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Old 03-13-10, 07:34 PM   #1
Brian Ratliff
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Tubulars: I'm now a fan

On a whim, last week I built up a tubular wheelset out of a DA hubset I had sitting around. I wanted a race wheelset for climbing which was as light as the 30mm aluminum rim set I have now (ROL Race SL, about 1550g), but with a lighter rim. I went with Mavic Reflex rims and shed some 150g of rim weight while keeping the wheelset just a shade under the ROL wheelset in total weight.

Glued on some Continental Sprinter tires last night and I just got done riding them on their inaugural ride. Again, on a whim, I pumped them up to about 120/125 psi (front/rear), because I had heard from a teammate that the main advantage of road tubulars is their ride quality at high pressures.

My lord, he wasn't lying. At 120/125psi, these tires rode like my clinchers at 105/110 in terms of road feel. But there was a huge difference in handling. These tires, with the high pressure, made the bike handling so much more responsive and precise than before; felt like I could maneuver my bike by the millimeter. And the cornering was spectacular. I am pretty terrible at cornering (I come from road race country; we have very few crits), but these tires, even at 120/125, just railed.

Anyway, I am a fan of tubulars now. Despite the non-aero, boxy rim, these wheels are now probably my go-to race wheelset until I can afford that HED Stinger 6 wheelset I've been eyeing.
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Old 03-13-10, 07:37 PM   #2
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Yeah latex tubes ride really well.
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Old 03-13-10, 07:39 PM   #3
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I don't think the Conti tires are latex.
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Old 03-13-10, 08:40 PM   #4
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The Sprinters have a butyl tube and are often lumpy, but they stick. I really like them for crits, but I've moved on to Vittoria Corsa Evos, which probably give up a bit of grip but are much more regular and have much better rolling resistance.
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Old 03-13-10, 08:42 PM   #5
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Hi,

IMHO, tubulars are the ONLY way to go for racing.
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Old 03-13-10, 09:17 PM   #6
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I'm actually really psyched to read this. I've been agonizing over racing with tubulars this year and with my LBS offering a great price on Zipp 404 tubs, weighing the pros/cons has got my brain going in pre-purchase overdrive.

Questions:
-Is swapping brake pads as easy as unscrewing the safety bolt and sliding new pads out/in from the shoe? I will be using SRAM Force brakes
-What steps can I take to be sure the tires are glued on safely? I'm a little skittish when I hear about people rolling these things (I weigh 157lbs)
-Stopping power: How much loss in grip can I expect from a carbon braking surface vs. alloys (I intend to just use my alloy clinchers when wet).
-If I get a flat, how easily does the tire come off?

need to be confident in these things before I make the plunge. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 03-14-10, 12:05 AM   #7
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Don't know about carbon, but as for gluing...

1) put one layer of glue on the rim. Wait a day.

2) put another layer of glue on the rim. Wait a day.

3) put enough glue on the tire basetape to thoroughly saturate the basetape. In my experience, with a non-latex coated basetape, it's two layers of glue.

4) after applying glue to the basetape, very quickly put a sloppy layer of glue on the rim and immediately mount the tire. You have about two minutes with the Conti glue I was using before the tire is stuck and you can't move it around.

All this is done after stretching the tire on the unglued rim for several days. Anyway, it seems like the tire is pretty stuck on there. I can't roll it off, and I've tried. And as for the sprinters being lumpy, I've heard that, but mine went on pretty straight and round. They've recently redesigned the tire to use that black chili compound. Maybe they fixed it.
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Old 03-14-10, 06:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
Don't know about carbon, but as for gluing...

1) put one layer of glue on the rim. Wait a day.

2) put another layer of glue on the rim. Wait a day.

3) put enough glue on the tire basetape to thoroughly saturate the basetape. In my experience, with a non-latex coated basetape, it's two layers of glue.

4) after applying glue to the basetape, very quickly put a sloppy layer of glue on the rim and immediately mount the tire. You have about two minutes with the Conti glue I was using before the tire is stuck and you can't move it around.

All this is done after stretching the tire on the unglued rim for several days. Anyway, it seems like the tire is pretty stuck on there. I can't roll it off, and I've tried. And as for the sprinters being lumpy, I've heard that, but mine went on pretty straight and round. They've recently redesigned the tire to use that black chili compound. Maybe they fixed it.
The entire gluing can be done in less than an hour.
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Old 03-14-10, 06:12 AM   #9
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^ that is my experience as well. though I glue with Mastik and not Conti glue.
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Old 03-14-10, 06:37 AM   #10
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if you like ride quality I suggest Vittoria CX tubulars next time you need to get new ones.
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Old 03-14-10, 06:39 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Athlete, Joe View Post

-What steps can I take to be sure the tires are glued on safely? I'm a little skittish when I hear about people rolling these things (I weigh 157lbs)
If you follow any of the reputable gluing guides online (park, etc). IMHO the danger of rolling a road tubular is exaggerated...Having seen some spectacular crashes with flatted clinchers coming off the rim during races, i feel safer on tubulars.

wayne
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Old 03-14-10, 07:22 AM   #12
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The entire gluing can be done in less than an hour.
I know, and I've done it that way too, but 1) this was a new rim with no base glue, 2) I had the time, and 3) this seems to form a better bond, though the one hour method is sufficient.
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Old 03-14-10, 08:16 AM   #13
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if you like ride quality I suggest Vittoria CX tubulars next time you need to get new ones.
This, nothing on earth rides like a CX.
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Old 03-14-10, 11:07 AM   #14
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this decides it, i'm ordering AC 58s w vittoria cx tires
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Old 03-14-10, 12:51 PM   #15
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Never heard or read this question and answer: Any reason to not keep tubular tires fully inflated when those wheels are not being used? In other words, say you race only on weekends while using training wheels during the week and the tubular wheelset sits idle. Do you deflate the tubulars?
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Old 03-14-10, 12:55 PM   #16
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I leave them at full pressure. (of course the air all leaks out within 3 days with latex tubes anyway). It will be down by 20-30 psi tomorrow.

There is negligible risk of blowoff from heat by leaving them in a hot car.
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Old 03-16-10, 11:01 PM   #17
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Vittoria CX/CGs were once a great tire. Now they're machine made with a synthetic casing, and aren't very special. You can still get the "old" quality with tires from Dugast or FMB. If you really want to be impressed you can try an FMB silk.

Tires with a synthetic casing can apparently be left at full pressure without concern. Sidewalls made of cotton or silk are more susceptible to abrasion while fully inflated and should generally be partially deflated when not in use, although if you can still find tire covers it should not be an issue.
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Old 03-17-10, 07:36 AM   #18
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The criteriums are cheap too, wait till you try like a Competition or better grade tubular. I've got some Veloflex Criteriums in the mail

As far as gluing goes I never do the whole wait a day thing, it's BS. Like homebrew said you can do it under an hour just let them dry for 24 hours. I've never rolled a tire and in fact I need levers to pry them off lest I get bloody thumbs.
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Old 03-18-10, 12:47 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
.

Tires with a synthetic casing can apparently be left at full pressure without concern. Sidewalls made of cotton or silk are more susceptible to abrasion while fully inflated and should generally be partially deflated when not in use, although if you can still find tire covers it should not be an issue.
Do yo find your tires rubbing up against stuff a lot sitting in the garage?
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Old 03-18-10, 12:49 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
Glued on some Continental Sprinter tires last night and I just got done riding them on their inaugural ride. Again, on a whim, I pumped them up to about 120/125 psi (front/rear), because I had heard from a teammate that the main advantage of road tubulars is their ride quality at high pressures.

My lord, he wasn't lying. At 120/125psi, these tires rode like my clinchers at 105/110 in terms of road feel.
Try riding them at 100-110. The ride will be even better. IMHO, the advantage isn't that you can ride higher pressure with tubulars; it's that you can ride lower pressure and not worry about pinch flatting.
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Old 03-18-10, 01:37 PM   #21
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Couple thoughts:

1. I have the 2010 Stinger 6s. They are great. I am coming off of DV46s (tubulars and clinchers), a Zipp 440 front, TriSpoke/HED3 front... Notice they're all older wheels? I'll be buying a Jet 6 front + Jet 9 rear for training.

2. I agree with CXs. They are made overseas but frankly, when I tried getting some other tires because they were "hand made" (I forget who made the tires in the Clement factory after Clement), as well as trying some other tires, I found the CXs consistent and reliable.

3. I'm trying the Bontrager tubular tires. Part of the reason? They're made where the CXs are made. (As are Michelin tires like the Pro Race 3, Krylion, and as a huge Krylion fan... to be fair the Michelins are made on machines that Michelin shipped from France, not on the "a la carte" machines in the factory). I admit I also got some Bonty clinchers to try out as well.

4. Gluing tires. There are some good guides out there. The test is trying to dismount them - if you have to use a screwdriver to get the tire peeling, you did a good job.

Gluing:
http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...e-tubular.html

Removing:
http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...g-tubular.html

I'm back to using Vittoria glue. Bought 6 tubes of it the other day, will be buying a box in all likelihood in the next few weeks.

4. Rolling tubulars happens. Don't roll a tubular.

5. Deflating - with cotton, silk, and cheap casing, you should deflate. First, it assures that you check pressure the next time you ride. Second, cheap casings (and stretchy ones) stretch while inflated. In the old days you saved old tires for training partly because that 21 mm tire was now a 25 mm tire.

The abrasions are as much the latex covering evaporating due to UV light exposure as anything else. Cover the wheels when not in use, or leave in a basement or something.

6. I find carbon surfaces with yellow Swiss Stop pads work better in rain than aluminum with normal. I haven't tried aluminum with salmon recently, but aluminum with black Koolstops... I was scared. And black pads with carbon, I was scared too. Hm. I wonder if it's the pads.

cdr
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Old 03-18-10, 02:03 PM   #22
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my fav glue is from continental.

my favorite tires are vittoria and vredestein. the high-count tpi versions =)
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Old 03-18-10, 03:40 PM   #23
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Hi,

So I am riding a demo Jamis Xenith SL and the bike has Zipp 404s with Vittoria tubulars. My LBS owner says to, "ride the heck out of it," so I figure why not? I strap an old Continental Podium tubular under the saddle with a really old toe clip strap (thankfully I remember how to fold a spare tubular -- I guess it's like riding a bike) and head out on a mostly flat ride with a moderate climb in the middle.

I am on my way back and for the first time in a while I have a killer tailwind for the 20 mile ride home. I am up to speed (between stop lights) when I hear a familiar hissing sound. I pull over to the side of the road and I notice some liquid spitting out of the hole in the tire. In a second the hissing stops. Using my highly calibrated fingers I determine that there is still plenty of air in the tire.

Wow, that 'stop leak' stuff really works.
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Old 03-18-10, 05:12 PM   #24
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One more thing. The 2010 Stinger 6s have a very deep tire well. So it's easy to center the tire etc. Probably hard to roll it. And probably, unfortunately, hard to ride a flat without destroying the rim (the rim is so much wider than the tire that the rim will probably hit pavement if the tire is flat). So uncheck the "you can ride a flat tubular" feature if you use these.

cdr
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Old 03-18-10, 05:27 PM   #25
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Do yo find your tires rubbing up against stuff a lot sitting in the garage?
At times, yes. Back in my racing days my primary concern was with travel. It's pretty easy for tires to get abraded when you toss the wheels into the trunk at the end of the day or whatever -- especially with uncoated silk track tires.
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