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Are tubulars worth the hassle?

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Are tubulars worth the hassle?

Old 03-04-07, 06:34 AM
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Are tubulars worth the hassle?

I am considering getting a new wheelset in the near future and may go with tubulars. I have never used them or mounted them so I am a little nervous about making the switch. However, in order to save 400 grams in wheel weight I am pretty sure it will be worth it.

So, to those of you that have been using them for a while. How difficult are they to mount and do you feel that the extra work is worth it?
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Old 03-04-07, 06:46 AM
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Not that difficult and in fact I think it is easier than clinchers though it does take more time to get all of the gluing done properly (you could bail on the gluing and go with tape and then it is just faster).

Things like pre stretching the tires do make a big difference (probably would on a clincher too if you could do it). The ride feel is great and the weight savings is VERY evident. I have been running them for a year and not had a flat yet.
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Old 03-04-07, 06:59 AM
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Hassle?

You put them on once and take'em off when they wear out.

Add some air once in a while.

And yes. Pre stretching the tires do make a big difference.
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Old 03-04-07, 07:55 AM
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Stretching is key. Put the tire on the rim WITHOUT glue. Let then sit that way at full pressure for at least a day.

The best glue to use is 3M High-Tack Trim Adhesive. This is avaialble at most automotive parts stores. On caveat, Veloflex, states the 3M adhesive should not be used with their tires.

If the rims have never had glue on them put a on a coating of glue and allow it to dry thoroughly.

I then put the tire on the rim. I then roll a small section, about 6 inches, of the tire off the rim, apply glue to the rim and then lift the section of the tire back onto the rim. I work my way around the rim, one small section at a time.

The first time you glue tires you will most likely make a mess. Once you get the hang of it it is actually very easy.

The difference in the ride between clinchers and tubulars is well worth the effort.
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Old 03-04-07, 08:07 AM
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I would say that tubulars are a hassle compared to clinchers ... but worth it for racing. I've used both for 20 years, and the stretching, gluing, and planning ahead is definately inconvenient. If you flat, or need to change a tire, you need 24 hours lead time for the glue to dry. I use clinchers for training and save the tubulars for races.
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Old 03-04-07, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01
I would say that tubulars are a hassle compared to clinchers ... but worth it for racing. I've used both for 20 years, and the stretching, gluing, and planning ahead is definately inconvenient. If you flat, or need to change a tire, you need 24 hours lead time for the glue to dry. I use clinchers for training and save the tubulars for races.

the performance gap between clinchers and sew-ups has all but closed in the last 20 years. but sew ups are still ahead.

me? i use clinchers for training and sewups to race.

as i think most do.
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Old 03-04-07, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01
I would say that tubulars are a hassle compared to clinchers ... but worth it for racing. I've used both for 20 years, and the stretching, gluing, and planning ahead is definately inconvenient. If you flat, or need to change a tire, you need 24 hours lead time for the glue to dry. I use clinchers for training and save the tubulars for races.
And you have a vehicle with extra wheels/tires ready to go following you during the race. Most of us don’t have a support vehicle following us with extra wheels/tires when training.
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Old 03-04-07, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by sleazy
as i think most do.

I use only tubulars. For training, racing and casual rides.
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Old 03-04-07, 09:14 AM
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I dont understand the claim that they are more of a hassle. You stretch the tire on the unglued rim for a while(I like to do about a week), and then glue them. Its not that hard of a concept to smear glue onto a rim and tire and pull it on. Infact, its probably a simpler concept than mounting clinchers. Perhaps if this is too complicated you shouldnt be riding a bike, but rather be in assisted living.
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Old 03-04-07, 09:25 AM
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I also think tubulars aren't much of a hassle. I use them for road and cross racing. I even train a lot of tubulars..... I carry a can of Vittoria Pit Stop with me on training rides and don't worry abotu flats at all. The gluing process is not bad either. I use the 3M Fast Tac on my road tires, which will set up VERY quickly. You can actually ride them within a couple hours if you NEED to. But, letting them sit overnight is advised. I use Conti cement and velox tubular tape (different from tufo stuff) in combination on my cross tires. Tubulars road feel is so much better than clinchers.... and the weight savings is an added bonus, as Chopper mentioned.
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Old 03-04-07, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by EdZ
I dont understand the claim that they are more of a hassle. You stretch the tire on the unglued rim for a while(I like to do about a week), and then glue them. Its not that hard of a concept to smear glue onto a rim and tire and pull it on. Infact, its probably a simpler concept than mounting clinchers. Perhaps if this is too complicated you shouldnt be riding a bike, but rather be in assisted living.
I love riding tubulars, and just got some more wheels & tires recently, but don't understand how you can say they aren't more work.

1) Do you have to stretch clinchers ?
2) Do you need to wait a day before you can ride a clincher you installed ?
3) Do you have tight clinchers that sometimes cause you to get glue smeared around the tire, rim or your fingers ?
4) How much total time to install a clincher ? 5 minutes (if you're slow)
5) How much time to install a tubular ? stretch tire (1 minute, but then wait a week). pre-glue base tape (2 minutes), glue rim (2 minutes) let glue setup ( 5 minutes) mount tire ( 2 minutes) let glue dry (wait 12+ hours). You can quibble with these specific times if you like.

With clinchers, no planning is needed. Need a tire ? Put it on and ride. Flat a tubular when training ? Put on and old spare, but ride carefully until you can glue on a new one. Flat a clincher ?, put in a new tube and forget about it.

If a somebody wants honest info, then, we should try to give it. I would recommend someone use tubulars for competition as long as they realize what's involved.
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Old 03-04-07, 09:44 AM
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Honest info is. Once mounted it stays on until it wear out. I've not for years had any flats the tire sealant or Vittoria Pit Stop wont fix. So the flats you notice any more than just slightly less pressure takes you like 30 sec. to fix
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Old 03-04-07, 09:48 AM
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LowCel, there is a huge "tubular" thread in the C&V forum that goes over a lot of the tips and such of tubular wheels. My Serotta is going to be running tubulars for the most part (though if my painter cuts me a deal on a set of rims I'll have a set of clinchers too) so I'll be diving into that realm myself soon enough.
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Old 03-04-07, 09:54 AM
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I just spend $15 and take my wheel down to the lbs and have them change it. no hassle at all and you know its done right.
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Old 03-04-07, 10:00 AM
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Most of us who ride tubulars probably have multiple sets of wheels. This definitely helps with regards to waiting for glue to dry. As far as installation, I think as long as the tubular is good and pre-stretched it is a very easy process. Much easier then busting a knuckle with the last bit of a clincher install.

I agree the entire mounting process takes longer for tubulars, but those of us who ride them feel its worth the bit of extra time to initially mount.

I guess if you are going to buy fast wheels then why not buy fastest wheels. Those will be tubulars of course.
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Old 03-04-07, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by jrennie
I just spend $15 and take my wheel down to the lbs and have them change it. no hassle at all and you know its done right.
Please stay faaaar away from tubulars.
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Old 03-04-07, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by jrennie
I just spend $15 and take my wheel down to the lbs and have them change it. no hassle at all and you know its done right.

The know it's done right part can be debatable.

If I do it myself, then I know it's done right.
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Old 03-04-07, 12:14 PM
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You should always pre-stretch new tubulars. I glued on a Conti Competition to my Zipp a month back and there was no way I could have stretched a that new tire onto the rim with glue the first time. Used a spare rim laying around in the shop and muscled the tire onto the rim, pumped it up to 120psi and let it sit for a few days.

I think tubulars are worth it, especially for racing. I would ride tubulars everyday if it weren't for the fact that my roads are horrible (and the unpredictability of good road to bad road to gravel in a matter of miles)
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Old 03-04-07, 12:41 PM
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I haven't experienced the hassle in racing with tubulars. I will say that they are worth it in every aspect.
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Old 03-04-07, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01
1) Do you have to stretch clinchers ?
2) Do you need to wait a day before you can ride a clincher you installed ?
3) Do you have tight clinchers that sometimes cause you to get glue smeared around the tire, rim or your fingers ?
4) How much total time to install a clincher ? 5 minutes (if you're slow)
5) How much time to install a tubular ? stretch tire (1 minute, but then wait a week). pre-glue base tape (2 minutes), glue rim (2 minutes) let glue setup ( 5 minutes) mount tire ( 2 minutes) let glue dry (wait 12+ hours). You can quibble with these specific times if you like.

If a somebody wants honest info, then, we should try to give it. I would recommend someone use tubulars for competition as long as they realize what's involved.
1) No, but if someone could tell me how to stretch GP 4000s, I would appreciate it, they are a pain in the ass to put on my rims.
2) No, but I have more than one bike and one pair of wheels, I can wait for a tubular, I don't care. If I get a flat on the road, sealant or a spare will immediately and easily get me home - pretty much the same as changing a tube or using sealant on my clinchers.
3) Hasn't happen to me with a tubular but I am a tubular noob, I'll let you know if it does happen.
4 & 5) I will quibble a bit - Again, with the Contis may be a little over 5 minutes and definately with a lot of swearing. If I add up your times for the tubulars I get 7 minutes, the extra 2 minutes won't kill me (the streching time is mute, I have extra junk rims I use for stretching the LBS gave to me for free; the glue set-up time is mute, I can do other things in that time; and finally the drying time is mute because again, I have more than 1 bike to ride).

Tubulars are lighter and grip the road better than clinchers. If you have only 1 bike and 1 set of rims, they could be more of a hassle than clinchers. I think honest info should include the other side too.

Last edited by iab; 03-04-07 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 03-04-07, 01:04 PM
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I used to ride sew-ups exclusively, and the only hassle was the expense of tires because they flatted all the time and I wasn't good at fixing them. I still highly recommend them.

Glueing a tire is a piece of cake after a couple of times. Be sure to pre-stretch and put masking tape on the brake surfaces of the rim.
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Old 03-04-07, 01:24 PM
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Riding around here flats are an inevitable part of riding, 6 or more flats a season is quite common... I gave up tubulars in the 80's because realistically for me, it was not worth the hassles, and problems associated with self support.

If you are racing, then I could see it being worth it. YMMV
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Old 03-04-07, 02:02 PM
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If you race or do fast competitive group rides - in other words if the incremental speed advantage that a good tubular wheel/tire combo can offer over clinchers - then yes. If you don't, I don't think it's worth the hassle. I have extensive experience with both.

That being said, I'll be getting Zipp tubular wheels because I'm racing/riding competively more frequently, and I need all the help I can get. But they'll generally only come out 1-2x per week.

In other words TRAIN every day on sewups? Not for me. Absolutely too much of a hassle. But to each his own. For me 'bike maintenance' is pumping up my tires. OK, maybe once a month I'll clean the drivetrain and once a year I'll change the handlebar tape. Get the picture?

The more of a wrench weenie you are, the easier time you'll have with dealing with tubulars for training. Hey, try it for a year, make your own evaluation. Many of us here have. That may be the only way you can decide.
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Old 03-04-07, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Lectron
Honest info is. Once mounted it stays on until it wear out. I've not for years had any flats the tire sealant or Vittoria Pit Stop wont fix. So the flats you notice any more than just slightly less pressure takes you like 30 sec. to fix
I probably have had 6 or 8 clincher flats on my first 1200 mi on my new Paris. 2 flats in 1400 mi on tubulars.

The first tubular flat was a slow leak that I didnt notice till I got home. The second one (yesterday) was while riding in the rain at 22-23, a large cut causing an instant flat and causing my to nearly crash! It was very unstable. Obviously the goo in the can did not help. It was a short ride, so I had to call it in.

Im still not sure if I wont go out again without the spare on the tubulars. One bagged ride in 1400 mi is not bad.
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Old 03-04-07, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by DM4
Stretching is key. Put the tire on the rim WITHOUT glue. Let then sit that way at full pressure for at least a day.

The best glue to use is 3M High-Tack Trim Adhesive. This is avaialble at most automotive parts stores. On caveat, Veloflex, states the 3M adhesive should not be used with their tires.
3M changed the formulation on HighTack a couple of years ago. No one recommends it anymore because of this. Use Continental or Vittoria Mastik One. They are the better than FastTack.
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