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Old 01-17-06, 09:51 AM   #1
cs1
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Tubular pro's and cons

I was thinking of getting a second set of wheels. Are there any pro's or cons to tubulars from a dedicated clincher guy for the last 30 years.

Tim
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Old 01-17-06, 11:45 AM   #2
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Sew ups handle better at extremes because the sidewalls are much more flexible than clinchers, its easier to change a flat on the road with sew-ups, which you will probably have to do since they tend to flat more.

They are a pain to glue on and trying to repair one is like doing exploratory surgery on a snake.
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Old 01-17-06, 11:54 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by San Rensho
... and trying to repair one is like doing exploratory surgery on a snake.

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Old 01-17-06, 11:57 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by San Rensho
Sew ups handle better at extremes because the sidewalls are much more flexible than clinchers, its easier to change a flat on the road with sew-ups, which you will probably have to do since they tend to flat more.

They are a pain to glue on and trying to repair one is like doing exploratory surgery on a snake.


Could you expand on your statement that tubulars flat more often. I ride both and see the this as a tire specific issue not a design difference issue. In my reading I believe one of the reasons Lance likes Tubulars is they flat less often.
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Old 01-17-06, 03:20 PM   #5
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So does that mean tubulars are or aren't easy to change on the road? Are they more or less prone to flats? Thanks
Tim
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Old 01-17-06, 08:12 PM   #6
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Pro; lighter system, gives you the right to act like bike snob.

Cons;
more work to install, way more work to install correctly. Tendency to come off while riding. Expensive. Usually more trouble to patch than it's worth-again, expensive. Gives you the right to act like a bike snob.
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Old 01-17-06, 11:14 PM   #7
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See the sticky in Classic & Vintage for a thorough explanation of tubular tires. I just put my first pair on some wheels I have, and I have to say that they just seem more...substantial. Or deluxe. Anyway, like I said, check out the C & V sticky thread.
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Old 01-18-06, 07:33 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by cs1
So does that mean tubulars are or aren't easy to change on the road? Are they more or less prone to flats? Thanks
Tim
Hey cs1- I ride clinchers on my training bike (Michelin Carbons) and tubulars on my race bike (Vittoria Corsa Evo CX). Tubulars as a whole are definitely LESS likely to flat than clinchers, and never get pinch flats like clinchers do. In the age-old tubular/clincher debate, even though clinchers have a number of pluses over tubulars, that they generally flat more than tubulars is a given.

Are they harder to change on the road? Once you get used to it, you can change a flatted tubular faster than a clincher.

Cheers! - RJ
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Old 01-18-06, 07:42 AM   #9
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And apparently, unless you use hard glue, they don't even have a lower rolling resistance than good clinchers. There's a chart from a test out there somewhere, where this is pointed out.
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Old 01-18-06, 07:59 AM   #10
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RJ thanks for the info.

Tim
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Old 01-18-06, 08:09 AM   #11
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And apparently, unless you use hard glue, they don't even have a lower rolling resistance than good clinchers. There's a chart from a test out there somewhere, where this is pointed out.
Right... and you don't want to be using the hard track glue unless you're on a track because if you have to change a flat it isn't going to stick. With the technology of top-of-the-line clinchers pretty advanced now, the rolling resistance issue is pretty much a non-issue with the numbers being so close. There is however, a ride quality issue that comes into play. A top quality tub like Veloflex Servizio, Vittoria Corsa, etc. has such a nice supple ride that I find them more comfortable to ride at 140 psi than an equivalent clincher at 120 psi. I'm not say the rolling resistance is lower at 140 psi, that's debatable, but I think it's a more responsive ride while still being comfortable.

cs1- No problem . If you get a chance, try some... you might really like them... I do.

Cheers! - RJ
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Old 01-18-06, 08:11 AM   #12
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Maybe its my ignorance, but unless you have a support vehicle to change out that tub wheel for a new one, or you just slip on the new tire without fresh adhesive (increasing poss. of tire slipping off), how can it be faster to change than a clicher? I dont doubt the superior ride quality overall, but lets not overstate the case for tubulars in other areas.
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Old 01-18-06, 08:21 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjtokyo
Tubulars as a whole are definitely LESS likely to flat than clinchers, and never get pinch flats like clinchers do.
My experience is not the same as yours. I rode tubulars from 1975 until 1989. Since then I have been riding clinchers. I have never had a pinch flat or a snakebite flat on a clincher tire on a road bike. I have never had as many flats on my clinchers as I had on tubulars. I was thrilled when I was able to ditch those bad boys and concentrate on riding rather than babying my Clements.
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Old 01-18-06, 08:39 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by mactheknife68
Maybe its my ignorance, but unless you have a support vehicle to change out that tub wheel for a new one, or you just slip on the new tire without fresh adhesive (increasing poss. of tire slipping off), how can it be faster to change than a clicher? I dont doubt the superior ride quality overall, but lets not overstate the case for tubulars in other areas.
Hey mactheknife68- You're right, you don't want to slip on an unglued tire, but it doesn't have to be "fresh" adhesive. I pre-glue a spare and then after it dries for 24 hrs. fold it up base-to-base and carry it with me. If I flat, I'll peel up the flat with a tire lever, slap on the pre-glued spare, a quick inflate with a CO2 cartridge and I'm good to go. There's enough glue on the rim to bond to the pre-glued spare. I just don't go bombing down any technical descents the rest of the day. But that is a minus of tubs- you need to carry a spare tire. It's obviously a lot easier to carry a patch kit for clinchers.

Cheers! - RJ
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Old 01-18-06, 09:21 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Fred Smedley
Could you expand on your statement that tubulars flat more often. I ride both and see the this as a tire specific issue not a design difference issue. In my reading I believe one of the reasons Lance likes Tubulars is they flat less often.
To tell the truth, I haven't ridden sew-ups in a while, but when I did, I always rode the cheapies and they tended to flat often, one of the main reasons I went to clinchers. I ended up carrying two spares because once I flatted twice on the same ride.

So if you say theres good sew-ups out there that don't flat often, I may go back to them, love the way they ride and ease of fixing flats.
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Old 01-18-06, 09:57 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by San Rensho
So if you say theres good sew-ups out there that don't flat often, I may go back to them, love the way they ride and ease of fixing flats.
Ease of fixing flats? You must be better than me at sewing them back up after patching the tube.
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Old 01-18-06, 12:08 PM   #17
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My experience matches San Rensho and Ole biker. I found a diary I started back when I first began riding 10spds recently, had a Peugeot PX 10 and god were there a lot of flats. I rode $6-12 tubulars mostly, variety of Hutchinsons (which I avoided as much as possible), Vittorias and Clement 50s and 1-2 flats/month or every 250-400mi was typical. I saved the Crit Setas for races so my experience with silks was not much. Some months were 3-4 flats, some only 1 but they were a lot more common than my current experience with clinchers (measured per year not per month).
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Old 01-18-06, 12:56 PM   #18
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Except for some of the opinions on ride quality, my experience with sew-ups is similar to sch, San Rensho, and Olebiker. I have never been a racer, but I used them for loaded touring and all-purpose riding over just about every type of surface, for about 10 years. I rode cheapies. I think that if you're unlucky enough to get really good (nearly professional-level) at changing tires, then you will be able to change them fast enough whether it's a tubular or clincher, but if you want to get good at changing tires, then you should definitely ride sew-ups. I was pretty good at changing sew-ups, but haven't gotten as good at changing clinchers. Hmm.. I switched to clinchers because I was tired of the hassle of tubulars, and have been a happier man since. But I'm a practical kind of guy. As the reference to sewing points out, there's a big difference between changing a sew-up and repairing one.

It's important to realize that so many of the "practical" factors in which type of tire to choose depend on your riding style, racing or not, type of surface, budget, and on and on. The reasons Lance likes sew-ups don't apply to me. My overall opinion is that for general purpose riding, the ride quality is just not that much better with sew-ups to justify the hassle. And, as so much in bicycling is driven by fashion and image, the discussion over sew-ups is subject to much unsubstantiated and objective information: Caveat Emptor.
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Old 01-18-06, 01:57 PM   #19
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I'm shocked - nobody has linked to Sheldons page on this: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tires.html#tubular

(look for index link at the top to "Tubular")
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Old 01-18-06, 02:55 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olebiker
Ease of fixing flats? You must be better than me at sewing them back up after patching the tube.
Sorry, I wasn't clear, I mean fixing a flat on the road. Its really easy to peal off the flat sew up and put a new one on. I used to carry a knife and when I flatted, I cut across the sew up and pealed it off, and had the new one on in a jiffy.

Fixing a flat sew up, no thank you. I tried it several times and like you say, I could never get the tension on the stitching right and I always ended up with a lump in the tire.
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Old 01-18-06, 03:05 PM   #21
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Fixing a flat sew up, no thank you. I tried it several times and like you say, I could never get the tension on the stitching right and I always ended up with a lump in the tire.
I fixed too many. It took lots of practice and a real attention to detail, and some luck, to get them right. I guess that's part of my reasons for switching to clinchers. Back when I was riding them I had more time than money. I won't argue with your approach of throwing them out, it is what I would do today if I were still riding them, but the cost seems high.
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Old 01-18-06, 03:29 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by San Rensho
To tell the truth, I haven't ridden sew-ups in a while, but when I did, I always rode the cheapies and they tended to flat often, one of the main reasons I went to clinchers. I ended up carrying two spares because once I flatted twice on the same ride.

So if you say theres good sew-ups out there that don't flat often, I may go back to them, love the way they ride and ease of fixing flats.
No need, just buy latex tubes and Vredistien's Fortenza's or Tri-Comps, I enjoy the ride as much as the Victtoria Corsa CX and better than Continential Sprinters. Cheap sew-ups are not reliable, at least the Vittoria's were not .
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Old 01-18-06, 03:47 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Smedley
No need, just buy latex tubes and Vredistien's Fortenza's or Tri-Comps, I enjoy the ride as much as the Victtoria Corsa CX and better than Continential Sprinters. Cheap sew-ups are not reliable, at least the Vittoria's were not .
So, Fred, here is a question I think that is on the mind of those considering buying a set of tubular wheels, or like me, those who have an old set but have bad memories of riding unreliable, cheap sew-ups: How much do the tires you are recommending cost?

Thank you!
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Old 01-18-06, 04:07 PM   #24
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Betcha Armstroing does not himself fix his sew-up flats!
Here in AZ with lots of thorns had 2 flats in 2 trips up Sabino Canyon (about 14 miles, both thorns. Yes, fixed/sewed my own tires, but switched to clinchers back in 1978.
Tubulars are quicker to change-out on the road, but used to carry 2 spares on 100 mile events 'just in case'.
Now carry spare tube/patchkit. Fortunately never had to fix a sweup along the roadside . . .
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Old 01-18-06, 04:13 PM   #25
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OK Fred, I think I misunderstood your post. I'm not up on some of the tires, I thought you were recommending "good" sew-ups at a reasonable price.
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