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Clinchers vs. Tubulars

Apr 3, 2009
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First off sorry if this has already been discussed.

Last month I was chatting up a rider on a group ride who was riding tubulars. He said that he prefers them because he has had very good luck regarding punctures or rather the lack of them. His last puncture flat was three years ago. And he said that because they don't have rims like clinchers if need be you can ride home on a flat.

I ride clinchers (Michelin Pro Race 3s with Bontrager or Specialized tubes) and talking with this rider about tubulars got me wondering just which one is better. My main concern with tubulars is the gluing and worrying about rolling the tire. As well as if you get a flat how easy is it to fix it on the road.

So what are your thoughts on them?
 
Nov 9, 2009
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Tubs

For racing I'd ride tubs, for training it would be clinchers. If I only had one set of wheels then clinchers it is.

Carrying a tub in case of a puncture is a bit OTT compared to carrying an inner.
Fitting a tub at the side of the road is a pain in the bottom.
Buying a new tub because you have punctured is a pain in the wallet.

Tubs are nice to ride on though and 'feel' quicker, not sure clinchers will ever be quite as good or as lightweight.
 
cawright1375 said:
First off sorry if this has already been discussed.

Last month I was chatting up a rider on a group ride who was riding tubulars. He said that he prefers them because he has had very good luck regarding punctures or rather the lack of them. His last puncture flat was three years ago. And he said that because they don't have rims like clinchers if need be you can ride home on a flat.

I ride clinchers (Michelin Pro Race 3s with Bontrager or Specialized tubes) and talking with this rider about tubulars got me wondering just which one is better. My main concern with tubulars is the gluing and worrying about rolling the tire. As well as if you get a flat how easy is it to fix it on the road.

So what are your thoughts on them?

They both have advantages and disadvantages.

Tubulars-
Safer, properly glued on ones won't roll off rim if flatted
More comfy-no need to ride with more than about 100 psi
Less flats than clinchers, all things being equal with clinchers cuz no pinch flats.
Generally corner better due to more flexy sidewall, more tread stays on pavement when cornering, rounder, like radial tires for bicycle

BUT Generally more expensive, gotta glue them on(not messy but ya gotta do it right), gotta have a whole tire(preglued spare) if ya flat. If you get 2 flats, ya may be outta luck(altho in 24 years of riding tubies, I have 2 flats on one ride only twice). Also if you flat a brand new tire, ya gotta fix it or have it fixed(Tire Alert in FL does this, I fix my own).

If you don't want the hassle of gluing tubulars, use clinchers. They work fine. The differences between this and ANY bicycle 'thing' is small, minor, hardly noticable. Same for frames, wheels, shifters, brakes, handlebars, etc....WAY to much emphasis on gear these days, not enough or the riding or the ride or the rider. OFF soap box.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Could not have said it any better my self. Smart work trumps equipment every time. And Tubulars feel great.
 
HongKongPhooey said:
Carrying a tub in case of a puncture is a bit OTT compared to carrying an inner.

Just carry a can of Vittoria Pit-Stop (or similar other brand) rather than a pre-glued tub. It should seal the puncture and give you enough pressure to get home.
 
May 18, 2009
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I think it's been summed up pretty well. tubs for racing and clinchers for training. Tubs roll better, are lighter and are nicer to ride, so long as you don't get a puncture. Clinchers are easier to fix and cheaper to maintain.
 
Aug 13, 2009
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But anyone that at least considers themselves a "cyclist" has to try riding a set of quality tubulars at least once in their life. Yes, they have their own quirks (glue, spares, patching) but man do they feel nice. Depending on how you ride, should be no issues using them for training (I used to ride Conti Sprinter 250s all the time many moons ago, I think I had a total of 2 flats over a 5 year period).

Clinchers are more convenient and better now than 20 years ago.
 
mercycle said:
But anyone that at least considers themselves a "cyclist" has to try riding a set of quality tubulars at least once in their life. Yes, they have their own quirks (glue, spares, patching) but man do they feel nice. Depending on how you ride, should be no issues using them for training (I used to ride Conti Sprinter 250s all the time many moons ago, I think I had a total of 2 flats over a 5 year period).

Clinchers are more convenient and better now than 20 years ago.

I agree. On my 'dry' wether bike I use tubies and see no compelling reason to change to clinchers. Sprinters on some Campagnolo Delta XL tubie rims, very nice. I use clinchers on my 'wet' weather bicycle, since if ya flat, can't really get a spare to stick if it's all wet. BUT I have a spare set of wheels for that bike if I ride it and it's dry.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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Once i flatted a tubular with no spare(long story) i had to ride about 35 miles on the thing to get home. While it was no fun, the tire stayed on the rim the whole way. I tried making it home once on a flat clincher, i made it less than half a mile before the tire came off the rim.
flats are not fun but especially in a race situation you can limp home on a tubular.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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runninboy said:
Once i flatted a tubular with no spare(long story) i had to ride about 35 miles on the thing to get home. While it was no fun, the tire stayed on the rim the whole way. I tried making it home once on a flat clincher, i made it less than half a mile before the tire came off the rim.
flats are not fun but especially in a race situation you can limp home on a tubular.

Remember Olano in '95 Worlds. Check out his rear tire.

cor-olano.jpg
 
Jun 20, 2009
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RDV4ROUBAIX said:
Remember Olano in '95 Worlds. Check out his rear tire.

cor-olano.jpg

Aaah magic moment.

RunningBoy vs Olano - Kestrel vs Colnago. You be the judge. LMAO.
 
Jun 20, 2009
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runninboy said:
Once i flatted a tubular with no spare(long story) i had to ride about 35 miles on the thing to get home. While it was no fun, the tire stayed on the rim the whole way. I tried making it home once on a flat clincher, i made it less than half a mile before the tire came off the rim.
flats are not fun but especially in a race situation you can limp home on a tubular.

I doubt that