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  1. #1
    Senior Member Sincitycycler's Avatar
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    I'm looking at an old bike that comes with sew-ups. These are like car tires, right (no inner tube)?

    What do you do when you flat? Do you have to put on a whole new tire on the spot or do you patch the existing tire?
    "How did all those 'Keep Off the Grass' signs get there?"

  2. #2
    Can't ride enough! Da Tinker's Avatar
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    How much time do you have?

    Most folks put a new tire on. You could patch the tube, but it takes time and tools. Easier to carry a spare tire.
    Happiness begins with facing life with a smile & a wink.

  3. #3
    DocRay
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    not like a car tire. It's like a tube. You really can't patch it on the road, you need to carry a spare tubular.

  4. #4
    Slave of the road nuovorecord's Avatar
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    Tubulars have a tube, but it's inside the casing, which is sewn together then glued to the rim. Most people who use tubulars carry a spare tire and install it when they get a flat. But, in that situation, since you're using old glue, you need to ride verrry carefully around corners, lest you roll the tire off the rim.

    Frankly, they're a PITA for regular use. There are plenty of clincher rims and tires that give similar performance. Unless this is going to be a show bike, I wouldn't mess with tubulars.
    "Ride lots." - E. Merckx

  5. #5
    New Orleans
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    Get a set of clincher wheels-tires off Ebay-you can probably find a complete set delivered for ~$75-$100(nothing fancy but adequate).Tubulars-sewups-glueons-are useless POS.They go flat if you look at them hard-absolutely useless for street riding.
    If the bike you are buying is expensive,just put the sewup wheels away o be sold with the bike so you can keep the useful clinchers.
    The reason tubulars are such POS is that they are made extremely light for racing,so they are very thin-puncture prone.Luck,Charlie

  6. #6
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    Sin; Visit the Vintage Forum, the TOTALLY TUBULAR thread. Some good info there. It is easier to mount a spare "sew up" & continue riding & fix the flat @ later time. It is a personal choice of riding tubulars. Some love tubulars, others hate them. Personally, I am considering going back to riding them on my everyday bike. Bob

  7. #7
    RidesOldTrek
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    There are lots of conflicting opinions on this topic, and if you look in other forums you will find people who say phoeb and nuovo are all wet (I'm not one of them). Some cyclocross folks think they are better than clinchers for very specific reasons. I'm guessing that's not what you're buying this bike for.

    I rode tubulars for about 10 years in all sorts of conditons, on all sorts of roads, commuting, touring, being an irresponsible teenager, etc. While they're not quite as bad as phoebeisis claims, for all practical purposes - and as a recommendation to you - pheobeisis and nuovorecord are right on the money. If nostalgia and nursing finicky stuff is your thing, go for the tubulars, otherwise spend your time riding instead of mucking around with these special-purpose monsters.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Sincitycycler's Avatar
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    So in a pinch (no pun intended), if you flat a tubular and put a new one on, you don't have to worry about glueing them at that moment?

    Can you just limp on home and properly glue the tire on the rim when you have more time?
    "How did all those 'Keep Off the Grass' signs get there?"

  9. #9
    Cat None SDRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sincitycycler
    So in a pinch (no pun intended), if you flat a tubular and put a new one on, you don't have to worry about glueing them at that moment?

    Can you just limp on home and properly glue the tire on the rim when you have more time?
    Yes, the pressure of the inflated tire and the glue will hold just fine. I used to ride sew-ups all the time in the mid-late 80s and never had any trouble. I didn't really alter my riding style at all after a flat either. Heavier riders might have a problem but I never did.

  10. #10
    New Orleans
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    In all fairness,I have heard that they are "better" than they were in the mid late 70's.I rode on the street-New Orleans-and I NEVER-NEVER- went more than 20 miles between flats.They were hideously expensive back then also-maybe $20 for a cheap cotton fiber tire and $40 for a silk sew up(the tire casing was cotten or silk impregnated with rubber)-when a normal clincher was $3 and an inner tube was 98 cents.I probably went 250-500 miles between clincher flats-2-4 weeks.
    1)To fix these mofos you have to peal them off-easy enough-
    2)then dip then in water while they are inflated to find the leak--you never have a sink handy so you can pump them up and try to hear the leak or feel the leak on your face(or you spit in a likely place)
    3)After you have found the leak you have to cut the thread near the leak and unsew about 6"-Oh,I forgot-you have to peal off the tape that is over the thread before cutting the thread.
    4)Now you have to find the leak again in the impossibly thin latex innertube-pump it up and feel it on your face.-spit on it etc.
    5)Patch the leak
    6)Sew this mofo shut-yes you need a needle and a thimble is handy to save you finger..
    7)Glue the tape back on-it never fits right once it has been taken off-it stretches.
    8)Glue it back on the rim.
    9)Resolve to never fool with them again.
    Back then I could patch a tire (and be back on my way)-clincher-on the side of the road in 10-15 minutes daytime-maybe 20 at night under a streetlight.I never attempted to do a streetside repair of a sewup-I pushed it home because I couldn't-wouldn't buy a $25 spare tire.
    Well,they say they are much better now.City streets-sharp pebbles-grit-glass- burrs-nails-sharp twigs-dirty looks????Luck,Charlie-Guess you can tell,I had my fill of sewups!

  11. #11
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    I believe that you are correct, the current vintage tubulars are superior to the ones 2 decades ago; just as current clinchers are superior to those clinchers 2 decades ago.

    With that said, the Bridgestone bike my 2 kids use as a "beater bike" around the neighborhood has tubulars, the newer vintage w/ kevlar belting. They ride smoothly & responsively. The boys have only flatted 1 time i the past 2 years of riding. That flat was a pinch flat. Luckly, the tire was getting very worn anyway.

    Perhaps their low flat rate is because I explained (read: beat it into them) quality bike tires & wheels to them (including clinchers) & the need of advoiding road debris, pot hots & the like.

    Currently I ride a vintage bike with tubulars & a modern bike with clinchers. In the past 2 years, riding about equal distance on each bike, I have only flatted twice, once on each type of tire. The tubular was easier to change out. The spare tube packs more compactly.

    IMHO, tubulars are as much of a mind set as anything.

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