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Tubs vs. Cinchers- ride/suppleness

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Tubs vs. Cinchers- ride/suppleness

Old 01-13-23, 01:06 PM
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ehcoplex 
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Tubs vs. Cinchers- ride/suppleness

Discussion in another thread got me wondering… convenience, puncture resistance, weight/cost aside, anyone care to quantify-ish the differences in suppleness/ride? Aging joints & other issues (including terrible local road conditions- surface though, not necessarily broken glass/debris/thorns) demand a cushy ride for me. I’ve got a couple 650b conversions with 42c tires that are pretty great. But I’ve also got a racy frame with fairly tight clearances I’d like to build up and ride too. I’ve never ridden tubs before, but I’m curious. I’ve heard much about the ‘amazing ride quality’ of tubulars and I’m wondering if (all else being theoretically equal) what a width equivalent might be? Like, say, would a 28c tub at, say 80psi have the ‘plushiness’ of a 32c at 60psi (I’m kinda just arbitrarily pulling these #s..)? Basically wondering if going with tubs on a bike would let me get away with narrower tires, ride/comfort wise? (Plus give me yet another cycling thing to obsess, er, I mean experiment & learn about…)
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Old 01-13-23, 01:21 PM
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This is entirely subjective, but my experience is that tubular tires provide a level of comfort similar to what a much wider clincher tire would give.
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Old 01-13-23, 01:31 PM
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I prefer riding tubulars.

I prefer maintaining clinchers.

I have tubulars on my racey and CX bikes. Everything else is clinchers.
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Old 01-13-23, 01:36 PM
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A top-level supple tubeless tire will ride like a tubular of the same size and inflation level.
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Old 01-13-23, 01:51 PM
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The difference between clinchers and tubs is hard to quantify or put numbers on. And substantially bigger clinchers at lower pressure will feel "plushier". But for a restricted width, tubulars help a lot. And at lower pressures they are very forgiving. Pinch flatting, while it happens, doesn't always happen even when you hit the rim hard. (I put substantial dents in both rims in a 4 hour race that started 2 hours late when I pumped my tires to the minimum to not have a jarring ride over the 12 miles of poor road very late in that race. Latex tubed silk tires. Bike felt right-on perfect the whole race. Never thought once about the wheels. But I hit hard when I crossed the classic New England railroad tracks 1/3 mile before the finish! No flats and it didn't cost me a second in my race. The two additional hours before the race? Race official missed his flight and had to drive.)

And super low pressures can be ridden just fine if you don't care about the rims. I used to run CX tires in winter and just adjust pressure for traction needed. Ice? Almost nothing. True, rims were random polygons by spring but the tires didn't care. Low pressure tubs also never pull the tubeless stunt of burbing. You do however have to glue them better. (CX racers have to adhere to gluing standards we roadies don't have to sweat. But, do take gluing seriously. It hurts us a lot more when they peel off!)

For plush, tire quality mattters a lot, especially as you get to the narrower ones. I started back on tubulars last summer and had a hard time finding good tires below 25c that worked in my early '80s race bike. Put cheap Conti Giros, 21c on, mistakenly on very light, high quality rims. Enough pressure to feel good about the rims = too hard for comfort and lousy handling. I raced lighter rims and tires the same size back then. Same pressure. They were wonderful. Yes, real for road feedback but not abusive and handling was A1 sweet. My other bike has 28c Vittoria G+ tires that are that old sweet only they are plush! Maybe not quite 32c best clincher at lower pressure plush but a much nicer ride!

Splurge on the tubulars. But man up and buy really good ones. The comfort difference is real. And run strong rims so you can drop pressure if needed. The old shallow rims were also more comfortable. Lace 'em with light double butted spokes and more comfortable still. (Yeah, I know. There are experts here who will laugh me out of the bar.) I put 17,000 miles on Mavic GP4s laced with 15-17 spokes. Retired them only because the sidewalls were completely worn out. Like read newsprint through them gone. Rear collapsed bunny hopping a pothole. Bumped 8 miles home. Tire didn't care.

Edit: and as always, the real gift of tubulars - when you flat, at any speed, nothing happens. You just brake (you can use both wheels), stop, change or slime the tire and go on. Tire doesn't come off (with the usual caveat - did you glue it properly?). You are riding on rubber or at least fabric and rubber the whole time, not aluminum of carbon fiber. Nothing jams in forks or stays. Actually, even boring. I've done it at 45+. NBD. In fact, so NBS I do not remember where I did it, if I did it more than once or which wheel it was. Now, the one time I had a rear clincher come off at 25 mph, that was an incident I will NEVER forget!

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Old 01-13-23, 02:27 PM
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There is a lot of confusion as to why tubulars are superior to clinchers (tubeless or otherwise). And make no mistake - that tubulars are superior for every application from road to 'cross to track to MTB. Yes, tubular MTB tires are used at the elite competition levels of the sport, or at least on those teams that have good sponsors.

Look at the cross section of a tubular rim vs. clincher. Observe the two 'hooks' at the bottom of the clincher rim - which are required to hold the clincher tire on. These are fragile, heavy (at the worst place for mass on a bike) and are sharp and cause pinch flats. Tubular rims eliminate the need for the 'hooks' so all things being equal, the tubular rim is lighter, stronger and doesn't cause pinch flats. The tire is glued onto the rim with a few grams of high-strength glue.

There should be no difference between the 'ride quality' between a tubular and clincher tire, provided the tire construction and materials are basically the same. A minor difference is that tubular tires tend to feel a little larger than equivalently-sized clinchers. See the dead-space between the rim tracks on clinchers? The purpose of an inflated tire is to cushion the rider and protect the rim. The clincher 'dead space', or roughly 10% of the inflated tire volume does nothing in this respect.

So the main benefit to tubulars is the rim - not the tire, or the 'feel' whatever that is. All things being equal (materials, construction and strength) a tubular rim should be at least 100g per pair lighter than a clincher rim.

Another key tubular advantage: safety. This has been beat to death here. Have a sudden high-speed flat on a tubular?:.... manageable and controllable as the flat tire stays tight on the rim. The same flat on a clincher? Life threatening scary. If for no other reason, this is why I would ride tubulars.
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Old 01-13-23, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer
There is a lot of confusion as to why tubulars are superior to clinchers (tubeless or otherwise). And make no mistake - that tubulars are superior for every application from road to 'cross to track to MTB. Yes, tubular MTB tires are used at the elite competition levels of the sport, or at least on those teams that have good sponsors.

Look at the cross section of a tubular rim vs. clincher. Observe the two 'hooks' at the bottom of the clincher rim - which are required to hold the clincher tire on. These are fragile, heavy (at the worst place for mass on a bike) and are sharp and cause pinch flats. Tubular rims eliminate the need for the 'hooks' so all things being equal, the tubular rim is lighter, stronger and doesn't cause pinch flats. The tire is glued onto the rim with a few grams of high-strength glue.

There should be no difference between the 'ride quality' between a tubular and clincher tire, provided the tire construction and materials are basically the same. A minor difference is that tubular tires tend to feel a little larger than equivalently-sized clinchers. See the dead-space between the rim tracks on clinchers? The purpose of an inflated tire is to cushion the rider and protect the rim. The clincher 'dead space', or roughly 10% of the inflated tire volume does nothing in this respect.

So the main benefit to tubulars is the rim - not the tire, or the 'feel' whatever that is. All things being equal (materials, construction and strength) a tubular rim should be at least 100g per pair lighter than a clincher rim.

Another key tubular advantage: safety. This has been beat to death here. Have a sudden high-speed flat on a tubular?:.... manageable and controllable as the flat tire stays tight on the rim. The same flat on a clincher? Life threatening scary. If for no other reason, this is why I would ride tubulars.
I am confused because on another thread, you indicated you just bought a pair of Campagnolo Shamal Wheels, which are clincher only.

Something does not add up here.
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Old 01-13-23, 02:38 PM
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I had never ridden tubulars until a few years ago and, like you, was curious. I read Totally Tubular thread from beginning to end and gave it a try. I've converted all my bikes (except a bike friday) to tubulars which, I guess means, I like them a lot. My personal feeling about comfort is a clincher has to be at least 5mm wider to even compare in plushiness and even then, it is not the same. I'm 170lbs and ride 28mm tubulars at 55-60 psi front and rear around 65-72 (I don't pump every day). I can ride 33mm tubulars at lower pressure (35-45ish) than 38mm RH Steilacooms AND get a better ride, or so I've convinced myself.
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Old 01-13-23, 02:42 PM
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Clincher setups can feel heavy, I feel like a rocket on tubulars. However bad roads with plenty of glass just kills the good tires, and bangs up the rims.

I do like the mavic open Pro rims with Vitoria folding tires.
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Old 01-13-23, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by L134
My personal feeling about comfort is a clincher has to be at least 5mm wider to even compare in plushiness and even then, it is not the same.
Subjective, of course, but this is what I was looking for!

I'm starting to see a set of tubular wheels in my future... The original reason for inquiring is I've got an old Holdsworth Professional I'm building up now. I can just squeeze 700x35c tires into it, but it's pretty close. In my recent experience, with all the wonderful 'gifts' of aging (& crappy roads) I feel like 35c is about the narrowest I can be comfortable on, at least with clinchers. The Holdsworth will be my 'go-fast(ish)-on-the-slightly-less-crappy-local-roads-on-nice-days' bike, so if I could get a really nice ride on tubulars (& even lose a little weight, too), why not give 'em a try?
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Old 01-13-23, 04:31 PM
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When I first rode (good) tubulars, I went of the bike after a couple of seconds because it felt like I had a flat - so supple was the ride. I grew up with Hutchinson 18mm and 20mm Conti GP mind you.
a very good clincher with a latex inner tube comes close, but for me and you may call me an old fart nothing comes close to the ride experience on Veloflex Competition. I tried Dugast Seta, couldn't find an improvement but the replacement was double the money...
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Old 01-13-23, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by ehcoplex
Subjective, of course, but this is what I was looking for!

I'm starting to see a set of tubular wheels in my future... The original reason for inquiring is I've got an old Holdsworth Professional I'm building up now. I can just squeeze 700x35c tires into it, but it's pretty close. In my recent experience, with all the wonderful 'gifts' of aging (& crappy roads) I feel like 35c is about the narrowest I can be comfortable on, at least with clinchers. The Holdsworth will be my 'go-fast(ish)-on-the-slightly-less-crappy-local-roads-on-nice-days' bike, so if I could get a really nice ride on tubulars (& even lose a little weight, too), why not give 'em a try?
Stay open minded on this. This feedback is in no way representative of the actuality of what passionate and engaged cyclists are choosing. I would be surprised if more than 1% of miles ridden by sporting cyclists is on tubulars and that is for a reason, they are clearly not worth the hassle. Ride as stated previously, is indistinguishable between a supple tubeless tire and a tubular. Plus finding a 35c tubular road tire is challenging at best and in stock locally if you need a replacement impossible.
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Old 01-13-23, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
.....they are clearly not worth the hassle. .
Point taken, though there are many who would say that about C&V bikes on the whole!

This may end up just being a mental exercise anyway, as I'm already half way through building up a set of clincher wheels for the Holdsworth build. And I thought Rene Herse tires were $$$, but a quick search of good tubs indicates they're definitely no cheaper! Still, I'm curious, so I'll be keeping my eye out for a reasonable tubular wheelset nearby...
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Old 01-13-23, 05:32 PM
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Compared to a clincher of the same width, a QUALITY tubular will be more supple, handle better, be far more resistant to pinch flats, be far safer in the event of a flat at speed, and have lower rolling resistance ( no matter what the various tests show). I have no idea about tubeless. It always astounds me about the people who consider tubulars to be “ too much trouble” but gladly go through the satanic rituals required to set up and maintain a tubeless setup…..then there is the tubeless roadside repair kit, also known as a cell phone. Tubular tires exist despite the marketing might of an entire industry for one reason; there are performance advantages that they offer that are not equaled by any other setup. If you are tempted to try them, by all means do so and experience them first hand….just go all the way with quality tires and wheels as the cheap versions lose all of the advantages.
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Old 01-13-23, 05:59 PM
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Yes on Veloflex

Originally Posted by martl
When I first rode (good) tubulars, I went of the bike after a couple of seconds because it felt like I had a flat - so supple was the ride. I grew up with Hutchinson 18mm and 20mm Conti GP mind you.
a very good clincher with a latex inner tube comes close, but for me and you may call me an old fart nothing comes close to the ride experience on Veloflex Competition. I tried Dugast Seta, couldn't find an improvement but the replacement was double the money...
Merlincycles sells Veloflex's complete line. Pretty good pricing in all sizes.
Veloflex uses latex tubes, which makes for an exceptional ride.
Made in Italy and reminds me of my old Clement Criteriums from the seventies.
Tubs cost, over the course of usage, likely twice as much as clinchers, but we are so worth it, aren't we?
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Old 01-13-23, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by El Chaba
Compared to a clincher of the same width, a QUALITY tubular will be more supple, handle better, be far more resistant to pinch flats, be far safer in the event of a flat at speed, and have lower rolling resistance ( no matter what the various tests show). I have no idea about tubeless. It always astounds me about the people who consider tubulars to be “ too much trouble” but gladly go through the satanic rituals required to set up and maintain a tubeless setup…..then there is the tubeless roadside repair kit, also known as a cell phone. Tubular tires exist despite the marketing might of an entire industry for one reason; there are performance advantages that they offer that are not equaled by any other setup. If you are tempted to try them, by all means do so and experience them first hand….just go all the way with quality tires and wheels as the cheap versions lose all of the advantages.
Just ignore all the tests that show they are slower because I say so.
You have no idea about tubeless.
Glueing tubulars is not a time wasting PITA?
How do you repair your tubular on the side of the road, with a sewing kit?
Who is behind this big bike conspiracy against the superior tubular tire?
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Old 01-13-23, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by El Chaba
...It always astounds me about the people who consider tubulars to be “ too much trouble” but gladly go through the satanic rituals required to set up and maintain a tubeless setup…..then there is the tubeless roadside repair kit, also known as a cell phone.
No kidding! Tubulars are much more straight-forward, in my experience, although my experience may be the reason why I think so.

The by-now knee-jerk, automatic rejection of tubulars is based on out-of-date information. No more glue (well, maybe if you race cyclo-cross). Tape is as fast as tubed clincher mounting. Not to mention that removable valve cores allow for sealant, which will take care of most punctures. Sealant is a lot less messy when there is an inner tube to contain it!

I'm surprised by some of the negativity shown tubulars in this C&V forum thread, actually. I think riding sew-ups is a bit like playing vinyl records. We may be less than 1% of music listeners, but we're sure having fun!
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Old 01-13-23, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
Just ignore all the tests that show they are slower because I say so.
You have no idea about tubeless.
Glueing tubulars is not a time wasting PITA?
How do you repair your tubular on the side of the road, with a sewing kit?
Who is behind this big bike conspiracy against the superior tubular tire?
True I have no idea on tubeless.

Gluing isn't hard to do and doesn't take very long beyond waiting time when I simply do something else.

One of the reasons I commuted exclusively on tubulars for 25 years was that I could do 5 minute tire changes guarantee, not just on a good day. And I never re-flatted from the whatever I failed to remove. (I loved that I could do the change in the same time in the rain, snow and dark. Nothing that I had to get right. A completely lopsided mount would get me out of a shady neighborhood and home just fine. I could run over an open knife and that wouldn't affect the change time or its reliability. (Again, tubeless nooby - is that true with tubeless?)

No comment.
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Old 01-13-23, 10:19 PM
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Kids, kids, kids! I would refer back to the thread-starting post!
Now play nice!

Originally Posted by ehcoplex
Discussion in another thread got me wondering… convenience, puncture resistance, weight/cost aside, anyone care to quantify-ish the differences in suppleness/ride?
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Old 01-13-23, 10:45 PM
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If the true point of this thread is to discuss differences/sameness in ride/suppleness, my personal experience is that top range open tubulars/clinchers, blown to high pressures (like 130psi), feel and perform almost exactly like my hard-blown (140psi) tubular setup. The only real difference I can detect is that the tubulars seem to squish/rebound more noticeably when compared to the open tubular/clinchers. Most people would probably say that's a good thing, but not in my book; I like a planted rear end, and any pogo-like movement of the rear tire (not wheel, mind you) simply sucks away cornering confidence. It's just one reason I like high pressures; another benefit is less pinch flats.

Full disclosure: the clinchers I favor are 320tpi Vittoria Open Corsa Evo SC or CXs. Tubulars are currently Vittoria Corsa Control G 2.0s. The clinchers are generally 23s and the tubulars are 25s.

DD
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Old 01-14-23, 12:01 AM
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I've never gotten a pinch flat with any of my clincher tires.

I got all sorts of flats with tubular tires.

As soon as good quality clincher tires became available, I dropped the tubulars like a hot rock.

Every time I think about trying tubulars, I remember how piss poor they were. They were relatively easy to swap tires if you got a flat, but what if you get two. Repairing tubulars is not difficult but it does take care and a lot of time. Especially so for the re-stitching of the casing to ensure it does not bulge in or out.

OP: tubulars, on bad road conditions? Uh,... no thanks.

Buy yourself a set of GREAT clinchers from Challenge or Rene Herse or whomever. You'll be a LOT happier overall.
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Old 01-14-23, 12:23 AM
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The "all else being theoretically equal" part of this can be pretty elusive, but I've got a reasonably close estimate for you.

Here's my De Rosa with tubulars -- 700x28 Vittoria Corsa G's on Campagnolo Epsilon rims:



I don't have any pictures, so maybe this didn't happen, but I've got another set of wheels with 700x28 Vittoria Corsa G clinchers on H Plus Son TB14 rims that I've used with that same bike. Both wheelsets have Campy Record hubs. The only differences are the rims and the tubulars versus clinchers from the same manufacturers with the same tread compound and size. Honestly, I really don't think I could tell the difference between these two set ups. The clincher rims are considerably heavier, and maybe I could feel that. I'm not disputing how wonderful the tubulars are. I'm just saying that a really high quality clincher like the Corsa G is also wonderful.

I have a theory that part of the reputation tubulars has comes from the fact that historically most clinchers were kind of crap and most tubulars were pretty good. I could be wrong.

You can also run tubulars at lower pressure without fear of pinch flatting. That's a really big deal in cyclocross where low pressure gets you a lot of extra traction. On the road, it's much less of a win.
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Old 01-14-23, 12:23 AM
  #23  
3alarmer 
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...I have probably ten sets of tubular rim wheels that are sitting over in a corner, under a tarp. Every now and then, if I need a set of really nice hubs to build wheels for a project, I cut the spokes out of one, and use the hubs. I have ridden tubular tires in the past, and there was certainly a time when it was difficult to get clincher rims and tires that came anywhere close in performance. But that was many years ago.

The advantages of both modern box section rims and advanced high pressure tire technology in the clincher design convinced me to switch over some years back. I would rather be beaten with a softball bat than deal with tubular tires again. But that's just me. I understand that with the advent of modern sealants, tubular tires are much more easily maintained. But I'm probably not going to try that, because I have reasonable ride quality with the clincher rims and tires I use now. I'm certainly not a racer, so that's not an issue for me. I'm just in it for the outdoor exercise and watching the miles go past.

Also. maybe I'm riding on better roads than you describe.
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Old 01-14-23, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
I am confused because on another thread, you indicated you just bought a pair of Campagnolo Shamal Wheels, which are clincher only.

Something does not add up here.
The thing not adding up is your recollection. I have in my current possession a pair of Shamals, and they most definitely have deep sew-up rims.
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Old 01-14-23, 06:42 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
I would be surprised if more than 1% of miles ridden by sporting cyclists is on tubulars ...
But, but, but - I thought everyone wanted to be part of the 1%. Now you can and it is so easy.

OP is curious. Obviously some like and some don't. Only way for OP to find out which camp he is in is to try. What's the harm?
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