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  1. #1
    big ring MIN's Avatar
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    Installed tubular wheels last night.

    Story:

    Having recently made the switch to tubulars on my geared bike (aka the coffee shop bike) I had been looking to build up a set of tub wheels for my fixed gear. I was nearly ready to order some rims, spokes and hubs to build up a handmade set. (I've been reading Jobst Brandt's wheel theory book.)

    Imagine how stoked I was when I found a new, never glued set of Velocity, DT spoke, Formula fixed/free wheelset on the local Portland Craigslist. Bonus: it was $90! Actually, I drove over the guys house to pick them up and he knocked off another $10 for coming over. $80 for what I estimated to be a $300 set. Ironically, there was a price sticker on the wheels from River City Bike for $300.

    Apparently, the dude won these wheels at cross race sponsored by RCB. RCB sponsors the famously popular cross crusade series here in P-town. He didn't want tubulars. I did. Fair trade!

    I had been stretching some Conti Sprinter Gatorskins on another wheelset. I mounted those on the back without glue just to take it for a spin. On the front wheel, I mounted Schwalbe Stelvio tires, which was my spare due to a repaired puncture from last week.

    I took it for a 30 minute spin around the neighborhood. I rode gently and took the corners nice and easy because again, there was no glue. But, about 30% of the holding power comes from the inflated tire stretching over the rim surface (with the remaining 70% of the grip coming from the glue's adhesion.) So this it totally doable unless you ride like a jackass.

    Some observations:

    I had been riding cheap Vittoria Zaffiros on my clincher wheelset. They are 25c tires and weigh a ton. When I got on the tub wheelset (same bike of course) the difference was noticeable within a couple of pedal strokes. Spins up faster. Soaks up bumps. Quieter. Best. Upgrade. Ever.

    The amazing thing is how the tires make you feel like you are floating over rough roads. Whereas a cheap clincher tires uses thick casing that reduces the flexibility of the casing to deform over the rough stuff, nice tubulars have a more supple casing which allows the tire to deform locally over the imperfections in the road. In other words, tub tires act like suspension to greater degree than cheap clinchers. Caveat: keep in mind that clinchers have really evolved recently and a high quality open tubular constructed clincher (such as Veloflex and Vittoria Open Corsa tires) ride as well as tubulars.

    I lost 600 grams of rotation mass with the new wheels and tires. Aside from the obvious benefit of having lighter wheels, tubular tires are rounder in profile so they feel better around the corners. On the other hand, tubular tires are not for the mechanically challenged or the impatient. It takes 3 days to glue, cure and mount tubs the right way. Any less time and the risk of rolling the tire off the rim during a high-speed corner is high. You have to carry a spare tub with you when you ride because a patch kit does not work since there is no access to the inner tube. These are considerations that must be evaluated before leaping to the world of tubular tires but in my experience there has been no greater upgrade than the performance and ride enhancing ride of tubular wheels and tires.

    Links:

    Jobst Brandt FAQ

    Park Tools Tubular Mounting Guide
    Last edited by MIN; 03-07-08 at 10:46 AM.

  2. #2
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    i like your observations - they're more precise than most of what i've heard (which usually comes out to, "yeah, i like tubulars.") ... i've been getting tempted to mess with tubs lately.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  3. #3
    dan bones! goldenskeletons's Avatar
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    i've been riding tubulars on my daily commuter/street bike for about a month solid now. i'm glad you're going with the gatorskin tubies. i did the same and i ride how i normally would pretty confidently.

  4. #4
    Blue Light Special kmart's Avatar
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    Your description of "floating over the rough stuff" sounds really enticing. I would like to mess with tubulars to see if this floating shock absorbing effect is really all it's cracked up to be. However, you have some high quality tires on there (Gatorskins). I have read that cheap tubulars feel just like cheap clinchers and the price of good tubulars kind of makes them hard to justify for road training rides and especially for tooling-around-on-the-fixed rides.

    However I'm still keeping my eyes peeled for a deal on a second hand tubular wheelset at the price range you got (very nice find!).
    Quote Originally Posted by KrisPistofferson View Post
    racer x flies across cobblestones with a grimace of determination, three feet of seatpost, bars level with ankles, carbon fiber frame with Kryptonite lugs and a millimeter clearance between the fork and the 700x21c tires. This gives everyone a *****

  5. #5
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    i don't know much about the tubular world, so how exactly does one handle a flat on the side of the road? how quickly can you be up and running again?

  6. #6
    It's an old photo Boss Moniker's Avatar
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    I picked up a pair of deep section carbon fiber tubulars (sold by Fetish Cycles.. they're probably rebranded something or others) from Cypress (the BF member). I was planning on being able to convert between a road freehub and fixed gear with a Surly Fixxer so I could use them on my road bike, but they didn't have the right kind of hub for that. Replacement ones were hard to find because few people make 24 hole hubs with the splined interface for freehubs. So I found a cheap 24h track hub with slotted holes (made my job easier because I already had bladed spokes). Currently it's being rebuilt and I can't wait to ride the pair, I think I lost over 700 grams compared to my Deep Vs.

    I got some Vittoria Corsa Evo Pave CG tires (yep, the $100 per tire ones that lots of TdF riders use on the Paris-Roubaix stage, although I got them for cheaper) that are 290tpi so they should roll really smoothly. I'm excited.
    Quote Originally Posted by dutret View Post
    Just because I'm not angry anymore doesn't mean I don't think bossmoniker and every other hipster **** I see riding around on aerowheels isn't a piece of **** thats only use is to be an easy target for ridicule.

  7. #7
    ambassador of good will *new*guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timmhaan View Post
    i don't know much about the tubular world, so how exactly does one handle a flat on the side of the road? how quickly can you be up and running again?
    when i ride them i just carry a pre-stretched and glued spare tire in my bag. you can throw a bit of fresh glue on and have it mounted in about the same amount of time it takes to swap out a clincher. the spare takes up a bit more space than a tube, but it's easy and fairly fast.

  8. #8
    big ring MIN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmart View Post
    However, you have some high quality tires on there (Gatorskins). I have read that cheap tubulars feel just like cheap clinchers and the price of good tubulars kind of makes them hard to justify for road training rides and especially for tooling-around-on-the-fixed rides.

    True. There are bad tubulars out there. The reason they are bad is

    * not round
    * lumpy
    * heavy
    * less puncture protection.

    If you compare my Schwalbe Stelvio vs Conti Gatorskins though, the Schwalbe is hands down a better tire. It's just not as puncture resistant because of the thin casing. The very thing that makes the Sprinter Gatorskin different from the Schwalbe (the tough sidewall) is the thing that keeps it from rolling as nice.

    **Stelvio = true 300 TPI cotton casing. $$$$
    **Sprinter Gatorskin = 3 ply 60 TPI casing to arrive at a fake 180 TPI casing. $$$
    Vectran fibers which is not as supple as cotton. Note that this is NOT just a tubular version of the clincher Gatorskin. The casing and construction is fundamentally different.

    **By comparison, the baller tires used by Lance Armstrong is Andre Dugast. 350 TPI SILK casing. Baller status at $160 each. $$$$$

  9. #9
    big ring MIN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boss Moniker View Post
    I picked up a pair of deep section carbon fiber tubulars (sold by Fetish Cycles.. they're probably rebranded something or others) from Cypress (the BF member). I was planning on being able to convert between a road freehub and fixed gear with a Surly Fixxer so I could use them on my road bike, but they didn't have the right kind of hub for that. Replacement ones were hard to find because few people make 24 hole hubs with the splined interface for freehubs. So I found a cheap 24h track hub with slotted holes (made my job easier because I already had bladed spokes). Currently it's being rebuilt and I can't wait to ride the pair, I think I lost over 700 grams compared to my Deep Vs.

    I got some Vittoria Corsa Evo Pave CG tires (yep, the $100 per tire ones that lots of TdF riders use on the Paris-Roubaix stage, although I got them for cheaper) that are 290tpi so they should roll really smoothly. I'm excited.
    Those are Planet X wheels which was rebranded to Fetish Cycles. Which was originally speced by Gigantex of Taiwan.

    Ironically, my tubular 28-spoke Zipps seem mega stiffer than my new 32-spoke Velocity Escape wheels on the same tires. It's the carbon deep section. (I have Schwalbe/Sprinter Gatorskins FR/RR on both my bikes.)

  10. #10
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    Darn you! I just got a chris king/eno eccentric wheelset laced up to some mavic rims that I have been dying to try, but I haven't made my tire choice yet and would feel silly using the eno on a bike with track ends.

  11. #11
    どうでもいいよ
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    The difference for me tubulars vs clinchers show in the gearing I run. I run 47-17 on my Velocity Deep V clincher set but on my Araya tubular set I run 47-16. Same effort

  12. #12
    road curmudgeon, FG rider GeraldChan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by westokyo View Post
    The difference for me tubulars vs clinchers show in the gearing I run. I run 47-17 on my Velocity Deep V clincher set but on my Araya tubular set I run 47-16. Same effort
    It's nice to see someone who has the same idea.

    On both my fixed geared bikes I run 44X16 for my tubular wheels and 44X17 for my clinchers. On my Nishiki I use Campy Record hubs 32h laced 3X for both wheelsets and for my Waterford I run high flange Phils 32h laced 3X onto Open Pros and my sew-up wheels are DA high flange laced the same way to Mavic Reflexs. I favor Veloflex Criteriums for the tubulars and Veloflex Paves (open tubulars) for my clincher tires When I am just tooling around or when the roads are wet or just bad I run the clinchers.
    When I want to really fly I run the tubulars with their higher gearing.

    Yes you can really feel the difference. Min is dead on coorect on the superior comfort and awesome cornering capabilities of tubulars (although you need to be on a road bike to really get a serious lean into a turn; esp when you countersteer and then dive into a sharp turn.
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  13. #13
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
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    I've been thinking about doing the tub thing on my new road build but I want to finish the damn thing and ride it for awhile first.

    For those who have tried both, how does tape stack up against gluing?

    I have clincher Stelvios and they're bumming me out. Fast, light, and fun, but not very puncture-resistant. Maybe the tubs are better but I'm not going to spend the money to find out.

  14. #14
    どうでもいいよ
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    ^^^ I only use Miyata tape. Clean, fast, and easy.

  15. #15
    Headset-press carrier logdrum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timmhaan View Post
    i don't know much about the tubular world, so how exactly does one handle a flat on the side of the road? how quickly can you be up and running again?
    Not all tubulars can be fixed and that usually includes everything made byTufo. I have been riding tubulars on my road bike for more than 10 years now and I think it does not really cost more than clinchers.

    You need to get a tire with a removable valve head -- that would be Conti sprinters and up (price wise) and all tufos. Apply Stans or the tufo sealant and something like the Gatorskin or vectran/black chili should be good enough to last a season of commuting. If it works in New Mexico or the southwest, should work everywhere else.

    Apply Stans every 3 months.

    I actually have a tubular repair kit on my saddle bag. You need a seam ripper, regular patch and a curve leather needle and nylon thread plus a regular patch kit. These items will fit in the patch kit. Although it is much easier to bring a pre stretched tire with Stan's, if you know how to sew, you can repair a tire with regular tubes (Conti sprinters) I think a latex tube is harder to repair but I think they sell a tubular repair kit as well.

    Someone is selling Mavic Reflex SUP rims with formula hubs on ebay all the time for 139. These weigh 1700 grams I think or maybe a bit more but Deep V's are like 2500 grams. Another 100 for a Conti gatorskin sprinters pair should set you up nicely.

    Another nice tubular wheelset is the Crane Creek Volos track.
    If you must, then you should Laying off BF for a while. Forum posting does nothing to enjoyment or improvement on the bike
    Quote Originally Posted by botto View Post
    ride more, buy less.

  16. #16
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    True. There are bad tubulars out there. The reason they are bad is

    * not round
    * lumpy
    * heavy
    * less puncture protection.
    They are no different than the poor quality bontrager tires that came with my trek,You could see the lumpiness and they have a tire hump in them.

  17. #17
    Senior Member nateintokyo's Avatar
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    MarqueeM--

    I have been VERY happy with the Miyata tape. Super fast, clean, easy to use. and it doesn't stink like glue (but maybe that is your thing). It feels really secure to me, but I don't really feel like I do extremely heavy cornering (like on long descents, etc) since I am solely a city rider these days.

  18. #18
    Run What 'Ya Brung bonechilling's Avatar
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    Sorry to spoil the tubular tire love-in, but they idea that you're somehow floating on air if you ride tubulars is kind of BS. It's pretty well documented the quality clinchers have as good or better rolling resistance than tubular tires, they're no more or less likely to get pinch flats, and they typically only add a few grams more to a bike (though that few grams could matter to you, I'm not taking that away). I used and enjoyed tubulars for fifteen or so years, on and off, and I have no particular grudge against them, but this fawning praise should be tempered with some counter-arguments.
    Quote Originally Posted by doofo View Post
    the main cause of fit problems is riding your bike

    you should have just stopped riding so you could focus on color coordination

  19. #19
    big ring MIN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonechilling View Post
    Sorry to spoil the tubular tire love-in, but they idea that you're somehow floating on air if you ride tubulars is kind of BS. It's pretty well documented the quality clinchers have as good or better rolling resistance than tubular tires, they're no more or less likely to get pinch flats, and they typically only add a few grams more to a bike (though that few grams could matter to you, I'm not taking that away). I used and enjoyed tubulars for fifteen or so years, on and off, and I have no particular grudge against them, but this fawning praise should be tempered with some counter-arguments.
    I clearly stated that caveat.

  20. #20
    Run What 'Ya Brung bonechilling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MIN View Post
    I clearly stated that caveat.
    ...And?
    Last edited by bonechilling; 03-08-08 at 08:07 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by doofo View Post
    the main cause of fit problems is riding your bike

    you should have just stopped riding so you could focus on color coordination

  21. #21
    big ring MIN's Avatar
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    I concede your point.

  22. #22
    NitroPye
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    Touché

  23. #23
    Tell them I hate them Peedtm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MIN View Post
    . . .

    It takes 3 days to glue, cure and mount tubs the right way. Any less time and the risk of rolling the tire off the rim during a high-speed corner is high.

    You have to carry a spare tub with you when you ride because a patch kit does not work since there is no access to the inner tube.
    I'm having trouble reconciling these two statements. Does it take 3 days to fix it? Do you carry a tent too?

    Regarding the 2nd statement, I thought you could comfortably (relative) ride a few miles on a blown tubular.
    If you want to know about Tarck Bikes, PM me.
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  24. #24
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peedtm View Post
    I'm having trouble reconciling these two statements. Does it take 3 days to fix it? Do you carry a tent too?

    Regarding the 2nd statement, I thought you could comfortably (relative) ride a few miles on a blown tubular.
    You can ride on a flat tubular forever. And man, if hipsters start rocking totally impractical tubular wheelsets on the road because of this thread, i'm going to kill something.

    Quote Originally Posted by bonechilling View Post
    Sorry to spoil the tubular tire love-in, but they idea that you're somehow floating on air if you ride tubulars is kind of BS. It's pretty well documented the quality clinchers have as good or better rolling resistance than tubular tires, they're no more or less likely to get pinch flats, and they typically only add a few grams more to a bike (though that few grams could matter to you, I'm not taking that away). I used and enjoyed tubulars for fifteen or so years, on and off, and I have no particular grudge against them, but this fawning praise should be tempered with some counter-arguments.
    Arguments like 99.9% of this forum would be ill-served by buying a tubular wheelset.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  25. #25
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    how can you fall in love at such a crawl? i don't know if i like anything until i've sped things up a bit.

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