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Old 09-19-08, 05:36 PM   #1
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Any of todays tires ride close to silks

What kind of tires are you guys using on your vintage rides? I'm guessing most people are using some sort of clincher tires. Is there anything available that gives the smooth fast ride of old tubular silk tires? I'm riding on Continental clinchers, super sports?, and they are OK. But they dont have the snappy feel of the old tubulars. Whats a good upgrade in a lightweight, supple riding, 28mm tire?
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Old 09-19-08, 05:45 PM   #2
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I'm using Continental Grand Prix 4000 S tires in the 700 x 23C format. Low rolling-resistance and very good grip (they admit it's a paradox). That's on my 1981 Puch Austro-Daimler Reynolds 531 frame and Mavic E2 rims. I was running Continental Ultra Gatorskins in the same format - which are great - but these are much nicer. I believe both are available in 28C's.
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Old 09-19-08, 06:28 PM   #3
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long time since I had some Clemente Criterium Seta tubulars, but ProRace2 and 3 clinchers ride so supple even at 120psi, you will keep checking thinking you have a slow leak
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Old 09-19-08, 06:54 PM   #4
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long time since I had some Clemente Criterium Seta tubulars, but ProRace2 and 3 clinchers ride so supple even at 120psi, you will keep checking thinking you have a slow leak
I have to agree with that, but they do not look good on vintage bikes.

Veloflex Criterium tubulars or Veloflex Pave clinchers with gum walls are the best you can do for a traditional look. Dugast tubulars as well if you can afford 'em.

If you do not care how they look, I really don't think you can find a much better performance tire than a Pro Race 3. If you ride bikes, not memories I think you will feel the same.

Last edited by Otis; 09-19-08 at 06:57 PM.
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Old 09-19-08, 08:15 PM   #5
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On my bikes with clinchers - I look for Panaracers.

Tubulars - Vittoria Rally

Yeah. I'm cheap.
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Old 09-20-08, 02:38 AM   #6
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WHEW! Bringing back memories indeed!

I still remember the Clement Setas I had on a wheelset for my track bike - back in the late 60s (ouch!) The rubber tread (if you could call it that) was no more than a thin band of black rubber essentially painted onto the surface of the silk casing. These were tires we would really pamper and were only to be ridden on a board or concrete track. The weight of the tires was around 6 ounces (165 grams) - yes, that was including the weight of the innertube and the base tape and stitching... and I believe Vittoria made even lighter tubular tires for track racing - something around 125 grams (4.5 ounces) complete... which is the weight of some of my inner tubes today! The advantage of the silk casing was the very high thread count which made for a quite strong casing with very light weight... maybe silk was the true predecessor to Kevlar.

For "training" tubulars, we would ride with 10 or 11 ounce tires with a shallow "file" pattern (raised diamond) tread - probably similar to Vittoria Rally tires. But, with a much broader selection to choose from, you could always find some really nice quality tires - far superior to the Rally. Whether silk or cotton, tubulars sufficiently encased the tubes so there were never really "blow-outs" or even rapid deflations. Even with a noticeable small puncture I could ride many miles back home with only a few stops along the way for occasionally pumping up the tire. Today, I'd have to stop and change the tube on a clincher right away.

Lots of high quality clincher tires available today, the best are really very fine quality with a ride comparable to old tubulars. Unfortunately, manufacturers seem to change their models annually, so you have to keep looking for a new favorite all the time. And, as with anything... you get what you pay for. These days, I tend to just go for durability and accept the burden of additional weight.

Avocet had made some very nice clincher tires with tan sidewalls into the 1990s, and the prices were reasonable. They had a smooth rubber tread and gave a beautiful ride. Naturally, they are long gone now... so, you may just have to settle for something with a pink or purple sidewall... this year...
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Old 09-20-08, 03:21 AM   #7
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Past Self to Future Self*: No man - you got to ride these Weinmann suckers until your dying day! These are awesome!

Future Self: Are you nuts? These new suckers are much better!

Past Self: You traitor! You gotta obey the past, man!

Future Self: You'll feel guilty and never marry Peggy-Anne!

Past Self: Oh yeah?! Why??

Future Self: Because she's a Lesbian and has an operation in 1989 - and leaves us with 3 kids and moves to Utah!

Past Self: Just buy the tires, dude. I got a ring to return...


* Apologies to South Park
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Old 09-20-08, 03:36 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
What kind of tires are you guys using on your vintage rides? I'm guessing most people are using some sort of clincher tires. Is there anything available that gives the smooth fast ride of old tubular silk tires? I'm riding on Continental clinchers, super sports?, and they are OK. But they dont have the snappy feel of the old tubulars. Whats a good upgrade in a lightweight, supple riding, 28mm tire?
Dugast.
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Old 09-20-08, 06:55 AM   #9
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WHEW! Bringing back memories indeed!

I still remember the Clement Setas I had on a wheelset for my track bike - back in the late 60s (ouch!) The rubber tread (if you could call it that) was no more than a thin band of black rubber essentially painted onto the surface of the silk casing. These were tires we would really pamper and were only to be ridden on a board or concrete track. The weight of the tires was around 6 ounces (165 grams) - yes, that was including the weight of the innertube and the base tape and stitching... and I believe Vittoria made even lighter tubular tires for track racing - something around 125 grams (4.5 ounces) complete... which is the weight of some of my inner tubes today! The advantage of the silk casing was the very high thread count which made for a quite strong casing with very light weight... maybe silk was the true predecessor to Kevlar.
I rode the track as well. And those tires were amazing. And you could pump them up to insane pressure. They also made a really cool high pitched hum when you rode on them. I had them on a Paramount track bike with Weinmann wood filled rims.

On the road, the Criterium Setas were my standard race tire. The tubulars just had that floating feel that clinchers seem to lack.
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Old 09-20-08, 07:12 AM   #10
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+1 to that floating feeling!!!

D'Allessando 5 ounce silk tubulars glued to 27 inch Super Champion Extra Legere rims equalled heaven on wheels in 1970 - 72! Brilliant handling precision, snappy acceleration and the feeling you could just go on, mile after mile. I can now only remember one puncture.

Now I've got a pair of Mavic GEL280 rims fitted with Vittoria tubulars, nice and quick but a little harsher than my 1972 set-up. Does anyone make a reasonably priced (around $40) 700C tubular similar in feel to the old-style silks?
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Old 09-20-08, 08:30 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
What kind of tires are you guys using on your vintage rides? I'm guessing most people are using some sort of clincher tires. Is there anything available that gives the smooth fast ride of old tubular silk tires? I'm riding on Continental clinchers, super sports?, and they are OK. But they dont have the snappy feel of the old tubulars. Whats a good upgrade in a lightweight, supple riding, 28mm tire?
Clement silks?!? wow, you are making me feel old. On a good note, I saw a picture of Mark Whitehead on the web and I feel like I can finally beat him on a sprint! hhaha. seriously, I don't have the $$$ to try out tires to see if they ride like the old Clements. I don't think new riders today even know what it was like. FWIW, I use Contiental 4000's or something like that. I'm not heavy so I can pump it to the max. Its not too jarring on the bumps.
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Old 09-20-08, 10:37 AM   #12
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Grand Bois Cypress... 700x32c
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Old 09-20-08, 09:53 PM   #13
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Panaracer Pasela... 700c x 32c on my not-vintage Surly. They ride great at a painless price.
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Old 09-20-08, 10:57 PM   #14
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I hooked up some 27 by 7/8 (630:20) Avocet folders to my vintage Rigida wheels and have been pretty stunned at how well they ride at 125 psi... and how freaking fast they are.

The 700:28 Schwalbe Marathons on my touring bike don't ride this well and the hook up and handling of the Avocets is nothing short of amazing as they still remain supple at their high psi.

I simply love the sound they make at high speed.

A lot of the ride quality stems from the fact that my Avocets are under my 1973 Raleigh Gran Sport that has a 531 frame and a 531 Carlton fork while th4e Marathons are under my Al trek 7500 which is a very rigid bike.
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Old 09-20-08, 10:59 PM   #15
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PS - I'm looking for some good tubulars as I just scored a set of vintage Fiamme wheels on Shimano 600 hubs... I will run these on the Gran Sport as it will easily accommodate 27's or 700c wheels.
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Old 09-21-08, 07:31 AM   #16
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I agree with Otis.
The Veloflex Criteriums I have on my Waterford ride better than the Vittoria Criterium Setas on my Nishiki. Both bikes are cro-mo frames & forks.

While there is no clincher made that has as supple a ride quality as a tubular (esp. a good silk), but the Veloflex Pave comes close. I run both types of Veloflex tires on my Waterford 1700 and while the clincher wheels are quite a bit heavier they both offer up a fast, smooth ride. Both tires feature tan sidewall which look best on old school bikes but I feel a clincher tires are best left for modern bikes.
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