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  1. #1
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    Glue up tires on Vintage rims, Help, Please

    As I stay in the C&V group, I'm moving from entry level bikes toward nicer bikes. Forgive me if I use the wrong terms or incorrect names, the subject of glued on tires/rims is new to me.
    The latest bike that I'm looking at has some beautiful 700C rims with tires that are glued on. My questions are:
    1) Are tires for these rims still available, if yes what's the typical price range?
    2) Is mounting, gluing these tires to the rims a major pain or is this just a minor inconvenience?
    3) Is it worth it to continue to use this rim/tire combo or should I just throw in the towel and consider replacement clincher rims?
    Comments, opinions most welcome.
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  2. #2
    iab
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    1) $17-$205
    2) Minor inconvenience, but I tend to be in the minority with this opinion
    3) Try it, you might like it


    totally tubular
    The Art of Gluing Tubular Tires - DIY

  3. #3
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    Not worth the trouble, please send the wheelset to me before you hurt yourself, or, heaven forbid, get glue all over everything.

    +1 to what iab said

  4. #4
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iab View Post
    1) $17-$205
    2) Minor inconvenience, but I tend to be in the minority with this opinion
    3) Try it, you might like it


    totally tubular
    The Art of Gluing Tubular Tires - DIY
    Thanks, Now I get it. After reading most of those threads my head is spinning. I can see why clinchers are so popular.
    So what's the advantage of tubulars?
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  5. #5
    iab
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    Nice ride.
    Less flats.
    More money.





    Whoops, that last one is bad I suppose.

  6. #6
    Buh'wah?! Amani576's Avatar
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    Correct term is Tubulars, and yes they're still made, and they tend to be quite expensive.
    -Gene-

  7. #7
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amani576 View Post
    Correct term is Tubulars, and yes they're still made, and they tend to be quite expensive.
    -Gene-
    yes please don't use the term tubies, tubies are some weird androgynous TV characters. You can
    also call them (tubulars) sewups.
    I don't know that they are that expensive. there are good quality tubulars that don't cost more than
    $50 or so, and there are always deals to be had.

    Marty
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  8. #8
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    Thanks for the correct terminology. Geez, I feel like a newb with this.

    So are Vittoria Rally and Continental Giro's decent tubulars?
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  9. #9
    juneeaa memba!
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    yes. There are better. What you get for more money is a better ride, and less chance of lack of roundness (and often very much lighter weight). The CX Vittorias are very nice, more expensive tires, as are the continental competitions or sprinters.

  10. #10
    Tilting with windmills txvintage's Avatar
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    It's no longer necessary to use the glue either. There are a couple of choices in tape that are less messy, and offer near instant gratification and riding vs allowing glue to dry and cure.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    more $ isn't necessarly the case. I just got a low miles Conti Sprinter for $25 on ebay, and others will have similar stories. You already have the wheels, now some decent tires should be (even new) $50 max per pair for a starter set. Give it a try b4 you fork out big$ for conversion to clinchers.

  12. #12
    perpetually frazzled mickey85's Avatar
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    Though I'd prefer having clinchers on my Pro simply for ease of commuting, I'm pretty happy with my sewups - they're light, have decent grip, and make a neat "zipper" sound when rolling...
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  13. #13
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    about tape. NEVER use the standard Tufo tape. It's meant for cyclocross tires and
    creates a horrible mess ( think soft super sticky glue). The extreme stuff is much better.
    The Gommitalia Champion is a pretty decent tire for the money (say $25. each?).

    Marty
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  14. #14
    working on progress treebound's Avatar
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    One word of caution that I do not have direct experience with is with the mixing of adhesives. Apparently there have been reports of tubulars coming off rims when one type of glue was used with a different type of glue. Could have been the different glue on the tire and new glue being put onto the rim, or new glue put on top of old glue on the rim because the person didn't want to clean off all the old stuff, or any number of combinations. Apparently some glues or adhesives interact with other glues or adhesives when they warm up a little while riding or braking. Again, I have no direct first-hand experience with this situation, it is just something I've stored away inside my head as a potential issue.

    With that said I recently picked up a set of tubular wheels on nice hubs for cheap and found a pair of training tires for them, I think I paid $20 each for the tires. I still have to clean the old glue off of the rims before I glue the new tires on. I currently have the tires on the rims with some pressure just to hold them and keep them stretched out until I get around to the cleaning and gluing.

    I've also got a track bike with tubulars on it. The tires are a few years old and haven't been run in yet except for a lap or three around the neighborhood. The glue is old and unsafe currently and needs to be cleaned off the rims and new glue applied. These will sit until I can find more new glue of the same type and brand as the old glue.

    I've heard various stories about the use of the adhesive tapes, but I'll defer to the dedicated track riders to give input on the use of it.

    Tubulars are in the category of what I would say anyone with a strong interest in cycling, especially vintage racing or racing history or especially if there is an interest in velodromes and track bikes, then they are in the category of being something that should be tried at least once in order to better appreciate and understand what tubulars are all about. That way when you're reading about some old Tour de France race and one of the racers stops to swap a tire onto his rim right before a major downhill section you might better appreciate that rider's concerns about the tire rolling off the rim on a big fast sweeping corner.

    As to the OP of this thread, those tubular wheels you have may or may not be too your liking, but as you can hopefully see by the folks asking you to send the wheels to them there is something about tubulars that some folks just seem to like (in spite of the gluing hassle). And if I'm geographically close enough to you for a handoff then add me to the list of those who would take the wheel set off of your hands if you decide you don't like them.

    (sometimes I type too much so please forgive my morning verbosity, in person I hardly talk at all )

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    Tubular tires will only ride good if you spend more money on a tire. There are no good tires in the 20-40$ range of sew ups. It was a sad day when I had to retire my Clement Silks

    I have tried the Yellow Jersey tubular deal where you get 3 for 50$...I've got less than 200 miles on three tires. I've tried the Vittoria CX and the Kevlar belted training Vittoria.

    All of these sew ups rode lumpy. Unless you want to spend 80-120$ a tire then you are wasting your time.

    The inexpensive clinchers are much rounder than tubulars in the same price range. It is not easy to get a good ride out of a tubular that is not even. It is very difficult to mount a tire with uneven casing.

    Tubular tires are not all that difficult to mount. They are a pain. The main advantage is that the rim will offer more stability in the event of a sudden flat. Two days ago I heard a loud pop. My front tire went flat in an instant.

    I was surprised that was still moving without a sudden loss of control. The clincher rim bead is like skating on two different blades. Handling can get squirly after a flat with a clincher. Sew ups have an advantage of control that is better than clinchers.

    The biggest and largest pain of sew up tire is that you must mount them on a rim and allow them to stretch. A few days is good a week or two is better. Mounting tires straight is much easier when they have been stretched.

    I wanted to reach retro maturity and swear by sew ups but the lack of any tire over 25MM for under 100$ is a major turn off. You should try them at least once or twice.

    Don't make a mess the first time you mount the tires...Simply apply the glue neatly and thinly across the rim. Less glue is better than a big thick patch. Slow and steady wins the race. Let the first coat dry completely overnight and then add the second coat. Let that coat dry to the touch...Then apply a third coat that is tacky to the touch. Now you are ready to mount the tire with minimal glue residue.

    Good luck.

  16. #16
    working on progress treebound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoreFeet View Post
    ...
    Don't make a mess the first time you mount the tires...Simply apply the glue neatly and thinly across the rim. Less glue is better than a big thick patch. Slow and steady wins the race. Let the first coat dry completely overnight and then add the second coat. Let that coat dry to the touch...Then apply a third coat that is tacky to the touch. Now you are ready to mount the tire with minimal glue residue.

    Good luck.
    Do you apply glue to the tire as well before putting it on the rim?

  17. #17
    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    I've been riding Vittoria Rallye 700-23's for the past three years. Riding anywhere from 5300 to 6000+ miles per year, I average one puncture per season. It normally takes me five minutes from pulling over on the side of the road to change a tyre and get back to my riding.

    Now, there are a few caveats for living with tubulars: First off, you'll need a spare (junk) rim or two, as tubulars need to be stretched if you want to be able to change them easily while on the road. Secondly, the first time you mount a tyre, it will be a bit messy as you're not used to it. It gets better with practice. Third, I tend to not mix cements. I'm not sure if that would be a problem, but why take the chance? For me, this is a non-issue, as the closest lbs to my job carries Hutchinson, so that's what I've been using these past years. Finally, tyre pressure is critical for trouble free operation. I normally ride mine at 100lbs pressure, and repump the tyres EVERY day before setting out.

    Tubulars ride better, handle better, and are more convenient (once you're used to them). The downside is the learning curve, but that becomes a non-issue with perseverence. I've got them on all my bikes except for my two tourers (26x2.0 and 27x1-3/8, they don't make tubulars in those sizes) and my mtb.

    I notice that I'm starting to mess with 700c clinchers again - have done that once before, was disappointed, and went back to tubulars.

    Above all, ignore the horror stories. You don't glue your finger to your hair, ride in constant fear of a front tyre rolling off, etc., etc., etc. If it's any indication, these are the exact same stories I heard back in 1971 when I first started riding with them. Some people seem determined not to learn. Just be deliberate in mounting the tyres, if you're going to do a Sunday ride on new tyres, mount them on Saturday at the latest.
    Syke

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  18. #18
    As found... devinfan's Avatar
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    I ride tubulars everywhere, in all conditions. The cheap training tires like Gommitalia Champion and Vittoria Rally almost never flat, although they're not as light. The Vittoria is a great city streets tire for cheap, I think. MY EXPERIENCE ONLY: You don't really need to pre-stretch the tire, just stand on one part of it with both your feet it and pull up hard, repeat in several places. It will go on no problem. I find them super easy to mount but that is because of my coveted squirt-a-bead-of-glue-on-rim-pull-on tire-and-inflate method which I certainly wouldn't recommend to anyone but me. In any case they're not much trouble just make sure you ride with a spare.

  19. #19
    Prodigal road guy MajorA's Avatar
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    I have tubulars on a Campy wheelset which I use on a couple of my bikes, a Scapin and an Austro-Daimler. I love the things, and I use the cheap (Vittoria Rally) Thai-made tires. They're light, have lower rolling resistance than any of my clincher wheelsets, and are (for want of a better word) very nimble. It's like the difference between running shoes and ballet slippers. That wheelset on a long downhill is one of my favorite things in the whole world.

    That said, whenever I ride them I carry a spare tire with a CO2 inflator (have only had to change a tire out on the road once ...) with the tire folded up and stuffed into an old sock, and then carried in one of my jersey pockets. The inflator is necessary because most hand pumps either can't get a tire into the 120-140 pound range (it's the high pressure that makes them ride like they do) or if they can, it would be way too much work.
    Last edited by MajorA; 11-13-08 at 01:11 PM. Reason: spellign

  20. #20
    There's a biking season? yohannrjm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoreFeet View Post
    ....

    I have tried the Yellow Jersey tubular deal where you get 3 for 50$...I've got less than 200 miles on three tires. I've tried the Vittoria CX and the Kevlar belted training Vittoria.

    All of these sew ups rode lumpy. Unless you want to spend 80-120$ a tire then you are wasting your time.

    .........
    Good luck.
    You appear to have had a bad experience with the Yellow Jersey tubulars. I use them on my bikes (not exclusively), and I have to say that I've had a completely different experience with them.

    In the first place they've lasted more than 1000 miles each with little hint of wear - with very long rides thrown in there. They are round enough, though not as good as the +$100 tyres I have (two were almost perfect, the other less so). The rubber compound started off very soft (subjective, I know), but has firmed up (either that, or I'm just used to them).

    They're not as light as the better ones I use, but for training/commuting tyres, these have worked out fine for me ---- at a fraction of the cost.

    This way my expensive tyres last a long time, as those wheelsets are not used unless I really need them.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Sangetsu's Avatar
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    If you want to run tubulars, get a can of acetone from your hardware store. The acetone will clean up any and all glue from your wheels (and hands, and dog) with minimal effort. And it will not harm anodizing. You can use the acetone to clean up excess glue from your wheels after mounting the tires, just don't get any on the sidewalls of the tires, as it will dissolve the coating,

    Tubulars must be stretched before mounting, but this can be done with your hands and feet. You merely step on the tubular with your feet, and pull on the other half with your hands. Do this all the way around. The tire should mount easily.

    The tape which protects the stitching is a good guide for making sure that the tire is mounted straight. Normally 1 or 2 mm is visible on either side of the wheel when the tire is mounted. Just make sure that the same amount of tape is visible on either side for the entire circumference of the wheel.

    If the tires are well glued, you'll find that it's possible to ride on a flat without damaging the wheels (be very careful on corners). On the other hand, this will pretty much ruin the tires, but most people don't bother to fix punctured tubulars anyway.

    I used to run Rallys on my old Pinarello, and I have no complaints about the handling or ride quality.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Just to add to the diversity of opinion, I've had very good experience with Rallyes, Yellow Jerseys, and Giros, as well as old Vittoria CGs and Continental Sprinters. I do not stretch tires except while installing, I have at most one flat per year (Michigan must be glass-deficient!!!), I do not clean rims, I do mix glue without care, and I use tire pressure anywhere from 60 psi to 110 psi. It all works pretty well.

  23. #23
    Senior Member divineAndbright's Avatar
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    Does anyone know a good place to buy sew-ups online that will take paypal? I usually rely on ebay to buy anything I need having only 2 bike shops in town and neither really stocks too much selection wise, even on ebay there is no selection, and they are usually rather pricey (over $100 a tire) and always for just 1 tire instead of a pair.

  24. #24
    There's a biking season? yohannrjm's Avatar
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    If you're not tied to PayPal, try Peter White Cycles. They'll take any credit card, and you'll have them in couple of days.

    They have a page devoted to tubulars, but they also have Schwalbe Stelvio tubulars for $90 each on their Schwalbe page.

    He has good descriptions of each variety on there.

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