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Basic Tubular question(5 posts)

Basic Tubular questiondawgcatchr
Jun 4, 2001 1:13 AM
Hi. I am semi-new to the sport, and completely new to tubulars. How do I install them, change a flat on the road, and what should I watch out for? I am assuming they are worth the hassle, as it seems many people are riding them.
Try this sitezelig1
Jun 4, 2001 3:46 AM
And for an alternative view:Kerry Irons
Jun 4, 2001 6:21 PM
As a tubular user for nearly 30 years (even toured on them and had them on tandems) who switched to clinchers at the beginning of 1998, my comments follow.

When I started riding "good" bikes, there was no comparison. You could easily do a tubular tire/rim combination for 600 gm, and a clincher rim alone was 600 gm (nobody ever talked about clincher tire weight back then because nobody considered them a high quality option at all). Even when the first light weight clinchers came out in the early '80s, you were still about 200 gm per wheel ahead to go with sew-ups. I converted many a clincher rider over to the nirvana of tubulars: fast tire changes, better ride, lighter weight, stronger wheels. Each winter I would patch tires - three per hour while watching TV. I always kept a year ahead on my tires, too. 20 years ago, tubulars were significantly lighter, tubular rims were significantly lighter, tubulars were widely available across the price range, and almost all tubulars rode significantly better than the best clinchers. The hassles of gluing them on and repairing them were about the same as they are now. For the same total weight of tire/tube/rim/rim strip, tubulars were probably also more durable.

Fast forward to 2001 and the weight difference has gone from 200+ gm per wheel to about 50 (MAVIC Heliums are the same weight clincher or tubular), the ride differences are much less (some would argue that only a top of the line tubular rides better than a top of the line clincher), tubulars are less durable, and realistically (US mail order catalogs or pro shops) the selection of tubulars is small. Also, you have to carry a spare TIRE (250 gm) compared to a spare TUBE (90 gm), so the weigh savings is canceled, though the weight is in different places. The savings in rotating weight are only possible if you use the very lightest tubular rims, and that weight savings only has meaning if you are racing crits where you are braking and accelerating at every corner.

Some still swear by tubulars. Many have switched to clinchers. You won't go "wrong" with either, but IMHO you will not get much of a performance improvement with sew ups at significant hassle (if you repair your own) or cost increases. In 1997 (my last on sew ups), I had probably 10 flats in 7K miles, and completely wore through at least 7 tires. In 1998, my first on clinchers, I had 5 flats and wore out two tires (8K miles). The time spent at the side of the road with flats was about the same - half as many flats with clinchers and they take twice as long to change. In 1999, I had 4 flats, and last year 3 flats in about 9K miles (I learned not to ride in "glassy" areas when the road was wet). Tubulars still have a slight performance advantage at the top end, but plenty of pro races are being won on clinchers, so they must be good enough. Call me insensitive, but I can't tell the difference in ride, and I have NEVER given my decision to switch to clinchers a second thought.

As a final point, I would never recommend tubulars to a new rider. IOW, if you have to ask the question, then you have lots to learn about riding, training, racing, and bikes without adding the burden of tubulars to your learning curve.
And for an alternative view:dawgcatchr
Jun 4, 2001 8:49 PM
Thanks for the input. No one around here rides tubulars anymore, but I was curious: it seems that there are very good deals on wheels in just tubular, and I couldn't help but notice the weight difference as well. Probably good to know how to use both.
mounting tubularsd_alex
Jul 12, 2001 11:59 AM
Starting with a bare rim, removed of any globs of glue/tape/etc:

First, stretch the tyre, by pulling it between you feet and hands. Do this at several different locations (on the tyre!!).

Put a small glob of glue between 5 or 6 spokes, starting with the area between the first and secod spoke past the valve hole. Do not put glue around the valve hole.

Using a 3/4" long bristle paintbrush, spread the glue around, with a forward and backward motion. Continue this until you have covered the entire seating area. If, at this point, you haven't used about 1/2 of the tube, continue until you do.

Let the wheel sit for about 1/2 hour, maybe longer if youare using the gooey white stuff (except for using Fastack. If Fastack is being used, get the tyre mounted immediately).

Look at the tyre, and decide which side you want the logo on. Put the valve stem through the hole. Screw it down with one of those presta stem collars, if you have that type of tyre. Working from the bottom, start sliding the base tape onto the glue, until you are more than 1/2 way around the rim. Face the side where the tyre is NOT mounted toward you. Use the heel of both hands, and both thumbs to slowly work the rest of the tyre evenly onto the rim, finishing directly opposite the valve. Some tyres may be very tight, and you may take a while to do this. Never use a screwdriver for leverage! Try to keep you fingers out of the glue.

Once the tyre is mounted, inflate to about 40 psig, and spin the wheel, either in your hands, or on the bike. look at where the tyre is not centered, and muscle the tyre to where it should be. Make sure the valve stem isn't skewed. Once finished, inflate the tyre to full pressure. Let bike sit for at least 12 hours before riding vigorously. Once glue is dried, any excess on the braking surface can be cleaned by a little acetone on a towel. Don't get the acetone on the base tape, though!