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Zipp 303 Clincher or Tubular

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Zipp 303 Clincher or Tubular

Old 06-06-10, 09:33 PM
  #1  
bob44
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Zipp 303 Clincher or Tubular

Hello,

This is my first post but I have been doing research here for a year or so.

I recenly bought a new bike and the bike shop owner is giving me a free wheel upgrade to a set of Zipp 303s. Also, he is letting me choose between tubulars or clinchers.

I have only been riding for about a year so I wouldn't have bought these wheels on my own but I'm definitely not going to turn down the free upgrade!

As far as the riding I do. As I said I am only about a year into this. I am addicted to cycling right now, but with work, family, etc. I don't know how far I will take it, I generally ride about 10 hours a week right now. I have done one mountain TT which was fun, but whether I will ever want to race or not I just don't know at this point.

I am having a hard time deciding which to get.

Here are the issues I am dealing with:

1. Since this is my main bike I hate to use such nice wheels as my training wheels, regardless of whether I get the tubulars or clinchers.

2. Maybe I should get a decent pair of clinchers for training and get the 303 tubulars for special occasions. (Like the 3 day climbing camp I am attending in September?)

3. But, I would hate to let the 303 tubulars just get used a few times a year, seems like a waste.

4. Or maybe just get the 303 clinchers and use them everyday, afterall the upgrade was free.

I would appreciate any input from some of the more experienced riders here.

Thanks,
BPS
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Old 06-06-10, 09:39 PM
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Get the 303 clinchers and use them every day.

Tubs are pretty much only for racing, unless you have the time and money to reglue tubs if you flat.
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Old 06-06-10, 09:48 PM
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tubular then buy a cheaper set of clinchers.
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Old 06-06-10, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by carpediem1230 View Post
tubular then buy a cheaper set of clinchers.
+1!!!
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Old 06-06-10, 10:00 PM
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303 clinchers aren't much lighter than 404 clinchers, and the new 404 all carbon clinchers are even lighter than the current 303 clinchers.

I have 404 tubies and clinchers. Both great wheels. The 404 tubulars are the best all around racing wheel on the planet. Period. Light. Fast. Not that susceptible to crosswinds.
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Old 06-06-10, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by patentcad View Post
303 clinchers aren't much lighter than 404 clinchers, and the new 404 all carbon clinchers are even lighter than the current 303 clinchers.

I have 404 tubies and clinchers. Both great wheels. The 404 tubulars are the best all around racing wheel on the planet. Period. Light. Fast. Not that susceptible to crosswinds.
Thanks patentcad, and I hear ya, but the 404s aren't really on the table. I have to decide between the 303 tubulars or clinchers.
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Old 06-06-10, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by bob44 View Post
Thanks patentcad, and I hear ya, but the 404s aren't really on the table.
Why is that?

If it's 303s, the tubulars in two seconds. The 2010 model, they are much better than the older ones, best wheel ever from what my pal who has them says, and the local rep, Sandy, says they're amazing, I believe him.

That being said the 404 tubulars are only 50 grams heavier and offer considerably more aero mojo.
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Old 06-06-10, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by carpediem1230 View Post
tubular then buy a cheaper set of clinchers.

+1
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Old 06-06-10, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by nitropowered View Post
Get the 303 clinchers and use them every day.

Tubs are pretty much only for racing, unless you have the time and money to reglue tubs if you flat.
This. If you're getting a free upgrade I'd get the 303 clinchers and make them a daily trainer. If you weren't getting a free upgrade I'd say get a nice set of clinchers for daily use and a 404 tubular for race day.
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Old 06-06-10, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by patentcad View Post
Why is that?

If it's 303s, the tubulars in two seconds. The 2010 model, they are much better than the older ones, best wheel ever from what my pal who has them says, and the local rep, Sandy, says they're amazing, I believe him.

That being said the 404 tubulars are only 50 grams heavier and offer considerably more aero mojo.
The LBS owner offered to upgrade me to 303s and it took about 4 weeks to get them in, so I wouldn't feel comfortable now asking for 404s. And would they be the best choice for me anyway. I am very much the newbie and don't even know if I will ever race.

If I choose the 303 tubulars, would you recommend that I train on them, or get some less expensive wheels for training? That would mean that the 303s would get used fairly infrequently, seems like a bit of a waste.
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Old 06-06-10, 10:54 PM
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I would get the 303s and train on them half the time. Here's the deal with tubulars: they're a pain when they puncture in some ways compared to clinchers, but they puncture about 1/3 as much as clinchers, which really offsets that. My pal gave up on clinchers because he got tired of the flats. Tubulars puncture less for two reasons: no pinch flats, and the higher pressures you can run them at (I pump mine to 150 lbs) make it harder for road debris to work its way through the tire casing. Learn how to properly mount and glue a tubular, how to change a flat on the road. Save the flat tubulars and ship them to the dude in Florida (I can get you the link) who repairs blown tubies for $15 each. Invest $120 or so in a super light track tubular that folds up real tiny to use ONLY as a spare on the rare occasions when you get a flat on the road. You put that tire on just to get you home, immediately deflate the spare and fold it up again. I have one that's so small it easily fits unobtrusively in my jersey pocket, I don't even have a small seat bag when I ride the tubies, just the spare in my pocket.

I think the hassles of tubulars are well worth it for sub 1200 gram wheels that race and ride like a dream. But I'd use them part of the time, particularly on fast group rides, or hilly rides.
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Old 06-06-10, 11:10 PM
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The tubular 303s look better...
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Old 06-06-10, 11:20 PM
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Thanks for all the input guys, I have a lot to think about.

But I'd use them part of the time, particularly on fast group rides, or hilly rides.
Can you recommend a good wheel/tire combination to ride the rest of the time?

Last edited by bob44; 06-06-10 at 11:24 PM.
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Old 06-06-10, 11:37 PM
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All great advice. I'll just add that if your primary concern is weight during training, tubular wheels being lighter, then do all the math. That means consider the weight of the wheels and the (1) bag, tools and tube you'll need for the clincher and (2) the weight of a spare tubular. It pretty much is a wash weight wise. So in other words, forget weight during training and go for convenience (1) tools/tube/bag vs. tire. If you're going to race where there's lots of climbing, I'm assuming that since you're getting the 303's but as others said the 404's may be a better choice, then it's tubular.

Might want to also consider if you're getting a power meter. If it's a Power Tap then you may only be able to afford one wheel so get the one you really want. If it's an SRM or Quarq then it doesn't matter. I'd just suggest you get the crank that will work on all your bikes. GL
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Old 06-07-10, 02:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Justleaning View Post
+1!!!
x 4
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Old 06-07-10, 04:24 AM
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Originally Posted by kleinboogie View Post
It pretty much is a wash weight wise.
Profoundly incorrect. My spare tubie and flat fixing package is similar in weight to the package I carry to fix clincher punctures. Regardless, weight off your wheels is a big deal on a bicycle, and 303 tubulars would be nearly a full pound lighter than the clinchers. Whatever the comparisons here, it is certainly not a 'wash' weight wise.
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Old 06-07-10, 04:31 AM
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As much as I like tubulars for racing, I would not use them otherwise.
Make sure you're up to gluing tires, or paying someone to do it for you.
If you do get tubulars, you'll need another pair of wheels as backup while the glue is drying after replacing a flat.
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Old 06-07-10, 08:55 AM
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So, assuming I get the 303 tubulars, any recommendations on the second wheelset for training etc?
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Old 06-07-10, 09:11 AM
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get the clinchers. they're just easier to use and with the riding you're doing you wont notice a difference.

reasons:

-tires, anyone can mount a clincher and tube but to glue a tubular is a pita, and if you get it wrong, hello pavement
-flats, if you get a flat on the road, with a tubular it's an expensive flat because the tire is shot and changing it is a pita
-brakes, braking with a carbon braking surface is a different feel than that of an al clincher braking surface, especially when wet. with a carbon braking surface (ie tubular), you need to change the brake pads to a carbon specific pad everytime you use, otherwise al shavings in the brake pad from your al wheels will build up and scar the braking surface of your tubulars. swiss stop yellows claim not to do this, but they still do.

I have 303 clinchers that up until recently were my race wheels. They are a very nice wheel. Not especially durable in the rim, but a good wheel nonetheless.

honestly, you're in a win/win, but to get more use out of your wheelset with fewer inconveniences, i'd recommend the clincher.

for second everyday wheels? i'm using http://stores.justridingalong.biz/-s...set/Detail.bok w conti gp 4-season clincher tires. best everyday wheelset i've ever used. travis does mail order with them, you can thank me later!
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Old 06-07-10, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by carpediem1230 View Post
tubular then buy a cheaper set of clinchers.
+1 - If you go carbon, you should go tubular. If you decide to race, you'll have an excellent and versatile set of wheels. Clinchers would be for the benefit of every-day riding, and every-day carbon wheels are not worth it if you can't afford to replace them easily.
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Old 06-07-10, 09:53 AM
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I wouldn't get high end wheels like that unless they were tubulars. So I vote get the tubs too. Don't let people scare you into thinking that tubs are difficult and unsafe. Anyone who thinks they are can come over to my house and try to peal off a tire I mounted. They don't come off easy. And they are really not much of a hassle tomount either. In fact just the other day I had a hell of a time mounting a Panaracer clincher to a 700C rim. I was like WTF give me glue and a brush any day.
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Old 06-07-10, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by bob44 View Post
So, assuming I get the 303 tubulars, any recommendations on the second wheelset for training etc?
The Dura Ace Wh-7850 C24's are great:

http://www.amazon.com/Shimano-Dura-A.../dp/B00177GVQC

You can buy them from PBK or Wiggle in the UK for like $800.
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Old 06-07-10, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by bob44 View Post
So, assuming I get the 303 tubulars, any recommendations on the second wheelset for training etc?
Get something heavy and non-aero so when you have the 303s, it'll be much faster, and you'll have an extra advantage. Vuelta wheels are known to be very heavy if you're looking for online, but you could get some Aksiums or whatever from a shop.

May I ask which bike you bought to get free 303s?
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Old 06-07-10, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by chado445510 View Post
May I ask which bike you bought to get free 303s?
The bike is an S-Works Roubaix. From what the dealer told be he got the bike very inexpensively because another dealer was going out of buisness. I was looking at a Roubaix Expert and had no intention of getting the SL2, but he gave me $1,300 off of the bike and upgraded the wheels to the 303s, so despite the bike far exceeding my abilities I felt the deal was too good to turn down.
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Old 06-07-10, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by bob44 View Post
so despite the bike far exceeding my abilities
Oh God help us. It's a friggin bicycle. If you can ride it without falling over it does not exceed your abilities. This being BF, that's always a distinct possibility.
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