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Options for modern tubulars?

Old 09-05-22, 07:01 PM
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polymorphself 
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Options for modern tubulars?

Swooped up a $100 1986 Univega Super Strada in immaculate condition for a friend. She just wanted a bike to ride around town and exercise with. While she didn't need this much bike it was hard to pass up for the price, especially compared to some of the other options we were looking at.

One thing I didn't think about was the fact that these are tubular rims and tires. I've never had a bike with tubulars nor changed a pair. Is this going to be a big pain for my friend? I don't want to have to swap out wheel sets.

Are there tubulars to be had that are a little on the wider side (25-28 maybe) with tan sidewalls? How difficult are these to mount compared to clinchers? The ones on there currently look to be the originals and the tread is perfect but the sidewalls pretty dried out.

Last edited by polymorphself; 09-05-22 at 07:16 PM.
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Old 09-05-22, 07:12 PM
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Tubulars are only costly when replacing as they are self contained tyres. But there are some available for around $35 that are very serviceable and easy to ride. Tubulars have been around since the beginning of the industry and should not be looked down on. They are really easy to maintain and need only minor care. Smiles, MH
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Old 09-05-22, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Mad Honk View Post
But there are some available for around $35 that are very serviceable and easy to ride.
Hm, I'm not finding these online
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Old 09-05-22, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Mad Honk View Post
But there are some available for around $35 that are very serviceable and easy to ride.
On the wider side, 25-28mm??? Skinny hard ones for sure can be found on the cheap. But is there a "cheap" wide tubular? I don't mind spending way too much on tires, but I am curious to know something for a few less bucks.

For the OP, the spendy ones I buy are Veloflex, FMB and Dugast. If you are patient, you can find them at $60-$75 each, retail is in the $80-$110 range. Sometimes I have gotten really lucky at bike swaps and got then for even less.
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Old 09-05-22, 07:38 PM
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Sounds like I might have screwed over my friends budget

Also, watching videos on how to mount these and she's gonna think I'm crazy when I tell her she has to let the glue dry for 24 hours as well as stretch the tire overnight.

Bummer thing is if I had really thought about it I would have known these came with tubulars, but it was a quick purchase.
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Old 09-05-22, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by polymorphself View Post
Sounds like I might have screwed over my friends budget

Also, watching videos on how to mount these and she's gonna think I'm crazy when I tell her she has to let the glue dry for 24 hours as well as stretch the tire overnight.

Bummer thing is if I had really thought about it I would have known these came with tubulars, but it was a quick purchase.
Can she fix a flat for a conventional clincher? I don't know many people who can, especially those who would ask me to find a bike for them.
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Old 09-05-22, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by polymorphself View Post
Swooped up a $100 1986 Univega Super Strada in immaculate condition for a friend. She just wanted a bike to ride around town and exercise with.
I do use tubulars now and then, mostly for the nostalgia factor. "just ride around town" is more suitable for clinchers.

Originally Posted by polymorphself View Post
I've never had a bike with tubulars nor changed a pair. Is this going to be a big pain for my friend? ....... How difficult are these to mount compared to clinchers? .....
yeah.. this is not something to be handing to your unsuspecting friend.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 09-05-22, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
Can she fix a flat for a conventional clincher? I don't know many people who can, especially those who would ask me to find a bike for them.
Nope, she can't.

From what I know though these do tend to last much longer than clinchers in the flat department and the ride is theoretically more supple. Both bonuses.
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Old 09-05-22, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by polymorphself View Post
Nope, she can't.
Then it doesn't matter if they are tubulars or clinchers, she'll either be bringing it to a bike shop or sending you a text when she's miles away and you're relaxing with a beer
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Old 09-05-22, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
Then it doesn't matter if they are tubulars or clinchers, she'll either be bringing it to a bike shop or sending you a text when she's miles away and you're relaxing with a beer
Haha fair! But she was planning to learn. So I suppose she can just learn with tubulars.

Found the stickied tubular thread and going through that.
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Old 09-05-22, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by polymorphself View Post
Haha fair! But she was planning to learn. So I suppose she can just learn with tubulars.

Found the stickied tubular thread and going through that.
She may prefer repairing a tubular. I had tubulars when I was in my teens and loved the process. I only switched because that's what everyone was doing in the late 70's. Lately I have been having a hard time with modern clinchers, they seem to be harder to get on and off the rim than the older tires. I have 3 sets of tubular rims that I will put back in service soon
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Old 09-05-22, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
She may prefer repairing a tubular. I had tubulars when I was in my teens and loved the process. I only switched because that's what everyone was doing in the late 70's. Lately I have been having a hard time with modern clinchers, they seem to be harder to get on and off the rim than the older tires. I have 3 sets of tubular rims that I will put back in service soon
Like most here I've changed more clinchers than I can count and still struggle sometimes. Watching some tubular mounting videos and it does seem fairly straight forward and easy to mount. I suppose just not having it be instant as you have to wait for them to dry is the downside.
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Old 09-05-22, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by polymorphself View Post
I suppose just not having it be instant as you have to wait for them to dry is the downside.
Right, just like when a female polishes her fingernails

edit...was that sexist?

Last edited by branko_76; 09-05-22 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 09-05-22, 08:33 PM
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When she’s riding solo and flats, it will be nice when a tubeless or clincher riding knight in shining armor can rescue her by putting in a new tube. But the I suppose she can Uber to your place.
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Old 09-05-22, 08:43 PM
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You will pay more for the wider sewups. 25s are becoming common now. Note that it can take 3 layers of glue to the rim and perhaps 2 to the tire’s basetape to secure the sewup. Suggest watching a gluing video. Believe Continental may have one.
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Old 09-05-22, 08:44 PM
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I think it is a big mistake to hand her a bike with tubulars.

At the very least, you have to discuss this with her, as it affects her repair options.

Fixing a flat while out on the road means replacing the flatted tire - easy to do if she has a spare with her (mandatory!). Once home, repairing the flat is MUCH more difficult and time consuming. Replacing a damaged tire tends to be pricier, too.
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Old 09-05-22, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
Then it doesn't matter if they are tubulars or clinchers, she'll either be bringing it to a bike shop or sending you a text when she's miles away and you're relaxing with a beer
if she takes it to a bike shop, it's likely that they'll just look at it weird and say she needs to buy a new wheel.
Honestly, I don't think that many shops would even recognize a tubular, would they??

I don't think the OP will win any points by saddling her with the oldest and most arcane tire technology that is still (barely) sold.

Steve in Peoria (a fan of old and arcane technologies)
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Old 09-05-22, 10:33 PM
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Tubulars are for hard-core aficionados, not casual noobs.
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Old 09-06-22, 02:05 AM
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Tubulars don’t hold pressure very long (a day or two for latex and maybe a week or so for butyl) so the ritual of pumping up the tires almost every time before she rides could be discouraging.
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Old 09-06-22, 03:13 AM
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How To Discourage Someone From Getting Into Cycling

I've been riding sewups since 1974! At our shop in the 70's at least 20% of the bikes we sold were equipped with sewups (tubular tires) so I'm not a newbie at this.

When helping someone get into cycling, think of the MISS method: MAKE IT SIMPLE STUPID!

To digress, from the bike boom until the late 70's there were a lot of vanity bike purchases... On any given Saturday someone would walk into a bike shop and ask for the best bike they had (the vanity part). Most top quality bikes back then were racing models and came with sewups.

Never mind that the vanity model wasn't the correct size nor was it properly adjusted to fit the customer. Two or three flats later and a sore butt from an improper saddle and the bike ended up in the garage or basement for the next 25 to 40 years! Jump ahead to downsizing time and the significant other walks up to the bike that they've been hating for all those years and points "GET RID OF THAT THING"! That's one reason why so many classic bikes show up in the market.

Location, location, location! The southwest quadrant of the US is home to "goatheads" the bane of cyclists, dogs and walking barefoot in the grass.



I think that a lot of BF members don't consider issues like this when they make recommendations!

The TWO things that discourage new cyclists most are flats and an uncomfortable seat.

My recommendation is 1. get a set of alloy rim 700c clinchers for her bike and 2. get her a saddle designed for women. Hint, the best advice comes from other women as most don't want to talk about "Down There" issues.

Good luck...

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Old 09-06-22, 03:40 AM
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Originally Posted by polymorphself View Post
Hm, I'm not finding these online
Tufo is generally the cheapest tubies, they ride like chit but they're inexpensive and last a long time
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Old 09-06-22, 04:37 AM
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I don't know if they are available in the States, but here in Germany, Vittoria Rally, Challenge Elite Pro and Tufo S33 Pro are the cheapest tubulars, the first 2 cost around EUR30,- and come in 25mm the Tufo is 22mm only and cost EUR34~ish ( which now is roughly happen to be USD30-35.
I have no experience with any, as I'm yet to buy the Challenge one for a budget build at some time.
I agree to others who pointed out, if still possible, clinchers are the go for starters, although it is also a fair point, if even bike washing will be done by LBS, then don't matter that much (minus the "inflate more often" point).

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Old 09-06-22, 05:20 AM
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Tufo Sewups

Originally Posted by Germany_chris View Post
Tufo is generally the cheapest tubies, they ride like chit but they're inexpensive and last a long time
Originally Posted by Lattz View Post
I don't know if they are available in the States, but here in Germany, Vittoria Rally, Challenge Elite Pro and Tufo S33 Pro are the cheapest tubulars, the first 2 cost around EUR30,- and come in 25mm the Tufo is 22mm only and cost EUR34~ish ( which now is roughly happen to be USD30-35.
I have no experience with any, as I'm yet to buy the Challenge one for a budget build at some time.
I agree to others who pointed out, if still possible, clinchers are the go for starters, although it is also a fair point, if even bike washing will be done by LBS, then don't matter that much (minus the "inflate more often" point).
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Tufo tires run about $50-$60+ USD here in the states. I was running an experiment with Tufo sewups and several of my bikes. I used them in areas where there were a lot of goathead thorns. I wanted to see how they compared to clinchers when the Tufos were filled with their sealant. Their tape is the best for mounting sewups.

Iv'e been using Tufo HiĖComposite Carbon tires in 25mm and 28mm.

I haven't been able to finish my experiment because I haven't been riding for a while so I don't have an answer.

BTW, goatheads are native to southwest Asia and grow best in dry sandy soil. You frequently run across a bunch of them!



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Old 09-06-22, 05:26 AM
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I would think you could get her a new set of clincher rims and tires with tubes for not much more money than a set of tubulars. It will certainly be even cheaper if a shop installs the tubulars.
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Old 09-06-22, 05:42 AM
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@polymorphself - Sewups for a newbe rider are a bit too much, IMHO, unless they are very enthusiastic about both riding and maintaining. The fleet in my garage are quickly becoming sewup dominant. When a flat occurs, it is a fast change.
At the same time, having an extra wheel set with clinchers is a good option. That is the other half for consideration. No shame in running clinchers on a fine bike. Lots of riders do the switch and then poo poo sewups. Unnecessary waste of emotional energy.
WRT the ride quality, a newbe isn't necessarily going to notice a difference, especially commuting.
Do clinchers get more flats? I don't think it matters much; one is not necessarily more prone to flats than another when a nearly one of one comparison is made.

Don't own the decision, let her know what the options are and the pros/cons of each. Part of riding a bike are the experiences on every level.
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