Bicycle Mechanics - Do tubulars have less flats?
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08-19-08, 09:08 PM
Thinking of switching from clinchers to tubulars. May I ask how do you tubular riders deal with flats? Does that Tufo sealant really work?
Please don't tell me you just throw away the tire and buy a new one!
08-19-08, 09:14 PM
My experience is probably odd - I've had three flats in the past four years. One due to a frayed carcass on a very old well-used tire, one valve failure on a Tufo tire with Tufo sealant (It did go flat!), and one tiny puncture whose cause I still haven't found.
Generally I love the way tubulars feel, but if my area had more glass than it does I'd consider clinchers. I carry one spare tubular and a pump on every ride, and I am equipped to repair and mount my own tires.
08-19-08, 09:32 PM
In my experience, tubulars have no less flats than clichers. I am a full time mechanic and the amount of flats seem to have a positive relationship with the ignorance of the rider, regardless of style. If you have tubulars you should really know what you are doing because a flat is a big deal. Tufo or traditional are both not fun at all. Unless you have the funds and are willing to spend alot of time in the case of a flat i wouldn't invest in a set of tubular wheels.
08-19-08, 10:03 PM
Fix a flat tubular at home do not take more than 15 minutes if you know what are you doing anyways.
In my experience i have gotten more flats with clichers in the last 3 years than in 15 years using tubulars. Clinchers are easy to mantain, you have to take care of the tubulars, take some preasure off every day, clean them with a rag, simply stuff that will extend the life of the tubular.
Ride quality, tubulars of corse!
08-20-08, 07:51 AM
TireAlert.com will fix your flatted tubulars for $16 each
and pay for return shipping from Florida. You can also
learn to fix them yourself and that's a good idea if you
get lots of flats. It's going to take you a lot more than
15 minutes to fix one, though, unless you've fixed lots
of them and learn to be a fast and accurate sewer. My
father-in-law fixed his own but he already had LOTS of
experience sewing people up after surgery. He liked sewing
tubulars up more than people because they don't complain
about the scars.
I have inexpensive tubulars (Vittoria Competition Rally,
23mm) on one bike and have had two flats in 1,800 miles.
The first was due to a glass shard and TireAlert.com
did a nice job fixing it. That same rear tire failed last
week and is not repairable because the sidewall pulled apart.
Still, 1,800 miles is not too bad for a cheap rear tubular
and I got two more to match on eBay for $35 (including
shipping) and I was up and running again two days after
my flat. Gluing is messy but after you've done a few, it's
no big deal gluing up a tire or two every once in awhile.
And the ride on tubulars is worth the effort, even on
cheaper models. On the very high-end ones, it's even better.
Are clinchers easier? Yup. But driving a car is less effort
than riding a bike, isn't it. And you're not asking about
car tires. :-)
Oh, almost forgot. You can buy NOS or nearly NOS vintage
tubular wheelsets on eBay for a song. I bought a NOS set
of Wolber Alpine Super Champion tubulars with Campy Record
hubs for $75 on eBay (including $25 shipping). The rims and
spokes had never been used; the hubs had been on another
wheelset but were near perfect.
08-20-08, 08:08 AM
If you have time and money and your roads are pretty good, go for it. otherwise stick to clinchers for training and tubulars for racing.
and keep your clinchers as a spare if you do end up going the tubular route.
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