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Clincher or Tubular?(10 posts)

Clincher or Tubular?Cheezhead
Sep 27, 2002 9:48 AM
What are you opinions on riding tubulars for every day road riding and training? Are they a much bigger pain in the butt to change a flat than clinchers? The reason I ask is because I'm building up a new bike, I want it to be really light, and most tubular wheels come in about a half pound lighter than their clincher counterparts (example: Zipp 303). So what are advantages/disadvantages of riding a tubular instead of a clincher for everyday riding?

Say Cheez
re: Clincher or Tubular?flying
Sep 27, 2002 10:07 AM
I ride them everyday I would not change.
Although I live in an area with good roads we do have the usual glass at times. My riding pal runs clinchers & tends to get quite a few flats. Could be he is not as careful & gets pinch flats I dont know.

As for ease of use I think they are easier to change if I have a flat I tear the old off pop the new on hit it with the Co2 & thats it.

The main reason I ride them is I prefer the way they feel.
Everyone can decide for themselves but I decided long ago. I have tried the newer clinchers & still they are closer in weight but far away in feel IMO.
They are not supple & they are not round period. Perhaps the Tufos tubbie/clinchers? I have not tried them but since they approach tubbies in price why would I?

I dont know about your example of Zipp 303's as everyday wheels though ;-) Kinda pricey for everyday wheels.
Wanna buy mine??? (Longish)biknben
Sep 27, 2002 12:07 PM
A year and a half ago I did what you are doing. Building up a sweet, new, light rig and thinking tubular. I got a set of Zipp 303s and a spare set of clincher wheels.

Last year I rode the zipps almost exclusively. I swapped them on nasty weather days. When I got a flat (once last yar) it would be a few weeks before I got around to glueing a new tire on. Other than that I rode them all the time.

This year I started commuting by bike occasionally. I'm not going to commute with the Zipps. I started using the Zipps on weekends and for training races during the week. I'm constantly swapping wheels and cassettes. I use the Zipps less and less now. If I swap wheels I need to change the cassette and my saddle bag. These are not big deals but they became big annoyances. If my spare set was also tubular it wouldn't be as bad. I've just grown tired of dealing with both tubular and clincher wheelsets.

I wouldn't recommend riding a set of Zipp wheels every day unless the roads around you are absolutely prestine. OTOH, tubulars on a more durable wheel is no problem at all. For example, my friend also has a set of Zipps. In addition, he has a another set of tubular training wheels.

The biggest positive difference I see with tubulars is ride quality. A set of Vittoria Corsa tires are like butter compared to any clincher I've tried. The negative is expense and convenience. Those same buttery tires will cost you $45-$60 bucks each time you get a flat. Far more expensive than a tube in a clincher tire. The flats can be repaired but is tedious at best.

The gluing process is not as big a deal as some make it seem. The process will mean you can't ride the wheels for 1 or 2 days. Even if you glue and mount all at once, you shouldn't ride them until the next day. I apply glue and let it dry overnight. Then apply another coat, mount the tire and let it dry over night again. For me, it's a two day process. Yanking the flat tube aout of a clincher tire is much faster, easier, and cheaper.

All in all, you sacrifice a lot for better ride quality.
for most this is insaneDougSloan
Sep 27, 2002 12:32 PM
Been there, done that.

To me, the only significant advantage to tubulars is less weight, mostly due to lighter rims; this advantage is maximized if using the lightest carbon/semi-aero rims.

If you are not racing, then the extra expense, trouble, and risk of tubulars is a little nutty to me. Why?

No doubt tubulars will cost you more, if you ever get flats. While a $3 tube or even a $.25 patch can fix most clincher flats, as a practical matter most tubulars are trashed if you flat.

They are more trouble. While it's something you can learn to do fairly efficiently, installing tubulars will always be more trouble than a simple clincher and tube.

It's risky. Most tubular users carry one spare tire. Clincher users can easily carry 2 tubes plus a patch kit, providing for maybe 5-10 flats. Get that 2nd flat on tubulars, and your day gets problematic.

Some claim tubulars ride better. I must be numb, because I can't tell the difference between a tubular and a good clincher. Even assuming they do ride better, you still have to balance that against the above problems.

For me, tubulars take far longer to change. I must do the best glue jobs on the planet, because it can take me 15 minutes to remove one if I flat at times, nearly tearing the skin off my thumbs in the process. I suppose I could go skimpy on the glue, but I value my life more than that.

Essentially, there is no good reason rational people would use tubulars for every day riding, short of being rich or on a team and having a sag wagon follow you around.

Yes, I do use them, though. I use them only for important races, with support, and with wheels that are only available in tubular versions (all carbon). Occasionally I'll do some testing or training with them on my time trial bike, but that's only because the wheels for it are tubular only.

Bottom line, in addition to all that, is that every day riding can't possibly exploit the performance advantages of tubulars compared to the drawbacks. If you want advice from someone who has used them off and on for over 22 years, and who has been required to both stitch them up on the side of the road and hoof it after that 2nd flat, don't do it.

Sep 27, 2002 12:48 PM
I cut the spokes out of my last set of tubulars and made a set of touring wheels. I don't feel much difference between mid-priced tubulars and good clinchers and the biggest advantage I found with tubulars was learning to better avoid flats. The price is so much higher in both time and dollars that I became far more attentive to road surfaces, litter, etc.
Fully agree with Mr. Sloan.Quack
Sep 27, 2002 1:03 PM
Don't even think about tubulars unless you are either wealthy and into pain or an elite level racer able to win enough money to offset the cost of replacements. I probably wouldn't even run them on a tri-bike. With CO2, I can change a clincher flat in about 1 minute, which is a lot of places in a race. Imagine if that delay was increased to 5-10 minutes like it would be for a tubular.

Granted, nothing feels quite like a springy tubular, but you can get dang close with high-thread Fortezza or Corsa clinchers.

Doug's rightJS
Sep 27, 2002 2:56 PM
My race wheels are 404 Tubulars and the only reason I went tubular is because I committed to using them for racing only and the weight loss is worth it. I couldn't even imagine a reason to train on these wheels, what a pain in the ass from start to finish.........but,man do they feel fast, it kinda psyches me up when I throw them on my bike for racing.
What Doug said (nm)Kerry
Sep 27, 2002 4:52 PM
Not only weight savings but strength to weight ratio.Ken of Fresno
Sep 28, 2002 9:44 AM
You could have a totally bomb proof pair of 395g tubular rims that would carry big guys over cobblestones with no problem whatsoever. That said, anybody want to buy a set of Mavic GP4s? :)
re: Clincher or Tubular?Hereford Flyer
Sep 27, 2002 1:41 PM
For every day riding I would go for clinchers and for everything else for that matter. I was always a tubular man, but recently switched to Michelin Pros with good latex tubes. I can't tell the difference between the Pro's and Vitoria Corsa CX's. Yeah maybe you will save a few gramms with tubulars, but look at how many Pro teams ride clinchers. Plenty of stage victories in this years tour on clinchers and the green jersey, Paris-Roubaix etc.