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Tubulars v. Clinchers(15 posts)

Tubulars v. Clinchersjtolleson
Sep 2, 2002 1:20 PM
Having never ridden sewups (nor been tempted) I've been discussing tires with a new recreational rider who is bound and determined to go the tubular route to save grams (and there may be a bit of a poseur factor but far be it from me to judge).

I've spouted only what I've heard about how both weight differences and ride quality differences have narrowed considerably as clinchers have improved.

But it's probably more compelling coming from someone who has ridden on (flatted on, etc.) both.

Sep 2, 2002 1:45 PM
I really don't know why you would choose tubulars other than for tradition.

Theoretically, tubulars can help decrease the frequency of flats as the increased contact area of the rim surface causes less pressure per unit area than clinchers.

However, I might get 1 flat every 1000 miles on my clinchers. Also, watch a few of the pro racers using the tubulars and see what happens when they come unglued - not a pretty site and in my opinion not worth the risk.

Once you get a flat are you going to rip the tire apart and sew it back together or just get a new one? Also, how sound will the glue be when you need to replace the tire during a ride?

I used the tubulars once upon a time and never experienced an advantage which was able to outweigh their risk factor. With today's tires and tubes I do not think the occurence of flats is much different between the two.
40,000+ miles on tubulars hereSpirito
Sep 2, 2002 11:59 PM
and i have >>NEVER<< had a tire unglue - that includes 8 years of racing on both road and track and 12 years of just because i need to ride. did i feel that i was at "risk" as you point out? ........ not even slightly.

have switched to solely clincher tires and rims recently. which do i think is better? .... "i dont know" or "depends" is the best answer i can come up with - they are different and both have their place and im sure always will.

I'm with Spirito on this oneboneman
Sep 3, 2002 4:54 AM
I've ridden tubs for 30 years and over 100,000 miles. Yes, rolled a tire once when I went out on a set that I hadn't reglued in some time. Fortunately at low speed and just around the corner from my house. I've cycle toured with panniers on tubs and 260 gr rims. When I first started racing, they were basically the only choice. I also have 7 sets of tubular wheels and 23 unbuilt tub rims so I'm long on this type of rim.

Switched over to clinchers two years and 15,000 miles ago as severe glass conditions where I moved to mandated a more practical solution than spending my spare time repairing tubs.

In ideal conditions, tubs would still be my choice for their responsiveness and ride quality, two fairly subjective measures. In some respects, clinchers are more practical and for me, less time consuming over the course of a year's riding. My view is that it's a matter of priorities, desired for qualities and riding conditions.
ditto Clinchers...OffTheBack
Sep 2, 2002 2:09 PM
IMHO, there is no longer any reason to ride tubulars except at the highest levels of competition, and there hasn't been for several years. I started racing way back in '87, and back then pretty much everyone raced on tubulars, since there weren't any good lightweight clincher rims or tires. But most of us trained on clinchers because of the expense and hassle of using tubies. That glue is a friggin' mess, and the first few times you use it, it will get all over your rims, hands, garage floor, etc. Then it has to dry for 24 hours - hope you have a spare set of wheels! Also there's the two-flats-in-one-ride problem...

Now fast forward to 2002 - there are many excellent, lightweight clincher rims available and some excellent tires as well. A Mavic Ksyrium with a Conti GP 3000 is WAY lighter and more aero than ANY sewup we raced on in the 80's, and honestly, I never felt the ride quality to be that big of a deal.

Save yourself some money and aggravation and go with clinchers. Peace.
re: ... giggle...Akirasho
Sep 2, 2002 2:35 PM
The differences 'tween the two seems to have narrowed enuff to cause such debates...

I've got a bit invested in tubular wheels which is enough of a justification for me.

I still believe that you can put together a lighter tire/wheel combo with tubulars (please, no gram counting debates) and while there is a risk of rolling a tubular, I find it no more a possiblility than a catastrophic blowout with a clincher (I've no statistical data... just a gut feeling). Indeed, in many cases, you can still ride a flat tubular... they are not prone to pinch flats... if you did have a major blowout... chances are, the casing would remain on the rim (safer than having it flopping around as you slow from 25 mph)... but again, these are probably more important factors for folks like me who've already invested in (and plan to keep) their current equipment.

There's no one perfect system currently available... both tubulars and clinchers have inherient strenghts and weaknesses... and tolerance levels for users. Many wheel manufacturers are developing new lightweight versions of their older tubular models... with weight differences as low as 30-50 grams (albeit, rotational grams)!

As far as what the pros use, I'm still a bit suspect... while they may indeed use clincher tires on clincher rims... I'm not satisfied that they're all riding on "factory" equipment... there's a lot of ad dollars at stake and I wouldn't put a bit of creative advertising beyond them (after all, there's no law that states a pro's equipment need last longer than a particular race (NASCAR Winston Cup equipment is constanly torn down and rebuilt save for race post qualifiying inspections... something that those of us who drive Detroit iron would be hard pressed to do after a weekend trip)).

Unless you have a particular reason to go tubular... you're probably better off (overall) with clinchers.

We abide.

Remain In Light.
About your friendKerry
Sep 2, 2002 4:04 PM
They are either tragically misinformed (possibly by some retro rider without much common sense) or a poseur of the first order. If they are truly a "new recreational rider" then tubulars should be the FARTHEST thing from their mind. The "magic of the tubular ride" exists only in the mind of a few. At the top of the line there may be a slight improvement in the ride, but it is surely not something a new rider could sense. The tubular is dying a slow death, even now only knowledgeably used by a fraction of racers and those who have an investment in the system. Zipp wheels appear to be about the only justification for significant weight savings with tubulars. I rode tubulars for 30 years and converted many people to them in the 70s and 80s. I switched to clinchers in 1998 and have not regretted that decision for one second.
My opinions/insightsPODIUMBOUNDdotCA
Sep 2, 2002 4:20 PM
Here are my insights from my knowledge.

In tubulars favour:

1) completely round giving maximum ammount of rubber on the ground at all times.
2) very very high pressures... I ride my tubulars on the track at least around 140 if not closer to 180... high performance tubulars can be run even higher
3) chance of pinch flats said to be eliminated which in lightweight clinchers becomes an issue (Veloflex are very bad).
4) weight savings.

In favour of clinchers:
1) most good clinchers like the Axial Pro's easily
rival any tubular in terms of roundness and weight.
2) cheaper to buy. Imagine having bad bad luck and flatting 3 times on the road with clinchers as opposed to 3 times on tubulars. 3 $5 tubes vs. 3 $50 tires.
3) easier to repair. A tubular is a $%^%ing pain in the ass to fix on a ride... you need to carry an extra tubular with you instead of just a tube.

In my opinion for racing only wheels or track tubulars are the way to go. But if he's a new rider on the road tell him to get clinchers. The weight savings tubulars will give him aren't worth it. If down the road he decides to get a racing only wheelset then he should consider going tubular.

On the track is the only place to get tubulars from the very start.

Try a setflying
Sep 2, 2002 7:56 PM
You / everyone should try a set of quality tubulars at least once.
very much agree ....... NmSpirito
Sep 2, 2002 10:53 PM
re: Tubulars win only at the very high end.dzrider
Sep 3, 2002 4:18 AM
I just cut the spokes, threw away my tubular rims and used the hubs to build a toruring wheelset. I'm no longer willing to spring for top of the line tubulars when Michelin Axial Pros and similar quality clinchers are available for less than $30.00 per tire. They seem to me to work as well as $30.00 tubulars with a lot less fuss. As the number of riders on tubulars has shrunk, the economy of scale that makes lower prices possible has gone away and the number of available products has dropped as well. I respect peoples' desire to be tradionalist, but I don't have the time or money.
recreational rider? definately clinchersColnagoFE
Sep 3, 2002 7:04 AM
tubies only win at the weight weenie game and MAYBE a slight edge in ride quality at the high end. unless you are sponsored and have someone mount and maintain your tubies or really love glueing and sewing then go clincher. also do they really want to carry spare tires around with them for recreational rides?
all carbon wheels only good reason for meDougSloan
Sep 3, 2002 10:32 AM
I think the only good reason any more for tubulars is to use them on all carbon wheels, which makes for a very light package, even with aero profiles. Clinchers and clincher rims are so good that the advantage of tubulars is only in the extreme light weight category. All carbon wheels, by their very nature, cannot accomodate clinchers.

I can detect no ride difference between the two at the same pressures.

Tubulars can be pain to install, but experience or use of Tufo glue strips takes care of that.

The largest drawback to tubulars is the "one flat" rule. If you carry only one spare (which is much heavier than only a tube), you can fix only one flat. If you ever flat more than once, you are hoofing it or getting help on the cell phone (I've done both).

Therefore, to me, tubulars are restricted to full on dedicated race wheels.

re: Tubulars v. Clinchersmapei boy
Sep 3, 2002 11:32 AM
With the exception of Kerry's rant, everybody here provides valuable insight and advice. I should tell you about my experience, however. My wife runs Continental Sprinter 250 tubulars on Campy Barcelona rims. I run Continental GP3000 clinchers on Mavic Open Pro 32 holes. Both sets of wheels are laced with Revolution Spokes, one-cross in the front and three-cross in the rear. In other words, these wheel sets probably come as close as possible to being identical, while still maintaining that all-important clincher-tubular dichotomy.

In any event, every once in a while, my wife and I exchange wheel sets. When I ride her tubular wheels, I have to admit that the tubulars beat the clinchers in every single performance parameter. I have a faster ultimate top speed. They grip better around corners. The ride is softer yet more stable. There's less road resistance. They accelerate faster. True, none of the performance differences are particularly startling. And true, I'm happy with my clinchers, and don't have much of a yen to convert to tubbies. But still, when it comes to pure, on-the-road performance, in my experience tubulars are indeed better.
re: Tubulars v. Clinchersmackgoo
Sep 3, 2002 3:48 PM
Went tub's a few years ago and will never go back. There's only two things you'll never find on my bikes, clinchers aaaand Shimano.