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using tubulars for everyday riding (and lots of sew-up q's)(11 posts)

using tubulars for everyday riding (and lots of sew-up q's)karlooz
Apr 24, 2002 11:02 AM
im debating on building up a set,or buying a set of tubulars for everday riding. i wanted a lightweight, aero, durable set of wheels, for climbing, all purpose road and some commuting. i'm probably asking for too much.

how much of a pain is it to change flats on the road? how much of pain is it to fix the flats? should i stick with clinchers?

i read somewhere (can't remember where) that a company has tubular adhesive tape. has anyone used it? where can i find some? does it work?

the wheels im thinking about getting are the zipp 303, hed alps or making it a full on project and building a wheelset with zipp 303 rims, american classic hubs (24H ft, 24H rr) with sapim cx-ray spokes. im 190 lbs and falling, are 24 holes enough for the rear?

thx in advance
How often do you flat?RideLots
Apr 24, 2002 11:50 AM
I think the key question is, how often do you flat? Even more importantly, do you every flat more than once during a ride?

If not for flats, I'd ride only tubulars. The gluing is more of a hassle than changing a clincher, thats for sure, but once you learn a few things it's not so bad. You must do a good job, too, or else the tire could be unsafe.

Nonetheless, the benefits of tubulars over clinchers, no matter how debateable they are, are very, very marginal at best. Good clinchers are comparable.

I would not ride tubulars in training unless I very rarely flatted. You know the situation - for tubulars you either carry a spare tire, or you have a vehicle following you with spared mounted on wheels. In the first scenario, what do you do if you flat more than once on a ride? You either A) walk home; B) phone home; C) ride on a flat tire; D) stop and repair the tire with your needle and thread; E) carry more than one tubular; F) inject some sealant and hope it fixes the flat (on Tubos); or G) if you are very lucky, another rider comes along with a spare tubie, and loans it to you. I've done all of these except the last one. None of them are acceptable to me, however. What would you do?

Changing a tubie on the road is not hard, unless you have done a really good glue job and have to spend 10 minutes yanking on the tire to get it off. The secret to installing the spare quickly is pre-stretching (mount it without gluing on a spare rim, inflate, and let it sit a few days).

I'd recommend a set of Zipp 303 carbon/alum clinchers and good clincher tires.

re: using tubulars for everyday riding (and lots of sew-up q's)No_sprint
Apr 24, 2002 11:52 AM
I'm not sure of what your definition of an everyday trainer is, however, the 303 is definitely not an everyday or commuter rim in my book. For commuting, I'd use a really tough tire. That would negate all the weight savings you'd be paying for. That set of wheels, with tires, cassette, everything is going to be well into the $1200+ range. No way I beat around town on anything like that. I wouldn't beat around town on any carbon rim really.

Is it a pain to change them? Some say yes, some say no. You've got to run around with a pre-stretched tire on you. Once you remove the old one, the new one will be on unglued, therefore, you're simply cruising once that tire is changed. Then, you reglue that night.

Why not use a new set of race wheels for race days only and continue to use your clinchers for everything else? That's what most people do. Heck, you ca get a set of Neutron tubs for less than $500. An awesome race wheel. Am. Classic hubs, aero spokes and Velocity Escape tubular rims from oddsandendos for around $400. No way I'd pay more than $500 for 303s. Luckily I've got a pro/team deal available for them.

Not a racer? No need for 303s at all in my opinion.

Hope this helps.
re: using tubulars for everyday riding (and lots of sew-up q's)flying
Apr 24, 2002 11:53 AM
I use them for everyday riding. I have for the past 13 years I would not switch. I have tried the clinchers & don't like the ride quality. The weight is close enough to not be so much of an issue for me.

As for roadside change of flats? Nothing to it. Rip the old off...stretch the spare on.... hit it with a Co2 cartridge
Your done & on your way 3-4 minutes & faster than changing a clincher tube or worse trying to patch a clincher tube.

There is one drawback though.... I only carry one tubular spare ( of course ) so if I get a flat ( which is rare since I keep them inflated to 120 always) I tend to turn for home rather than risk the albeit slight chance of a 2nd flat. I guess with a clincher you could theoretically patch till the cows come home or you run out of glue & patches ;-)

But then again I have see a riding partner get a good slash from glass on a clincher. Which you can install a new tube in but it is no longer safe even with a boot in it.

I have never used the adhesive tape you mentioned. I have heard of it but doubt I would trust it. The glue method is easy to me. The spare has a thin coat of glue already on it & its ready to use.

Good Luck & if you have never tried a pair of quality Tubulars you owe it to yourself ;-)
re: using tubulars for everyday riding (and lots of sew-up q's)netso
Apr 24, 2002 12:13 PM
I have used tubs for over 16 years, every day, I think they are easier to change. They sure ride a lot better!!!
re: using tubulars for everyday riding (and lots of sew-up q's)mackgoo
Apr 24, 2002 1:38 PM
I've been using tubs for about 4000 miles now. I'll never go back.
What's the diff btwn tubulars, sew ups, clinchers, etc?wolfereeno
Apr 24, 2002 3:56 PM
I'm a mtbiker just looking to buy a roadbike. So what's the diff between all these tire options? Tubulars, sew ups, clinchers, etc?
What's the diff btwn tubulars, sew ups, clinchers, etc?SteveO
Apr 25, 2002 4:38 AM
Tubulars are sew-ups; they are an integrated tire-tube (tire sewn into tube, glued onto rim). In the past, a much higher-performing tire than clinchers (no so much so now), MUCH more hassle to repair.

Clinchers are what your mtb has; a seperate tube, and the tire is held on via air-pressure and a bead. MUCH easier for repairs.
totally tubular (or not)Kerry
Apr 24, 2002 4:51 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 (many of you have seen this before).

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, since a lighter rim allows a heavier tire.

Fast forward to 2002 and the weight difference has gone from 200+ gm per wheel to about 50 unless you go to something really exotic, 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, 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. If you're that close to winning those crits and looking for just a little bit more to push you over the top, tubulars offer an advantage. Even then, it may be more productive to work on your sprint, but that's another story.

Some still swear by tubulars. Most 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. Tubulars still have a slight performance advantage at the top end, but plenty of pro races are being won on clinchers (25% of TdF riders were 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 new riders, who have lots to learn about riding, training, racing, and bikes without adding the burden of tubulars to the learning curve. At 190 lbs, you're pushing the weight limit on sew ups, in my experience.
Excellent post, excellent. nmNo_sprint
Apr 25, 2002 6:22 AM
re: using tubulars for everyday riding (and lots of sew-up q's)century2
Apr 26, 2002 1:06 PM
road them for years
use glue
and tear gloves - keep you tires brushed

they can be great and last as well