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Are tubulars noticeably faster than clinchers?(7 posts)

Are tubulars noticeably faster than clinchers?big guy
Jun 15, 2002 4:30 PM
I placed in my first road race this weekend and I am psyched! In addition to putting my training into overdrive, I am considering going to tubulars for raceday and keeping the clinchers for training. Will I notice a difference? Or are clinchers so good these days that they are virtually indistinguishable?
Not according to objective testsKerry
Jun 15, 2002 4:47 PM
Some tests have even proven clinchers to be faster since they are guaranteed mounted straight and don't allow the tire to squirm due to the glue on the rim. Probably the main advantage to tubulars these days is that there are certain super light wheel sets (e.g. some Zipps, and others) that are only available in the tubular version. Some claim a superior ride on tubulars, but others state that is only the case at the very very top of the line. You will not win or lose your race due to choosing tubulars or clinchers.
Jun 15, 2002 6:49 PM
The most important factors wrt speed and the tire will be pressure, volume, tire compound, and tire surface. These factors are independent of whether the tire is a tubular or clincher.

Then main reason tubulars were beneficial was due to the increased contact area of the rim. As surface area increases the amount of pressure (per unit area) decreases. Thus, you get less flats on a tubular. But when you do, are you really going to want to get out the needle and thread?

I would not bother with tubulars. In my opinion they're a hold over from the old days and more of a tradition than anything else. Once you watch a few of the pro's crash becuase their tire came off you have to wonder if it is worth the risk.
speed is up to youStarliner
Jun 15, 2002 8:23 PM
hey big guy, I weigh 195-200lbs. and ride everyday with Vredestein TriComp clinchers at 135-140 psi, and race on Vittoria tubulars at 140-150 psi. Difference is more in feel and not in speed... tubulars feel more supple and giving at these pressures. I feel more confident going balls out with the tubies, i.e., digging deep down into a corner. I figure that in a race, there are so many other things to think about rather than wondering if the tires are going to hold up to the frantic race pace. So, not being into denial, I've chosen tubies for racing. For normal riding, however, they are an expensive pain in the arse if you flat, so they are less practical.

Now if you could find somebody who would be kind enough to let you try out a set, you would be best advised to hammer hard with them through some corners and over some coarse, chattery pavement to see what I mean.
Jun 16, 2002 5:24 AM
since tubulars can hold much higher pressures than clinchers (up to 175 psig for Conti Sprinters, up to 225 psig for some Tufo track tubulars!), this alone can lower your rolling resistance, even though it does nothing positive for rider comfort. Of couse, you do need to make sure the tires are mounted straight, and are securely glued. Tire changing on the road (assuming that you have at least some hand strength) requires only half the time that clinchers do. Anybody that complains it takes too long to repair the tires is missing the obvious-you don't repair tubulars on the side of the road-you take them home for repair, and you always ride with a spare.
my thoughtsweiwentg
Jun 16, 2002 7:25 AM
if you get Zipps, get tubulars. the tubular rims are much lighter. if not, there's not much difference if you stick with clinchers.
Drag consists of your body plus minor additional factors ...Humma Hah
Jun 16, 2002 8:43 AM
... tire drag ranks up there with spoke drag and the weight of paint on the frame as one of the things cyclists obsess over when they're powerless to do anything about the worst drag by far, the fact that the human body is hideously unaerodynamic.

My cruiser, with 1 3/4" fat tires, will out-dive most roadbikes on a downhill coast, providing I'm in an aggressive tuck and the rider of the roadbike is not. Those tires are certainly draggier than any roadbikes, but I can easily overcome that by making myself small.

In your case, you probably powered thru the drag, and I'd say congratulations are in order! Nice work, big guy! Sounds like you did it the way it is SUPPOSED to be done: improve the motor.