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  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2013

    Wheels 101 for Newbies?

    I am a complete newbie and all this different types of wheels got my head spinning. So, I thought it would be nice if people could comment and share their knowledge on the different types of wheels, its pros and cons, when it should be used, etc.

    For example, I saw terms such as tubeless and clinchers and have no idea what they mean!


  2. #2
    A wheelist
    Reputation: Mike T.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    The font of all bike knowledge is the site of the late Sheldon Brown -

    Bicycle Tires and Tubes

    And failing that, we have Wikipedia -

    Tubeless tire - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Clinchers - for 99.9% of us and almost all bikes.
    Tubeless - for those who don't like tubes I guess. I love 'em.
    Tubular - for out & out racers (all pros).
    Mike T's home wheelbuilding site - dedicated to providing Newby wheelbuilder's with motivation, information and resources.

  3. #3
    Online Wheel Builder
    Reputation: Zen Cyclery's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Definitely follow Mike's link to the Sheldon Brown page. That is the ultimate website for a young grasshopper such as yourself. There is a ton of information, and it's all pretty easy to digest.

  4. #4
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Clincher: beaded, non-stretchy open tire carcass holds a pressurized rubber inner tube in place, rim has a hook on it to hold the bead in place.

    Tubeless: just like a car tire, same as a clincher but without the inner tube. Bead snaps into hook in the rim and forms an airtight seal. Usually, some liquid sealant is squirted into the tire to prevent / reduce flats.

    Tubular: closed, non stretchy tire carcass sewn (literally, with thread) around a pressurized inner tube and then glued (literally, with glue) to the rim. Used by most pros. Much more work than clinchers but some (fanatics) swear by them.

    You will almost certainly be buying a bike with clincher tires.

    Now you just have to worry about spoke count, lacing pattern, cone or sealed bearings, freewheel set-up, internal/external nipples, j-bend vs. straight pull etc, etc.

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