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Tubular's

Mar 10, 2009
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Hello

I am currently looking at getting some all around tubular tires for the upcoming season and I am trying to find some real world advice on which tubular's would be the best for the money. I have heard from sponsored riders who tell me that the Dugust Typhoon's would be the best. Yes, no? I want to know what the people who race on tire's they had to purchase have to say. Are they worth the money? Do they really make that big a difference?

Thanks!

BrandonT
 
Mar 18, 2009
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My recommendations depend on your budget and what your intended use is for tubular tires, so I'm going to break them up based on usage. These are all tires I have a lot of experience with and trust. There are also good tires made by Dugast, FMB, Hutchinson, Vredestein, Scwalbe and others, but I haven't used them myself and don't know enough about them to make recommendations.

If you intend to use tubulars on race day only, never for training:

-Conti Competition Expensive but very good feel and traction, not the lightest but light enough for racing.

-Vittoria Corsa Evo CX Slightly less expensive, lighter weight, very supple, not as durable or puncture resistant as the Conti's.

-Conti Gran Prix 4000 A little less expensive than the Competition, different tread pattern, otherwise similar.

-Tufo S3 Light 215gr Very light, very good puncture resistance, tubeless so you can pre-install Tufo sealant and eliminate most flats, always true and round, not very supple and in testing has not had the lowest rolling resistance.

-Conti Sprinter Middle of the price range, very supple, great cornering grip, these are what I'd use for American-style criterium racing.


If you want a tubular for both training and racing:

-Tufo S33 Special (not the Pro) Very durable and puncture resistant, tubeless so you can pre-install Tufo sealant and eliminate most flats, reasonable price, always true and round, not very supple and in testing has not had the lowest rolling resistance.

-Conti Sprinter Gatorskin Same as the Sprinter above, but heavier and tougher due to the Gatorskin casing, not as supple, better puncture resistance.

-Vittoria Corsa CR Cheap but nice, 220TPI casing, supple, decent puncture resistance, not light.


My personal choice for all of my road riding, training or racing, is the Tufo S3 Light 215gr. It's probably the lightest of the tires listed above, and what you lose in rolling resistance is made up for by almost never having a flat. Just make sure you buy a small tube of the Tufo tire sealant and squeeze about 1/3 of it into each tire before gluing them on and you'll never get flats from anything smaller than a framing nail. If money is no object, the Dugast and FMB tub's are generally known as the cream of the crop, but I'd save those for race day only.
 
Mar 4, 2009
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Greyhound Velo, thanks for the post but the OP was asking about 'cross tubulars, not road ones.

'Cross is all about traction and in most conditions, the casing's ability to conform to the ground texture is just as important as the type of tread - hence the draw to Dugast and FMB as their handmade, non-vulcanized cotton casings are insanely supple. That also makes them more fragile and prone to damage from rocks and moisture, though, so keep that in mind depending on your local conditions. Aquaseal latex sidewall sealant helps, too.

Challenge tires offer a very good compromise with casings that are nearly as supple as Dugast and FMB but at a much more reasonable cost. I've used the Grifo 32 and Grifo XS with very good success in the past and there's also the new Fango if you want something more aggressive.

I'm now on Conti tubulars but unfortunately Conti has now put their 'cross tubular program on hold pending some high-volume quality issues. Hopefully they'll get them ironed out soon as the tread designs are quite good.

Also, before I forget, you might find this useful:

http://cyclocrossworld.stores.yahoo.net/tubulars.html
 
Greyhound Velo said:
My recommendations depend on your budget and what your intended use is for tubular tires, so I'm going to break them up based on usage. These are all tires I have a lot of experience with and trust. There are also good tires made by Dugast, FMB, Hutchinson, Vredestein, Scwalbe and others, but I haven't used them myself and don't know enough about them to make recommendations.

If you intend to use tubulars on race day only, never for training:

-Conti Competition Expensive but very good feel and traction, not the lightest but light enough for racing.

-Vittoria Corsa Evo CX Slightly less expensive, lighter weight, very supple, not as durable or puncture resistant as the Conti's.

-Conti Gran Prix 4000 A little less expensive than the Competition, different tread pattern, otherwise similar.

-Tufo S3 Light 215gr Very light, very good puncture resistance, tubeless so you can pre-install Tufo sealant and eliminate most flats, always true and round, not very supple and in testing has not had the lowest rolling resistance.

-Conti Sprinter Middle of the price range, very supple, great cornering grip, these are what I'd use for American-style criterium racing.


If you want a tubular for both training and racing:

-Tufo S33 Special (not the Pro) Very durable and puncture resistant, tubeless so you can pre-install Tufo sealant and eliminate most flats, reasonable price, always true and round, not very supple and in testing has not had the lowest rolling resistance.

-Conti Sprinter Gatorskin Same as the Sprinter above, but heavier and tougher due to the Gatorskin casing, not as supple, better puncture resistance.

-Vittoria Corsa CR Cheap but nice, 220TPI casing, supple, decent puncture resistance, not light.


My personal choice for all of my road riding, training or racing, is the Tufo S3 Light 215gr. It's probably the lightest of the tires listed above, and what you lose in rolling resistance is made up for by almost never having a flat. Just make sure you buy a small tube of the Tufo tire sealant and squeeze about 1/3 of it into each tire before gluing them on and you'll never get flats from anything smaller than a framing nail. If money is no object, the Dugast and FMB tub's are generally known as the cream of the crop, but I'd save those for race day only.

+1 to everything you said about Tufos except I prefer to run them with an effective sealant like Stans or Slime or the Specialized stuff (forget what they call it). The Tufo stuff seems to have the sealing qualities of canned milk.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Thanks for the info James!
I had to go with the Vittoria's XG's 32mm mainly because of the cost. I am going to save for a set of Dugast or Challenge's.
I think gluing them is going to be a fun challenge...

BrandonT
 
Jul 2, 2009
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BrandonT,

Whether to ride tubulars is really a personal decision. Are they worth it? That depends on what you value. Generally speaking, racing on tubulars buys you a number of advantages: running lower pressure, no pinch flats, better traction (due to lower pressure and puncture resistance), the ability to ride the tire (within reason) if you flat, better ride feel, and often they weigh a lot less than clincher. There are obvious drawbacks, as well: the higher cost, they're more involved to set up and maintain, and you can't quickly fix flats. If you can deal with the disadvantages, then I'd say they're definitely worth it.

That said, I personally believe there's no better value than the Challenge Grifo tires in both the tubulars and their "open tubular" clincher tires. The ride feel and traction is a close second to the fabled Dugast tires at a fraction of the cost with the benefit of longevity due to the polyester casings vs. the rot-prone cotton casings of the Dugasts. If you don't want to commit to a tubular, you'd be quite happy with the Grifo open tubular clinchers.

-Tim
 
Mar 4, 2009
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BrandonT:

Check out Chip Howat's research on tubular gluing:

http://www.engr.ku.edu/~kuktl/bicycle/bicycle.html

This is the definitive bible on tubular gluing as far as I'm concerned. No one else has devoted this much time and energy on the subject. I've attended his clinics twice now and can proudly say that his method is so comprehensive that it's actually kind of difficult to pull the tires back off again! Not always the greatest thing when it comes to swapping tires on the road but it's *exactly* what you want for 'cross.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Thank you very much for the link! I was going to try the method that they have on cyclocrossworld.com but I was finding it confusing. I also have received some help from a local shop.

I think I couldnt be a proper bike nerd without trying the tubular's and learning how to glue them.

Thanks for all the advice!
 
Jul 7, 2009
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BrandonT said:
Thank you very much for the link! I was going to try the method that they have on cyclocrossworld.com but I was finding it confusing. I also have received some help from a local shop.

I think I couldnt be a proper bike nerd without trying the tubular's and learning how to glue them.

Thanks for all the advice!

In Vancouver, go to Mighty on Broadway. They should be able to set you up with Challenge, Tufo or Dugast. Challenge are the best price, although I think Tufo make a cheaper version now (might be near $100).

What you prefer will depend on what you ride on (grass, dirt, etc) and ... well ... your preference!
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Tubular's are most definetly the way to go! Wow, even at my skill level there is a noticable difference right away.

I suppose getting the PSI level mastered is the next step to having these dialed. I ran them between 32-35 psi for the weekend in dry conditions and found them to be very fast. How low can they go?

thanks to everyone for the advice!
 
Jul 7, 2009
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BrandonT said:
Tubular's are most definetly the way to go! Wow, even at my skill level there is a noticable difference right away.

I suppose getting the PSI level mastered is the next step to having these dialed. I ran them between 32-35 psi for the weekend in dry conditions and found them to be very fast. How low can they go?

thanks to everyone for the advice!

That depends on the race conditions, your skills, the tire, and your weight!

FWIW, I've read of seasoned euros (Nys, Wellens) running in the mid-20's. But most people seem to find 30-something to be really good. I am no expert, but generally lower pressure on bumpy grass is better, higher pressure if rocky or muddy.
 

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