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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not looking for a debate of tubulars versus clinchers. I'm ready to purchase a set of carbon wheels for my Trek Pilot and my LBS dealer who I have a lot of respect for is directing me toward tubular. I'ver done my homework and scoured these forums and am aware of the advantages of clinchers for repairs in the field. But I'm willing to put up with the inconvenience of dealing with tubulars for a potentially superior ride. So please no need for a debate, clincher riders need not respond. Here's where I'm looking for help from you tubular riders. I would really appreciate hearing from you as to exactly what it is that you find superior about the tubular ride that makes it worth the hassle of repairs, gluing, etc. Can you put into words what it is you prefer about the "feel" of tubulars? How exactly do they ride better? What about the ride do you feel is superior to clinchers that makes it all worthwhile? Many on these forums have written about the superior "ride" of tubulars but it has been in generalities. Can you please try to put into words specifically what it is you are feeling and prefer? Your responses would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Tubulars.

I prefer the Vittoria Rallies: affordable, lively, good traction wet/dry, low rolling resistance @ PSI of 130, reliable for daily training or racing, puncture resistant!
climber2 said:
I'm not looking for a debate of tubulars versus clinchers. I'm ready to purchase a set of carbon wheels for my Trek Pilot and my LBS dealer who I have a lot of respect for is directing me toward tubular. I'ver done my homework and scoured these forums and am aware of the advantages of clinchers for repairs in the field. But I'm willing to put up with the inconvenience of dealing with tubulars for a potentially superior ride. So please no need for a debate, clincher riders need not respond. Here's where I'm looking for help from you tubular riders. I would really appreciate hearing from you as to exactly what it is that you find superior about the tubular ride that makes it worth the hassle of repairs, gluing, etc. Can you put into words what it is you prefer about the "feel" of tubulars? How exactly do they ride better? What about the ride do you feel is superior to clinchers that makes it all worthwhile? Many on these forums have written about the superior "ride" of tubulars but it has been in generalities. Can you please try to put into words specifically what it is you are feeling and prefer? Your responses would be greatly appreciated.
 

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climber2 said:
Can you put into words what it is you prefer about the "feel" of tubulars? How exactly do they ride better? What about the ride do you feel is superior to clinchers that makes it all worthwhile? Many on these forums have written about the superior "ride" of tubulars but it has been in generalities. Can you please try to put into words specifically what it is you are feeling and prefer? Your responses would be greatly appreciated.
Even better than words...can you put some numbers to that request while you're at it? ;)

I'm REALLY curious, along with climber2, to hear the answers....
 

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I'll put it out there that it is a romance thing for me. I love working with tubulars. I don't look at a cycling computer enought to care about my speed much. I just like them. Having said that, the best tubulars on the market are Veloflex Carbons. No offence but the Vittoria Rallies are garbage in comparison. The Veloflex have the most supple sidewall giving them a great ride. They compare very favorably to the best clinchers on the market and are at the top of the list for tubular tires with respect to rolling resistance. You have to go to Dugast for better and the only people who should be riding Dugast (If you can even find them) are pros and VERY wealthy people.

I'm not sold on carbon clinchers so if you are going with a carbon wheelset, tubular is the way to go for the best wheels out there. The best exception is the Mavic Cosmic Carbones and they are an awesome exception at that. They have an aluminium rim.

-Eric
 

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ergott said:
I'll put it out there that it is a romance thing for me. I love working with tubulars. I don't look at a cycling computer enought to care about my speed much. I just like them. Having said that, the best tubulars on the market are Veloflex Carbons. No offence but the Vittoria Rallies are garbage in comparison. The Veloflex have the most supple sidewall giving them a great ride. They compare very favorably to the best clinchers on the market and are at the top of the list for tubular tires with respect to rolling resistance. You have to go to Dugast for better and the only people who should be riding Dugast (If you can even find them) are pros and VERY wealthy people.

I'm not sold on carbon clinchers so if you are going with a carbon wheelset, tubular is the way to go for the best wheels out there. The best exception is the Mavic Cosmic Carbones and they are an awesome exception at that. They have an aluminium rim.

-Eric
I agree, I like working with them. I think that "feel" is up to the individual. I also can change a flat tubular tire quicker than a clincher while out on the road so that is another reason I prefer them. If you are getting carbon wheels I can understand getting tubular ones. I like getting out the glue and putting on a new set of tires and admiring my handiwork afterwards. You can't do that with clinchers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Please, I'm not looking for recommendations for specific tires. I'm looking for a description of what it is you like about tubulars, besides the tradition and romance. What is it about the RIDE that you all like. Anyone out there?
 

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If you scroll back through the clincher/tubie wars, you would find tons of numbers and opinions about the ride quality of tubulars. For me being a bigger guy (6'6", 220), the fact that I don't get pinch flats anymore is big. A flat of any kind is rare. I used to ride tubulars back in the late 70's, the silk Setas had amazing ride quality compared to the crappy clincher tires available at the time, but all you had to do was breathe on them and they'd flat. I even had a 'catcher' mounted on each wheel to catch debris before it flatted the tire. Now, a bit of Stan's No Seal in each tire and I don't get flats, or don't know about them and the ride quality is still great.

There really isn't much of a hassle in gluing and mounting the tires. Keep an old rim with a new backup tire on it to pre-stretch it. Glue tire and rim, careful not to get glue in the spoke holes, let dry, repeat, let dry, mount tire.

Cornering on tubulars is better, they have a round profile that gives a better feel than the oblong profile of clinchers, IMHO.

Tradition? Perhaps it matters a little, but I would argue that tubies are more practical in some ways than clinchers when mounted right.

chris
(And my favorite tubies are Conti Competitions).
 

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That mystical "ride quality" of tubulars

I think Chris (BeeCharmer) may have hit on the 'ride quality' cause/feeling that many speak of when touting Tubulars. The shape of the tubular tire causes it to take corners a bit more "smoothly". I know on my sport motorcycles, tire cross section shape has a very big influence on how the bike "feels" as it corners. If you look closely at your bike tires, you can see that different types are shaped differently. As the wheels go from vertical to heeled-over on an almost round cross sectioned tubular, the 'contact patch' (where the rubber meets the road) "moves" predictably (in relation to geometry of the frame). With most clinchers, you will see the cross section shape is not really totally round, so as you tip the wheel and tire into a corner, the contact patch 'moves' (in relation to the geometry of the frame) in a 'non-linear' fashion, causing a subtile (usually un-noticable, by the average rider) change in the cornering forces. "Non-linear" I guess you could say, as the tire rolls over and up off it's center section, the contact patch "moves" . Kinda difficult to describe this phenominum and it IS very subtile. Most riders would never be able to tell the difference just by feel. If you normally ride clinchers, you simply get used to how they corner, or never even notice the very very slight "tip-in" or "turn-in" inconsistency in your "line".
Now all that having been said, I can't really tell the difference myself other than perhaps my tubies "seem" to feel a bit (teenie tiny bit) less harsh on fresh rough chip an seal pavement. I also 'opine' that I can feel the difference in weight between my clincher wheels and tubular wheels as I ride. And, since I started riding tubulars again, I have not noticed them to be especially "fussy" or more expensive than clinchers. I get less flats now on tubulars, that is a fact. The cost (tubular/clincher) seems similar. I haven't found any drawbacks to using that Tufo tape, though I do use glue on some of mine, too. The tape is easier. It is slightly annoying when changing between bikes and wheels to make sure you have the "right" flat tire "kit" along, and carrying a tubular..bigger than a patch kit, but it "looks cool" in your jersey pocket..some might think.
I've been training almost totally on tubulars lately since I got some beater carbon wheels off Ebay. When I "heft" my Krysirums against the beat up Zipps..I seem to usually opt for the lighter wheels unless it is raining or I am going out into the far boonies.
Don Hanson
 

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All tires are round, and all tires are flat

Gnarly 928 said:
I think Chris (BeeCharmer) may have hit on the 'ride quality' cause/feeling that many speak of when touting Tubulars. The shape of the tubular tire causes it to take corners a bit more "smoothly". I know on my sport motorcycles, tire cross section shape has a very big influence on how the bike "feels" as it corners. If you look closely at your bike tires, you can see that different types are shaped differently. As the wheels go from vertical to heeled-over on an almost round cross sectioned tubular, the 'contact patch' (where the rubber meets the road) "moves" predictably (in relation to geometry of the frame). With most clinchers, you will see the cross section shape is not really totally round, so as you tip the wheel and tire into a corner, the contact patch 'moves' (in relation to the geometry of the frame) in a 'non-linear' fashion, causing a subtile (usually un-noticable, by the average rider) change in the cornering forces. "Non-linear" I guess you could say, as the tire rolls over and up off it's center section, the contact patch "moves" .
What a bunch of hooey. In a very real since all tires are round, and in another, equally real sense, all tires are flat. In this regard, there is no difference between tubulars and clinchers.

The casing of all bicycle tires - both tubulars an clinchers - are bias ply. Unlike automobile and some motorcycle tires, there is no circumferential belting to constrict the profile of the tire. Because of the bias ply construction, and that the casings are thin and flexible and under a very high pneumatic pressure, all inflated bicycle tire casings are round.

What may give a tire an appearance of an oblong shape is due to varying thickness of the tread. If a tire has a tread that is very thick in the center, the tire may seem to "bulge" outward in the center. But although this bulge is real, it is not a factor of whether it is tubular or clincher - a clincher with a thin tread will be round, and a tubular with a thick tread will be oblong. But in either case, the casing under the tread is round. Because a bicycle tire is so narrow, it only takes a small difference in tread thickness to give this "oblong" appearance.

By the same token, all tires are also flat - in the ground contact patch. Because the casing is so flexible and the tread so thin, bicycle tires flex easily in the ground contact point, and contacts the ground in a flat patch. Because the tread is so flexible, and the pressure so great, small variations in tread thickeness are insignificant.

Gnarly 928 said:
Kinda difficult to describe this phenominum and it IS very subtile. Most riders would never be able to tell the difference just by feel. If you normally ride clinchers, you simply get used to how they corner, or never even notice the very very slight "tip-in" or "turn-in" inconsistency in your "line".
Yes, the differences are very subtle. Why, only those with senses fine enough to see the Emperor's New Clothes or feel the pea under the stack of matresses can detect the subtle improvement in handling. Apparantly Miles Rockwell (for MTB downhill World Champion) is not one of those sensitive enough, since he won the Red Bull Road Rage (a downhill road race with plenty of technical cornering) on clincher tires.

So, if tubular tires handle so much better, do you use tubulars or clinchers on your motorcycle?
 

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climber2

Just like I stated in my reply: they are more affordable (especially if you buy from Probikekit.com, now with free shipping to USA), better traction, lively ride, lower rolling resistance @ PSI 130, puncture resistant and more durable. I also ride clinchers: Vittoria Zaffiro Pro.
climber2 said:
But what exactly is it that you like about the tubulars compared to clinchers?
 

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Vittoria tubulars.

I have been riding these great tubulars since I was 13 y/o (1973), and over the worst road conditions, to include potholes that could qualify for foxholes in WW1, and I have had few tubular failures, often riding past the "no thread" left zone, and they still remain faithfully intact.Now, 40 lbs. heavier (175 lbs.), they still deliver the same superb performance and durability standard. I vouch for the Vittoria Rallies to anyone, any day, anywhere on this planet.Probikekit.com has them at a great deal, at prices that are cheaper than when I used to purchase them in 1973! Ride well, on tubulars or clinchers, who cares, just ride and enjoy life!
ergott said:
I'll put it out there that it is a romance thing for me. I love working with tubulars. I don't look at a cycling computer enought to care about my speed much. I just like them. Having said that, the best tubulars on the market are Veloflex Carbons. No offence but the Vittoria Rallies are garbage in comparison. The Veloflex have the most supple sidewall giving them a great ride. They compare very favorably to the best clinchers on the market and are at the top of the list for tubular tires with respect to rolling resistance. You have to go to Dugast for better and the only people who should be riding Dugast (If you can even find them) are pros and VERY wealthy people.

I'm not sold on carbon clinchers so if you are going with a carbon wheelset, tubular is the way to go for the best wheels out there. The best exception is the Mavic Cosmic Carbones and they are an awesome exception at that. They have an aluminium rim.

-Eric
 

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I love the feel lightweight feel of the setup. It gives you the ability to really explode up a climb.

You can also feel the "glued on-ness" of the tires. I think it makes for a more in controlled feeling when doing a descent.

I pay $35/tire for my Conti Sprinters. They're cheaper than many quality clinchers and I usually get a couple thousand miles out of them.

HTH :)
 

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Trash talk..

Mark McM said:
What a bunch of hooey.


Yes, the differences are very subtle. Why, only those with senses fine enough to see the Emperor's New Clothes or feel the pea under the stack of matresses can detect the subtle improvement in handling. Apparantly Miles Rockwell (for MTB downhill World Champion) is not one of those sensitive enough, since he won the Red Bull Road Rage (a downhill road race with plenty of technical cornering) on clincher tires.

So, if tubular tires handle so much better, do you use tubulars or clinchers on your motorcycle?
Well, If I raced a mountain bike on the road, I guess clinchers would be the tire to choose..who can argue with results like winning Red Bull Road Rage..? And if I rode something like a Harley, I guess I could just run 'square profile' tires from say, Les Schwab or Sears or Wal Mart..but I don't race mountain bikes or ride Harleys. Tubular motorcycle tires? I bet they've been tried..A few years back, Bridgestone had tires with what they call a "Trigonic" cross section. They DID stick well once you got leaned way over, but they were also pretty funky feeling as you 'turned-in"..Michelin came along with 'round cross section' sport bike tires and that is where the current tech is, for handling those bikes who's riders get leaned over so far over their knees drag on the pavment..Not that motos have anything much to do with riding a bicycle with a tire with a cross-section about the size of your......(hee hee!)
Don Hanson
 

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Mark McM said:
What a bunch of hooey. In a very real since all tires are round,
Actually if you air each up off a rim One is round one is U shaped ;)
Funny I didn't think this poster would get so many going on this yet again.
Bottom line 2 types of tires for 2 types of folks. Thank god we have choices yes?

PS: Having raced motorcycles & having been sponsored by Honda I can tell you why tubulars are not used on racing motorcycles. Heat
 

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Woot! Another religious argument! May as well bring up the Shimano/Campy thing again...

Tubulars FEEL different. Its hard to explain, but easy to feel.

IME: Good tubulars feel better than clinchers. Bad tubulars feel worse than clinchers.

M
who rides both!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Clincher riders please post elsewhere

PLEASE, this thread is not for debating the merits of clincher vs tubular (there is another thread active for that). Clincher riders need not feel dissed and compelled top defend their preferences. I would simply appreciate hearing from tubular riders as to why they prefer the ride, to see if it is possible to put into words what you like about riding on tubulars versus clinchers.
 

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climber2 said:
I would simply appreciate hearing from tubular riders as to why they prefer the ride,.
I think you have already been told a few times in this thread no?
Feel & cornering

Problem is how do you describe feel?
Describe a pinch to me I may or may not understand what your saying based on your description & my experiences with what your trying to describe.

In the end there is only one answer for you. Beg, borrow or steal a set & try it yourself.
 

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A couple more comments..
You'd be hard pressed to figure a way to "air up a clincher off the rim" Perhaps that is why they usually end up being heavier, when mounted, than most tubulars on their rims. The tire and the rim for clinchers must have extra features in order to "clinch", so they become more complex in structure and hence, slightly heavier, generally. I ride both types having just started with the tubulars again recently. I'd have to say the rims make a whole lot more difference in the 'feel" of my rides than the tires, but that is probably because my tubular rims are of the tall section carbon type, for the most part, while my clincher rims (the ones I still ride often) are of the low section type. Heck, I sometimes ride my little bitty climbing clincher rim on the front with a big tall Reynolds on the rear....on very windy days it makes the ride more enjoyable. Wet days, I sometimes ride a Ksyrium(sp?) on the back and a Reynolds on the front...Alumunim rear rim to brake in the gritty wet descents and Aero front carbon to cut the wind..Whatever gets me out on the bike...
Perhaps a fair test (subjective, of course) would be to ride two very similar wheel-sets on the two types of tires, back to back, same day same bike same road. I volunteer, who'll send me the wheels to "test"..
ciao, Don Hanson
 
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