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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Maybe a newbie question.

Does anybody run tubulars on training wheels ?

How do you manage flats in rides ? Is it too much of a pain and not worth it.

Given that tubulars have now dropped in price considerably was thinking about it.

Thanks


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'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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I rode ONLY on tubulars for about 10-12 years. I rarely flat so it wasn't a big deal. There were a couple other guy at that shop that did the same thing. We all trained on Vittoria Corsa tires and raced on a variety of lighter tires. Every now and then someone would flat on a ride and we'd all sit around while he peeled the punctured tire off and put on a spare, then we'd finish the ride at a bit more mellow pace. I always liked the look of my bike w/ a spare tubular strapped under the saddle.
If you want to do this you really need to be capable of not only mounting tires but removing them in a reasonably timely fashion. And if you're the type of rider that flats more than once or twice a year I wouldn't consider it.
 

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Russian Troll Farmer
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Seriously, it takes no longer to change a tubular than it does to change a tubed tire. Probably a bit less, actually.
 

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I don’t recall it being a big deal, although I’m well out of practice at this point. I recall once a fellow changing a sewup during our weekly training race and still catching on to the bunch, so he must have had superior tire ripping skills. And these were 50 mile, 25mph training races.
 

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I've ridden tubulars exclusively on my road bikes for close to 50 years, and have no plans of changing. My competing days are long over with, so all miles in recent years are from training and exploring. Clinchers have come a long way in recent years, enough so that if I were starting out now, I'd probably go with clinchers, especially if I still rode in an area where there's lots of debris on the road. Cheap tubulars ride like garbage, and better quality tubulars get a tad expensive if you are flatting a lot. When I was younger, I used to repair my tubulars, but that is a bit of a time consuming chore, and definitely not something you do roadside. Where I ride these days, I've had 1 flat in the last 15 years of fairly high mileage. Replacing tubulars road side doesn't have to be any more time consuming than fixing a tube in a clincher. An over glued tubular on the other hand can be a time consuming chore to remove.
 

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Well, I'm probably a rookie compared to the guys who have posted above, but, I do have 2 sets of tubular wheels that I use among my repetoire of 7 sets of wheels, so that's 2 tubs and 5 clinchers.
In the past, I have also run tubeless, but I ditched tubeless all together. It's either tubular or clinchers.
Here are my personal reasons why I ride tubulars

  • I have multiple wheelsets and bikes, so I like tubular for a different riding experience
  • yes, tubular do ride smoother and feel completely different than clinchers/tubeless.
  • I use tape (i'm lightweight), and while tape is not as strong as glue, peeling a taped tubular is also a lot easier. Well, if you use glue, you could use less layers of glue which makes peeling easier too, but if you're gonna use less layers of glue, then you might as well go with tape. For bigger guys, I would say go with glue for a stronger bond. Or if you go low psi, but you gotta go with glue to prevent the tire from peeling. Personally, i'm not going back to glue. But if you do use glue, to make peeling easier, some guys say they will only LIGHTLY glue a little section (1 inch long) of tire that is opposite of the valve stem so that you can easily start the peeling process by jamming a tire lever in here.
  • Overall, I get 1 flat every like 15 months. Seriously. Local roads around here are too good to be only riding on clinchers alone if you have multiple wheelsets. I carry a Tufo 21mm tubular as spare for use to limp home in case of a flat, it's light weight and compact and can fit into the middle back pocket of your jersey. Worse comes to worst I'll call Uber (which I haven't had to!). On rides that are not local or out in the sticks, I'll go with regular clinchers. In the last 5 years of using tubular, I've gotten 3 flats, and one of those flats was totally my fault because I tried to bunny hop over a sharp obstable (sharp edge) and ended up landing my rear wheel on the object and that caused a pinch flat of the inner tube (while the tire sustained zero cut).. yes, you can still get a rare pinch flat on tubular but you've to be a knucklehead like me to get one on purpose! :D

if you only have 1 wheelset, then stick with regular clinchers
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I rode ONLY on tubulars for about 10-12 years. I rarely flat so it wasn't a big deal. There were a couple other guy at that shop that did the same thing. We all trained on Vittoria Corsa tires and raced on a variety of lighter tires. Every now and then someone would flat on a ride and we'd all sit around while he peeled the punctured tire off and put on a spare, then we'd finish the ride at a bit more mellow pace. I always liked the look of my bike w/ a spare tubular strapped under the saddle.
If you want to do this you really need to be capable of not only mounting tires but removing them in a reasonably timely fashion. And if you're the type of rider that flats more than once or twice a year I wouldn't consider it.
yeah I have been lucky to not get any flats in all the riding that i have done in the past few years. Though i do have to qualify that I dont do a whole lot of riding and its mostly like say 50 miles per week in total. But have been doing clinchers (michelin krylion) and its held up fine. Since i wanted to replace it and I liked the feel of tubulars wanted to switch over to them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, I'm probably a rookie compared to the guys who have posted above, but, I do have 2 sets of tubular wheels that I use among my repetoire of 7 sets of wheels, so that's 2 tubs and 5 clinchers.
In the past, I have also run tubeless, but I ditched tubeless all together. It's either tubular or clinchers.
Here are my personal reasons why I ride tubulars

  • I have multiple wheelsets and bikes, so I like tubular for a different riding experience
  • yes, tubular do ride smoother and feel completely different than clinchers/tubeless.
  • I use tape (i'm lightweight), and while tape is not as strong as glue, peeling a taped tubular is also a lot easier. Well, if you use glue, you could use less layers of glue which makes peeling easier too, but if you're gonna use less layers of glue, then you might as well go with tape. For bigger guys, I would say go with glue for a stronger bond. Or if you go low psi, but you gotta go with glue to prevent the tire from peeling. Personally, i'm not going back to glue. But if you do use glue, to make peeling easier, some guys say they will only LIGHTLY glue a little section (1 inch long) of tire that is opposite of the valve stem so that you can easily start the peeling process by jamming a tire lever in here.
  • Overall, I get 1 flat every like 15 months. Seriously. Local roads around here are too good to be only riding on clinchers alone if you have multiple wheelsets. I carry a Tufo 21mm tubular as spare for use to limp home in case of a flat, it's light weight and compact and can fit into the middle back pocket of your jersey. Worse comes to worst I'll call Uber (which I haven't had to!). On rides that are not local or out in the sticks, I'll go with regular clinchers. In the last 5 years of using tubular, I've gotten 3 flats, and one of those flats was totally my fault because I tried to bunny hop over a sharp obstable (sharp edge) and ended up landing my rear wheel on the object and that caused a pinch flat of the inner tube (while the tire sustained zero cut).. yes, you can still get a rare pinch flat on tubular but you've to be a knucklehead like me to get one on purpose! :D

if you only have 1 wheelset, then stick with regular clinchers
thanks a lot of this information as well. I am on lighter side as well (135 lbs) and have a set of carbon tubulars. However the training have always been clinchers so was debating to go tubulars on those as wheel to just keep it simple and was debating it. Ofcourse the worry was about carrying a spare and the having to switch it. Have been really lucky to have had no flats so far even though the roads that i ride in are not necessarily the best ( NJ in the northeast US). I was debating to use the tape instead of the glue on the training as well. Which tape do you currently use ?
 

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thanks a lot of this information as well. I am on lighter side as well (135 lbs) and have a set of carbon tubulars. However the training have always been clinchers so was debating to go tubulars on those as wheel to just keep it simple and was debating it. Ofcourse the worry was about carrying a spare and the having to switch it. Have been really lucky to have had no flats so far even though the roads that i ride in are not necessarily the best ( NJ in the northeast US). I was debating to use the tape instead of the glue on the training as well. Which tape do you currently use ?
At risk of opening up a can of worms, tape's main benefit is that it is easier to work with and less messy, which might be a plus for those who don't mess around with tubulars very often. The downside of that convenience, is it plain and simply doesn't secure a tubular very well or reliably. I appreciate, not all will share my view on tape. I don't glue the snot out of my tires, as any more glue than I use will have me breaking the wheel long before a fully inflated tire can possibly roll off the rim.

For a spare, I use a tubular that has been previously used. I peel it off the rim, and fold the tire in half, sticking the glued rim strip face to face. This keeps road dust from contaminating the glued surfaces. I'll swap out the spare tire every year or two, so the rim strip with old glue remains tacky. When I have had to use my spare, pulling the spare off a rim at the end of a ride is usually just as much a chore as pulling off a tire that has never been removed before. You certainly need to go easy for the first few miles after mounting the tire, and even more so if you haven't been able to get the tire back up to full inflation.
 

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tubular do ride smoother and feel completely different than clinchers/tubeless.
When I switched to clinchers in 1998 (Conti GP) after 30 years of riding tubulars (Vittorias) I couldn't tell any difference in the ride. But then I can sleep on a mattress with a pea under it too. All the folks I know who switched to clinchers have said the same thing. The only place I ever hear about the "magic ride" of sew-ups is in bike forums and Bicycling magazine. But that's just me. Eric Zable was quoted as saying the same thing about the feel of tubulars vs. high quality clinchers.
 

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When I switched to clinchers in 1998 (Conti GP) after 30 years of riding tubulars (Vittorias) I couldn't tell any difference in the ride. But then I can sleep on a mattress with a pea under it too. All the folks I know who switched to clinchers have said the same thing. The only place I ever hear about the "magic ride" of sew-ups is in bike forums and Bicycling magazine. But that's just me. Eric Zable was quoted as saying the same thing about the feel of tubulars vs. high quality clinchers.
or we talking about soft shallow aluminum wheels or stiff deep carbon wheels? Shallow aluminum wheels are already comfy by nature, so the difference between clincher tires and tub tires here aren't all that pronounced. But on deeper (50+mm) and stiffer carbon wheels, tubs definitely impart a noticeable different feel than clinchers (assuming equal tire size, equal psi used).
 

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thanks a lot of this information as well. I am on lighter side as well (135 lbs) and have a set of carbon tubulars. However the training have always been clinchers so was debating to go tubulars on those as wheel to just keep it simple and was debating it. Ofcourse the worry was about carrying a spare and the having to switch it. Have been really lucky to have had no flats so far even though the roads that i ride in are not necessarily the best ( NJ in the northeast US). I was debating to use the tape instead of the glue on the training as well. Which tape do you currently use ?
for tapes, I just use the generic chinese ones on ebay where it's 10 bux for 2 rolls. If you're training grounds are just local, at your weight, I'd use tape, and carry a Tufo 21mm spare. Those Tufos don't have an inner tubes (their inner layer is galvanized layer of butyl) so they are really compact, it folds very well in your middle jersey pocket, and furthermore not having an inner tube means that you can't rip the inner tube when removing them when you get home (oh yeah, one time I ripped the inner tube of my tubular tire when trying to peel the damn thing off when it was glued to the rim to tightly! damn it took the gorilla in me to peel that sucker off, and ended up ripping the inner tube!).
 

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or we talking about soft shallow aluminum wheels or stiff deep carbon wheels? Shallow aluminum wheels are already comfy by nature, so the difference between clincher tires and tub tires here aren't all that pronounced. But on deeper (50+mm) and stiffer carbon wheels, tubs definitely impart a noticeable different feel than clinchers (assuming equal tire size, equal psi used).
Regardless of the wheel, the tire is the most compliant thing on the bike. If you say you could feel significant differences on deep CF wheels (presumably with Al rims built in?) but not so much on regular dimension wheels, so be it.
 

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Russian Troll Farmer
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I've ridden tubulars exclusively on my road bikes for close to 50 years, and have no plans of changing. My competing days are long over with, so all miles in recent years are from training and exploring. Clinchers have come a long way in recent years, enough so that if I were starting out now, I'd probably go with clinchers, especially if I still rode in an area where there's lots of debris on the road. Cheap tubulars ride like garbage, and better quality tubulars get a tad expensive if you are flatting a lot. When I was younger, I used to repair my tubulars, but that is a bit of a time consuming chore, and definitely not something you do roadside. Where I ride these days, I've had 1 flat in the last 15 years of fairly high mileage. Replacing tubulars road side doesn't have to be any more time consuming than fixing a tube in a clincher. An over glued tubular on the other hand can be a time consuming chore to remove.
Us old-timers (been riding on tubulars for 40+ years) also have a bit of an advantage, in that we have old repaired tires ready to be used as a pre-glued spare. I often carry either a 35 year-old latex tube Vittoria or Clement, just because they fold easily and are really light. I even had a guy with a flat clincher and no spare tube borrow a crappy old Huthcison tubular I had to limp home. It actually fit pretty snugly...
 

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+1 on gifting an old sewup to a clincher rider with a flat. Also have taken to carrying one in my back pocket when on my bicycle that has the clincher wheels. Just in case it comes of use.
 

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Late to the Party, did not read every response completely.

I ride both clincher and tubular, mostly tubular. The high end, light weight, flexible sidewall clincher tires with latex tubes, are equal to race tubulars in performance - given the same wheel weight. Which is usually the kicker.

Tape eliminates the tubular glue concerns. Also tape for the roadside flats makes changing spares clean in a dirty/dusty setting.

Something new to try, every cyclist is not a cycling hobbyist.

Liquid latex (Stans & Orange Seal work for me) as a flat preventative has stopped flats from being an issue. Get either tubulars or clincher tubes with removable cores. A very small amount in my road tires, 28mm and narrower. Side benefit in latex tubed wheels is that they hold air better overnight, like a butyl. No goathead stuff in western WA though; maybe more than a very little in desert regions.
 

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'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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I've probably glued well over 1500 tires in the last 25 years. I would NEVER use tape of any kind. Tape is for presents, glue is for tires.

And...if you think you can notice ride quality differences between wheels you're fooling yourself.
 

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Russian Troll Farmer
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Anybody go 'old school' and wear their spare tubulars over the shoulders, twisted into a figure 8? I've even seen old TdF photos from years ago where some riders actually wrapped a spare around their seat tube, INSIDE the rear stays. Back then crews weren't allowed to give you a new wheel, and any flat you had you needed to change it yourself. This method made it possible for the rider to use his pocket knife, CUT OFF the flat, and put the spare on all without removing the rear wheel...
 
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