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Why are tubular wheels so narrow?

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Why are tubular wheels so narrow?

Old 01-17-22, 04:14 PM
  #51  
Branko D
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The funny bit is that aero rims help the pros in a road race in sprints and breakaways but riding in the peloton the wheel aerodynamics do very little. If you do most of your riding without a peloton dragging you along, you are getting a benefit the whole time.
​​​​​​
Helps when I get dropped from the first group in gran fondos and have to take turns at the front of some ad hoc group of stragglers 😒

​​​​​Anyway, I just don't see much of a downside to running a mid depth - let's say 45mm - CF wheel with 25mm tubeless tires. No issues in wind and plenty comfortable at reasonable pressures (that said, infrastructure is not a dirty word around here, and I keep at a reasonable cyclist weight).
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Old 01-17-22, 04:17 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Branko D
The funny bit is that aero rims help the pros in a road race in sprints and breakaways but riding in the peloton the wheel aerodynamics do very little.
Josh Poertner has spoken often about how much energy aero wheels save sitting in a peloton and how significant that can be at the end of a race.
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Old 01-24-22, 07:45 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001
I'm not trying to take the fun out of it. I've just been around this stuff too long - at races. The strong guys with good engines win. They win so many times despite the equipment they're on. In the context of TT's by all means enjoy discussing the nuances of marginal gains.
You don't have to be into TTs; you just need to be into solo riding and maximising efficiency. My 1080g (330g rims) 49mm tubs make my bike go like an absolute weapon.

Modern bulging profile, iirc 24-25mm, 23/25 Corsas. Light & aero FTW.
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Old 01-24-22, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval
After about 5 seconds you completely don't notice it.
Every time I jump on my bike, I'm stoked I spent over $2k on wheels and tyres.
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Old 01-26-22, 05:12 AM
  #55  
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At this point I don't understand why recreational cyclists bother with tubular.

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Old 01-26-22, 10:45 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by bruce19
At this point I don't understand why recreational cyclists bother with tubular.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NGnKMvZ5Ig&t=59s

They don't, and they also don't bother with which tire is fastest- they're out there pushing 30mm watt-hogs.
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Old 01-26-22, 11:50 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by woodcraft
They don't, and they also don't bother with which tire is fastest- they're out there pushing 30mm watt-hogs.
I actually have friends (ex-racers) who still ride tubs. But, generally I agree with your point. One of them just bought a Rose bike and I think I have him convinced that he needs to go tubeless.
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Old 01-26-22, 11:55 PM
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I'm a recreational cyclist, and I rock tubulars because I love riding the best bike I can build.
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Old 02-04-22, 12:56 PM
  #59  
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If I had a sponsor / personal mechanic / unlimited tire-budget I would, for sure, ride tubulars. I used to ride them and repair them (huge PITA!) exclusively in the late 80's.. back when every single beverage was sold in a glass bottle or can no plastic, flats were even more common then. Nothing feels quite like a nice tubular set-up. I borrowed a buddy's bike a few years ago and it reminded me..
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Old 02-04-22, 01:28 PM
  #60  
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Why are wheels that are NOT tubular so wide ?
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Old 02-04-22, 02:39 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by TPL
Why are wheels that are NOT tubular so wide ?
Wired-on tires rely on the sidewall to hold the tire in place. A wide wired-on tire on a narrow rim puts more stress on the sidewall than the same tire on a wider rim. Tubular wheels to not rely on the sidewalls for tire retention and are not subject to this concern.
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Old 02-05-22, 01:20 PM
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Lots of good and bad info in this thread. Back in the day I used to ride those skinny tubs. Resisted clinchers for the longest of time. Now that I am no longer competitive I ride 28mm (who would have thunk) tubeless. There are still very good uses for tubs, in addition to nostalgia, but they are getting fewer.
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Old 06-18-23, 09:26 AM
  #63  
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Hi Sir, I would need your assistance please.

My dad has two vintage bikes that I wish to use but the tires are worn. They both have been using 700 X 20 Tubular however the best I can currently find in Singapore is 700 X 23. Could you tell me how can I measure or find out if the rims can allow 23 inch Tubular tyres?

thanks in advance for your time.

Originally Posted by Psimet2001
Kind of offended noone tagged me in this. I still design and build molds for and sell tubular wheels.

No.

Not all tubulars are narrow. Its just that at one point in time we used to race on tubulars for road. That was at a time when we also used 20-23mm tires. People stopped buying tubulars for the road around the time that 23mm rims started coming in to fashion.

I have had 23mm tubular rims as well as 25mm tubular rims. So....seems like you're buying old used stock from road racing.

Aero - yeah it's not holding you back. The same guy that wins on a 25mm wide tubular is the same guy that's winning on a 20mm wide tubular The aero isn't hurting him unless its a pro world tour tt.
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Old 06-19-23, 09:51 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by Shaym
Hi Sir, I would need your assistance please.

My dad has two vintage bikes that I wish to use but the tires are worn. They both have been using 700 X 20 Tubular however the best I can currently find in Singapore is 700 X 23. Could you tell me how can I measure or find out if the rims can allow 23 inch Tubular tyres?

thanks in advance for your time.
Your rims will fit 700x23 tires.
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Old 06-19-23, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Shaym
My dad has two vintage bikes that I wish to use but the tires are worn. They both have been using 700 X 20 Tubular however the best I can currently find in Singapore is 700 X 23. Could you tell me how can I measure or find out if the rims can allow 23 inch Tubular tyres?
Tubular rims can accommodate any width tire, since the rim sidewalls have no role in retaining the tire.
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Old 06-19-23, 11:11 PM
  #66  
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I wonder if on Agricultural forums people are still arguing Oxen vs Tractor?
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Old 06-20-23, 02:17 AM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval
Not only have I pinch-flatted a tubular, but I've also cracked three rims from impacts on potholes and train tracks, and that was riding them at appropriate pressure.
So, yeah.
And I rode HED Stinger 60s in CX and absolutely thrashed them in gravel for 6-7 years over gawd knows what and I was around 190 - 200lb then - so. yeah there is that as well. ANYONE can have bad days, same as when one person has great luck with certain tires and another will not.
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Old 06-20-23, 05:36 AM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval
Aero wheels are faster in criteriums, even if they're heavier. It's just physics, and that's what actually matters in books and real life.
This analysis from Swiss Side sums it up well, comparing the effects of aero vs lightweight wheels on climb, TT and Criterium courses. The conclusions are very clear and yet often disputed on BF.

Extract from link:-

In terms of importance there is a clear ranking:

Aerodynamics. (First order effect).
Weight. (Second order effect).
Rotating Weight. (Third order).

https://www.swissside.com/blogs/news/aero-vs-weight
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Old 06-20-23, 05:56 AM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
This analysis from Swiss Side sums it up well, comparing the effects of aero vs lightweight wheels on climb, TT and Criterium courses. The conclusions are very clear and yet often disputed on BF.
Interesting. That's very similar to an analysis Kraig Willett posted nearly 30 years ago with the same conclusions (as far as I can tell, it's no longer available). Though his analysis wasn't quite as sophisticated, he also had ride data confirming his results.
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Old 06-20-23, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Branko D

​​​​​Anyway, I just don't see much of a downside to running a mid depth - let's say 45mm - CF wheel with 25mm tubeless tires. No issues in wind and plenty comfortable at reasonable pressures (that said, infrastructure is not a dirty word around here, and I keep at a reasonable cyclist weight).
You can extrapolate that out to at least 30 mm tubeless with very little downside. They are even more comfortable on rougher roads and the lower pressure makes the sealant more effective. Over the last few years I've gone from 25 to 28 and currently running 30 mm wide tyres without any significant loss in speed.
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Old 06-20-23, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by asgelle
Interesting. That's very similar to an analysis Kraig Willett posted nearly 30 years ago with the same conclusions (as far as I can tell, it's no longer available). Though his analysis wasn't quite as sophisticated, he also had ride data confirming his results.
The underlying physics is pretty simple. Swiss Side just crunched the numbers over various course profiles. When this was being argued to death in a previous thread I made my own simple spreadsheet to calculate the power required to accelerate a wheel. Even in a full bore sprint acceleration, it's only a handful of Watts difference between aero and lightweight wheels. This shows clearly in Swiss Side's course analysis too. Yet rider perception is often way out of proportion to the reality of the stopwatch.

Edit: I guess this is the Kraig Willett analysis you mentioned:-

https://capovelo.com/ounce-off-wheel...eight-crucial/

Same physics, same conclusions. It is what it is, regardless of individual perceptions.

Last edited by PeteHski; 06-20-23 at 06:34 AM.
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Old 06-20-23, 08:26 AM
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For folks who pinch flat and/or crack rims - over small bumps 'at appropriate tire pressure', by definition = need to re-evaluate 'at appropriate tire pressure'.
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Old 06-20-23, 08:47 AM
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Because they s*ck. Kidding, you're probably checking used / old stuff. They make wider ones.
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Old 06-20-23, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by TPL
Why are wheels that are NOT tubular so wide ?
Finally: a post that gets the core of the issue. Tubulars do not have to be as wide - useful air volume is the key. Tubulars, for the same nominal size have more useful air volume, as with clinchers, the space between the rim walls does nothing to protect the rim or cushion the ride. But the most important advantage of tubulars is that they are almost impossible to pinch flat, due to the smoother rim profile. Clinchers in contrast, have the 2 pointy hooks pointing downwards that are fragile, heavy at the worst possible place on a bike, and cause pinch flats.

So you can run tubulars at almost any pressure and not have the issues of pinch flats, rim damage. Or at very high pressures, the rim walls splitting apart and everything exploding.

So the real issue here is that clinchers HAVE to be wide with high volumes because they are susceptible to pinch flats, and the 2 hooks are susceptible to impact damage. Of course, wide rims and tires are heavy, have high rolling resistance and high aero drag.

Tubulars for the win all round.
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Old 06-20-23, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer
Finally: a post that gets the core of the issue. Tubulars do not have to be as wide - useful air volume is the key. Tubulars, for the same nominal size have more useful air volume, as with clinchers, the space between the rim walls does nothing to protect the rim or cushion the ride. But the most important advantage of tubulars is that they are almost impossible to pinch flat, due to the smoother rim profile. Clinchers in contrast, have the 2 pointy hooks pointing downwards that are fragile, heavy at the worst possible place on a bike, and cause pinch flats.

So you can run tubulars at almost any pressure and not have the issues of pinch flats, rim damage. Or at very high pressures, the rim walls splitting apart and everything exploding.

So the real issue here is that clinchers HAVE to be wide with high volumes because they are susceptible to pinch flats, and the 2 hooks are susceptible to impact damage. Of course, wide rims and tires are heavy, have high rolling resistance and high aero drag.

Tubulars for the win all round.


Hate to break it to you, but tubulars have already lost a while ago.

Last edited by Atlas Shrugged; 06-20-23 at 01:22 PM.
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