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I'm putting together a tri bike setup and I have a set of old 404's (clincher). I am thinking about buying an 808 for the rear and I'm torn between getting the tubular version or the clincher version. The tubular version is significantly lighter than the clincher. I'm afraid that I blow that much on a wheel, I should probably get the lighter version. My main fear with that is that I will only use the wheel 2-5 times a year if I go tubular whereas every now and then I'd probably use the clincher for a fast training ride. Thoughts? Is 200g really worth it?
 

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Thnk twice

hammer_cycle said:
Is 200g really worth it?
200 gm on a 6% grade will slow you down by 0.04 mph (0.06 km/hr). On the flats If this is significant to you AND you want to undertake the use of tubulars, then it's worth the investment. Those who tell you that tubulars ride "so much better" are sure of themselves, though I have never been able to tell the difference between a good clincher and good tubular. Bicycle Quarterly and MAVIC have independently demonstrated that riders are not effectively able to tell the difference between wheels/tires from the riding experience, but that doesn't deter the "tubulars are much better" crowd. I rode tubulars for nearly 30 years, when they were the only route to light weight and good performance. I switched to clinchers 10 years ago and have NEVER regretted the change. YMMV.
 

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Considering it's going to be a Triathlon set up (or TT) you likely are not going to be doing major climbing and not much accelerating...more constant tempo pacing...so weight isn't going to be nearly as much of a concern as aerodynamics.

Also considering your front wheel (The 404) is a clincher, I'd stick with a clincher. If you were purchasing a set of 808's then I'd consider going tubular so they were set up the same front to rear.

Going with a clincher will allow more usage of the wheel and will have a minimal at best difference in performance.

But that's just my opinion so take it for what it's worth....
 

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Lemur-ing
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A clincher wheel would be better in that should you flat, you don't have to blow that much cash to replace the tire/tube and if it's a good clincher, there'd hardly be any difference from a tubular.
 

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No Crybabies
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clinchers

I have had or have Zipp 303 in both clincher and tubular, Zipp 404 tubulars, Zipp disc in tubular and clincher, and a Zipp 808 front in clincher. Have also used Lew carbon tubulars, Mavic Reflex tubulars, more clincher wheels than I can recall, and some super light track tubulars.

First, unless the tire is wider, like 25 mm or more, I cannot tell the difference in "ride." There is much more variability among tires of each type -- there are supple or harsh tubulars and clinchers.

If you are using this bike for a time trial, and not a big climb, chances are you'll be faster with clinchers. Almost everything I have read about rolling resistance vs. weight says in most cases, clinchers are faster, even if heavier, as there is less rolling resistance. The exception might be if you mounted the best tubulars with hard drying, very difficult to remove, types of glue. I have not done this, but I'm told this makes it almost impossible to change a tire on the road.

With clinchers, you can easily carry two tubes to fix flats. I don't know anyone who would carry two tubulars, especially on a time trial bike. This means you'll likely ride the bike/wheels much more, in training and events. Riding it more means you may well be faster on it, then.

With clinchers, you can easily change out different tires for different conditions. Go with light weight sometimes, or heavy duty for some conditions. Much more difficult with tubulars.

Braking quality is about 10 times better with clinchers (with aluminum brake area) than with all carbon tubulars. Some carbon rim braking can be outright scary. You can lose time braking, too, or worse, you can crash. I have actually caused all carbon rim wheels to smoke and melt brake pads.

Cost is obvious. Initial investment is about the same for each, but tubulars are usually shot with one flat. At best, you usually use them for back up after a flat. Clinchers, you're just out the tube, which is about $10 for a top quality latex tube.

So, I recommend Zipp clinchers (disc/808/404) with Zipp clincher tires and Micheln latex tubes. I don't think you can get any faster for time trialing.
 

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Kerry Irons said:
Those who tell you that tubulars ride "so much better" are sure of themselves, though I have never been able to tell the difference between a good clincher and good tubular. Bicycle Quarterly and MAVIC have independently demonstrated that riders are not effectively able to tell the difference between wheels/tires from the riding experience, but that doesn't deter the "tubulars are much better" crowd. .
I am curious about these studies you mention, because I have a hard time imagining how you would set up controls for this type of comparison and get anything of value. Do you have the link or remember when they were published? I did a little googling but I can't seem to find them...
 

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Velonews published an article that compiled some pre-existing info from Tour Magazine (a German mag famous for rigorous testing). The most compelling thing was Lennard Zinn's own test. He used a longish climb that he knew well and climbed at a wattage low enough that he could easily sustain it (to keep power a constant) and repeated the hill on a set of Zipp 404 Tubulars and a set of alloy Ritchey clinchers. The Clinchers were consistently 10-15 seconds faster (if I remember this right) despite being heavier. They were also faster in a coasting test down the hill despite being less aero.

I just had a look on VN and wasn't able to find the article, only q&a from readers about it.

A big upside for Tubulars that is not often mentioned is that they are easier to ride if you flat. Pros like this because they can stay closer to the race until they can get a wheel change. Flat a clincher and you'd do very well to just stop.
 

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^ I saw that article you were talking about- pretty interesting.

On the pro-tubular side, I like to run lower tire pressure in critieriums- especially if the road surface sucks. I probably wouldn't go as low on clinchers b/c of the pinch flat risk.

Of course, that's not too big of a deal in triathlons...
 

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hammer_cycle said:
I'm putting together a tri bike setup and I have a set of old 404's (clincher). I am thinking about buying an 808 for the rear and I'm torn between getting the tubular version or the clincher version. The tubular version is significantly lighter than the clincher. I'm afraid that I blow that much on a wheel, I should probably get the lighter version. My main fear with that is that I will only use the wheel 2-5 times a year if I go tubular whereas every now and then I'd probably use the clincher for a fast training ride. Thoughts? Is 200g really worth it?
Well, IMO, there are two reasons to get the 808s.

1. Seconds matter a lot to you in a race. You really want to be all that closer to the podium, and 10, 15 seconds could make the difference. If that describes you, then don't go half a$$, go ahead and get the tubular.

2. You like the bling factor of the 808's. You want to ride them every now and then on training rides as a luxury good- and they would be fun to race on. However, the few seconds advantage really doesn't matter that much in your finish time. If this describes you, then I would get the clinchers.

Neither choice is bad IMO, just different.
 

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faster?

Kestreljr said:
Well, IMO, there are two reasons to get the 808s.

1. Seconds matter a lot to you in a race. You really want to be all that closer to the podium, and 10, 15 seconds could make the difference. If that describes you, then don't go half a$$, go ahead and get the tubular.

2. You like the bling factor of the 808's. You want to ride them every now and then on training rides as a luxury good- and they would be fun to race on. However, the few seconds advantage really doesn't matter that much in your finish time. If this describes you, then I would get the clinchers.

Neither choice is bad IMO, just different.
You seem to be assuming the tubular will be faster. Almost everything I have read lately about rolling resistance contradicts this.

Does anyone run a clincher on one wheel and a tubular on the other? Have to carry tubes and full tires for spares?
 

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tferris said:
I am curious about these studies you mention, because I have a hard time imagining how you would set up controls for this type of comparison and get anything of value. Do you have the link or remember when they were published? I did a little googling but I can't seem to find them...
The MAVIC reference was from an article in VeloNews (early this year, I think, but maybe last fall). BQ does not have much of a web presence. The article was in Volume 5, #1.
 

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I would go clincher if I were you. And if you are really concerned about aero, why not a disc wheel for the rear? The added aero benifit of the 808's is really in the front wheel, where it will be better able to cut through the clean, undisturbed air flow up front. By the time the air flow hits the rear wheel, it is already disturbed enough by the bike/rider that rim profile will have a negligable affect. A full disc (even just a cover) in the rear will give you the best results in a TT format.
 
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