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Tubulars - should I or shouldn't I?

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View Poll Results: Are tubulars worth the extra hassle?
YES - they are a significant gain and worth the extra work
55.88%
NO - modern clinchers are good enugh to make any gains marginal
44.12%
Voters: 68. You may not vote on this poll

Tubulars - should I or shouldn't I?

Old 12-09-10, 08:21 PM
  #101  
Grand Bois
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Originally Posted by Mike Mills View Post
Huh? Tires have a circular cross section. I use the diameter of the tire to characterize that cross section. This is standard nomenclature and is technically accurate.
This is not standard nomenclature. If you want to make yourself understood, use width.
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Old 12-09-10, 10:19 PM
  #102  
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Originally Posted by Old Fat Guy View Post
Is this the Ann Arbor that is located in MI and the bike lanes are more commonly referred to as debris fields?
Yes, the one in which I live the charmed cycling life I deserve. Can't explain it, I just haven't had many flats. I also stay out of the BOLs for the most part.
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Old 12-09-10, 10:58 PM
  #103  
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
This is not standard nomenclature. If you want to make yourself understood, use width.
Circles are characterized by diameter. Width is for rectangles. Want to argue any further about this trivia, GB? You crack me up.
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Old 12-09-10, 11:05 PM
  #104  
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
Being of a technical mind, you can appreciate that there are two diameters: the one that includes the axle of the wheel (around 680 mm), and the one you speak of. The diameter of the tire cross-sectional circle (only true for a tubular) is commonly called the width.
I hope you did not think for even a second that a diameter of approximately an inch referred to anything other than the tire. For, indeed, a 1" diameter wheel would be quite small.
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Old 09-14-11, 02:17 AM
  #105  
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I got some tubulars since, as someone mentioned above, the wheels (unbranded carbon with shimano hubs in my case) are cheaper on ebay. Tubular tyres tend to be lighter and I thought that if I am going for light I might as well go the whole way.

The ride (on 1450 gramm the pair Carbon wheels and Tufo S3 Lite <215 gram tubulars) was really great. I felt like, and I may really have got, a 10% improvement in speed over Mavic Aksium (?) clinchers with middling tyres. Then I got a flat and realised that the tyres, that came free with the wheels, are pretty near impossible to repair and 60USD each plus glue. It was my fault. I did not have them pumped up enough due to valve problems.

My excuse....The previous owner had not used extenders that go inside the valve but the screw on top type of extender (to save 1-2 grams per wheel perhaps, since the screw-on-top type of extender can be removed during the ride?). I found the screw on top type of extender was as likely to unscrew the inner part of the valve rather than remove itself, the extender. So I did not check pressure as much as I should have and picked up a piece of glass. The Tufos can be pumped to 15 bar. I bet that puncture will be unlikely at above 12 bar in Japan (where there is less glass on the road, I think). I am ordering another Tufo tyre. Tufo tyres are tubless, or they are the tube with tread.
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Old 09-14-11, 03:47 AM
  #106  
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If like you I had a nice wheel-set for tubulars, I'd not hesitate to try the tubulars. I've got five roadie wheel-sets. Three of them are tubular types. All the tubular sets were acquired on the basis of two things — (a) they were affordable and easy to come by, (b) they helped keep the weight down to the limits I set on my builds. In terms of weight, my Simplon SS could afford the less expensive new wheel-set and heavier clincher tire combo in the weight budget.

I buy the cheaper Vittorio Ralleys. They are hell to mount straight, but they have a Kevlar belt, and I have never had a flat with them. But, they don't fold worth a damn for strapping a spare under the saddle. In compensation, they wear well.

Ironically, the biggest hassle I've had was on a pair of Conti clinchers. I inflated them towards the max allowed, mounted up and set off towards the area where the tsunmi hit last march. Not far from the sea, I confronted about 200 metres of gravel road — a place where the surface had been damaged. "Well" I said to myself, "be gentle and stay mounted ... yer on clinchers today!" PHEEEEEEEEEW! Pinch flat. Like a fool I had started out — just jumped and rode away with no spoons or patch kit tucked under the saddle. No taxi fare. Phoned my wife, but she was working. It was a long walk back home in Shimano plastic shod shoes ... and very dark by the time I got to the bike shed.
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Old 09-14-11, 07:37 AM
  #107  
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Of course tubulars have an advantage. Why else would they continue to use them in pro racing?
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Old 09-14-11, 09:30 AM
  #108  
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Originally Posted by OLDYELLR View Post
Of course tubulars have an advantage. Why else would they continue to use them in pro racing?
If the racing organizations outlawed the use of a support vehicle which provides the riders with a whole new WHEEL when they flat, tubuars would probably disappear overnight from racing. Since I do not have a support van following me around,...
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Old 09-14-11, 09:36 AM
  #109  
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At least a couple of Euro pro XCO MTBers are running tubulars and they typically only have one "pit" area per lap.

As long as I have a preglued spare with me then lack of support vehicle doesn't worry me much when I ride my tubulars. Long, lonely solo century I might pack two spares. Road racing with tubulars without support would be rough, however.

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Old 09-14-11, 12:32 PM
  #110  
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When I used to ride tubulars, I also rode with a spare. The thing is, I never consider leaving home without a patch kit, too, especially if I were planning a 100 mile ride. Imaginge being 50 miles from home, out on a lonely road, and you get your last spare goes flat.
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Old 09-14-11, 12:39 PM
  #111  
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I keep picking up extra tubular wheelsets I don't need. I only have two racing bikes appropriate for tubulars, but I must have close to 20 tubular wheels/rims. A few weeks ago I picked up a set of HF Normany Luxe Competition hubs laced to Mavic Monthlery rims with airtight vintage Clements tires. For $30, how could I resist driving 1.5 hours for wheels I don't need? As long as people keep trying to practically give away their tubular wheelsets, I'll find an excuse to use them. I need help.
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Old 09-14-11, 01:06 PM
  #112  
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Originally Posted by Mike Mills View Post
If the racing organizations outlawed the use of a support vehicle which provides the riders with a whole new WHEEL when they flat, tubuars would probably disappear overnight from racing. Since I do not have a support van following me around,...
I'm lost - are you saying clinchers don't flat? Or that changing out a clincher flat is quicker than changing a tubular flat?
(just an FYI - neither is correct)
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Old 09-14-11, 02:22 PM
  #113  
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Originally Posted by Ex Pres View Post
I'm lost ...

Keep thinking about it. You'll figure it out.
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Old 09-14-11, 02:47 PM
  #114  
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I have been riding since 1972 and most of my miles are on tubulars. My experince with tubulars is that they flat towards the end of their tread life so I simply discard them. The times I have flatted on sew-ups with good amt of rubber was on wet roads. I think this has to do with the water allowing the road debris to adhere to the tire for a 2nd or even 3rd revolution and then work its way through the tire casing.
I too, use TireAlert to repair my tires as they replace the entire tube and sew on a brand new basetape so that the bond from tire to rim is as good as new. I too find that repairing tubulars SUCKS and the base tape cannot be reattached as well as before it was separated from the casing in order to break the stitches.
The only bike in my stable that uses clinchers is my Madone. I have far more problems with pinch flats and flats right after installing the tube. I use Pro race 3 and while they are a good clincher they don't wear as well as my Veloflex Criteriums or my Conti Comps. They don't corner anywhere near as well either but I cant be sure since I don't yet have a tubular wheelset for the Trek.
Lastly, I feel that the main reason tubulars provide a supple ride is that the X-section of the tire is round and thus conforms to the irregularities of the road better and that the box section of my Reflex rims is more radially compliant due to not having 2 hook-bead metal flanges extending from that box section rim.
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Old 09-14-11, 03:16 PM
  #115  
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It's something you've just got to try before you die! I love riding on tubs.
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Old 09-14-11, 03:24 PM
  #116  
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Originally Posted by Mike Mills View Post
Keep thinking about it. You'll figure it out.
I think Mike's point is that, although you could change a tubular faster, you'd then have to ride cautiously since the spare tire wouldn't be securely glued. However, in this hypothetical situation, a domestique would simply give up his wheel in that case. Regardless, support vehicles aren't going away.
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Old 09-14-11, 05:32 PM
  #117  
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My relatively bleak review of tubular tire reliability derives from years of riding on them on New York City and southern California streets. When I switched from tubulars to the modern clincher tires:

1. For the most part, flat tires became a thing of the past.

2. Repairing a flat tire became much, much, much simpler and faster.

Now, don't get me (too) wrong. I loved the tubular tire ride quality. So much so that, even though I could not afford them, I used them for years. That's right, there were times when all my tires were flatted and unrepairable and I could not afford to buy a new one, so I could not ride my bike. <--!!!!

Furthermore, I have a set of hubs in my garage awaiting build-up into tubular tire rims.
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