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downfalls of tubular wheels?(17 posts)

downfalls of tubular wheels?rrjc5488
Feb 19, 2003 7:48 PM
Hey everyone,
I was thinking about buying the zip 303's for tri's and crits, i have a trek 5200 with some DA, and im 14.... i was planning on doing the tupperlake tinman in june, so i was hoping for a better wheelset than the bontrager race lites, at first i wanted to buy the 38mm wheels from AM classic, but i was turned off by the tubular only... can anyone tell me the downfalls of tubulars, like getting a flat and having to quit the race?? spending 50 bucks for a new tire?? gluing?? any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks alot
re: downfalls of tubular wheels?rogue_CT1
Feb 19, 2003 8:10 PM
I'll try to answer this one: First of all, if you get a flat during a race it doesn't really matter if you are running clinchers or tubies. You aren't going to win by pulling over and changing your tube, re-mounting the wheel and re-inflating the tire. Your only hope either way is that you have another set of wheels in the support vehicle. You don't have to spend $50 for a new tire, you can get a decent tubular tire for about the same price as an equivelant clincher tire. As far as gluing, well there is no way around that, it just sucks! And you can't change between training tires and racing tires very easily. Also, if you get a flat on a training ride with tubulars you are just SOL. But, on the positive, the tubular wheelsets are typically lighter than their clincher counterparts and the tubular tire gives a smoother ride, plus you don't ever have to worry about a pinch flat with tubulars. As far as speed, I just don't know which are faster. Back in the old days (10-15 years ago) there was no contest- tubulars were the way to go if you were serious about winning a race. Now it seems technology has come a long way and clincher tires are every bit as good as tubulars. It really is up to you. If you do go tubular then you can consider yourself "old school". I would recommend first using an entry level tire such as the Continental Giro 300. It isn't real light but it costs about $30 and it is durable. It also seems more puncture resistant than the lighter more expensive tires. I hope that helps and I'm glad to see a 14 year old like yourself is taking an interest in cycling. Good luck on your future!
re: downfalls of tubular wheels?rrjc5488
Feb 19, 2003 8:41 PM
thanks alot, it does help.... but if im doing a TRI, then i could at least pull over and finish the race, maybe not win, but i wouldnt have to forfeit. and thanks for the good luck
As somebody that actually USES tubulars:Alexx
Feb 20, 2003 4:49 AM
I'd like to clear up a few things that Rouge said, which were really not true.
Firstly, Conti Giros are really not that good a tire. They are lumpy, poorly made things, and you would be better off with either a Conti Sprinter (can be had for about $35 from various mail-order sources), or a Tufo S22 (which is lighter, cheaper, and better built than a Giro).
Secondly, since a tubular is GLUED to the rim, you CAN continue riding on a flat tire. OK, so this won't be great, but I guarantee you that if you have only a few hundred feet to go on a race, you'll do a h3ll of a lot better on a flat tubular than you'd do on a flat clincher!
Tubulars have advantages on the road in that it takes less time to change a tubular than it does to change a clincher, and requires no tools, either. The downside is that, even with a pre-glued spare, you can't expect it to be nearly as securely mounted as properly set tire is.
For those who want to run super-high pressure in their tires, tubulars are still the only way to go, and always will be.
Tubulars have many advantages, and at least as many disadvantages.
As somebody that actually USES tubulars:rogue_CT1
Feb 20, 2003 8:00 AM
Hey Alexx- I actually USE tubulars, Hed H3 to be exact and I glue them myself. What exactly did I say that was not true? Your opinion may differ on the Giro, that's fine. But my point was that you don't have to break the bank to get a tire. As for the hypothetical situation you described where you flat with a few hundred yards to go to the finish, get real, you aren't going to win any sprints on a flat tubular any better than a clincher. The only advantage is that you won't tear up your rim on a tubular tire. I would agree that you can ride a flat tubular to get back home, that is my plan if mine ever flats on a training ride. Come on now, who is really going to carry a pre-glued tubular tire with them? Have YOU ever seen how bulky a tubie is when folded and stuffed in a jersey pocket? How big is your saddle bag? LOL! I think your final sentence sums up the exact thing I said didn't it? Why don't you read a little closer jack off.
Gee, somehow I manage!Alexx
Feb 20, 2003 10:56 AM
I NEVER ride without at least 1 pre-glued tubular in my wedge pack (get the larger wedge-packs-they hold more). I have several 19mm old Clement latex-tubed cheapos that really fit the bill for use as a spare. Apply glue to the tape, fold over 3 ways, put inside a plastic grocery bag, and tie the thing up nice and small. Sometimes, for a long ride, I can actually fit 2 in my pack! So there, snot face!!
re: downfalls of tubular wheels?ZeGopha
Feb 19, 2003 8:59 PM
Dang, 14 and you got a TREK 5200. When I was fourteen I was doing tri's on a steel frame Panasonic with 36 spoke box rim wheels. (Yes, Panasonic did used to make bikes.) Now I'm all the way up to a QR Kilo trying to get a set of race wheels for under $500.
First of all, Zipp or AM Classic wheels aren't going to be that much faster than your bontrager. Wheel aerodynamics seem to come into play the most when you hit about the 23mph range. (Are you there yet?)
But, to address your point Tubies are faster to change if you know what you are doing. However, you also run the risk of putting it on completly wrong and not being able to race at all.
You have already talked about price, whch f you are getting zipps doesn't seem to be that big of deal. ($1000 bucks for wheels.) Train clincher, race Tubular.

The gopher of the Midwest
re: downfalls of tubular wheels?rrjc5488
Feb 20, 2003 9:08 AM
yeah, i've hit 23 mph... unofficially i can keep a pace of 25mph for about an hour about after a month of warm weather and training... i dont have aero bars yet, i can do 25 in the drops..... but to get back to the point, i was unaware you could change a tubular tire in the middle of a race i know i wont win by coming back to the pack.... but im probably going to do more tri's so im not worrying about losing too much time on the bike, i guess if i get tubulars, i'll need to get a lesson on changing the tires thanks alot for this info
As somebody that actually USES 303 tubulars...biknben
Feb 20, 2003 6:48 AM
I got the 303s a couple years ago which were my first tubulars. There are as many advantages as there are disadvantages. If you are sceptical, I'd stay away from the tubies. They end up costing more overall. They are a hassle to glue. Tire choices are limited.

If I were to make the choice now I'd be getting the AmericanClassic 420 wheelsets (clincher). That wheelset is a great value. It doesn't have the high zoot factor of the Zipps but it's nearly half the price. It uses standard spokes which are easier to replace. It's extremely light and it's a clincher. Makes tire issues much less of a hassle.

If you do decide to go with tubies. I'd go with the ACs over the Zipps. The ACs carbon rims are actually made by Zipp. They are the same that you would find on the 303s and 404s. The hubs are lighter but have gotten some bad reviews. AC recently updated their hubs to adress some issues they were having. The ACs use standard spokes which are easier to find/replace.
re: downfalls of tubular wheels?mmaggi
Feb 20, 2003 6:54 AM
Wow. 14 and you want to purchase Zipp 303s for racing? God bless you, kid.

Not that I'm a huge fan of Bontrangers but what's the problem with their race lites? I'm sure that they'll do just fine for what you need. I'm sure you're in excellent race shape so I can't imagine that spending all that $$$ on a race only wheel could mean that much of a difference.

But if you got the dough, knock yourself out.

I ride clinchers only, but I don't race. I hear from most of the guys that I ride with that do race claim that tubies are great for cornering, but they also claim that clinchers get the job done too.

Don't worry about it too much. You're only 14 and you have a lifetime to worry about such issues. :-)
If tubulars were cheaper, we'd all be riding them...Spunout
Feb 20, 2003 9:22 AM
Admit it!

Regardless of the glue, sewing kit(done that many times) and bulky spare to drag around, if the cost was lower we'd be riding them.

Tubular rims are lighter and stronger, as a simple box is all that is needed. No extra material for brakes or beads.
Nope, I gave up because of the hassle, not the $. (nm)djg
Feb 20, 2003 5:04 PM
re: downfalls of tubular wheels?rogue_CT1
Feb 20, 2003 10:29 AM
On a side bar: Has anyone ever used Slime for tubular tires? Is it easy to install? Does it change any of the ride quality or handling characteristics? Most important, does it really work? I'd be real interested in hearing any experiences good or bad. I've never used Slime period but I like the idea of having some sort of a fail safe especially during my training rides.
I couldn't get it in my pesta valve...biknben
Feb 20, 2003 10:59 AM
I've tried Slime, but the hose only fits shraeder (sp?) valves. According to the shop guy, they don't offer anything to get it in presta valves. I tried to use a different hose and only made a mess.

Tufo, OTOH, makes a sealant that they recommend for their tubulars. I've never used it but they must make some provisions for presta valves. I don't know if there is any difference between the two sealants.
Tufos, Sprinters, and Corsas have removeable presta cores (nm)Alexx
Feb 20, 2003 1:26 PM
That wasn't the issue...biknben
Feb 20, 2003 4:38 PM
I removed the valve core. The hose provided with the Slime wasn't narrow enough to fit in the valve.
No, it doesn'tAlexx
Feb 20, 2003 11:00 AM
I had slime ruin a perfectly good Sprinter about 2 years ago. It seems that slime is only good to hold about 50 psig, and it will bloww crap out the hole until it gets close to that pressure-if any is left in your tube by then.....
If you need to use sealant, buy the Tufo stuff. At least it works with high pressures.