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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am toying with the idea of splurging on my first tubulars this summer and wondered whether its worth it and if anyone could share best practices, favorite tires, etc... Basically give a newb some good advice (if you knew then what you know now...) kinda thing.

I don't mind the care it takes as I like doing bike stuff and I'd probably ride em mostly in the park nearby so I am not too worried about flats far from home either.

I really like the Rolf Tdf 58 or 38s so thats what I am thinking of using unless there are horror stories.

thanks
 

· Devoid of all flim-flam
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Enjoy yourself. At the worst you'll be out a few hundred bucks. I don't really have any advice, because I haven't ridden them since 2000. The only things I have to say are -- stretch the tires before you try to mount them, and don't get all crazy when it comes to the gluing ritual. Just buy a tube of glue, squeeze some onto the rim, wait a minute or two for the stuff to get a little tacky, and then manhandle that tire on. It's not rocket science...though Bent should have the last word on this subject.
 

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I'm with Mapei

Do all the reading you want, but sewups are best learned by doing it yourself, and possibly swearing a little bit along the way.

My favorites happen to be Veloflex Criteriums/Carbons. If on a budget, I highly recommend Continental Sprinter Gatorskins. If you want something that rides a little nicer than them but equally bomproof, try Conti Competitions. Vittoria Corsa Evo CX/KX/CS (pick your favorite tread pattern - it's really all the same after a few miles) are also good tires and are a good deal at probikekit.com right now. If they were all at their full retail price, I'd definitely go with the Veloflexes. My biggest advice is don't skimp on tires - you get what you pay for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Agreed, I would not go that far to skimp on tires, no way. I' ve ridden high quality clinchers all these years with no problems at all but always sort of felt curious for tubulars and would certainly make these special. (rhetorically I'm asking myself if they are worth it or is it just a romantic notion of cycling tradition... Are they going the way of the vinyl record and the typewriter or are there still real advantages? )
BUT
I know this gets argued all the time so I''ve limited my inquiry to practical advice.
 

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"I am toying with the idea of splurging on my first tubulars this summer"

Why?

Do you know how to repair them?
Do you plan to change them on the road?
Will you carry a spare that is already stretched out?
If the tire is glued on properly, do you think that you can get it off?
Will you do your own gluing?

Tubies are for:
1) racing.........(free lap rule in crits)
2) old guys that began riding back when clinchers were crap
3) people who think that they will make them........faster?,.....cooler?, .....able to leap tall buildings with a single bound?, ......read somewhere that tubies make the ride feel smoother?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
welll...

1)haven;t mounted or repaired one yet but like I said I like doing "bike stuff"
2)will be riding them in a park close to home and will use clinchers for distance/roads
3)guess so or will keep one at home
4)dunno
5)yes, that sounds fun to me (see #1)


this is why I am asking, I am not set on it yet, just feeling the waters, I don't mind extra work if there is a legitimate benefit, if there isn't then I will skip it. I have no illusions of riding faster/cooler etc as I don't race competitively so I could care less about gaining a second or two. I just liked the wheels, like tradition and thought MAYBE I would look into it...
 

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1st Set of Tubbies used today

I was like you, wondering if I should go the tubbie route. Well, I ordered my first set and they came Friday. I spent my time and pateintly glued the tubbies on over a two day period using three coats of glue on the rim and one on the base tape. I mounted them late Sunday night. What I fould was, other than being a bit time consuming, it really wasn't that hard or messy. The hardest part for me was getting that last 6-7 inches mounted to the rim, The other issue I had was making sure the tire was centered. I got lucky and mine we centered pretty well when I mounted them. They say you can move the tire around a bit before that last coat of glue dries, but that's not what I experienced. Man once that tubbie was mounted it wasn't going anywhere. I was able to even the tread out a bit, but it wasn't easy. I took my carbon tubbies out on a group ride and could tell the ride was smoother than with my ES clinchers. A little more aero as well. I'm pretty slow so I probably won't notice all the aero benits though. I just wanted to try them and see if the ride was more comfortable - which is was. As a side note going from ES clinchers to carbon tubular wheels shaved at least a pound off my bike.... Just my two cents. It's not hard - go for it
 

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Yeah, go tubulars! Nothing rides like them or gives you better "road feel" and the acceleration is crazy. I've been riding 'em since I first got into quality lightweights in the early 70's. Personally, I think it's a rite of passage for true bike junkies. Most guys in my bike club think I'm some sort of magician because I mount (& repair) my own tubulars. Some have never even seen tubulars on a bike (I feel old).

If you know someone who's been riding tubulars for a while, have him or her help you out the first couple of times. Biggest thing you need is PATIENCE! Lately I'd been following Lennard Zinn's instructions on mounting tubulars, but once on they're incredibly difficult to remove when you have to fix a flat, so I'm trying a modified version of his instructions. He recommends 2 thin layers on the tubular base tape and three on the rim. If you do that, you'll never have to worry about rolling the tubular off the rim, but I've gotten blisters and worse on my hands trying to pry the suckers off. I'm experimenting with 1 layer on the tubular and 2 on the rims. I don't road race or do crits and I'm pretty careful on winding descents, so I think I'll be OK. I've also read a number of threads from people who are using Tufo rim tape, so I may give that a try in the future.

Vittoria Corsa CX's are my current favs, but be prepared to top off the pressure every time you ride: the latex tubes are pretty porous. Road Bike Kit in the UK generally has the best prices.
 

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MR_GRUMPY said:
"I am toying with the idea of splurging on my first tubulars this summer"

Why?

Do you know how to repair them?
Do you plan to change them on the road?
Will you carry a spare that is already stretched out?
If the tire is glued on properly, do you think that you can get it off?
Will you do your own gluing?

Tubies are for:
1) racing.........(free lap rule in crits)
2) old guys that began riding back when clinchers were crap
3) people who think that they will make them........faster?,.....cooler?, .....able to leap tall buildings with a single bound?, ......read somewhere that tubies make the ride feel smoother?
Agreed, if you are rich, curious and don't get a lot of flats then these are worth trying.

But the issues above are very real. It'll be an adventure for sure and rewarding only if you seek the adventure and the learning more than the reward itself.

My first glue job was painful and ugly. My 5th pair was pretty good.

Anyway, for the time and money I say try tubeless tires first.

fc
 

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I don't entirely agree. I have tubulars on my commuter, and their main purpose is to satiate my inner retro grouch. I believe it is easy to overstate the "benefits." Unless you are riding carbon rims (which I am not), I really see little benefit.

There is much less tire variety to choose from. They can be easier to change on the side of the road---- or far more difficult--- and you won't know for sure until you are there. Carrying an extra tire around is a bit more bulky than an extra tube--- and likely offsets any net weight savings.

Nothing rides like them? I don't know about that--- I have a tendency to over-inflate them and rattle my fillings out on rough roads ;) .

To the OP- I see definite merits in not screwing up a carbon rim by adding an AL hook track for clinchers. What I do not understand is using a 12 spoke front and rear wheel as the tdf 58 offers. I guess it is two spokes more than their 10 spoke design. It sounds like a disaster in the making.

Bill Silverman said:
Yeah, go tubulars! Nothing rides like them or gives you better "road feel" and the acceleration is crazy. I've been riding 'em since I first got into quality lightweights in the early 70's. Personally, I think it's a rite of passage for true bike junkies. Most guys in my bike club think I'm some sort of magician because I mount (& repair) my own tubulars. Some have never even seen tubulars on a bike (I feel old).

If you know someone who's been riding tubulars for a while, have him or her help you out the first couple of times. Biggest thing you need is PATIENCE! Lately I'd been following Lennard Zinn's instructions on mounting tubulars, but once on they're incredibly difficult to remove when you have to fix a flat, so I'm trying a modified version of his instructions. He recommends 2 thin layers on the tubular base tape and three on the rim. If you do that, you'll never have to worry about rolling the tubular off the rim, but I've gotten blisters and worse on my hands trying to pry the suckers off. I'm experimenting with 1 layer on the tubular and 2 on the rims. I don't road race or do crits and I'm pretty careful on winding descents, so I think I'll be OK. I've also read a number of threads from people who are using Tufo rim tape, so I may give that a try in the future.

Vittoria Corsa CX's are my current favs, but be prepared to top off the pressure every time you ride: the latex tubes are pretty porous. Road Bike Kit in the UK generally has the best prices.
 

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gitoutdaway said:
I don't mind the care it takes as I like doing bike stuff and I'd probably ride em mostly in the park nearby so I am not too worried about flats far from home either.
thanks
If your plan is to ride them mostly in the park then I have to question the rational of going to tubulars, you'll never realise the full potential of a tubular under those circumstances.
 

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Gitoutdaway

Hey Gitoutdaway, are you the guy that yells that out at my wife when she's jogging in the park?

Seriously, unless you just have $$$ to blow and you like to talk smack to others, a good set of tubular wheels and tires in the park is like wearing a Louis Vitton suit out to the local diner on Friday night. But then again, it's you're $$$, all the power to you.

Personally, I just bought a set of Reynolds DV46 wheels and has them fitted with Vittoria EVO CX tubulars. I do feel the weight savings and the aero benefit above 20 mph (might be all in my head, though) but honestly, outside the weight savings the ride feels identical to my 4 year old Mavic Ksyrium clinchers. Do I regret the purchase? Not really, I have them now, I use them, but I'm over the curiosity of tubulars. Would I purchase another set of tubulars? Probably not, it's become somewhat of a hassle carrying a spare tire on longer rides, or having to schedule it so my wife is around to pick me up in case of a flat tire on shorter ones.

I say go for it, get it out of your system.....and let me know in 3 months or so when you say to yourself "Did I really need to do that?"
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
ok, good points, I am in no hurry to buy anything right now, I really did not know much about the specifics of owning tubs so thats why I asked, are they the next "level up" or on the way out... and no I don't have a ton of $ to throw around - its hard earned- so I am going to be very careful when/how it is spent if at all. I guess i just liked the idea and the wheels and thought if its not much trouble and had some real merit it might warrant a look but I didn't know much about the drawbacks thus I raised this thread and I do appreciate the honesty. And trust me in NYC one sees a hell of a lot worse than me riding highest end bling without a clue whatsoever. I passed a man last month on a brand new R3sl, lightweights, gold nokons and all and didn't even know WHAT SIZE he was riding... I kid you not.

And I don't yell at wives, they yell at me!
 

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Why don't you borrow a set of wheels with tubulars and see for yourself? Yes, they can be a hassle, but some folks wouldn't ride on anything else.

Maybe I'm just another retro-grouch too, as riding some of my older steel bikes with tubulars brings me back to my ancient college days. On my '76 Raleigh Team it would be heresy to ride on clinchers. On my Cannondale Six13 I've got clinchers, but I just bought a spare tubular wheelset, Campy 10 hubs with cassette, off of Craig's List for $100. For a hundred bucks (plus the cost of the tubulars) I can afford to throw a tubular set on the Six13, especially for my bike club's climbing rides.
 

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Do it

You only live once. Be adventursome. "Waste" some money. You want to try the tubulars, go ahead, don't listen to the "nay-sayers".

I would not worry about flatting on the tubulars. It's about the same as flatting on a clincher, but flats happen way more frequently on clinchers. Carry a tire lever to pry off the tubular. I bring along an old "take-off" spare, I carry it in a tight stuff-bag right under my seat bag always. I have some clinchers, but it seems every time I put them on the bike, I get a stinkin' flat...and I keep new Michelin pro tires on them (use them as my pit wheels sometimes for racing).

Mounting tubulars does take longer than mounting a clincher, for sure. But you don't have to change flats all the time like with a high performance clincher. You can leave the clincher patch kit home and the spare tube.

"Ride quality?" Dunno, I can't really feel much difference except the clincher rims are noticably heavier to handle. Tufo tape? I don't care for that much, it's too hard to get off the rim, but I have some in my race bag in case I flat out between stages or on a road trip. You can ride on it immediatly after mounting a new tire, so that is convenient.

Don Hanson
 

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Why don't you rent a pair for a month and see if that satisfies your urge? You won't get the satisfaction of mounting the tires yourself, but you might get the experience of dealing with a flat sometime during the month.
 
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