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Can someone please explain why tubulars?

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Can someone please explain why tubulars?

Old 03-22-19, 07:18 AM
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SamSpade1941 
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Can someone please explain why tubulars?

Ok ,

I know one point tubulars were the only way to go , but as clinchers have improved significantly over time there seems to be no point to running them. I've been told they had a good ride, but they are messy, complicated and not as easy to change as a clincher . They also seem to be very expensive, so please can someone tell me why anyone still uses them other than they like being very old school?
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Old 03-22-19, 07:33 AM
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Tubulars eliminate the occurrence of pinch flats. They are also lighter, and the construction of the tires allowed the sidewalls to be more supple.

You are correct that clinchers have improved greatly, but for some, tubulars still have appeal. Pro racers especially tend to use them (apparently because they are less prone to pinch flats, and because the mechanics deal with the hassle of set up and mounting).
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Old 03-22-19, 07:34 AM
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I like how they ride.
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Old 03-22-19, 07:44 AM
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Clinchers rely on the bead of the rim to contain the pressure of the tube and tire. This is not much of an issue at 30psi. When we get to 100psi, the rim designers must beef up the rim to handle these forces. Since tubulars are kind of "self contained" and the rim is not responsible for containing the pressure inside the tire, the rim can be made lighter.
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Old 03-22-19, 07:55 AM
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For me, it's clinchers for all-rounders, and touring bikes, but for a vintage racing bike, it's gotta be tubulars on skinny rims. (And I love the way they ride). Also, with tape they are not much of a hassle to mount anymore.
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Old 03-22-19, 07:57 AM
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Plus, they stay on the rim if you have a high speed flat. Horror stories on here about downhill clincher experiences...
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Old 03-22-19, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by SamSpade1941 View Post
Ok ,

so please can someone tell me why anyone still uses them other than they like being very old school?
I like being very old school. I like that other people consider tubulars to be too difficult. Gluing on a tire well is a satisfying craft.
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Old 03-22-19, 08:24 AM
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I think for many here, it's C&V nostalgia, given the current technology of clinchers (whether from Compass, Vittoria, Challenge, or others). I have one bike set up with tubulars just because; they're the tubular versions of a Challenge tire (can't remember the model at the moment). I have the same tire in clincher version. I really can't tell the difference in ride, even on the same bike. But, then again, I tend to like my tires fat and lower pressure, and that's a much narrower range of available tubulars.
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Old 03-22-19, 08:41 AM
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I just enjoy the confused looks of friends when I change a flat tubular.


Steve in Peoria
(plus, I get to maintain some old skills when I get home... how to glue a tire on, and how to patch a tubular)
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Old 03-22-19, 08:59 AM
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There is just no comparison for me to the ride quality of a light, high quality rim and tire. I purchase the widest tubulars that will fit my road bikes, somewhere in the 25-28mm range. Tubeless clinchers come pretty close - I've got one road set I really like. But guess what, by the time you deal with rim taping, compatibility, and sealant, tubeless clinchers are just as big a hassle. They are necessary however on good MTB setups for flat protection.
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Old 03-22-19, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by SamSpade1941 View Post
Ok ,

...I've been told they had a good ride, but they are messy, complicated and not as easy to change as a clincher . They also seem to be very expensive, so please can someone tell me why anyone still uses them other than they like being very...?
That could be a question about tubeless.

Tubulars are cool AND practical. I try not to ride them in the rain but I will have a fresh set glued up for EroicaCA because it might not rain. For fast event tires where there are very rough/dirt/washed out/rocky roads mixed with lots of pavement, tubulars will get fewer flats than clinchers.
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Old 03-22-19, 09:11 AM
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Just saw a GCN tech video the other day and was quite surprised when the young guys there agree that good tubulars still have a better ride and feel compared to the latest and best clinchers and tubeless tires.
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Old 03-22-19, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by SamSpade1941 View Post
Ok ,

I know one point tubulars were the only way to go , but as clinchers have improved significantly over time there seems to be no point to running them. I've been told they had a good ride, but they are messy, complicated and not as easy to change as a clincher . They also seem to be very expensive, so please can someone tell me why anyone still uses them other than they like being very old school?
The best quality tubulars can be $200 each, last time I looked. Good ones are in the range $100 - $200 (keep in mind these are very loose ranges. But you can also get a very decent tire for 3 for $50, from Yellow Jersey. They don't feel as good as my Gommitalia Espressos (maybe 10 years old, so I don't know current pricing), but they do give the tubular experience and hold at least 120 psi.

Considering Michelin and Continental top-line tires pricing, then adding in tubes, rim strips, and sealant, I'm not sure there is such a price difference as long as you're not buying at $200/tire.
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Old 03-22-19, 09:31 AM
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alternatives from the Czech company Tufo are a Tubular made to use a self sealing compound ...

they make a tubular to go on clincher rims too .. 2 channels on the casing grip the edges of the clincher rim..



...
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Old 03-22-19, 09:32 AM
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I rode tubulars for quite some time in the 80's and early 90's.

But, have been mostly on clinchers since then.

Tubulars were good for changing flats. Not bad for gluing and mounting. But, actually patching tubes was a pain.

I'm doing some experiments with tubulars once again.

A couple of things to consider.
Tubulars are some of the lightest tires/wheels. Clincher rims tend to be heavier. Clincher tires are often heavier. Plus, are you using the lightest tubes?

The new sealants are supposed to help reduce the need for changing flats. Especially the brands like Tufo without stitching.

Pinch flats were mentioned, and I believe they still occur, as there is a tube that can be pinched between the tire and rim.
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Old 03-22-19, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
The best quality tubulars can be $200 each, last time I looked. Good ones are in the range $100 - $200 (keep in mind these are very loose ranges. But you can also get a very decent tire for 3 for $50, from Yellow Jersey. They don't feel as good as my Gommitalia Espressos (maybe 10 years old, so I don't know current pricing), but they do give the tubular experience and hold at least 120 psi.

Considering Michelin and Continental top-line tires pricing, then adding in tubes, rim strips, and sealant, I'm not sure there is such a price difference as long as you're not buying at $200/tire.
Have you tried out the Vittoria Corsa G Graphene tubs yet? They ride really nice and FAST. I think they are normally priced at just above $100, but you can get them for as low as 88 bucks at Ebay. The Graphene composition really works! Now have them on two bikes and my present build will surely have them too.
the Corsa G's developed a big following very quickly because of the excellent performance you get from them and the reasonable pricing.
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Old 03-22-19, 10:00 AM
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I raced on tubulars back in the 60s. We had a bike shop sponsor, so most maintenance issues were handled by them. On training rides, we had to deal with flats once in a while, not a big deal to change with tubulars, except a PITA to patch. My best friend and team member had a tubular roll off the rim at 30 + mph on a race, and that was ugly. I still ride the same bike now, a '64 Legnano. I hung the tubular wheels on the garage wall 20 years ago, when I began riding seriously again, because I had discovered how good clinchers are these days. I bought a mismatched set of clincher wheels. I rode them on Pasadena vintage rides, and Eroica too. Finally, after 20 years, I got the old tubular wheelset down, took out the Legnano branded Campy hubs, and had them laced to a nice shiny set of clincher rims. Maybe its just me, but I don't remember that much difference in speed or ride quality, though it was a long gime ago. I know that now I don't worry as much about road debris with either Gatorskins or Pasela PTs. In the old days we carried our tubular equipped bikes over gravel or dirt bits, now we ride right over them. Also nobody I regularly ride with uses tubulars, but if I need to borrow a tube, somebody always has an extra one. Factoring in cost and ease of repair, I'm now a clincher guy.

My skinny self on tubulars, 1964.

My shiny new clincher rims and new Paselas.
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Old 03-22-19, 10:02 AM
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Greetings Guys; I got $.02 cents worth. If you're a small person OK even if you're a large person the reduced weight makes the bike Way more Responsive. And if ya do get a flat way faster to change than a wire on (some call them clinchers). Ya just carry a spare tire NO tire irons needed (less weight). You're carrying a spare tube, right? Now the second flat will be a bigger problem. The wire on guy has to patch a tube, the tubular guy has to cut, patch & sew, but how often do ya get 2 flats on the same ride? Take care Ole' Bob.
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Old 03-22-19, 10:05 AM
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This has been discussed to death several times recently.

My reasons why tubulars are superior:

You can corner harder on them. Look at the banking angles of bikes in old racing photos. We all did that. We took corners insanely fast and it worked.

Flats, even full blowouts at high speed aren't a big deal. I've blown tubulars at 45+. Hit the brakes, came to a stop and changed the tire. (Blew an old clincher at 25 and it came off. Broken collarbone, cracked ribs, an acre of road rash ans a hard helmet hit. All because I was trying to keep the bike off the adjacent curb riding a bare rim. Like riding on ice. I was completely unprepared when the tire jammed in the seatstay. On a tubular, this would have been a 5 minute tire change and dirty hands.)

If you have your gluing right, you can do reliable tire changes in 5 minutes every time. In the dark. In the rain. After more than a few beers. In places that are scary to hang out. (You may well be riding off on a very crooked tire, but neither the bike or tire will care.) Oh, and the reason for the flat doesn't matter. The cause, even if not addressed, will never flat the spare.

Then there is the touchy-feely aspect. Good tubulars are magic carpets. Until you have ridden a magic carpet, you just don't know. Same with tubulars. I won't try to describe it.

Edit: Weight. I raced 250 gm Setas glued to 290 gm rims laced to the hubs with 36 15-17 ga spokes. (There were lighter options on the tires that worked just as well depending on what tread you wanted. I rode the Maine International on 220 gm tires and a 260 gm front rim.) On poor New England roads, not all paved. Try beating that for rolling inertia with a modern clincher rim and tire.

Ben

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Old 03-22-19, 10:15 AM
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@SamSpade1941, 30 years ago, people said the same thing you're saying, that clinchers had improved so there wasn't much point in riding tubulars. So the argument for clinchers should be even greater now that they've improved so much. Still, some ride tubulars.

I think reduced weight of tires and rims is probably the biggest. Some say the feel of tubulars is best, and I'll bet the biggest contributor to that feel is weight.

Oddly enough, even though repairing a puncture is complicated, and even though mounting a tire properly is involved, changing a flat on the road is actually easier and faster. You don't need a lever. You just pull the tire off and put your spare on without using glue. At least that's what I did when I rode tubulars long ago. In theory, the risk of rolling a tire off is greater when you don't apply new glue is increased, but I never rolled a tire. If you change a front flat, you really should ride carefully.
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Old 03-22-19, 10:23 AM
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Plus, you get to accumulate a pile of flatted tubulars during the riding season that you plan to repair during the winter but then toss out en masse in December (speaking from personal experience).
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Old 03-22-19, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
Have you tried out the Vittoria Corsa G Graphene tubs yet? They ride really nice and FAST. I think they are normally priced at just above $100, but you can get them for as low as 88 bucks at Ebay. The Graphene composition really works! Now have them on two bikes and my present build will surely have them too.
the Corsa G's developed a big following very quickly because of the excellent performance you get from them and the reasonable pricing.
No, I haven't tried them, thanks for the suggestion!
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Old 03-22-19, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
Have you tried out the Vittoria Corsa G Graphene tubs yet? They ride really nice and FAST. I think they are normally priced at just above $100, but you can get them for as low as 88 bucks at Ebay. The Graphene composition really works! Now have them on two bikes and my present build will surely have them too.
the Corsa G's developed a big following very quickly because of the excellent performance you get from them and the reasonable pricing.
I picked up a pair of 23's for $109 for both, shipping included, from Wiggle last month. Can't wait to ride them.
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Old 03-22-19, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by VanRAH View Post

Greetings Guys; I got $.02 cents worth. If you're a small person OK even if you're a large person the reduced weight makes the bike Way more Responsive. And if ya do get a flat way faster to change than a wire on (some call them clinchers). Ya just carry a spare tire NO tire irons needed (less weight). You're carrying a spare tube, right? Now the second flat will be a bigger problem. The wire on guy has to patch a tube, the tubular guy has to cut, patch & sew, but how often do ya get 2 flats on the same ride? Take care Ole' Bob.
Agreed multiple flats are rare, but Mr./Ms. Tubular can carry two tubulars, or even more. I usually have a saddle or front bag with some tools, lunch, gloves, cuff clips, and ... well, whatever else, so a few more tires is not a big concern. In any case, cyclists need to become good at seeing where the glass is and riding around it.
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Old 03-22-19, 10:44 AM
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Reduced weight - less rotating mass on the largest diameter "flywheel" - and there are two on every bicycle.
The reduced weight comes from 1. No need for 4 steel hoops in the tires and their inertia 2. No need for 4 flanges on the rims and their inertia 3. The tires tended toward the thin and light end of the spectrum.
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