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Tubulars as training wheels: Newbie Question

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Tubulars as training wheels: Newbie Question

Old 10-09-07, 07:09 AM
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Tubulars as training wheels: Newbie Question

How many people regularly ride on tubulars?

I'll admit I've never owned a pair of tubulars and couldn't put tires on a set of tubular rims if I had to.

If you do train on tubulars, what do you do if you get a flat 30miles from home? Do you carry glue? Do you have to put a whole new tire on? As I said...I've never owned tubulars.

When I look at the weight of Zipp clinchers vs tubulars it's compelling, but are tubulars worth it other than weight?
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Old 10-09-07, 07:17 AM
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For racing, they're great. Not that clinchers are inferior. That's an entirely different debate.
For training? no. Sew-ups/tubulars are not really practical.

If you get a flat, you simply (ha! simply! ha ha!) pull off the old tire and put the other one on and pray there's enough residual glue to hold it on while you gingerly ride straight home.

Then there's the issue of carrying a full tire under your saddle.
Then there's the issue of expense.
There's also the issue of installing the tire. (Six months after your first attempt, you will find bits of glue in every corner of your garage. Your shoes will be ruined and will forever become your tire-gluing shoes.)

Last edited by EventServices; 10-09-07 at 07:23 AM.
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Old 10-09-07, 07:20 AM
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For training? no. Also the weight is not all that important for training rides.
People who do use tubular for training either have a cellphone so that someone can pick them up or carry a pre-glued tire.
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Old 10-09-07, 07:20 AM
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Unless I am on my Tandem, I ride tubulars 100% of the time. I have ridden about 3500 miles this year on tubulars and only had one flat, I did not even know I had the flat until I was headed home and noticed that accelerating was sluggish. I looked at the tire and it was down to about 40psi, I had a gauge with me. The tire was sealed by tire sealant that I had put in the tubular after mounting them. When I arrived home I pumped the tire back up to normal riding pressure and I have ridden that same tire an additional 1000 miles. This is the only way to ride. I also carry a can of Vitorria Pit Stop with me on rides. Pit Stop is basically a CO2 cartridge with liquid latex mixed. When you fill the tire with it the latex will seal any small puncture.

Are tubulars worth it? Only you can decide that. For me, tubulars inspire more confidence on fast turns. They seem to be more comfortable to ride on than any clinchers I have ridden. I no longer worry about pinch flats if I happen to hit small imperfections in the road. I do not need to inflate them as much as equivalent clinchers. There is more time involved in mounting the tires, you need to stretch them, glue them, then when mounted, you need to wait to ride them while the glue sets. If you don't use sealant, you will need to repair them when you flat, so you have to unmount, remove the base tape, remove some of the stitching, fix the tube, resew the stitching, re-glue the base tape, remount the tire.

I am sure other tubular riders will respond, personally I think they are worth the extra effort.
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Old 10-09-07, 07:22 AM
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Thanks...what I figured.
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Old 10-09-07, 07:38 AM
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I have a set of 303 tubulars. Mostly just for races. However, I'll use them occassionally for a century with a lot of climbing.

I carry a spare tubular, and a couple of cans of Vittoria Pit Stop. So far (knock on wood) I haven't had to use either.

You pre glue the spare, so that the glue left on the rim, and the glue on the tire holds the new tire on. You wouldn't want to corner or descend hard on the spare, but it will get you home.

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Old 10-09-07, 08:39 AM
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It has been my experience on this forum that folks with little or no experience actually using tubulars will happily post on the trials and difficulties of sew-ups.
As has already been posted, you carry a pre-stretched, pre-glued spare tire. First you peel off the flatted tire (this is the part that may take some persuasion with tire levers). Next mount the spare, which should be very easy since the spare is pre-stretched. The tire will hold on the rim as long as you don't attempt any radical leans around turns. I have riddend over 60 miles with a spare.

I don't race so all my miles are "training miles". I choose to ride sew-ups b/c they are far more comfortable and corner FAR better than clinchers. I have been using tubulars for over 30 years; back in the early 70's they were the only option but even now they are superior to clinchers in every way except for convience. If you car about how your bike feels you will like tubulars. I generally wear out the thread before they flat so repairing them is not much of an issue. Tirealert@tirealert.com will fix them for you or $16 each and that is how I do it now.
It never ceases to amaze me that some riders will spend over $5-6K for their bikes and then use clinchers b/c of the $25 cost difference.
Critusa@aol.com has excellent prices for high end tubulars such as Veloflex. Don't bother with the $30 sew-ups as they have all the "hassles" of tubualrs with few of the benefits.
Good luck! Gerry
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Old 10-09-07, 08:47 AM
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There are only two negatives to tubulars, they are expensive and the initial set up time is long. I suppose carrying a spare tire is worse than carrying a spare tube, but a few grams makes no difference to 99% of people riding.

I think there are more positives. The ride is better and you get less flats. Your wheels are lighter, more than enough to make up the extra weight of that spare tire. And you can get tubular rims off of ebay for really cheap.

I don't understand about making a mess while glueing unless you are a complete ****z. If you are really worried about it, use Tufo tape, guaranteed no mess.

Taking a tire off can be a pain, but I find that true with both tubulars and clinchers. At least with tubulars you don't need to check the tire for the shards that caused the flat. As for riding on a spare, I don't worry about a roll off. I am not "racing" on it but a club ride pace is fine.

You can fix a flat on a tubular which can be a pain, or you can pay a guy $16 to fix it, your choice.
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Old 10-09-07, 08:58 AM
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i cannot justify buying a set of tubular rims and tires, I haven't had a flat all year and i did ride over a patch of fine glass accidentally on more than one occasion. But i feel the minute i switch to tubulars, i will flat my first ride out. Oh and how much space does a tubular tire take up?
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Old 10-09-07, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Szczuldo
i cannot justify buying a set of tubular rims and tires, I haven't had a flat all year and i did ride over a patch of fine glass accidentally on more than one occasion. But i feel the minute i switch to tubulars, i will flat my first ride out. Oh and how much space does a tubular tire take up?
2"x4"x6". It will fit easily into a jersey pocket or under the seat.

I would agree there is probably no reason to switch but if you are getting another bike or set of rims, there is no need to fear tubulars.
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Old 10-09-07, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by iab
2"x4"x6". It will fit easily into a jersey pocket or under the seat.

I would agree there is probably no reason to switch but if you are getting another bike or set of rims, there is no need to fear tubulars.
oh wow, i thought it'll take up more room than that. Then it really isn't that much of a hassle. I've always wanted to try them out, so now I can somewhat justify a purchase, but no where in the near future.

But to my previous post...i go out into my garage to throw out the trash, look at my bike and wonder, why does the rear tire look so odd, and what do you know...my tube popped about 2cm from the valve stem. There is a slight bump in my rim tape there as it overlaps, but the hole, a huge 3mm was perpendicular to that bump, so the only reason why i see it blew out was because i was just saying how it's never happened all year...
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Old 10-09-07, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by EventServices
For racing, they're great. Not that clinchers are inferior. That's an entirely different debate.
For training? no. Sew-ups/tubulars are not really practical.

If you get a flat, you simply (ha! simply! ha ha!) pull off the old tire and put the other one on and pray there's enough residual glue to hold it on while you gingerly ride straight home.

Then there's the issue of carrying a full tire under your saddle.
Then there's the issue of expense.
There's also the issue of installing the tire. (Six months after your first attempt, you will find bits of glue in every corner of your garage. Your shoes will be ruined and will forever become your tire-gluing shoes.)

I DO ride regularly on tubulars, and I think they are practical. Only one of your "issues" is really of any concern.

1. pulling off the old tire: this can be difficult with a well-glued tire, but there are tricks, and it's not really harder than a clincher.
2. Carrying a "full" tire under the saddle - NOT AN ISSUE. deflated sewups fold flat and will fit under a saddle with a strap such as a used toeclip strap (traditional) or a long skinny under-saddle pouch, which also has room for a few tools. It's a COMPLETE tire, but it is COMPACT.
3. Expense is relative. You can often get decent-quality tubulars from aroudn $15.00 each on Ebay or from Yellow Jersey. These are not junk tires, in fact I haven't seen junky tires for 20 years. "quality" clinchers, such as Conti Gators, start at $35 each plus tube. Factor in the risk of pinch flatting when you remount, and I think the sewup can be cheaper. Can you pay upwards of $80 per tubular? yes. Should you? probably not!
4. Messy mounting: use the instructions Lennard Zinn gives in his website or in his book, Zinn's Cycling Primer. It is NOT messy if you use a good procedure. The one printed on the Vittoria Mastic tube is also good.

Patching a tubular is a considerable procedure, taking me around 45 minutes when I'm in practice. But I have rarely needed to do this, in my area. Lennard Zinn again has good instructions in print.

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Old 10-09-07, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by GeraldChan
I have riddend over 60 miles with a spare.
I'm a bit lazy, I've probably got about 100 miles on my spare now
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Old 10-09-07, 02:56 PM
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I don't ever race either and ride tubulars 100% of the time for the comfort factor alone. Having ridden clinchers before, I am not going back to it.

My experience with tubulars as of late is all over the spectrum. I started riding again this year after a 12 year hiatus. I started with very cheap crappy tubulars and got a trashed tire every 75-150 miles at best!!! I started using much better tires as of late and I am having a better experience.

Tire changing time: once you've done this a couple of times, I can tell you it takes just as long if not much less than changing a clincher tube. I also use a very small saddle bag and it fits a folded spare (pre-glued) and a CO2 dispenser with 2 cartridges.
Glue/setting time: Unlike other people here, I DO NOT pre-stretch the tires. I tried it once for a week prior to mounting the tires and saw no noticeable difference. I don't see why people talk about glue mess either because unless you have a major case of parkinson's disease, this is not a complicated or messy thing. I do pre-treat the tire on "whereswaldo"'s advise with Stan's tube sealant. Does it work? I will tell you when this new set of tires hit 2000 miles!!

Cost effective? Only you can tell that. My comfort is very important to me..............
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Old 10-09-07, 05:25 PM
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i may give this a go someday soon. i've wanted to build a set of wheels, and it looks like i can get some cheap tubular rims on ebay. any recommendations?
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Old 10-09-07, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by EventServices
For racing, they're great. Not that clinchers are inferior. That's an entirely different debate.
For training? no. Sew-ups/tubulars are not really practical.

If you get a flat, you simply (ha! simply! ha ha!) pull off the old tire and put the other one on and pray there's enough residual glue to hold it on while you gingerly ride straight home.

Then there's the issue of carrying a full tire under your saddle.
Then there's the issue of expense.
There's also the issue of installing the tire. (Six months after your first attempt, you will find bits of glue in every corner of your garage. Your shoes will be ruined and will forever become your tire-gluing shoes.)
I would identify this as the 'low point' in your posting career. Mostly rubbish.
 
Old 10-09-07, 06:27 PM
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On bike forums, I see reports from people who train on tubulars. Then I go on rides, even with serious cyclists and racers, and I never see a tubular.
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Old 10-09-07, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by seppomadness
I would identify this as the 'low point' in your posting career. Mostly rubbish.
False.
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Old 10-09-07, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by operator
False.
So your saying he has worse posts that that one!

Very interesting.
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Old 10-09-07, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Ritterview
On bike forums, I see reports from people who train on tubulars. Then I go on rides, even with serious cyclists and racers, and I never see a tubular.
I also read on the news and see on TV about drive by shootings. But when I drive or walk around, I never see any.

By far, people riding tubulars are the very small minority these days. I can telly ou there is at least a couple of hundred "serious" cyclist/triathletes in my area and I ahve seen very very few ever riding around on tubulars. However, the 3 guys that own/work in one of the biggest bike shops all ride tubulars all the time. Go figure..........
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Old 10-09-07, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Ritterview
On bike forums, I see reports from people who train on tubulars. Then I go on rides, even with serious cyclists and racers, and I never see a tubular.
That's because you are in the wrong part of the country. Come visit me here in NC, perhaps this spring so we can ride the BRP and you will see a BF contributor that actually uses tubulars. Right now Continental Competitions, but I want to try some Vittoria CX and Veloflex Carbons next season.
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Old 10-09-07, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by dgasmd
I also read on the news and see on TV about drive by shootings. But when I drive or walk around, I never see any.

By far, people riding tubulars are the very small minority these days. I can telly ou there is at least a couple of hundred "serious" cyclist/triathletes in my area and I ahve seen very very few ever riding around on tubulars. However, the 3 guys that own/work in one of the biggest bike shops all ride tubulars all the time. Go figure..........
Absolutely, we are an enlightened few. The only other rider that I ride with on occasion that uses tubulars is a recumbent person. When others look at my set-up they just look dumbfounded when they see the tires are tubulars. Its their lose.
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Old 10-09-07, 09:03 PM
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I've recently swapped over to tubulars and find the ride very impressive, certainly more compliant and comfortable from a ride point of view, also you can feel the lighter weight of the tubular rims and tire combination when accelerating. I worked out I have saved about 700gms in weight over my clincher wheelset.
I'm using Continental Competition Tyres with vectran and black chilli and the tufo sealant.

You need to be wary on some of the superlight carbon tubular rims as they may be a bit soft and will have weight limits.

I'm also using the Tufo Extreme tape as recommend by Reynolds, so I don't have messy glue problems all over the place. The grip of the tape is very strong, so there is no problems with rolling off the tire and when removing it, it comes of cleanly with no residue on the rim or cotton tire strip. It also retains it's grip a few times when you need to replace the tire.

Last edited by kleng; 10-10-07 at 03:11 AM.
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