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Old 01-22-11, 05:20 AM   #1
reelfishin
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Big rider - Tubular tires?

I was given a home made fixed gear conversion yesterday, it's been sitting for quite a while but it's pretty much complete. The frame is an unknown, the wheels look to be Nisi Pista with French nutted hubs. The front axle is 10mm, as is the rear, they are built and dished properly too. The single cog in the rear is held on using a BB lock nut.
The frame is marked 531, by the look of the three holes in the head tube its a Raleigh frame, maybe an old Super Course. The tires are all but rotted away.

Now the big question, do I dare buy new tires for this and try to ride it on tubulars? I'm over 300lbs. Old school thinking says no way, but I figured I'd ask since a lot has changed in the past 30 or so years. The old tires came right off, as did most of the glue. Pretty much just dust where the glue was.
If not, I might as well find someone that needs a set of tubular wheels to swap with.
It's a shame because they're dead true and they don't look like they've ever seen a brake caliper. They have been ridden and show some age but considering I got the whole bike for $20, if it had tires, it's rideable. I wouldn't mind trying a fixed gear bike but I don't think I care enough about it to build a new wheelset.
However, after pricing out tubular tires, it may be cheaper to build new wheels than by tires.
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Old 01-22-11, 05:42 AM   #2
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Try this: http://www.yellowjersey.org/tt.html
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Old 01-22-11, 05:44 AM   #3
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I know I've seen and ridden with big riders on tubulars, without apparent problem. I go back to the late '60s with tubulars, so I'd say THAT's an old-school viewpoint. The rim and wheel build might be more of an issue than the tire is. The tires are really strong. You will have to use the max pressure in the tire, however, which probably requires daily pumping.

Price can be very high or very low. What kind of tires did you look at? There's a really nice Gommitalia Espresso, for about $60 each or less if you find deals. Or you can get a Dugast, FMB, or top Vittoria or Challenge for north of $100 each. At teh bottom and still highly functional are Yellow Jersey Servizio Corse, three for $50.
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Old 01-22-11, 06:58 AM   #4
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Would Tufo tubulars make sense to invest in?

I really don't have any real experience with tubulars. But the bike I keep in Atlanta is now outfitted with a pair of Tufos. My nephew (who keeps the bike for me) claims they are indestructible, and perfect for me. I weighed about 280 when he installed the wheels with the Tufos. I do trust him since he worked for years at a LBS and has ridden a lot of tubular wheels.

http://www.tufonorthamerica.com/whattype.php

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Old 01-22-11, 08:15 AM   #5
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They're certainly a high-quality product. They came from the old Czech Barum tire company, which were highly reputed 40 years back, so they are not newcomers. I had a pair of skinny Tufos that rode extremely well, but wore out real fast. However I didn't know what I was getting when I bought them, and I think got superlight time trial tires instead of something more suited to the road or training. I don't think the store really got it, either.

If your nephew can steer you well, I'd take that recommendation.
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Old 01-22-11, 08:45 AM   #6
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personally I think, to a point, rider weight has little to do with regards to most cycling components. the durability has more to do with riding style. I have seen little guys tear up stuff in a season and I have little trouble.

I think the OP should go for the yellow jersey tires. a nice set of fatter UFO would make the ride better but lets see if he likes the Fixie first.

OP; are the hubs track hubs? if they are I think you will be OK. if they are regular road hubs I would worry about that cog coming loose. also if you hate the fixed gear part you can always put a brake or two on it with a BNX FW
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Old 01-22-11, 09:13 AM   #7
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This is a question I've been wanting to ask. Haven't ridden sew-ups in ages. And I want to. I'm 280 or so right now and on the way down. How would the Dugast cross tires fare on mixed pavement and gravel? The reason I ask about cross tires is availability in lager sizes.
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Old 01-22-11, 09:20 AM   #8
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The rear hub is a plain nutted hub with a sprocket and lock nut added, not a true track hub. The rims match up with the Nisi M20 Pista Speciale pics I've seen online but these have no decals, I'm only able to go by the shape, drilled holes and spoke bed style.
The spokes are steel, but look new.
The tires I priced at a bike somewhat local bike shop were $50 each and up, and they had to be ordered. They only stocked $130 tires. Besides, the closest shop that does road bikes is over an hour away.
I'm not sure I even want to put $52 into a pair of tires, plus expensive glue, that I may not keep.
I did think about the freewheel thing as well, but the tires are the big issue. One thing I can say is that it's super light, having no derailleurs or brakes really for a light bike.
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Old 01-22-11, 09:50 AM   #9
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Some Nisi rims are featherweight sub 300gr, might be better to get some heavier 450gr rims.
32mm file tread cyclocross tires would work fine for road/gravel. THe file tread is pretty minimal so wouldnt add much rolling resistance. Challanger brand cyclocross tires are usually a pretty good value and are tough.
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Old 01-22-11, 10:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XR2 View Post
This is a question I've been wanting to ask. Haven't ridden sew-ups in ages. And I want to. I'm 280 or so right now and on the way down. How would the Dugast cross tires fare on mixed pavement and gravel? The reason I ask about cross tires is availability in lager sizes.
compared to a regular road tire they would be sluggish on the road, but since you are not using tubulars you may not notice the difference. I hate that Vittoria stopped making their 27mm rally. I would love a few tires that size.

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Some Nisi rims are featherweight sub 300gr, might be better to get some heavier 450gr rims.
32mm file tread cyclocross tires would work fine for road/gravel. THe file tread is pretty minimal so wouldnt add much rolling resistance. Challanger brand cyclocross tires are usually a pretty good value and are tough.
the OP is cringing at the prospect of spending $100 plus on tires and glue I am not sure he is willing to run out and buy new tubular rims/wheels for a $20 bike.
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Old 01-22-11, 10:28 AM   #11
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I've found cross tires ot be sluggish as well, at least the Vittorias.
If you need wide tubulars pony up for Challenge or Dugast 27's. Price is about the same as the Vittoria when they are available. FMBs are more $$. But 21 mm like the Yellow Jersey should hold you up and feel pretty good.

Wheel durability has a lot more to do with how well they are built than the weight of the rim. That said, there is such a thing as crazy-light, but I don't know where that limit is. Probably it is not above 300g. I found weights of Nisi rims on line, but not a good pictorial on identifying which one is which.
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Old 01-22-11, 08:49 PM   #12
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These wheels as an assembly, including the axle nuts and sprocket, are 30oz and 36oz, front and rear.
They are built with straight gauge spokes, heavy axles, and a rather stout looking heavy rear sprocket.
The rear hub flange has been custom drilled to lower it's weight as well. Drilling the sprocket would have done more to reduce weight.

Either way, weight isn't much of an issue here, it's weather or not these wheels will hold my weight on the rather rough roads around here. When I was 60 lbs lighter and much younger I was told that there was no way I'd ever ride on tubular tires. I've built many sets over the years, and have seen some nasty rim wheel failures and frame failures with large riders but never on my own bikes. I've always stuck to lesser models to avoid damaging the bike. The only thing I've ever really destroyed has been crank arms and chains. I've bent, broken, and twisted more cranks than I can count over the years. I've gotten to the point where I'm leery about really putting my weight into the cranks. While that was mostly all when I was 20 or more years younger, I did kill a pair of modern fiber cranks on a buddies new mountain bike last year.
Wheels have never been much of an issue, those that were got upgraded by me real quick.
The more I look at these wheels the more I think I'm better off just swapping them for a set of clinchers.
The fixed part don't bother me much, but as mentioned before, I could always just pop on a bmx freewheel.
I was also thinking about just building up a set of wheels using a set of old BMX hubs anyhow and finding the tubular set a new home. I think I'm better off just turning them into something better suited for me anyhow.
When its a sale or trade, at least they won't get busted up, nor will I.

The only question then would be what rims to use as vintage 700C rims are a bit pricey, and I was never a fan of those aero style rims. What ever I use it has to be 36 spoke.
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Old 01-22-11, 08:54 PM   #13
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The rim and wheel build might be more of an issue than the tire is.
My thoughts, exactly.
Unless you are going to be doing alot of hard cornering, sturdy tubulars shouldn't be a problem. If you do want to get "sporty", I'd worry about rolling the tire off the rim.

Still, wheel build is a more pertinent concern, IMO.
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Old 01-22-11, 08:58 PM   #14
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The rear hub flange has been custom drilled to lower it's weight as well.

Did I read this correctly?
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Old 01-22-11, 10:55 PM   #15
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I was going to suggest the Tufo Diamond 28, but it looks like you can only get them in garish colors now.

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Old 01-23-11, 01:58 AM   #16
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Did I read this correctly?
Yep, someone drilled the rear hub flange, which was originally solid with 40 or so holes to make it lighter. It doesn't look like they did enough to hurt it's strength, I've seen factory hubs with more holes drilled. The front chain ring is done too, someone was worried about weight I guess.
The front hub is a smaller flange, and made by RENAK. The . I've not heard of that brand before but it looks like one of those alloy Schwinn Atom hubs that came on so many Varsity type bikes but with better looking bearings and cones. The rear hub has no brand, it just reads 'Made in France'.
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Old 01-23-11, 04:04 AM   #17
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I'm guessing, but I don't think your rear hub was as modified as you think.

The large holes are original, IMO, and the smaller holes were added later. I'm guessing it is a similar vintage to the '62 "Normandy" hub which came on my Continental. Mine were originally nutted and I added the wing nuts.





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Old 01-23-11, 10:55 AM   #18
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I have some early Normandy hubs here, they are different than the hub in this wheel. The flange is smaller, the axle area doesn't radius the same way, and all the holes are rough around the edges, like they were drilled, and none are exactly arranged, it looks like someone just aimed and drilled.
The Normandy hubs had about a 72mm flange and were about 67mm wide, this rear hub has a 65mm flange and is only 59mm wide.
If you run your finger over the holes, especially on the inside, its rough, with some sharp spots. Both rings of holes have an out of place hole or two. It could be Normandy but my vote is that their a little earlier, or just a lower end model. The spacing is 110mm, with the front being a normal 100mm.
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Old 01-23-11, 11:27 AM   #19
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I'm unclear if the lock ring is reverse threaded or if it threads on in the same direction as the cog. If the lockring isn't reverse threaded then you have a suicide setup, in which case I'd recommend putting a freewheel on there.

I'm also unclear if the bike is set up with brakes.

Tandem track riders use tubulars, so durability will come down to your local road surface conditions.
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Old 01-23-11, 11:28 AM   #20
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I just had a thought skimming these threads. while not exactly period correct one of the members here has a nice looking set of Origin 8 wheels for sale. they are fixed.FW and include tires, and tubes. maybe you can haggle with him and get them a bit cheaper. look on page 211 of the ISO thead he has a huge list of stuff to trade.

as I said before this way before you get caught in tubulars glue and all the mess it will give you a chance to see if you like fixed gear riding. if you don't you can resell the wheels. actually where do you live? I'd lend you the wheels off UNO to try it.


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Old 01-23-11, 04:57 PM   #21
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Very interesting thread - It was not long ago I approached 300# - I would suggest getting a brand new set of 36 spoke wheels with high preassure clinchers and not go to tubulars till getting your weight is down a little - In other words save your tubular wheels for another day... Please don't be insulted by this... I am with you all the way...
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Old 01-23-11, 05:30 PM   #22
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The cog is threaded in the same direction someone just took a freewheel hub and re-spaced it, and uses a Bendix cog and BB lock ring. The bike has no brakes now, but I'm not sure if it was being used or just thrown together and stored for a while. Considering that the tires had all but turned to dust, it's been a long time since this has seen any use. It's pretty basic, two wheels, frame, fork, Ideal saddle, GB stem and bars, and cloth tape on the lower bars only. It does not have track dropouts.
Its got the remnants of a 531 tubing decal, the rear frame is spaced at 110mm, I have no idea what it was when new. I'd guess the frame to be early 60's or older. It's got an oil port on the BB shell, so that sort of dates it pretty far back. Its not pretty but it is old and complete. I was thinking it might have been an old Raleigh but the BB is not standard english thread, I haven't measured to see what it is. The crankset is made by Solida.
My concern isn't as much with the hub, I can change that or go freewheel, it's weather or not to even try tubulars at my size.
The least I figure I could ever weight would be around 240-250, the last I weighed that was in my teens and I was riding 50 miles or better daily. My knees, back, and ankles could never do that again. I figure that I might be able to get down to about 260 fairly easy, but beyond that might be pushing it. At 6' 4" and with a 35" inseam, it's not likely I'd ever be 'light'.
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Old 01-23-11, 08:29 PM   #23
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Around here we've got frost heaves, pot holes, expansion cracks, grooved and patched roadways. I'm tapping around 250lbs and pinch flats and road hazards are my primary concern. Much easier to replace or patch tubes in clinchers than replacing or patching tubulars. My weight is secondary.

Find a cheap donor bike with clincher rims and brakes and swap those onto your bike.
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