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What are your thoughts on tubular tires?

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What are your thoughts on tubular tires?

Old 11-26-22, 08:44 PM
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What are your thoughts on tubular tires?

I have these on a bike and they actually rode d much faster and smoother than the clincher equivalent. Both of them got slow lakes and I haven't had the time to replace them even if I have a new set. What's holding me back is it's gonna be a struggle to remove the old glue off the wheel completely due to the tape having to stick. I think I'm just gonna go ahead and buy more glue so I don't have to be as meticulous with removing all the gunk. I can use the tape I have on a bike with cleaner wheels.
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Old 11-26-22, 08:52 PM
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Old school for sure. Back in the day they were know for superior ride quality as compared to clinchers, so much so that the Pro racers only rode on tubulars, of course the Pros were not fixing flats in the middle of a race. PITA to deal with, as you know, glued on tires, somewhat more time consuming to deal with flats than a clincher. The tires were expensive as well as I recall. I remember a racing buddy rolled a tire off a rim in a sharp turn during a training rode once, sold me that I would never want to go that route.
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Old 11-26-22, 08:57 PM
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People can roll tubulars all they want. The big advantage is you can run whatever pressure you want because the load on the brake tracks to contain the clincher bead is essentially non-existent. You can also run on a flat tire or really low pressure should it come to that.

This brings me to my next thought. With modern tubeless, you can get basically every advantage that tubulars offer with none of the heartache of glue, patches or novelty.

Tubular isn't even lighter than conventional anymore. I have a 957 gram disc braked tubeless wheel set.
957 gram tubeless clincher disc wheelset by Richard Mozzarella, on Flickr

Nothing "wrong" with tubular though. Technology just moved on.

Last edited by base2; 11-26-22 at 09:04 PM.
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Old 11-26-22, 09:05 PM
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I love them and am transitioning back after 24 years of clincher only. The ride! But even more, peace of mind at very high speeds. I live in the west where finding hills to go down really fast is easy. There's a 50 mph one for this leaf 17 miles from home. The peace of mind? Properly glued, they do not come off when you flat at speed. I did at least one 45 mph+ flat/blowout on them in my racing days and it was such a non-event I do not remember where it happened or which wheel it was. Just slowed with both brakes, changed the tire and rode on. NBD. 16 years ago I blew an old clincher at around 25 mph. That crash still haunts me and I cannot get it out on mind when I'm going 40+.

Rode Cycle Oregon in September on the new tubs and enjoyed those great descents like I haven't for years!
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Old 11-26-22, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by base2
People can roll tubulars all they want. The big advantage is you can run whatever pressure you want because the load on the brake tracks to contain the clincher bead is essentially non-existent. You can also run on a flat tire or really low pressure should it come to that.

This brings me to my next thought. With modern tubeless, you can get basically every advantage that tubulars offer with none of the heartache of glue, patches or novelty.

Tubular isn't even lighter than conventional anymore. I have a 957 gram disc braked tubeless wheel set.
957 gram tubeless clincher disc wheelset by Richard Mozzarella, on Flickr

Nothing "wrong" with tubular though. Technology just moved on.
Nope. Tubeless are clinchers and still require the 2 rim 'hooks' or protrusions required to hold the tire on. These protrusions are heavy at the worst possible place on a bike (rotating mass), are fragile, and easily damaged from impacts, and cause tire damage from impacts.

Tubular rims are the perfect rim profile, as they dispense with the hooks or protrusions. They are light, strong and protected from rim inflation pressures.

All things being equal, you can always build a tubular wheelset that is lighter than any clincher (tubeless or otherwise). This is the main reason why the pros ride tubulars, past, present and forever, unless they ride on a poor boy team without tubular gear options, or have sponsors for marketing reasons, that force them to ride something inferior.

The second reason is of course safety. A high-speed tubular flat is manageable, in contrast to a clincher blowout, which features a terrifying attempt to slow down on the 2 rails of death while under the constant threat of a loose squirming tire jamming up in the chainstays or fork.
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Old 11-26-22, 10:06 PM
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I firmly believe tubulars outperform tubeless or clinchers, as well.
In the OP's case, however, he appears to ride beefy ones for gravel, dirt, snow, etc.
In the event he punctures the rear during a ride, he needs to lug around a 15mm box wrench, in addition to his massive spare.
He might be better suited going another route.
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Old 11-26-22, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer
Nope. Tubeless are clinchers and still require the 2 rim 'hooks' or protrusions required to hold the tire on. These protrusions are heavy at the worst possible place on a bike (rotating mass), are fragile, and easily damaged from impacts, and cause tire damage from impacts.

Tubular rims are the perfect rim profile, as they dispense with the hooks or protrusions. They are light, strong and protected from rim inflation pressures.

All things being equal, you can always build a tubular wheelset that is lighter than any clincher (tubeless or otherwise). This is the main reason why the pros ride tubulars, past, present and forever, unless they ride on a poor boy team without tubular gear options, or have sponsors for marketing reasons, that force them to ride something inferior.

The second reason is of course safety. A high-speed tubular flat is manageable, in contrast to a clincher blowout, which features a terrifying attempt to slow down on the 2 rails of death while under the constant threat of a loose squirming tire jamming up in the chainstays or fork.
Um, in paragraph one, you make the point I already made about brake tracks containing the pressure. Everybody know that. Ooooh. Big "gotcha"

...and 2) in post number 2 is this:
I remember a racing buddy rolled a tire off a rim in a sharp turn during a training rode once, sold me that I would never want to go that route.
This disagrees with your assertion.
And 3) Maybe you didn't notice the giant photograph of a disc tubeless clincher wheelset that weighed less than what is usually the preserve of a tubulars? Did the photo of my kitchen scale not post?
4) The "pros" don't run tubular anymore. Some do. The ones that do would rather stop & wait for the team car than keep up with the group. (*unless they are using the advantage of tubeless sealant too.)

Did you get the impression I was poo-pooing tubular? Or did you feel threatened?

Last edited by base2; 11-26-22 at 10:41 PM.
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Old 11-26-22, 10:50 PM
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It will be extremely ridiculous on all of the silly bikes you post.

They are sensible for racing but I don't know I would put them on a bike I wasn't racing especially one used on regular city streets. Way too much hassle for gluing and such. Plus you do need to remove all the old glue and have a good surface in which to glue on. You are intent on not doing that and just thinking glue will solve everything but you really do want to try your hand at removing it or just moving on to tubeless or standard clinchers and get some nicer open tubular ones that are soft and supple but are clinchers.
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Old 11-27-22, 02:53 AM
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Originally Posted by grant40
I have these on a bike and they actually rode d much faster and smoother than the clincher equivalent. Both of them got slow lakes and I haven't had the time to replace them even if I have a new set. What's holding me back is it's gonna be a struggle to remove the old glue off the wheel completely due to the tape having to stick. I think I'm just gonna go ahead and buy more glue so I don't have to be as meticulous with removing all the gunk. I can use the tape I have on a bike with cleaner wheels.
Slow leaks in both tires? Some tubulars have latex tubes, which are more porous than butyl tubes and need to be pumped up more often.
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Old 11-27-22, 07:12 AM
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I pretty much only use tubulars on my track wheels now, Road, I do latex tubes and clinchers. Tubeless MTB.
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Old 11-27-22, 09:53 AM
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I run them on the streets. They are fine and mounting them isnt as much of a hassle as people say it is imo. So far only had one puncture that held air till i made it home, almost on the rim, but still. Weight advantage is massive, especially on a fixed gear.
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Old 11-27-22, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by base2
Um, in paragraph one, you make the point I already made about brake tracks containing the pressure. Everybody know that. Ooooh. Big "gotcha"

...and 2) in post number 2 is this:
This disagrees with your assertion.
And 3) Maybe you didn't notice the giant photograph of a disc tubeless clincher wheelset that weighed less than what is usually the preserve of a tubulars? Did the photo of my kitchen scale not post?
4) The "pros" don't run tubular anymore. Some do. The ones that do would rather stop & wait for the team car than keep up with the group. (*unless they are using the advantage of tubeless sealant too.)

Did you get the impression I was poo-pooing tubular? Or did you feel threatened?
Sigh....simply laying down some facts.. The bike industry is cheerleading hard for hookless & tubeless for the road, but it is a poor sub-optimal substitute for tubulars - at the highest performance levels.

First, if you've rolled a tubular, it is because #1 of bad preparation, and #2, your bike is going sideways, and you are doomed to crash anyway. I have had several high-speed flats in the last 40 years, both road and MTB, and I can assure you that the tubular ones were far less dramatic. My last high-speed tubular flat was descending at over 40mph through a tunnel, in which I hit something big that immediately killed the rear tire. Immediately on exiting the tunnel, I was faced with a 90 degree reverse camber corner. If I had been on clinchers: RIP. Would I ever ride on the road at warp speeds on hookless clincher rims? Nope, never.

Besides, on hookless, you cannot inflate tires to efficient (as in >80psi) inflation pressures, so tubeless inherently features high rolling resistance.

The picture of the wheel: good luck with that. Superlight hub with an alu cassette carrier and kevlar fabric spokes. If you construct the same wheel with a carbon tubular rim, it would be even lighter. How? You remove the 2 'hooks' or protrusions required to hold the clincher tire on, leading to the perfect tubular rim cross-section. Removing these would shed roughly 100g.

Sealant? I run 20g of Stan's in my tubulars, so that they are almost impregnable to flats, unless I hit something really big - in a dark tunnel.
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Old 11-27-22, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
It will be extremely ridiculous on all of the silly bikes you post.

They are sensible for racing but I don't know I would put them on a bike I wasn't racing especially one used on regular city streets. Way too much hassle for gluing and such. Plus you do need to remove all the old glue and have a good surface in which to glue on. You are intent on not doing that and just thinking glue will solve everything but you really do want to try your hand at removing it or just moving on to tubeless or standard clinchers and get some nicer open tubular ones that are soft and supple but are clinchers.
??? I rode sewups for 25 years and never removed old glue that was securely bonded. I'd sand down lumps and fill gaps but never removed the glue to bare metal. I had far more confidence n tires glued onto solid bases. So gluing on tires really wasn't much of a chore. Just sad it took till last summer to realize the ultimate tire mounting tool is the el-cheapo wheel truing stand I've been using for decades with its flatbar steel feet I can stand on to pull and stretch the tire.

City commuting - guaranteed 5 minute tire changes. Skill not needed. Rain, snow, dark, inebriation - none of that matters.
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Old 11-27-22, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer
Sigh....simply laying down some facts.. The bike industry is cheerleading hard for hookless & tubeless for the road, but it is a poor sub-optimal substitute for tubulars - at the highest performance levels.

First, if you've rolled a tubular, it is because #1 of bad preparation, and #2, your bike is going sideways, and you are doomed to crash anyway. I have had several high-speed flats in the last 40 years, both road and MTB, and I can assure you that the tubular ones were far less dramatic. My last high-speed tubular flat was descending at over 40mph through a tunnel, in which I hit something big that immediately killed the rear tire. Immediately on exiting the tunnel, I was faced with a 90 degree reverse camber corner. If I had been on clinchers: RIP. Would I ever ride on the road at warp speeds on hookless clincher rims? Nope, never.

Besides, on hookless, you cannot inflate tires to efficient (as in >80psi) inflation pressures, so tubeless inherently features high rolling resistance.

The picture of the wheel: good luck with that. Superlight hub with an alu cassette carrier and kevlar fabric spokes. If you construct the same wheel with a carbon tubular rim, it would be even lighter. How? You remove the 2 'hooks' or protrusions required to hold the clincher tire on, leading to the perfect tubular rim cross-section. Removing these would shed roughly 100g.

Sealant? I run 20g of Stan's in my tubulars, so that they are almost impregnable to flats, unless I hit something really big - in a dark tunnel.
I really don't know what you are on about.

First, I have never rolled a tubular off the rim.
Second I have never rolled a tubular on any bike I own.
The Op asked for thoughts. I gave mine.

But if it makes if it makes you feel better:
Got me beat by a measly 22 grams. Here is another one that's got me beat by 167 grams. I don't know why you'd want to spend so much to get the most exclusive, lightest & most premium ($$$) in the industry just to have the max tire size be 27mm & the rims be wear items. But you do you.

To address your concerns:
With a monoblock cassette, biting of the freehub is impossible.
The spokes aren't Kevlar.
The braking surface weighs 142 grams in total for the wheel set. It is replaceable & centrally located. Why would you want that mass at the rims edge?
The max pressure is specified by tire size, rider weight, & intended surface.

You might learn something if instead of telling me what I own doesn't exist, you switched to asking questions about how I did it, why I did it & what the cost was.

Last edited by base2; 11-27-22 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 11-28-22, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
It will be extremely ridiculous on all of the silly bikes you post.

They are sensible for racing but I don't know I would put them on a bike I wasn't racing especially one used on regular city streets. Way too much hassle for gluing and such. Plus you do need to remove all the old glue and have a good surface in which to glue on. You are intent on not doing that and just thinking glue will solve everything but you really do want to try your hand at removing it or just moving on to tubeless or standard clinchers and get some nicer open tubular ones that are soft and supple but are clinchers.
Yes it does have to be quite smooth for the glue to stick, but not nearly as perfectly smooth as the tape
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Old 11-29-22, 01:03 PM
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I ran sew-ups back in the day (1970's) and although the ride was exceptional, the routine maintenance with them was a PITA for sure. Yes, I used to repair my own tubes too...pull back tape, cut thread stitches, pull out tube, patch, re-stitch the thread, check for leak....pain in the neck. The glue can be temperamental also. Be careful there. Swapping a pre-used tire for a flat is ok as long as the glue is still tacky on both rim and tire. If the glues has hardened, you'll probably need to strip the glue off the rim and scrape as much of the tire as possible and re-glue.

Unless you are die-hard wanting to run sew-ups, the new generation of clinchers ride almost as well, and, the new "Open Tubulars" made by Challenge Tire and Velo Tire ride almost identical to tubulars...even down to the swiff-swiff sound they make on the pavement. I ride Challenge Paris Roubaix's on one Wabi and the Challenge Strada Bianca's on the other. The only caveat is that those tires are murder to install the first time before they stretch a little. On the road repairs are fine once they stretch.

To get mine on I pre-stretch them on a separate rim for a few weeks then use a pair of toe straps to hold the bead as I work the whole bead onto the rim. Works fine for me.

Last edited by drlogik; 11-29-22 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 11-29-22, 01:31 PM
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Tubulars on the velodrome. Stopped using them anywhere else. I even run tubeless on my cross bike now - much easier to swap tires for conditions.

Mineral spirits and/or acetone to remove old glue residue. It's messy as the hardened glue will turn back to sticky, but eventually it all comes off.
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Old 08-06-23, 07:15 AM
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Tubular tires are fantastic, but they can be quite challenging to maintain and come with a hefty price tag. That's why I reserve them specifically for the velodrome. When it comes to city rides, clincher tires are my go-to choice. They are much easier to handle when you need to replace a tire. Another crucial point to remember is that tubular tires are not suitable for skidding. If you attempt a hard skid, there's a high chance the tire might detach from the rims. In my opinion, the benefit of tubular tires cannot beat the practicality and functionality of clincher tires.
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