop
for a week between races. Surprise! We noticed a 1-pound
drop, but we have normal tubes that lose that much also.
Plus, we check our tire pressure before every race, so it
wasn’t an issue for us.
( 5) Performance. We ran a Hi-Point M15 rear with a
M16 front. These are intermediate-to-soft compound tires
with wide-knob spacing. The rears come in 110/80-19,
110/90-19 and 120/80-19 sizes. For offroad riders, there is
a 110/100-18. These tires worked best on the softer side of
the intermediate equation, as they tended to roll over on
hardpack. We started at 13 psi, which was good for soft
dirt, but went to 15 psi on hardpack. The rear tire worked
adequately, but the front felt sketchy when side loads
were applied. These are not direct competitors against a
premium Dunlop MX3S, but, by the same token, Dunlop
gave up on its tubeless motocross tire designs many years
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? New concepts always have
bugs to work out. The ITT tire has a few.
We love the technology. It has the potential to
work and is already used on Innova mountain
bike tires. We rate the rear as an acceptable
tire for intermediate or softer dirt.
HI-POINT ITT TUBELESS M15/M16 TIRES
MXA TEAM TESTED