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Anyone feel like answering a dumb question? (tires/rims)(7 posts)

Anyone feel like answering a dumb question? (tires/rims)ions82
May 7, 2001 4:55 PM

I'm new to the road bike community. I'm a little confused on a few terms. More specifically, terms dealing with tires and rims. Things get a little fuzzy for me when it comes to tubulars, clinchers, and sew-ups. I was hoping someone could give me a basic definition/description of each. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
re: Anyone feel like answering a dumb question? (tires/rims)Spiderman
May 7, 2001 5:01 PM
i don't know what sew ups are but the other two are fairly easy to understand. Clinchers are what most people ride. You probably have them on your bike. It involves a tire and a tube. YOu place the tube along the rim, and then the tire over it. Tubulars are different, they are only one piece. It is like a tube, except no tire goes over it. It is combining a tire and a tube.
A clincher gets its name because if you look on the inside of the rim, you can see a little "hook" type thing that runs all along it. This is where the bead in the tire "clinches" into when it is filled with air. Tubulars are different in that you basically glue it onto the rim (obviously requiring a different rim). Hope that helps.
re: Anyone feel like answering a dumb question? (tires/rims)MrCelloBoy
May 7, 2001 5:36 PM
Sew ups/tubulars = same thing. They're called sew ups because you have you cut and re-stitch the casing to repair the tube. They used to be leagues better than clinchers as far as handling. They're still considered superior by some racers but not as much as used to be the case.
re: Anyone feel like answering a dumb question? (tires/rims)9WorCP
May 7, 2001 5:41 PM
Hi Back at you,

I'm no guru but I think I can answer this for you. Some of us like to pretend to be Sheldon Brown or that we write for men's health magazines in our spare time (read: excuse the affected tone), so here goes :

"Clinchers" are the most common type of tire you find on the road today. The rim is lipped and the tire stays put by way of the wire bead on the inside edges of the tire. The pressure from the inflated inner-tube presses the bead and lip together w/ enough force to keep the tire on the rim. "Tubulars" or "sew-ups" are a type of tire you usually will only find on pro bikes or on those of refined enthusiasts and retro-bike-snob-purist types. Tubular rims have no "lip" and the tire is affixed with a special type of cement. Tubes are sewn inside the tires before they are adhered to the rim. I've never ridden on tubular but the word is that they are the smoothest, best rolling tire available. It can be pumped up to huge pressure ranges. They can also weigh hundreds of grams less than a comparable clincher. The downside is they are an enormous pain in the ass if you get a flat on the road. You have to carry an additional (pre-glued? unsure) tire with the tube already sewn inside. I've also heard that on long descents rims can become so overheated from braking friction that the glue liquifies and releases the tire spontaneously.

Almost all cyclists now use clinchers because the technology has improved enormously in the last decade and certain rims and tires (i.e. expensive ones) now rival tubulars in weight and feel. Not to mention the most important reason: ease of flat repair.

Text book answer baby!

Somebody get this guy Sheldon Brown's URL.
re: Anyone feel like answering a dumb question? (tires/rims)dustin73
May 7, 2001 6:07 PM
you know those Cosmic rims? possibly made by Mavic...are they tubular? or can you get most rims in either tubular or clincher?
Just looking in a couple catalogues9WorCP
May 7, 2001 6:22 PM
It seems Cosmic and Cosmos pre-builts are clincher only. Ksyriums come in tubular. But you know you can have (Colorado Cyclist et. al.) build up a pair with Dura-Ace or Record hubs matched w/ Reflex rims for ~$50 less than the Cosmic Elites. That seems like hot sh*t to me.
Rim choicesKerry Irons
May 7, 2001 7:10 PM
In many cases these days, the rim model determines whether it is for tubulars/sew-ups or clinchers. Examples: MAVIC Reflex = tubulars, MAVIC Open Pro = clinchers. For others, especially built wheels, you specify whether you want the tubular or clincher version. If you don't know for sure, ask.