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Sorry for my generic question and lack of specifics but I literally just took my new bike (with tubulars) out for its first ride today. I'm a hardcore mountain biker but the road game is a whole new world for me. I run a tubeless (non UST) setup with Stans on my mtn bike, so if I get a flat, I can easily and quickly throw a tube in, hit it with a cartridge and I am off....

What is the process of changing a tubular while out on a ride? What should I carry with me?
 

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jcard14 said:
Sorry for my generic question and lack of specifics but I literally just took my new bike (with tubulars) out for its first ride today. I'm a hardcore mountain biker but the road game is a whole new world for me. I run a tubeless (non UST) setup with Stans on my mtn bike, so if I get a flat, I can easily and quickly throw a tube in, hit it with a cartridge and I am off....
What is the process of changing a tubular while out on a ride? What should I carry with me?
You should practice changing one before you HAVE to do it out on the road. You need to carry at least a spare one (protected from chafing). But what if you get two flats? This is why (after 24 years of using them) I wouldn't consider them anymore except for top level racing - which I was never at anyway. In my day there were no options - no high quality clinchers. Now there are & lots of them.

There will be (I'll assume) YouTube videos and internet websites that show the whole process of changing them - far better than we can show here.

Edit - and before you ride make damn sure they're stuck on properly too. There's no-one better for sticking them on than someone whose arse is at stake
 

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Mike T. said:
You should practice changing one before you HAVE to do it out on the road. You need to carry at least a spare one (protected from chafing). But what if you get two flats? This is why (after 24 years of using them) I wouldn't consider them anymore except for top level racing - which I was never at anyway. In my day there were no options - no high quality clinchers. Now there are & lots of them.

There will be (I'll assume) YouTube videos and internet websites that show the whole process of changing them - far better than we can show here.

Edit - and before you ride make damn sure they're stuck on properly too. There's no-one better for sticking them on than someone whose arse is at stake

Thanks for your reply. You say you would only use at top-level racing, but aren't a lot of people using as an every day wheelset? I definitely want to learn from the mistakes of others, but at this point I am committed to these wheels for the forseeable future....

Do the tubular riders reading this feel they get a lot of flats or at a higher frequency than they would otherwise have on a set of clinchers?
 

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jcard14 said:
Thanks for your reply. You say you would only use at top-level racing, but aren't a lot of people using as an every day wheelset? I definitely want to learn from the mistakes of others, but at this point I am committed to these wheels for the forseeable future....

Do the tubular riders reading this feel they get a lot of flats or at a higher frequency than they would otherwise have on a set of clinchers?
-No. Not many people use them for everyday. I'd guess 1 in 30 (not factoring in people on hybrids ect) at the most.

-I don't use them, but theoretically you should get LESS flats because snake bite flats can't happen.

-Look into tape. Sorry I don't know the brand name or what it's really called but the one guy I ride with who uses them swears by two sided tape for on road repairs.
 

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I've been riding tubulars exclusively on my road bikes for close to 40 years now for similar reasons as Mike T. Like Mike T, if I were just getting started in road cycling now, I’d probably not use tubulars, or save them only for races, but I’ve been doing this for too long to change a few of my ways.

Sensibly chosen tubulars don't flat any more than clinchers, and are less likely to pinch flat. That said, some of the ultra light race or track tubular are much more delicate than any clincher tires I’ve seen, and you’re probably asking for trouble using such tubular for daily training use. For everyday training use, stick with more sensible training tires, and if there is debris on the roads where you ride, make sure you choose tires a puncture resistant belt. I don’t use any slime.

As Mike T suggests, don't leave it until you are stranded on the side of the road to learn how to rip off a flat tubular and mount a spare, else you’ll be hitching a ride home. For my spares, I use a tire that has been mounted and used previously (an old front tire, as they last 2-4 times longer than rears), and fold the tire so the glued surfaces are stuck to one another. If the spare hasn't been used in a year, I rotate it out with a fresh spare so the glue is still tacky. By doing so, between the tacky residue on the rim and the spare, the spare will be well adhered within a few minutes of riding. I can change tubular that I’ve mounted at road side in about the same time I can swap a tube in a clincher. However, I’ve helped others with over glued tubulars, which can be a real time consuming chore to tear off.

Some may differ in this opinion, but I don't think it a wise idea to be riding a tire that has been freshly glued, as the glue behaves like a lubricant until it has sufficiently dried. I won't ride a freshly glued tire for a minimum of 8-12 hours, though most glue containers say not to ride them for 24 hours. That’s why my spares are used tubulars, so I can make use of the pre-existing glue. Perhaps I'm a little more crash adverse than others, but I’ve never had a tire roll off.

I also concur with Mike T – don’t ride tires that someone else has glued. If you are going to ride tubulars, learn how to glue and mount them yourself. You need the skill anyway to handle roadside flats.

One more suggestion. Use tubular glue. Don’t use the tub tape or tufo tape, despite how convenient it may appear to be.
 

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jcard14 said:
Thanks for your reply. You say you would only use at top-level racing, but aren't a lot of people using as an every day wheelset? I definitely want to learn from the mistakes of others, but at this point I am committed to these wheels for the forseeable future....
Do the tubular riders reading this feel they get a lot of flats or at a higher frequency than they would otherwise have on a set of clinchers?
You've had some good overall advice. Almost no-one uses them anymore as an "everyday" wheelset. Clinchers are just too good and tubulars are relatively a pain in the arse. There are two main points in favor of tubulars -

The rims are usually lighter than clinchers. They don't need the sticky-up flanges.
They don't pinch flat.

But I've had one pinch flat in 24 years of high quality clincher use so that's a non-issue for me. I ride good quality 25 & 28mm clinchers down gravel roads and I don't pinch flat. I'm even-steven - 24 years on tubulars, 24 years on clinchers.

When I did use tubulars I would get an average of one flat tire per year. They just seemed more fragile. I can't remember the last flat I got with clinchers. It's got to be 5-10 years ago. I just don't remember. That being said, I wouldn't dare carry less than two tubes. Try carrying two tubulars.

Yes, at the cutting edge of the sport, tubulars are better than clinchers in almost every way (that's why most pros use them) but IMO the other 99% of us are much better off with clinchers. This year I went to arguably the best one there is - Vittoria Open Corsa Evo CX, 25mm width (210g) with ultra-lite 50g tubes. They're flippin' awesome.
 

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I rode clinchers for 10 years and having had just 2 flats on all that period, I decided to go to tubulars exclusively on my main bike.

from those flats, one was for riding over glass, the second was a pinch flat.

I carry an old tubular as an spare folded on one of my bottle cages and 2 CO2 tubes + CO2 inflator + plastic levers.

all that could be replaced by just carrying one or two canisters of Vittoria Pit Stop though

I have not had any issue with my tubulars yet.

when it is wet I do ride clinchers, the wet hides the road debris better and the probability of running over glass is higher.
 

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Glue job dependent

jcard14 said:
Sorry for my generic question and lack of specifics but I literally just took my new bike (with tubulars) out for its first ride today. I'm a hardcore mountain biker but the road game is a whole new world for me. I run a tubeless (non UST) setup with Stans on my mtn bike, so if I get a flat, I can easily and quickly throw a tube in, hit it with a cartridge and I am off....

What is the process of changing a tubular while out on a ride? What should I carry with me?
How easy it is to change a tubular on the road depends very heavily on the glue job: which glue was used and how it was done. You can find yourself in situations where you're trying to get the tire off with a sharp pen knife, or you can just peel it off and stick on a pre-glued spare. As others have noted, you should be practicing this before the situation arises on the road, and try to hook up with an experienced tubular user to start learning all you can. There is a fair amount of skill and experience to making the tubular experience the best it can be.

I will chime in with the others: I rode tubulars for 30 years and then switched to clinchers in the late '90s. I can't imagine what would make me want to go back to tubulars.
 

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Here's my tip... carry a razor blade, a can of vittoria pit stop, and a spare tubular tire (pre-glued), and a pump or CO2. If the flat is small, the pit stop sealant will seal it right up. If puncture is fairly large, use the razor blade and cut the tire in half opposite of the valve stem. You can easily peal the tire off of the rim in less than a minute this way. This beats rolling the tire little by little off the rim.

The razor blade is the most important tool here, but just be careful how you store it and carry it with you.
 

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tjjm36m3 said:
Here's my tip... carry a razor blade, a can of vittoria pit stop, and a spare tubular tire (pre-glued), and a pump or CO2. If the flat is small, the pit stop sealant will seal it right up. If puncture is fairly large, use the razor blade and cut the tire in half opposite of the valve stem. You can easily peal the tire off of the rim in less than a minute this way. This beats rolling the tire little by little off the rim.

The razor blade is the most important tool here, but just be careful how you store it and carry it with you.
Ouch, that seems extreme, unless the tire is totally beyond repair. Destroying a $50-100 tire simply because it flatted out on the road is an expensive fix.
 

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For me the hardest part of the tire change is getting the tire off the rim. I carry a small chainring spanner to help get the tire off.

When putting the new tire on, it helps to put about 5-10lbs of pressure in the tire first. It makes it easier to ooch the last bit up onto the rim.
 

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krisdrum said:
Ouch, that seems extreme, unless the tire is totally beyond repair. Destroying a $50-100 tire simply because it flatted out on the road is an expensive fix.
Tire sealants will fix most small punctures up to around 5mm but anything larger, regardless if it's a clincher or tubular, the tire is no longer good anyways. I doubt you would want to continue using it for racing or even fast group rides... hitting 20+mph turns around corners and not knowing if the small puncture will open up is terrifying. And that's one of my main problems with tubulars, they are expensive.
 

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tjjm36m3 said:
Tire sealants will fix most small punctures up to around 5mm but anything larger, regardless if it's a clincher or tubular, the tire is no longer good anyways. I doubt you would want to continue using it for racing or even fast group rides... hitting 20+mph turns around corners and not knowing if the small puncture will open up is terrifying. And that's one of my main problems with tubulars, they are expensive.
Tubulars will get expensive if you're going to cut them off.

I guess if you are never going to patch a tubular, whether you rip the tire off intact or cut it off, doesn’t really matter.

Tubulars don’t have to be quite so expensive if you learn how to patch them, and you don’t need to be using $100 tubulars for everyday training unless you are riding spotlessly clean roads like where I currently reside.

However, if you didn’t use quite so much glue, you could rip the tire off with your bare hands in a whole lot less time and effort than it takes you to cut the tire off. A common newbie mistake is to use way too little or too much glue. Sadly, a number of bike shop glue jobs I see fall into the way over-glued category.
 

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RHankey said:
Tubulars will get expensive if you're going to cut them off.

I guess if you are never going to patch a tubular, whether you rip the tire off intact or cut it off, doesn’t really matter.

Tubulars don’t have to be quite so expensive if you learn how to patch them, and you don’t need to be using $100 tubulars for everyday training unless you are riding spotlessly clean roads like where I currently reside.
Patching a tubular tire only patches the inner tube. The condition of the tire where a large puncture had occurred isn't repairable. Therefore, I think it is safer for one to replace the tire altogther if it is used for racing. I don't use my tubulars for everyday training... sometimes I do but only for special occasions like a nice weekend ride on good clean roads.

But generally tire sealant can seal small punctures and be good for a few months. I ripped out a base tape off a tire once and seeing the work done on the stitching I don't think I have the skills to patch.
 

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Ok, weird guy here. I am riding tubulars on my cross bike which i added a bolt on seat post rack so i could day commute on it. I had the tubulars in the basement from a project a few years ago and thought i would just ride them. They are cheap vitorica rally tires and you know what, they ride like crap. LOL LOL LOL

My goal is to get some nice cyclocross tubulars for race season. So these tires are just for fun right now.

Nice clinchers ride so mcuh better and are completely repairiable.

Bill
 

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crossracer said:
Ok, weird guy here. I am riding tubulars on my cross bike which i added a bolt on seat post rack so i could day commute on it. I had the tubulars in the basement from a project a few years ago and thought i would just ride them. They are cheap vitorica rally tires and you know what, they ride like crap. LOL LOL LOL

My goal is to get some nice cyclocross tubulars for race season. So these tires are just for fun right now.

Nice clinchers ride so mcuh better and are completely repairiable.

Bill
Tough to compare a cheap tire, tubular or clincher to a more expensive, high performance one, tubular or clincher. Not all tubulars are a magic bullet, just like not all clinchers are high quality.
 

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I just started riding tubulars too and got some early experience with Vittoria Pit Stop and removing a tire. I got a cut in my rear tire on the way to work and Pit Stop took care of it pretty well- enough to get me to my office where I topped it off with CO2 to about 90psi (I later used a gauge and was pleasantly surprised by that). However, sadly the cut I had sustained was quite large and on the sidewall so the fix didn't hold when I pumped up to 110+psi. So I had to take the tire off- luckily in the comfort of my home. I used Tufo Extreme tape to hold a Continental Competition 22 to a Reynolds DV46T. At first I was afraid how hard the removal would be because the tire was SO on there. But before I taped the tire I read somewhere to leave a 2-3 inch space opposite the valve stem UNtaped. This would make it easier to remove the tire- and boy did it! I'm a 125 pound weakling who often has big trouble getting new clinchers onto rims. But I had very little trouble taking this tire off. After this 'rehersal' I am now very confident that should I flat on the road somewhere I will easily be able to peel off the tire and put a spare one on. My plan from now on is to carry Pit Stop and a new stretched unglued/untaped tire with me. If I need to swap out tires, at my weight I feel confident that I will be able to ride home (at <15mph?) on an unglued tire. I've read about plenty of people doing it. It's kind of like having a sports car with a space-saver spare tire. You will have to make compromises should something bad happen, but it's the price you pay for tubular goodness. I guess if you're worried about an unglued tire coming off or flatting at mile twelve of a century, you could just bring a roll of Tufo tape and you should be good as new.
 
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