clinchers vs. tubulars

Printable View

  • 03-14-2012
    edwin headwind
    clinchers vs. tubulars
    Got some tax money burnin' a hole in my pocket & was thinkin' 'bout buying some tubular wheels & tires for racin'. But I'm wondering if it's worth it. Clinchers have come a long way in the last 15 years in terms of weight & road feel.
    Do you have a dedicated set of sew up's for racing? Is it worth the expense?
  • 03-14-2012
    edwin headwind
    oops! wrong forum.
  • 03-15-2012
    slowdave
    wrong forum, but yes the ride it worth the very small hassle.
  • 03-15-2012
    JohnStonebarger
    The ride is no longer any better than good clinchers, particularly if you use wider clincher rims. Regardless of cost, the hassles are no longer worth it.

    I have a Jet Stinger 9 (front) collecting dust if you're interested -- I won't be bothered with tubulars again.
  • 03-15-2012
    hecbom
    I started racing in the early 70's and just about every Bike out there from Europe had tubular tires. High end sewups were the Clements Seda Extras to the cheaper Wolbergs or Hutchinson. In those days we had no choice but to buy the best you could afford if you raced. In my opinion a good "open tubular" clincher like a Veloflex 22mm Corsa 180g a Conti 4000s 215g or a Schwalbe Ultremo ZLX Clincher Tire at 160g are just as good as a Tubular. The minute you puncture one out in the middle of nowhere the excitement of riding tubulars vaporizes in a flash not to mention the average cost of a light weight tubular around $90-$120. My 1970 Coppi Campionissimo has Tubulars on it and I have a set of Ambrosio 350g tubular rims laced to Campi record hubs I use once in a while on my Bianchi EV/4.But to be honest a good "open" tubular clincher is just as good as a tubular. Borrow a wheelset from someone and see if you can tell the difference and then make your choice.
  • 03-15-2012
    nightfend
    Getting a dedicated set of wheels just for racing is ALWAYS a good idea. Whether it is tubular or clincher, just having a set of wheels that always have relatively new tires on them when you go to race is nice.

    As far as which to pick. Tubulars are a great way to go. Yes, you have to glue them up, but let's say you do 20 races a year on them, and maybe flat 1 or 2 times. Not a big deal. Also carbon tubulars tend to brake better than carbon clinchers and they are a little lighter.

    One other benefit to tubulars. If you do get a flat in a race, you can control you bike much better on a flat tubular. This is especially important if you get a front flat and are going down a hill or through a turn. Clinchers can be disastrous in this situation.

    As far as ride feel goes. I rarely notice much difference once things heat up in a race. You get used to things pretty quickly on a bike, so tire feel probably doesn't matter much.
  • 03-15-2012
    samh
    I feel tubulars corner better, is that my imagination? it feels like with clinchers there is a large dropoff in grip, not linear.
  • 03-15-2012
    samh
    also several recommended tape. Does this have no disadvantages?
  • 03-15-2012
    nightfend
    With the wider rims, clinchers corner very well. There are a number of pro teams now that use clinchers and do okay. So I don't think cornering or bike handling issues matter much anymore between the two technologies.
  • 03-15-2012
    redondoaveb
    What about everyday use. With the advancement of clincher rims and tires, is it worth running tubulars everyday? Positives and negatives?
  • 03-15-2012
    nightfend
    Everyday use? No way. Clinchers are much better for training.
  • 03-15-2012
    eekase
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by samh View Post
    also several recommended tape. Does this have no disadvantages?

    In my experience, I have not had a problem with adhering tubulars with tufo tape.....BUT, I am starting to second guess the tape. For one, I use the tape on my HED stingers, which have a 28mm wide rim. The tape is 19mm wide. I noticed on my stingers, I don't have edge to edge adhesion.
    I am in the process of gluing up two sets of 303's...yes, note the emphasis of the word 'gluing'. Until tufo makes a wider tape, I am going the gluing route.

    I race on my tubulars, and train/group ride/charity ride on tubulars as well. I know it's not the norm, but I just like the way they feel, and haven't had a tubular flat in almost 2 years.
  • 03-15-2012
    Creakyknees
    Good tubies just have a feel that no clincher can match.

    I mean, I train and do weeknight races on 25 Conti clinchers, they ride great... but the real races are for carbon tubies and they just give a bit of added confidence at the limits of traction.

    Don't blow your wad on the wheels and the cheap out on the tires... if you have a budget, go the other way - splurge on tires, save a bit on rims / wheels.
  • 03-16-2012
    stevesbike
    I just switched back to tubulars for training - as someone else said, blowouts on clinchers at speed are much harder to control and I had a bad crash a while back because of that. My training area involves a lot of fast descents, and I don't have 100% confidence in clinchers. With sealants and stuff like VIttoria pit stop, training on tubulars isn't the hassle it used to be.
  • 03-16-2012
    Matador-IV
    I train on wider 1600g clinchers.
    I race on 1000g or 1250g tubulars.

    I like the "feel" of tubulars.
  • 03-17-2012
    davidka
    If going aero/carbon, strongly consider tubulars. Clinchers give away the weight savings of the carbon so tubular/aero are an ideal combination. Another upside for tubulars for racing is they are harder to flat and if you do flat, they are safer to ride at speed until you can stop for a wheel change. There are studies out there that demonstrate that clinchers are actually faster but you certainly don't see the pros reacting to that, virtually all still race tubulars. Specialized recently released a study/graphic that shows their tubulars to be about 5 watts faster than their clinchers.
  • 03-17-2012
    atpjunkie
    I always find it odd that folks say 'good clinchers are just as good' yet the pro peloton still uses tubulars despite all the hassle and PITA it makes for the wrenches. If clinchers were just as good pro mechanics wouldn't waste so much time gluing up tires.
  • 03-17-2012
    den bakker
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by atpjunkie View Post
    I always find it odd that folks say 'good clinchers are just as good' yet the pro peloton still uses tubulars despite all the hassle and PITA it makes for the wrenches. If clinchers were just as good pro mechanics wouldn't waste so much time gluing up tires.

    as already mentioned, carbon wheels are substantially lighter for tubulars than clinchers. now I wonder how many claiming they can feel the difference have actually performed a blind test.
  • 03-17-2012
    atpjunkie
    whatever reason
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by den bakker View Post
    as already mentioned, carbon wheels are substantially lighter for tubulars than clinchers. now I wonder how many claiming they can feel the difference have actually performed a blind test.

    it still kills the argument "clinchers are as good"
    There is no industry push to sell tubulars
    They are far more time consuming
    They cost more

    yet for whatever reason (yours being weight) they are still ubiquitous amongst the pro peloton. That tells us something. I don't use tubs on my road bikes @ present, I do use them on cross and on the track. Yes, they feel different, I can ride them at higher psi than clinchers on the track and lower psi than clinchers in cx. I have a set of road tubs but all my tub hoops are dedicated to offroad @ present.
  • 03-17-2012
    den bakker
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by atpjunkie View Post
    it still kills the argument "clinchers are as good"
    There is no industry push to sell tubulars
    They are far more time consuming
    They cost more

    yet for whatever reason (yours being weight) they are still ubiquitous amongst the pro peloton. That tells us something.

    yes 300gram per set or so. That is not due to the tyre.
  • 03-18-2012
    earlfoss
    I use tubulars for training. My go-to is the Tufo S33 PRO tire. Those things last forever and though the ride isn't that of the top end tubies, it's still something that I prefer over clinchers.
  • 03-18-2012
    AvantDale
    If you can drop the cash for a pair of "race only" wheels...I'd do it. It keep the tires from getting all cut up when riding on the streets.

    With that said...I have a pair of carbon clinchers and carbon tubulars...my clinchers are sitting in my closet.
  • 03-18-2012
    davidka
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by atpjunkie View Post
    I always find it odd that folks say 'good clinchers are just as good' yet the pro peloton still uses tubulars despite all the hassle and PITA it makes for the wrenches. If clinchers were just as good pro mechanics wouldn't waste so much time gluing up tires.

    It's because of weight, pinch flat resistance and ride-ability after a flat (continuing safely while the team car comes forward). Those things are a huge deal in pro racing, not so much for the rest of us. We don't have mech's and team cars. When the air is in them, clinchers are very nearly as good (according to some tests, even appreciably faster), when you're on the side of the road with a flat, clinchers are better.
  • 03-18-2012
    Fireform
    I covered 10,000 miles last year on two different sets of carbon tubular wheels. I glue mine on, and I don't get the fuss over how much trouble they are. It doesnt take me any longer to change a flat than with a clincher. On one set I run Vittoria Evo CX tires I can usually find for less than 70 a tire. That's a high end race tire for little more cash than a comparable clincher and tube.
  • 03-18-2012
    Gnarly 928
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Fireform View Post
    I covered 10,000 miles last year on two different sets of carbon tubular wheels. I glue mine on, and I don't get the fuss over how much trouble they are. It doesnt take me any longer to change a flat than with a clincher. On one set I run Vittoria Evo CX tires I can usually find for less than 70 a tire. That's a high end race tire for little more cash than a comparable clincher and tube.

    Same here on almost all the counts. I do have 3 sets of carbon rims, all tubular. and a disc...also tubular. One good set of clinchers I hardly ever ride. ~10k maybe 12, 13k per year on tubulars and since I switched over about 6 years ago and began training mainly on tubulars, waaaay fewer flats. I train mostly on continental sprinters, about $50 from PBK...race on them too, if I don't have any Vittorias on the wheels I decide to use.

    A good tube and clincher is about the same price and I get way more flats with them....I've also seen plenty of guys go down really hard blowing a clincher right off on an intersection turn in Crits...."Kaboom!....tinkle crash, smoosh....Damn it!" as they pick up their broken bikes and hoof it back to the race start....

    Yeah, it is a little more trouble to mount the tubulars.. I always take a set of back up wheels to races or on road trips, too...so if I do flat, which hardly ever happens...maybe two flats per season, now....I don't have a trip ending problem. It takes a bit more planning, riding on tubulars, but in the end I think they are *less* hassel than fixing flats on Michelins or some other tubular ten times a year or more.

    They do ride differently, too....Could I tell in a blind test?...not really unless I had a blowout descending Montezuma Grade or Mt. Palomar or something....I could probably stop (or have a much better chance to try) a flat tubular and live unless I was cornering really hard.

    I put a dab of Stans or Slime in my everyday tubulars...dunno if that helps.