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Old 01-05-04, 01:29 PM   #1
Jonny B
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Tubulars to commute?

Here's the deal: I have a great road bike (used mostly for fitness training), that has clinchers. I'm building a cheap fixie/singlespeed, that will eventually be my commuter to get to uni. I found a very cheap very nice front wheel on Ebay, that is tubular. I've always wanted to try tubulars, but I can't decide what bike to put them on. Basically I have two good fronts, one tub, one clincher, a good clincher cassette wheel and I need another tub rim and a fixie hub. I can either put the tubs on my commuter (and only build one wheel, leaving the perfectly good rear clincher untouched), or I can put the new front wheel on my road bike and relace the freehub onto a new tubular rim and use the old wheels on the fixie (with a new hub). I'm not bothered about having to build the wheels (might be only one, might be two), I'm more worried about whether tubs are any good (or bad) for commuting. I guess it probably doesn't matter, I'm just bored and I want someone to talk to Any thoughts? Am I likely to fall in love with tubs and end up with them on both bikes?

edit: Since we're on the subject, are there any particular tubs that are good for all-weather general riding (fairly wide is poss.)?
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Old 01-05-04, 02:46 PM   #2
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Yeah I'd say if you ride tubulars theres a good chance
you will end up with them on both bikes.
I find I get far fewer flats (and I don't flat all that much to begin with) with the tubulars, no pinch flats (snakebite flats). I find that they take bad roads better
than clinchers, my thought is they deform when hitting
pot hole etc. and just bounce back. The ride is different
but I'm not sure how to describe it. I do feel more confident in corners with tubulars.
I'd put them on whatever bike you ride the most to get
a decent feel for them.
Conti Sprinters are a good all round tire, 22mm width. I've heard that someone (champion? Clement?) are bringing back the Paris-Roubaix tire (25mm) which is a great touring/commuting tire.
Hope this helps.
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Old 01-05-04, 04:03 PM   #3
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Tubular tires do give you a better ride because of their lighter weight of tire and usually rims. However you do make a compromise in using them. You cannot repair them on the road and you have to carry a spare tire which is no big deal. We carried them strapped under the seat or even in the back pocket of our jersey. I canít remember ever having two flats in one day on the same wheel but if you do you are out of luck and will be carrying your bike. They are *****es to repair and are not cheap. Whether to use it on a commuter bike or your road riding bike is a matter of where you get the most flats and time is most important.
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Old 01-05-04, 07:56 PM   #4
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repair

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Gardner
Tubular tires do give you a better ride because of their lighter weight of tire and usually rims. However you do make a compromise in using them. You cannot repair them on the road and you have to carry a spare tire which is no big deal. We carried them strapped under the seat or even in the back pocket of our jersey. I canít remember ever having two flats in one day on the same wheel but if you do you are out of luck and will be carrying your bike. They are *****es to repair and are not cheap. Whether to use it on a commuter bike or your road riding bike is a matter of where you get the most flats and time is most important.
Tubulars are a piece of cake to repair. Get some tufo sealant. Squeeze some into the tire....pump it back up......done. I usually put 10 grams of sealant into the tire when new. The only time I got a flat on the tubular was when it was showing a skunk trail of green all the way around the tire......meaning time to change it... I figured I could get another 100 miles out of it. I got 20 miles before the flat...... I put some extra sealant in and done. finished the century in 4 hours 35 minutes total time including any short stops plus fixing the tire. Took me like 3 minutes to fix it.
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Old 01-06-04, 08:24 AM   #5
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Tubular use

It would certainly be something to try, especially if you have always wanted the experience. For mounting procedures see http://www.parktool.com/repair_help/tubular.shtml
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Old 01-06-04, 08:13 PM   #6
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Tubulars ride nice and the better ones are pretty flat resistant. Lotek mentioned Continental Sprinters. I like them, use them on my fixed and they are durable, they also run around $60. When I ran cheap tubulars they failed pretty regular. They can be ridden flat but you need to go easy so as not to damage the rim on a big bump or loose control with the wiggly ride.
If you have never done tubulars have someone in the know glue them for you or show you how. This is the hard part and done improperly can be dangerous.
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Old 01-06-04, 08:18 PM   #7
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If you try tubulars, be very careful on long descents; it is no fun to overheat the rim and melt the glue! Because of the repair hassle factor, I gave up tubulars 20 years ago, as high-performance clinchers became widely available. However, I might be convinced to try them again, on the Capo or the Bianchi, given today's sealant and tyre technology.
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Old 01-07-04, 01:00 AM   #8
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The preceding "words of wisdom" pretty much summed it up. However, I say try them on your commuter for the best overall trial in a greater variety of terrain and conditions. You will notice a better ride - improved cornering, less harshness, better acceleration, etc - and might be tempted to run them all the time on both bikes. But keep in mind what's been said - they're more expensive, difficult to repair (I recommend you send flatted ones to someone who specializes in their repair - check Velo News), have an old "guy in the back" at your LBS help you mount the first couple, buy good ones ($40 - $80), and keep them inflated (You don't want to roll one off). I, too, used them regularly in the 70's & 80's and still have a couple of sets of sew-up wheels that I ride occassionally. As I said, you'll definitely like them, but maybe not enough to put up with the hassles. There's some pretty good combinations of light rims/performance clinchers/sporty tubes out there that come close to running sew-ups. But you might find that close isn't good enough. Best of luck!
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