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clincher vs. tubular(9 posts)

clincher vs. tubulardisquietu
Sep 30, 2003 5:41 AM
I'm thinking of buying a pair of tubular wheels. This would be my first set and was wondering if there is a big difference in ride quality and the amount of flats you typically get compared to clinhers?
nicer ride, fewer flats, bigger expense, bigger nuisancedzrider
Sep 30, 2003 6:45 AM
One of the best parts of my tubular experience was learning to ride more carefully to avoid flats. 2003 has been my worst year in a while for flats and I attribute some of the problem to being too long away from tubulars. The ride, especially if you get real good tubulars is definitely livlier, but I ultimately decided the 5 minute tire change and reduced expense was the way for me to go.
racing only...C-40
Sep 30, 2003 7:00 AM
IMO, tubulars are for racing only. If they are ridden for everyday use, you have to carry a bulky preglued spare that negates most of the weight savings. If you get a flat, I can't imagine that removing a properly glued tubular from the rim and mounting the preglued spare would not be more time consuming than installing a new tube. If you happen to have two flats you're in real trouble. After you get home you must remove the spare tire and properly glue a new tubular onto the rim. Then you either try to repair the tubular yourself, send it off to someone for repair, or simply throw it away. Seems like a huge amount of trouble and expense to me.
re: clincher vs. tubularJimP
Sep 30, 2003 8:57 AM
Many responders will say that the ride of a tubular is "almost the same" as a clincher. The key is "almost". Others will say that they can't tell the difference. I would ask some questions of those who can't tell the difference: What tires are you comparing? What is your weight? What tire pressures are you using for each type? I weigh 190-195 pounds and have found that I prefer 105 psi front and 110 psi rear with Conti Sprinters. That seems to have the best compromise between rolling resistance, road vibration absorbtion, and road feel. I find that I have fewer flats with tubulars because of fewer pinch flats. With my weight and riding style, I used to need 120 psi in the front and then I still encountered stones and bumps that would cause flats. A week ago I hit something in the road at 30mph that I didn't see which would have caused a blowout on clinchers. The shock was so severe that it knocked a little piece of epoxy out of the CF rim but the tire wasn't damaged and didn't deflate. I usually buy 3 tires at a time, this time it was $95 including shipping. The front tire has been on the bike for about 4,000 miles and the rear about 1,500 so far. As for carrying a spare, the weight is in the saddlebag, not rotating on the rim and doesn't have to be accelerated with every pedal stroke. The time to change is not much different than replacing a tube. I carry a couple of tire levers to help start the tire off the rim which helps a lot. If you lived close to me, I would loan you either a set of Sun M19/DA wheels or my Nimble Crosswinds for a test ride so you could compare the feel for yourself.

re: clincher vs. tubularscorpionking
Sep 30, 2003 6:53 PM
Could not agree more with you. I ride daily on tubulars and the spare preglued tubular is pure static weight, not rotating weight around your rim. Most people forget that not only do tubular wheels have lighter rims typically, but they also have lighter tire/tube weight so all the important rotational weight on your wheelset from the rim on out heavily favors tubulars over clinchers. In addition, quality tubulars just handle better than clinchers, besides better road feel they corner better, are not subject to pinch flats and really are not that hard to change out on the road with a little practice.

Anyone running clinchers has to pack spare tubes as well, now admittedly the clincher tube weighs less than the preglued tubular spare, but it's still static weight, not rotational weight. For most riders, riding should be about fun, not just training or racing and I see no reason why people should not seek the joy of a quality tubular ride in a non racing situation. If I own a Porsche 911 turbo am I only gonna drive it when I'm invited to a road race?? no, I'm gonna ride it and enjoy it every day I can.

If tubulars are for raceday only what about the guy riding a C-40 or a Trek 5900, and a light carbon fiber fork on a daily basis with Record or dura Ace parts????? Your telling me those are not really raceday intended components??? You could make an argument then that all lightweight frames and components should only be ridden on raceday, what fun would that be?
re: clincher vs. tubularWoof the dog
Sep 30, 2003 10:58 PM
no one really makes light tubular rims anymore cause now we actually use 9 or 10 cogs in the back.

re: clincher vs. tubulardisquietu
Sep 30, 2003 9:00 PM
thanks for the infor,I live in Michigan
Princess and the pea - Eric Zabel says he can't tell diff. (nm)Kerry Irons
Oct 1, 2003 5:12 PM
re: clincher vs. tubularhudsonite
Sep 30, 2003 12:56 PM
I have used tubulars and clinchers. Both are good these days. When I first started using tubulars there was no comparison between the two (1972), tubulars were far superior. Clinchers blew out, were slower and had many more flats.

In 2003 the clinchers are almost as good tubulars. I still prefer the ride of a good tubular tire, but they are a little impractical these days. Still, I am thinking about building up another set of wheels for a pair of tubulars.

The impractical part of a tubular, for me anyways, has more to do with the people I ride with. All of my riding buddies use clinchers. If someone gets a flat when we are way out in the middle of no mans land, there are lots of spare tubes, patches and even some tires to go around. This is important when something goes wrong. If I am riding tubulars, I will be the only person with a spare. If the spare were to go flat, well it is going to be a long walk. (Actually, I could fix it on the road, but that's me).

If you are going to be pragmatic about tires, clinchers are the way to go. The work well, they last a long time and are generally very reliable. Even pinch flats are becoming more rare with good wheels, tires and rim tape. Yes there is a weight difference, but it is so minimal that it does really matter for most of us recreational riders.

But there is a feeling when riding a pair of tubs that, for me, is 'magical'. It is a feeling that is not fully objective. They feel as though they roll faster, corner better and give a ride quality that is second to none. I do not recommend them to my friends though. If the bike is a tool and not a passion in of itself, stay away from them. They are expensive and require a personal time commitment.

If you enjoy tinkering with a bike as much as riding it, the tubular gluing ritual can be something that you can learn to enjoy. I work in a stressful IP industry and enjoy taking the time to mess with something that is real. I enjoy the time working on my bike. Gluing or even repairing tubular tires was never a burden. But many of my riding buddies would never understand this, nor should they. From a practical standpoint they can be viewed as a PITA.

If you grew up on tubulars, you either love them or hate them. If you never used them, you probably shouldn't start. But if you are curious, try a bike with a pair mounted. If you really enjoy the ride, then give them a go.

As someone mentioned, good tubulars are as reliable or more reliable then clinchers. The number of flats that you will encounter will be lower than what you will get on a pair of clinchers. But when you go to purchase a tubular tire you must stay away from the cheap ones. Only the expensive ones offer the reliability and the tubular ‘magic'.

Riding a bike is about many things. For some of us it is about the subjective feeling of the air, wind and surroundings. For many old tub riders, that feeling includes a pair of tubulars under us.