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  1. #1
    Yo!
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    Should I move past tubulars for street?

    I've come across some Deep V tubulars on formula hubs for $150.

    Should I pick these up if I'm going to be riding only street? I'm not doing any tricks or huge skids or anything, but I've never owned tubulars and I'm not sure if they're appropriate for the riding I'll be doing.

    Thanks.

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    I wouldn't ride tubbies on the street, because if you get a flat you're SOL.
    Or, alternately, if you DO learn how to glue your own tubular tires, then you CAN change a flat, it just takes way longer since the glue has to set. Not ideal for getting anywhere on time.

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    Fails at being impressed trelhak's Avatar
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    I only ride tubulars, on the street, track, or racing. I would get those wheels. They're solid.

    Tubs aren't the voodoo black magic that they're made out to be. Gluing isn't particularly difficult, and if you use tub tape it's practically idiot proof. Puncture flats aren't as common as pinch flats with clinchers, and tubs are only succeptible to puncture flats. Even then, though, they are usually built with additional puncture protection for that very reason.

    If you do get a puncture flat, you can always put some fix-a-flat in them and they'll hold indefinitely.

    Their benefits are numerous and well-discussed. The only major-major hurdle I can see is the cost of the tires themselves. A decent tub is always going to be a little more expensive than a clincher (partially because of the increased amount of manufacturing necessary to build the tire) and, while riding on a junk clincher is bad, riding on a junk tubular tire is just downright miserable.

    Riding a good tubular however...nothin' else like it.

    I recommend Continental Sprinter Gatorskins
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    Yo!,

    Sew ups are a nice throwback and look great but I believe given the quality of modern tubulars those are the only benefits. The downside to them them are they are much more rare so variety is minimal, more expensive and probably most of all if you flat out the reality is it's a few hours before a sew up is truly prime time. You can ride them after 10 or 15 minutes but run the risk of rolling them off before a couple hours have passed and the cement has properly dried.

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    oops - I meant clinchers where I said tubulars.

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    Senior Member frymaster's Avatar
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    i have tubulars on my road bike and i concur that they are dreamy to ride -- all this futz about increased rolling resistance is just that: futz. they're light and fast and ride like 14 bars of inflated awesome.

    however... they are a pain to maintain.

    1. if the rims are used you will need to scrub all the old glue off them. this is a pain in the ass and involves chemicals and steel wool and other not-fun stuff.
    2. the tires cost a boatload. do not get cheapies. this defeats the purpose of riding tubs. get expensive ones... and get three. you will need a spare
    3. gluing is a drag. it's not that it's hard and it's not that if you do it wrong you'll kill yourself (if you put enough lateral force on your tire to unmount it on a fixed gear then you're obviously nelson vails and have a staff to glue your tires for you) it's just that it's messy and time consuming. remember to pre-stretch new tires.
    4. roadside repair is also a drag. you can carry a pre-glued spare with you -- if you fold it up and tie it to the bottom of your saddle you can get that wickid old-timey look -- and with sufficient commitment you can install it roadside... but once you do that you pretty much have to head straight home to remount it properly.
    5. remember when i said back in point 3 that you weren't going to kill yourself if you mount those tires wrong? not fully true. you acutally can screw the process up enough to cause your tire to unglue mid ride. it's not easy to fail this badly, but it can be done. just keep that in mind when you consider cutting corners.
    "Let's try and keep the constructive answers in the commuting forum." --SheistyMike

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    Woah guys fantastic response.

    I'm going to price out the tires and see how much for some decent tubulars, looking at the Gatorskin Sprinters first.

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    Senior Member frymaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trelhak View Post
    if you use tub tape it's practically idiot proof.
    right. tape. forgot about that stuff.

    tape is Good Thing, especially for roadside repair (no need to have your spare pre-glued and your installed tire is good to ride like normal, not just to hobble home), however you should really only use tape on clean rims. ie, if these wheels are used and have all sorts of dried glue on them either stick to glue (ha! stick to glue! get it? i slay me.) or make sure all that glue is gone gone gone before moving to tape.
    "Let's try and keep the constructive answers in the commuting forum." --SheistyMike

  9. #9
    jpdesjar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yo! View Post
    Woah guys fantastic response.

    I'm going to price out the tires and see how much for some decent tubulars, looking at the Gatorskin Sprinters first.
    Good for you for trying it out, after reading this thread I don't think I ever want tubulars.

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    curmudgeon psirue's Avatar
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    I'd rather carry a patch kit than a tire.

    I can feel no difference between a tubular tire and a higher-end clincher.

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    Fails at being impressed trelhak's Avatar
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    Tub tape isn't so bad. It's great for roadside repairs and if you get the Tufo Extreme stuff it actually holds quite well. That said, though, I don't carry a patch kit or a spare tire. Just a little bottle of fix-a-flat. I've gotten big punctures before and that stuff seals the hole right up. I can re-inflate those punctured tires back up to 120+ psi. The only thing that can really get me off the road is a slashing-type damage to the tire.

    For someone just getting their feet wet in the world of tubulars, the tub tape is a good thing: there's basically no way to screw up the installation of it (barring obvious screwups) so you don't have to worry about too much glue or not enough glue.

    The stuff about rolling resistance is a little misleading. The few studies done that say clinchers have less rolling resistance have never taken advantage of one of the tubular's primary features: incredibly high pressures. Realistically, you can get a clincher up to 130, tops. Tubs can regularly exceed that pressure without complaint. The tire can probably take a lot more pressure than your floor pump can even put out. (Unless you have a better pump than me.)

    The good thing is: even at those extreme pressures, the supple case of a tub tire keeps the ride feeling nice and smooth because it's all casing, no bead and no interference between an innertube and the tread.

    Nowadays clinchers have gotten very good, so the difference in road feel between an OK clincher and an OK tubular is negligible. However, a good tubular's feel cannot possibly be matched by any clincher.

    Take, for example, a pair of OK tires, like Continental's Ultra Gatorskin clincher and the Sprinter Gatorskin tubular. Both will ride pretty good. But get beyond that all the way to the best of the high end, for example, Continental's GP4000S or Michelin's Pro3 Race clinchers and Vittoria's Corsa Evo line or the legendary Veloflex Record tubulars, it's not even close. The tubulars outperform the clinchers in all regard.

    The cost? Well, that's something that clinchers have over tubulars hands down. A machine can make a clincher, churning thousands out each hour. A tubular is generally made by hand, and usually somewhere in Europe. Paying a person in Europe costs more than buying and running a machine in China.

    Tubulars have been experiencing a recent resurgence in popularity, due in part to the resurgence in the interest in track racing (for their insane running pressures) and the rise in popularity of carbon-rimmed wheelsets (because 90% of them are tubular.) As more of them pop up, costs are likely to go down, and more people will be exposed to them and learn about them.
    Last edited by trelhak; 07-14-09 at 02:50 PM.
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    Senior Member frymaster's Avatar
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    fix-a-flat? what's that? anything that can address roadside repair issues with tubs is of great interest to me.

    also, i second the pressure. at 11 or 12 bars (what's that, 160psi?) tubs run as smooth as clinchers at 90 or 100 psi.
    "Let's try and keep the constructive answers in the commuting forum." --SheistyMike

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    Quote Originally Posted by jpdesjar View Post
    Good for you for trying it out, after reading this thread I don't think I ever want tubulars.
    Same here. frymaster's post convinced me that I'll never try tubulars on the road. What a nightmare. The track is a different story.

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    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frymaster View Post
    they're light and fast and ride like 14 bars of inflated awesome.
    1 bar = 14.5 psi so 14 bars = 14 x 14.5 psi = 203 psi. I think not, although there are some road tubulars that can be inflated that high. Still, the only time you want to inflate tubulars to much higher pressures than clinchers is either on the track or maybe if you are doing a road TT on billiard table smooth pavement. When I'm racing or riding on the road, I run between 110 psi and 130 psi, and even less if I'm doing a criterium in the rain. The whole advantage of tubulars is that they can be run at moderate pressures to absorb road roughness without the risk of pinch flats if you hit something sharp like broken pavement or a pothole. When run at higher pressures as you suggest, it is my experience that the ride is extremely harsh, regardless of the brand or model of tire.

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    Senior Member frymaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drainyoo View Post
    Same here. frymaster's post convinced me that I'll never try tubulars on the road. What a nightmare. The track is a different story.
    wow. that was so not my intention.

    i think you should give tubulars a shot on the road before you write them off. they have a very "sweet" feel to them and are awesome for climbing (which you don't ever do on the track).

    really, roadside repair is a rare event. and if you're smarter than me and go with tape doesn't need to be that painful.

    in fact, i submit that the only time tubulars are a 'nightmare' is when you have to scrub ten year old glue off someone else's old rims. that's a real drag. but you only have to do it once.
    "Let's try and keep the constructive answers in the commuting forum." --SheistyMike

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    Fails at being impressed trelhak's Avatar
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    Fix-a-flat can be purchased in pretty much any auto parts store. It's a slimy substance that you squirt into the valve. Some brands are also made for bike-specific applications, like Tufo or Stan's.

    It works great.

    Some touring riders I know who prefer tubulars put a small amount of it in their tires as a preventative measure.

    With regards to pressure, the benefit of being able to run at higher pressures is to decrease resistance, however, due to the nature of the tubular's design, at any given pressure, the tubular will feel less harsh. At extreme pressures, any tire will feel like a rock, but 130psi in a tub feels like 100psi in a clincher. With that comfort still comes the lowered rolling resistance of the higher tire pressure..
    Last edited by trelhak; 07-14-09 at 04:26 PM.
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    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Tubulars seem to be experiencing a resurgence in popularity because they are just that damn good... comparisons with clincher tyres always seem to be made in regard to how well they compare to tubulars.

    My favourite clinchers of all time are the 27 by 7/8 (630/20) Avocet tt30's (folding) on my Cooper road bike... they are about as close to a tubular as a clincher can get and at 125 psi they still have an amazing ride.

    Tubulars also have the advantage that if you do have a blowout your odds of riding it out are much better as the tubular will still be making 100% contact with the road and a tubular rim is very flat... if you mount one improperly and have it roll off at speed you may be kissing your ass goodbye.

    If you are going to run tubulars you need to be damn serious and really attentive to installation and mounting... besides screwing up the tyre you can put yourself at great risk.

    I have a few vintage tubular wheel sets I need to set up here and I am waiting for a few of the local shops to have a sale on their stock of what are very good quality tubulars.

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    Senior Member frymaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    If you are going to run tubulars you need to be damn serious and really attentive to installation and mounting... besides screwing up the tyre you can put yourself at great risk..
    in no way, shape or form do i want to negate the potential seriousness of losing a tire at speed. however, i think one of the biggest barriers to people adopting tubulars is the belief that if they don't have a diploma in tire mounting from the community college they're going to kill themselves. this is sad because, really, you're only going to roll your tire if you do a really poor job of installing it and

    a) take corners harder than hinault
    b) ride the brakes until that rim is ****** hot

    in general, as long as the rim and tire tape are clean and there's more than one coat of mastik on the rim and one on the tire tape and the tire has sat for at least two hours, all will be fine. and even that level of diligence is not always necessary. i've ridden 30 kms home on a spare that popped on at the roadside and had zero problems. in fact, when it came time to take said tire off to remount it properly, it was quite a struggle.
    "Let's try and keep the constructive answers in the commuting forum." --SheistyMike

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    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    My favourite clinchers of all time are the 27 by 7/8 (630/20) Avocet tt30's (folding) on my Cooper road bike... they are about as close to a tubular as a clincher can get and at 125 psi they still have an amazing ride.
    Do you mean Ron Cooper? I have a Ron Cooper steel lugged road frameset, and it is beautifully crafted and rides like a dream. I run tubulars on it, however, I also have an R.E.W. Reynolds (UK) light touring frameset with 27" clinchers. I seem to remember the Avocets, but never had any.

  20. #20
    Yo!
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    Quote Originally Posted by trelhak View Post
    Tub tape isn't so bad. It's great for roadside repairs and if you get the Tufo Extreme stuff it actually holds quite well. That said, though, I don't carry a patch kit or a spare tire. Just a little bottle of fix-a-flat. I've gotten big punctures before and that stuff seals the hole right up. I can re-inflate those punctured tires back up to 120+ psi. The only thing that can really get me off the road is a slashing-type damage to the tire.

    For someone just getting their feet wet in the world of tubulars, the tub tape is a good thing: there's basically no way to screw up the installation of it (barring obvious screwups) so you don't have to worry about too much glue or not enough glue.

    The stuff about rolling resistance is a little misleading. The few studies done that say clinchers have less rolling resistance have never taken advantage of one of the tubular's primary features: incredibly high pressures. Realistically, you can get a clincher up to 130, tops. Tubs can regularly exceed that pressure without complaint. The tire can probably take a lot more pressure than your floor pump can even put out. (Unless you have a better pump than me.)

    The good thing is: even at those extreme pressures, the supple case of a tub tire keeps the ride feeling nice and smooth because it's all casing, no bead and no interference between an innertube and the tread.

    Nowadays clinchers have gotten very good, so the difference in road feel between an OK clincher and an OK tubular is negligible. However, a good tubular's feel cannot possibly be matched by any clincher.

    Take, for example, a pair of OK tires, like Continental's Ultra Gatorskin clincher and the Sprinter Gatorskin tubular. Both will ride pretty good. But get beyond that all the way to the best of the high end, for example, Continental's GP4000S or Michelin's Pro3 Race clinchers and Vittoria's Corsa Evo line or the legendary Veloflex Record tubulars, it's not even close. The tubulars outperform the clinchers in all regard.

    The cost? Well, that's something that clinchers have over tubulars hands down. A machine can make a clincher, churning thousands out each hour. A tubular is generally made by hand, and usually somewhere in Europe. Paying a person in Europe costs more than buying and running a machine in China.

    Tubulars have been experiencing a recent resurgence in popularity, due in part to the resurgence in the interest in track racing (for their insane running pressures) and the rise in popularity of carbon-rimmed wheelsets (because 90% of them are tubular.) As more of them pop up, costs are likely to go down, and more people will be exposed to them and learn about them.
    This was an awesome write up. And after speaking with my friend, I discovered the wheels have Miche hubs, not formulas. So 700c Deep v's on Miche hubs.

    I have to be honest in saying that, while it's not something I'll be doing constantly to look cool, skidding is going to happen. If one skids on occasion, would you err on the side of caution and go with a clincher so as not to destroy an expensive tubular tire?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yo! View Post
    This was an awesome write up. And after speaking with my friend, I discovered the wheels have Miche hubs, not formulas. So 700c Deep v's on Miche hubs.

    I have to be honest in saying that, while it's not something I'll be doing constantly to look cool, skidding is going to happen. If one skids on occasion, would you err on the side of caution and go with a clincher so as not to destroy an expensive tubular tire?
    get a cheap rear to get skidding out of the way, keep the tub for riding imo



    what's the opinion on mixing tires? i got matching style rims, but the drillings were a bit strange and to get ones that would work i got a clincher front and tubular rear. should this be golden or should i track down a tub front to build up?

  22. #22
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie View Post
    Do you mean Ron Cooper? I have a Ron Cooper steel lugged road frameset, and it is beautifully crafted and rides like a dream. I run tubulars on it, however, I also have an R.E.W. Reynolds (UK) light touring frameset with 27" clinchers. I seem to remember the Avocets, but never had any.
    Yes... Ron Cooper.

    I built it up yesterday and the bike is amazing.

    Those Avocets...



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    I actually just went back to riding tubulars on my Samson. I had previously been riding Pro Race 3s and recently put on one of my wheelsets with Tufo S3 Pros. The ride quality of Tufos (generally considered to be poor riding tubulars) win hands down. I'm switching to Conti Sprinters though I would strongly suggest Conti Stethers as I hear great things about them. Don't even get me started on my FMBs...

  24. #24
    Fails at being impressed trelhak's Avatar
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    Road Tufos aren't that bad. They're just not particularly supple.
    Cyclocross tubs are reputed to be awesome. I can attest to Tufos being excellent on a concrete velodrome.
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    I never said they were bad tubies, it is just common knowledge that they aren't supple.

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