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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am about to invest in a set of Zipp 404s but am not sure wether to go tubular. Have never ridden tubular but am fully aware of all the usual tubular vs clincher arguments. I have ridden Tufo C Elite tubular-clincher road tyres at up to 200psi and love the ride/performance. People talk about "blow out" pressures above 120psi????... I am interested to hear from tubular riders who have experienced punctures/tyre roll off (my main concern) at fast speed/ downhill/ cornering etc and how they feel about saftey issues generally regarding the tubular format. I realise we all take a risk wether we ride clincher or tub but it would be reassuring to invest in the safer format regardless of the other arguments: I would love to take advantage of the weight saving of tubular wheels but would be prepared to go Zipp 404 clincher if its design is safer to ride. I race a lot of summer granfondos in the Dolomites and flatter competitions in other areas of Italy (where the 404s will be used).

Comments much appreciated...
 

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henry said:
I am about to invest in a set of Zipp 404s but am not sure wether to go tubular. Have never ridden tubular but am fully aware of all the usual tubular vs clincher arguments. I have ridden Tufo C Elite tubular-clincher road tyres at up to 200psi and love the ride/performance. People talk about "blow out" pressures above 120psi????... I am interested to hear from tubular riders who have experienced punctures/tyre roll off (my main concern) at fast speed/ downhill/ cornering etc and how they feel about saftey issues generally regarding the tubular format. I realise we all take a risk wether we ride clincher or tub but it would be reassuring to invest in the safer format regardless of the other arguments: I would love to take advantage of the weight saving of tubular wheels but would be prepared to go Zipp 404 clincher if its design is safer to ride. I race a lot of summer granfondos in the Dolomites and flatter competitions in other areas of Italy (where the 404s will be used).

Comments much appreciated...
I am 41 in June and have ridden tubs since I was 18. In that time I have rolled one tub, in 1983.

I knowingly rode on a soft tub and tried turning sharp right onto Norham Road from Banbury Road in Oxford. Tyre rolled and I face planted:eek:, luckily it was a slow speed fall!:eek:

I would rather flat on tubs than clinchers any day of the week.
 

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henry said:
I am about to invest in a set of Zipp 404s but am not sure wether to go tubular. Have never ridden tubular but am fully aware of all the usual tubular vs clincher arguments. I have ridden Tufo C Elite tubular-clincher road tyres at up to 200psi and love the ride/performance. People talk about "blow out" pressures above 120psi????...
I think anything above 120psi is crazy, unless you are on a track, but that is just me. I also think it is silly to buy any carbon clinchers... kind of defeats the purpose, IMHO.

I have seen several clinchers roll off in races- and the riders go down. I would argue that clinchers ARE the tire of choice for a roll-off... since they are not glued on.
 

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Crash resistance

henry said:
I am interested to hear from tubular riders who have experienced punctures/tyre roll off (my main concern) at fast speed/ downhill/ cornering etc and how they feel about saftey issues generally regarding the tubular format.
Here's the news - if you flat on a fast downhill or when cornering fast, you're going to have a hard time staying up no matter what kind of tires you're using. Blowout flats are not common, regardless of tire type. If there is an advantage in this respect for tubulars, it is that you can ride a flat slowly in a straight line better than with clinchers. This aspect is not the basis for making a choice between them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
what about the carbon braking surface in wet conditions ?

Appreciate that both designs are not going to be any use in a downhill blow out but I guess I'm more paranoid about my own user error re gluing tubs as opposed to the failsafe system of a clincher rim where, asside from a puncture, you know for sure the tyre is not going to roll off. Also why is is no manufacturer making tub deep rims with alu braking surface?.. I also wonder how safe it is to ride after a puncture in a race putting opn a spare tyre over old glue..??.. nobody seems to mention this...
 

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henry said:
Appreciate that both designs are not going to be any use in a downhill blow out but I guess I'm more paranoid about my own user error re gluing tubs as opposed to the failsafe system of a clincher rim where, asside from a puncture, you know for sure the tyre is not going to roll off. Also why is is no manufacturer making tub deep rims with alu braking surface?.. I also wonder how safe it is to ride after a puncture in a race putting opn a spare tyre over old glue..??.. nobody seems to mention this...
Get someone who knows what they are doing to help you the first time you glue your tires. After that, you should have no problems. I've ridden tubies since 1990 and have never rolled one. I typically use about half a tube of glue on the rim,then I pull the tire on, inflate, align, inflate more and leave over night. Just make sure the rim is clean (if new) and the tire has no latex coating on the base (Vittorias? Contis don't have this prob). I don't so the whole 5 coats of glue on rim and tire crap, its not necessary IMHO, at least not with contis.
Also, with tubulars, you won't ever get a pinch flat (nothing to pinch!), so that in itself will mean less 'blowouts' for you since the majority of flat tires on clinchers seem to be pinch flats.
As for pressure, its personal. Sprinters are rated up to something like 200psi. When racing I will use about 130 in the rear and 120 in the front, and I love the ride.
As for braking surface on the rim, you need to look at the manufacturer specs. My 2001 404's (tubular, all carbon) didn't require any special pads. Also, Mavic carbone tubulars (not the all carbon pro) have an aluminum tubular rim, so you can use normal pads there too.
Lastly.......how often are you repairing a tire during a race?!?!! Don't you just get a spare wheel from the race support?? I've never seen someone in a road race pull over a repair a tire. Regardless, I can stretch on a spare tubie faster than I can repair a tube and remount a clincher. And as long as you get the tubie inflated to a decent pressure, it will stick more than good enough to finish your ride on.......just don't fly into any downhill corners at 60km/hr.
Anyway, just bite the bullet and get the tubulars. You will be glad you did. And get a decent tire like a conti sprinter or better. This wheelset will make a bigger difference to your ride than any carbon bits/seatposts/bars/stems could ever do.
 

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Also, with tubulars, you won't ever get a pinch flat (nothing to pinch!), so that in itself will mean less 'blowouts' for you since the majority of flat tires on clinchers seem to be pinch flats.
No, the vast majority of flats are from road debris. I can't remember the last time I had a pinch flat. I'm guessing it was in the late '80's. This pinch flat thing is a giant myth. And as mentioned elsewhere, tire "blowouts" don't happen very often at all. Almost never.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
404/tubular-clincher combo vs 404 tub

.. like many clincher riders.. its gaining confidence in the gluing system and actually experiencing a puncture tyre replacement- the whole process that I may be exagerating in my mind.. however I ride tubular-clincher tyres and can mount a replacement far quicker than a regular clincher roadside puncture senario and ride on with the same attitude I started the race. ...
... Inevitably it boils down to the old weight argument.... many have argued that a heavier deep section wheel will always run quicker with the same amount of effort on flat stretches of road than a lighter non aero wheelset. I have a set of Bontrager race lite aero aluminium clinchers at the moment (approx 1700g) and can definitely sense an advantage over my climbing wheels(Rolf Elan aero 1300g 24mm rims)... I wonder how much advantage the zipp 404 tub really has ON A FLAT COURSE over its clincher version considering the 440g difference between the 2 ????... and if that difference is negligable why bother suffering with all the hassle especially if the tubular-clincher tyre is to be used on the 404 ???... be interesting to have a proper test done on this.
 

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henry said:
.. like many clincher riders.. its gaining confidence in the gluing system and actually experiencing a puncture tyre replacement- the whole process that I may be exagerating in my mind.. however I ride tubular-clincher tyres and can mount a replacement far quicker than a regular clincher roadside puncture senario and ride on with the same attitude I started the race. ...
... Inevitably it boils down to the old weight argument.... many have argued that a heavier deep section wheel will always run quicker with the same amount of effort on flat stretches of road than a lighter non aero wheelset. I have a set of Bontrager race lite aero aluminium clinchers at the moment (approx 1700g) and can definitely sense an advantage over my climbing wheels(Rolf Elan aero 1300g 24mm rims)... I wonder how much advantage the zipp 404 tub really has ON A FLAT COURSE over its clincher version considering the 440g difference between the 2 ????... and if that difference is negligable why bother suffering with all the hassle especially if the tubular-clincher tyre is to be used on the 404 ???... be interesting to have a proper test done on this.
People don't switch to tubulars for aerodynamics. If you like your current tires that much, then just get the Zipp clincher. People switch to tubulars because many prefer the feel of them, and they often make for a lighter wheelset (while still being a deep aero wheelset, like the zipp 404 tubulars).
The gluing is a non-issue. No different than learning to change a clincher. You just need to learn how.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
People don't switch to tubulars for aerodynamics. If you like your current tires that much, then just get the Zipp clincher. People switch to tubulars because many prefer the feel of them, and they often make for a lighter wheelset (while still being a deep aero wheelset, like the zipp 404 tubulars).
The gluing is a non-issue. No different than learning to change a clincher. You just need to learn how.
When you say "People don't switch to tubulars for aerodynamics" doesnt this back up my point that given the 404 is available as a clincher or tubular either will yield the same aero advantage???... barring hills ....
 

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henry said:
When you say "People don't switch to tubulars for aerodynamics" doesnt this back up my point that given the 404 is available as a clincher or tubular either will yield the same aero advantage???... barring hills ....
Henry,
Read your original post. You were worried about tubulars rolling off and blowing out, and you said you werre interested in the potential weight savings of tubulars.
So lets clear up what we're talking about! What is it you are wondering? Are you wondering if tubulars are more aero than clinchers?? No, at least not that you are going to notice. So if you like clinchers, then yes, get the 404 clincher.
If you are interested in tubies because of the ride quality and weight savings, then go with the 404 tubie.
And with regard to your concerns about blow out and tire rolling, again, these things will not be an issue once you learn to glue the tire on (really, its easy!). Most people that talk about the 'hastle' of tubulars, have not tried tubualrs or tried them and did not learn how to properly and easily put a tubie on.
Sorry if I misunderstood what you are asking.
 

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filtersweep said:
I also think it is silly to buy any carbon clinchers... kind of defeats the purpose, IMHO.

.
I also agree with this. There are two big reasons people get wheels like Zipps, Lightweights, etc.
1. Light weight!
2. Aerodynamics

There are an endless number of discussions on forums about which is better, light weight, or aerodynamics. With wheels like the 404 tubular (or the reynolds tubie, or Lightweight, or Campy Bora's) you get both!! But once you go clincher, you toss away the weight savings.
 

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Mostly right

Are you wondering if tubulars are more aero than clinchers?? No, at least not that you are going to notice. So if you like clinchers, then yes, get the 404 clincher.
If you are interested in tubies because of the ride quality and weight savings, then go with the 404 tubie.
And with regard to your concerns about blow out and tire rolling, again, these things will not be an issue once you learn to glue the tire on (really, its easy!). Most people that talk about the 'hastle' of tubulars, have not tried tubualrs or tried them and did not learn how to properly and easily put a tubie on.
Generally excellelent advice, but regardling the hassle, I rode tubulars for 30 years, and there is no doubt in my mind that they are more hassle than clinchers. Full stop. Anyone who says otherwise has not repaired (m)any tubulars.
 

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Kerry Irons said:
Generally excellelent advice, but regardling the hassle, I rode tubulars for 30 years, and there is no doubt in my mind that they are more hassle than clinchers. Full stop. Anyone who says otherwise has not repaired (m)any tubulars.
Sure, but you don't repair tubulars on the road - you peel 'em off, swap in a spare, and fix the flat at home at your leisure. No big deal. I ride both tubulars and clinchers and don't have a strong preference either way, except that on a track bike, where acceleration is key, I like the lower moment of inertia of the tubular rim/tire combo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
original thread answered...added rotational weight

Henry,
Read your original post. You were worried about tubulars rolling off and blowing out, and you said you werre interested in the potential weight savings of tubulars.
So lets clear up what we're talking about! What is it you are wondering? Are you wondering if tubulars are more aero than clinchers?? No, at least not that you are going to notice. So if you like clinchers, then yes, get the 404 clincher.
If you are interested in tubies because of the ride quality and weight savings, then go with the 404 tubie.
And with regard to your concerns about blow out and tire rolling, again, these things will not be an issue once you learn to glue the tire on (really, its easy!). Most people that talk about the 'hastle' of tubulars, have not tried tubualrs or tried them and did not learn how to properly and easily put a tubie on.
Sorry if I misunderstood what you are asking.
No.. its my fault- I have indeed wondered a little from my original post somewhat. However you may have subsequently missunderstood where I'm heading with this thread... its not a question of the clincher system being more aero than the tubular system.. the 404 rims are the same depth/shape: obviously aerodynamically there is no difference... its now a question of wether the added rotational weight of the clincher 404 has an adverse effect on the speed gained by the aerodynamics. .. I have digested the preceeding discussions re blowout/rolloff and subsequent gluing delema and your comments are much appreciated.. what may swing it for me is wether the weight difference of the rims does indeed yield a difference in performance on flat roads. For instance there are many who say the Cosmic carbon clincher even though it is heavier runs quicker on the flat compared to a zipp. maybe I'll start a new post specific to this... anyway just to clarify: I accept that gluing a tub is simply something to get used to and that blowout/rolling off is a rare occurance once the gluing technique has been mastered and indeed those that poo poo it haven't perseveared with it.
 

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henry said:
...its now a question of wether the added rotational weight of the clincher 404 has an adverse effect on the speed gained by the aerodynamics
If you do a search on the various forums (and listen to those who understand physics) and play around at analyticcycling you'll find that... clinchers are faster. The Crr difference when using typical road glue is ~ 1% in speed on the flat or a hill climb... and this is more than the extra weight could ever be. The mystery though, is that the pros are mostly using tubulars... though some of them may be using special silk tires or track glue, in which case the Crr could be as low or better than clinchers... but this part is purely conjecture.

As I recall, Zipp recommends no more than 120psi on actual roads because higher pressures result in greater vibrational losses... mostly absorbed by the big hunk of meat riding the bike.
 

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henry said:
its now a question of wether the added rotational weight of the clincher 404 has an adverse effect on the speed gained by the aerodynamics. .. .. what may swing it for me is wether the weight difference of the rims does indeed yield a difference in performance on flat roads. .
The main difference the weight will make is acceleration and climbing. If you are wondering about speed on a flat road, like during a road race, you will probably notice very little difference. If you ride on rolling or hilly roads, you may like having the lighter wheels. Yup, Carbones are supposed to roll very nicely on flat roads, which may be due in part to their high quality hubs. But you don't see many pros using carbones on hilly races.

I really think you are looking at the wrong reasons to try to decide between clinchers and tubulars. Forget about top aerodynamic speed, you won't notice a difference. It is more about the feel of the wheels (many prefer the ride of tubulars), and the lighter weight for acceleration (which is a very brief advantage, as it takes very little time to accelerate, but if you are doing it over and over again....).

Maybe borrow a set of tubulars from someone and see how you like them.
Regarding the repair of tubulars, I have to admit that I have never bothered. Why? Because I use conti sprinters, and I honestly get a flat so rarely (once per summer over the past 5 years) that I usually have gotten enough miles on the tire that I don't mind tossing it. Sprinters can be found for as little as $36 each.
 

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read this

so your wondering wether or not the lighter all carbon tubies are easier to maintain speed on the flats than their heavier clincher counterparts? u mentioned specifically the mavic carbones. i own the clincher and tubular versions of the mavics as well as an all carbon wheelset (cane creek 58mm aros). my 2 centz: the heavier cosmics hold speed a bit better when there is a significant to slight downhill. IMHO their much slower in 90% of cases however b/c no road is ever perfectly level and your always gonna be pushing that extra rim mass. a lighter tubular rim is always going to be easier to maintain speed on assuming real world conditions.
 

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Hassle is hassle

Number9 said:
Sure, but you don't repair tubulars on the road - you peel 'em off, swap in a spare, and fix the flat at home at your leisure. No big deal. I ride both tubulars and clinchers and don't have a strong preference either way, except that on a track bike, where acceleration is key, I like the lower moment of inertia of the tubular rim/tire combo.
Yes, and I used to sit in front of the TV every winter and repair a half-dozen tires. For me, that was a lot more hassle than patching a tube. Plus, I have been on rides where someone got more than one flat. That's fine if you're in a group with multiple people riding tubulars, but if you go out on a solo 100+ mile ride, carrying only one spare is taking a chance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Many thanks to all.. I'm gonna try both if I can on the basis that on either the invested aero rims will be mainly used in flat road competition. Will post my findings and conclusion to my dilema !
 
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