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Old 03-29-09, 10:15 PM   #1
Creakyknees
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why are clinchers so bad on the track?

Ok I'm a long time roadie, so I know sewups are better. I used to ride them exclusively. But these days on the road, the vast majority of racers are riding clinchers.

But as a track newb, I get the impression that not only are sew-ups better (which I don't argue), but that clinchers are sooo bad that you shouldn't even ride them on the track, at all.

So is this just trackie lore? What gives?
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Old 03-30-09, 04:48 AM   #2
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Tubulars make more sense for things like cyclocross and track for good reasons. In 'cross they allow lower pressures (for grip) to be used without the problems of pinch flats, common with low pressure clinchers. For track, they allow greater control of the bike if a tire flats. Clinchers tend to roll off the rim when flat where tubulars stay put.

But for anyone to say "clinchers are sooo bad that you shouldn't even ride them on the track, at all" is absolutely not right. I wonder what the problems are that would generate such a statement?

Yes, for track racers, tubulars will be faster (that would go for road racers too) and they will provide more safety with a puncture but there are many clinchers ridden on tracks that don't give any problems to their users.

I've ridden the Forest City Velodrome (short & very steep) since it opened (4 years ago) for training (not racing) and have yet to have one issue with clinchers. I've probably done a couple of hundred thousand laps. I use, arguably, the world's lightest clincher too - the Continental Supersonic at 160grams (weighed 'em myself) and 130psi. I wear them down until the casing thread's grain can be seen under the tread. Just what would cause a flat tire on an indoor board track? If the base tape is good and the valve stem doesn't pull out of the tube there's not much else to go wrong.

All the rental bikes at the FCV (and many other tracks too) are clinchers. Tubulars on rentals would be a bit too much of a headache I think.

Maybe some racers will pop up here and say that there's no way they would use clinchers on a track. I'd probably use tubulars too if I was a good racer. Oh by the way - many racers do use clinchers on the FCV and its 50 degree 146 meter bankings and they have as many issues as I do.

Also, I can't think of one factory-built track bike that comes standard with tubulars.

Edit - at least with clinchers you don't have to worry whether they are stuck on properly or not -


Last edited by Mike T.; 03-30-09 at 05:20 AM.
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Old 03-30-09, 09:55 AM   #3
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The rentals at Los Angeles also all have clinchers and they work fine. I occasionally train with clinchers, and have raced with them a few times on concrete tracks, but I like the handling of tubulars. For me I think it's mostly about the consistency of handling at all speeds and locations of the track-- riding madisons you ride all different parts of the track at speeds from 16 to almost 40 mph (or faster if you're better...). Clinchers tend to have a less round cross-section and feel very different at low speed.
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Old 03-31-09, 08:25 AM   #4
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The Superdrome's rental fleet also use clinchers for what it's worth.
As mentioned above one really good reason to use tubulars is that if you flat
your not going to lose the tire and you have a better chance of stopping/slowing
without sliding down the track.

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Old 03-31-09, 08:45 AM   #5
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Edit - at least with clinchers you don't have to worry whether they are stuck on properly or not -

I watched the video of that crash (you can find it searching for Bauge Sireau on youtube). It looks like he rolled the tubular as he was going down - not that he went down because the tubular rolled.
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Old 03-31-09, 10:24 AM   #6
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I watched the video of that crash (you can find it searching for Bauge Sireau on youtube). It looks like he rolled the tubular as he was going down - not that he went down because the tubular rolled.
It sure did and NICE save by Bauge. He left a skidmark on the track (and prolly in his shorts too).
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Old 03-31-09, 12:39 PM   #7
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I watched the video of that crash (you can find it searching for Bauge Sireau on youtube). It looks like he rolled the tubular as he was going down - not that he went down because the tubular rolled.
A tire shouldn't come off that completely that easily-- it looks like it might even have stayed inflated.
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Old 03-31-09, 02:44 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Mike T. View Post
Tubulars make more sense for things like cyclocross and track for good reasons. In 'cross they allow lower pressures (for grip) to be used without the problems of pinch flats, common with low pressure clinchers. For track, they allow greater control of the bike if a tire flats. Clinchers tend to roll off the rim when flat where tubulars stay put.

But for anyone to say "clinchers are sooo bad that you shouldn't even ride them on the track, at all" is absolutely not right. I wonder what the problems are that would generate such a statement?

Yes, for track racers, tubulars will be faster (that would go for road racers too) and they will provide more safety with a puncture but there are many clinchers ridden on tracks that don't give any problems to their users.

I've ridden the Forest City Velodrome (short & very steep) since it opened (4 years ago) for training (not racing) and have yet to have one issue with clinchers. I've probably done a couple of hundred thousand laps. I use, arguably, the world's lightest clincher too - the Continental Supersonic at 160grams (weighed 'em myself) and 130psi. I wear them down until the casing thread's grain can be seen under the tread. Just what would cause a flat tire on an indoor board track? If the base tape is good and the valve stem doesn't pull out of the tube there's not much else to go wrong.

All the rental bikes at the FCV (and many other tracks too) are clinchers. Tubulars on rentals would be a bit too much of a headache I think.

Maybe some racers will pop up here and say that there's no way they would use clinchers on a track. I'd probably use tubulars too if I was a good racer. Oh by the way - many racers do use clinchers on the FCV and its 50 degree 146 meter bankings and they have as many issues as I do.

Also, I can't think of one factory-built track bike that comes standard with tubulars.

Edit - at least with clinchers you don't have to worry whether they are stuck on properly or not -

Continental Supersonics are nice. I tried one on my front yesterday at the track (cement, 36 degrees). It felt really good at 130PSI. I think it can go to 145. I'm sold on them. I'm hunting down a second one to put on the rear right now.

The 2007 or 2008 (the white one) Bianchi Pista Concept complete came with Cane Creek Volos tubular wheels.
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Old 03-31-09, 02:49 PM   #9
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Tufo makes tubular clinchers that I've used on an outdoor track (Hellyer) and I like them quite a bit.
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Old 03-31-09, 03:44 PM   #10
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If my memory serves me correctly, the French National team uses clinchers. I'll try to verify this after I post.
check the picture you quoted.

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Continental Supersonics are nice. I tried one on my front yesterday at the track (cement, 36 degrees). It felt really good at 130PSI. I think it can go to 145. I'm sold on them. I'm hunting down a second one to put on the rear right now.
145 is pretty high for dlv and putting one on the rear is probably a waste.

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The 2007 or 2008 (the white one) Bianchi Pista Concept complete came with Cane Creek Volos tubular wheels.
'06-'08
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Old 03-31-09, 05:04 PM   #11
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check the picture you quoted.



145 is pretty high for dlv and putting one on the rear is probably a waste.


'06-'08
Ha! You are right about the photo. I don't recognize the team kits and so much for my memory.

Thanks for the info about the rear.
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