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Why should I NOT get tubulars for race wheels?(16 posts)

Why should I NOT get tubulars for race wheels?vindicator
Jul 9, 2003 7:35 AM
So I've been doing a little racing this year and enjoying it. I've done pretty well for a beginner, running my commuting setup of 25mm Conti Gatorskins on 32-spoke Open Pros.

Let's say I ask Santa for a set of race wheels. That way I can keep my gatorskin/OP setup for commuting and training and get some more aerodynamic wheels and race tires for races.

1) Are there disadvantages to tubulars such that I shouldn't go this route? Once mounted, how long before I need to re-glue them? Do they tend to need replacing or repair more often than clincher tubes?

2) Any recs for a $500 set of decent all purpose race wheels? I'll do some combination of crits, rrs and maybe a TT or two. So reasonably aero and reasonably light would be best, rather than heavy and super aero or stupid light. I'm 175 lbs. Dave's Speed Dream wheels seem to be well thought of. Comments? Does he do tubulars?

3) Assuming I go tubular, any recs for tires given the above?

Jul 9, 2003 7:46 AM
Will you have support on your races, so you don't have to carry a full tubular spare? Plus, is there any chance you'd get more than one flat?

Tubulars are great if you have support. Otherwise, flat(s) could ruin your day and you could be hoofing it. A flat probably takes you out anyway, but the difference is how long you wait to get home.

For crits, you'd be ok with a spare wheelset in the paddock.

Follow up questionvindicator
Jul 9, 2003 7:51 AM
Let's assume I have the paddock on crits and a "wheel in wheel out" van on other races. My assumption is that I can put my training wheels in the van and swap wheels if I have a tubular flat. As you say, a flat probably puts me out anyway.

If I had a "full tubular spare," what's involved in dealing with a flat? I assume I'd have to remove the tire, put a new one on, and re-glue it, which obviously wouldn't happen roadside during a race. Or is it easier than that?

(Sorry I have zero experience with tubulars).

Thanks again!
changing tubularsDougSloan
Jul 9, 2003 8:29 AM
If you are in a race and change a tubular, which I have done lots, you fully deflate and then rip off the flatted tire. This may not be easy. Then, you simply throw on the new tire, which hopefully you have pre-stretched and glued, then inflate with a CO2 quickly. You then be careful in corners, as it may not be fully adhered.

Sometimes I have done such great glue jobs that I spent 5 minutes or so just removing the flatted tubular. Not good. Helps to leave about a 2" area unglued opposite the valve to get a hold.

I wouldn't do tubulars unless you are already competitive and then only with all carbon wheels. Otherwise, you can achieve essentially the same performance with good clincher wheels and tires, and save the worry. The performance advantage with the tubulars won't make 10 places difference in a race, maybe, *maybe*, 1 place. So, if you are 20th now, save your money for later.

Jul 9, 2003 8:49 AM
Doug, thanks as always. Makes sense to me. I was thinking tubulars more for what I've read re road feel and comfort rather than pure "performance advantage." I'm definitely still at the stage where 99% of the performance advantage needs to come from getting more horespower out of the engine rather than from tweaking the other components. But wheels seem to be the first component everyone says to upgrade on, and I didn't want to upgrade to a set of clincher race wheels, only to decide a few months or a year later that my next upgrade needs to be tubular tires!

Any thoughts on Dave's Speed Dreams or other similarly priced (or cheaper) clincher wheels for racing?

I know you're not a fan of Conti SuperSonics, so what do you recommend for race clincher tires?
Check out ...PaulNYC
Jul 9, 2003 8:53 AM I just got some wheels, and they seem very nice to me. I got the Cadence wheel w/ AC hubs.
that should workDougSloan
Jul 9, 2003 9:00 AM
Speed Dreams would be fine. I'd recommend Veloflex 180 gram racing tires (22mm) or Michelin Pro Race. Supersonics are reliable enough to me. They sure feel good accellerating, but I want more confidence in my tires.

Might look for some used Ksyriums.

tire suggestionsbrian n
Jul 9, 2003 9:09 AM
i've had great luck with the veloflex pave's. they're lighter than many clinchers and have very good ride quality. i have an old set on my training wheels and they've held up long run very well.

i've also had similar good luck with vredestein fortezzas. a very nice riding tire, decent durability.

tires i don't like: all continentals. i haven't tried them in 2 years or so, but all my others (many pairs of grand prixs, etc.) have worn out the sidewalls before the tread was done. very fragile tires.
Somewhat easier than you describeMel Erickson
Jul 9, 2003 8:46 AM
Your tubular spare is already glued up and it's easier to replace a tublular tire than a clincher tube. You simply rip off the tub and replace it with the preglued tub. However, it can be a little messy, leaving sticky glue on your hands and, more importantly, the newly replaced tub is not as secure on your wheel. You could roll a tub in agressive cornering that hasn't had time to set up.

Tubulars are also more expensive than clinchers and they seem to never go on sale (demand is low).

I rode tubulars for years and IMHO there's no advantage to riding them today. Any inherant advantages have been eliminated by modern clinchers. Clinchers ride, corner, handle and last as well as tubs and cost less. They're also just as fast. Clinchers are more widely available and innertubes are easier to patch when you get home. Carrying a spare tube is easier than carrying a spare tubular tire (less mess, less weight, less bulk).

Properly gluing tubulars is a more involved process than mounting clinchers. Pre-stretching the tub on the rim, couple of layers of glue on the tub (letting it dry between applications), glue on the rim (and your hands, arms, legs, nose and anything else within 10 feet), mounting the tire and making sure it's on straight, possible removal and remounting because it's crooked (more glue on more body parts), letting it sit overnight to allow the glue to properly set, doing this to two (or more) wheels. It makes mounting a mountain UST tire seem like a cake walk and in comparison you buy a clincher and put it on and ride in 5 minutes.
Somewhat easier than you describeclimbo
Jul 9, 2003 11:06 AM
a) clincher or tubular, if you flat in a race, it's a mater of having spare wheels. Nobody changes a clincher or a tubie during a race. (OK, some might but there's no way they are getting back in the race)
b) there is no advantage to tubies in terms of winning v. losing, faster v. slower.
c) tubies DO ride better than clinchers. They are FAR more comfortable on rough roads. I notice the difference, so do many others.
d) With sealant, flats are less common than clinchers, pinch flats are almost impossible.
e) If you flat a tubie on a descent you can ride it out, clinchers tend to roll off the rim when they flat and you continue to ride on them making it more dangerous.
f) tubies can be used on your cross bike which is an added bonus and makes a very BIG difference in terms of comfrot and handling.
g) Changing tubies is not hard, it just takes a little patience and is worth the wait.
Mostly agreeMel Erickson
Jul 9, 2003 11:49 AM
A flat and you're done for in most races, no matter what. I don't agree that tubs ride better. I notice no discernable difference between quality clinchers and tubs, not even on rough roads. Tire size and pressure has more to do with comfort than tubs vs. clincher. Sealant makes clinchers less prone to flats, too. Unless you really run low pressure or are pretty heavy pinch flats aren't common. A flatted tub is safer to run on. In fact a flatted clincher is impossible to ride. Not sure about f. Why can't clinchers be used on your cross bike too? Changing tubs isn't particularly difficult. In fact I said it was easier to change a flatted tub on the road than a flatted clincher. Properly mounting a new tub takes more time, more steps, is messier and isn't worth it, IMHO. To each his own. I've done both and prefer clinchers.
Mostly agreeclimbo
Jul 9, 2003 1:48 PM
you can use clinchers for cross but if you run tubies you can get much better tyres and run lower pressure (down to the 20's and 30's) for better traction on the dirt/grass/mud etc.
Don't know about the better tire partMel Erickson
Jul 9, 2003 2:23 PM
but lower pressure is definitely a plus. Pinch flats would be likely with very low pressures on most non MTB clinchers. I would think that a UST CX tire/rim would make sense but the markets just too small to support the development and manufacturing costs.
Cycle Sport Article on Tubulars vs. Clinchersmapei boy
Jul 9, 2003 3:11 PM
The June issue of Cycle Sport Magazine (or is it the June issue of Pro-Cycling? Aaaggh!) has a fascinating article on the debate between clinchers and tubulars. There is a lot of controversy as to which is better. Some praise the tubulars' "run-flat" capabilities, and others are frightened of tubulars rolling off their rims during hard descents. Supposedly, Indurain ran a clincher on his front rim during mountain stages, so scared was he that the glue would melt. Anyway, the issue was still on L.A. newstands as of last week. It'll probably be there a little while longer. Officially, the article is a review of the new Continental clinchers...but in typical Cycle Sport fashion the article goes off on a tangent and never does actually review the things!
re: Why should I NOT get tubulars for race wheels?flying
Jul 9, 2003 4:56 PM
You should borrow a GOOD pair from someone & decide for yourself.
This subject is soooooo subjective you will never get a answer here. Some love them & feel a big difference ( I do )
Some swear a clincher is just as good. ( I dont )

But you need to try it yourself. Try to borrow a good set. Not the fake tubulars or the cheap thailand types but good ones like Veloflex Criteriums on good rims like Campy Neutrons/Nucleons.

Forget all the race support nonsense. Your racing? You had a flat? Your done if your fixing your own.....clincher or tubbie. If it is a race with mobile support your using what they have anyway.

Good Luck
tubies DO ride and corner better for my moneyAllUpHill
Jul 10, 2003 12:45 AM
But, they are more expensive and take more mounting hassle. So they're a race only thing for me. I'd say no significant performance advantage unless you're talking about the tubular versus the clincher version of a high zoot carbon rim, in which case they spare a good bit of weight. So, for the kind of wheel you're probably looking for, stay with clinchers.

Pros or cons aside, they are kind of an interesting novelty to those of us who started out riding only clinchers. I get a mild kick out of gluing mine up, maybe because I don't have to do it too often. Gives a kind of nostalgic or "pro" feeling to deal with them I suppose. If you're ever bored and want to try tubies for something different, go for it, just be forewarned of the slight hassle.