Saturday, November 1, 2008

About tubular tires

A type of tire mainly used for racing. A tubular tire has no beads; instead, the two edges of the carcass are sewn together (hence the term "sew-up") with the inner tube inside. Tubulars fit only on special rims, where they are held on by cement.

Tubulars use presta valves.

Most people find expensive tubulars too expensive for recreational riding...but cheap tubulars are distinctly inferior to good clinchers, particularly in that they tend to be lumpy and crooked.

Comparing high-quality tubulars with clincher , including the rims, tubes, etc, tubulars save about 50 grams per wheel...but your bike winds up heavier, because you really need to carry a complete spare tubular, as opposed to a tube and/or a patch kit. This doesn't apply if the team car is carrying spare wheels/bikes for you.

If you don't glue your tubulars on properly, they can roll off, causing you to crash. If you get a flat on the road, you can't glue your spare securely, since the glue needs to dry overnight; as a result, you have to ride very gingerly on your spare, taking it really easy on the curves and descents. If you get two flats on the same ride, you're screwed.

Some people believe that tubulars corner better in the rain...but I never go fast on wet roads anyway. If you flat in the rain with tubulars, your ride is over, because there's no way to make a wet tubular stick to a wet rim.

Tubulars are fairly immune to "snake-bite" rim cuts, and may offer slightly better "suspension" action than comparable clinchers. Their rolling resistance is actually worse than good clinchers in most cases, due to flex of the glued section.

Standard size tubular tires use a rim that corresponds in diameter to a 622 mm (700C) clincher rim.

Back in the 1970s, 622 mm clinchers were very rare in the U.S., and most sporty bikes used either 630 mm (27 inch) clinchers, or standard (622 mm) tubulars.

The fact that these sizes are so close led to an in-accurate habit of referring to "27 inch" tubulars. This careless nomenclature still causes confusion, and people often imagine that there is a different "27 inch" size in tubulars as there is in clinchers.


All full-size tubulars fit all full-size tubular rims.

There are smaller size tubulars, "26 inch", "24 inch" and even smaller, but those are VERY uncommon, mainly used for children's race bikes, which hardly exist at all in the U.S.

Copy from Sheldon Brown Website


Anonymous said...

I believe that none of the club members use tubulars. These are complicated to install and create more headache than anything else. Plus, none of us races. -JCS

JohnnyBoy said...

I used to ride them and man there is no comparison to the ride quality but yes they are inconvenient compared to clinchers. BobbyG still rides them here and there. I got rid of mine a couple of years back.

richard said...

i use conntinental sprinter tubulars around $60-65.00

i have to say i like them very much and i glue them on ..I dont use the double sided tape.

and i like the high pressure of 170 feeels great after getting used to.

BobbyG said...

My Tommasini Super Prestige SLX will be sporting Conti Sprinters with White Industries hubs. Like JohnnyBoy said, I still ride them on occasion. Jack has a set too if I remember right. I still love the way they ride and will always have a tubular wheelset around.

Jack Ibagbaga (also known as) Batillog said...

Rodge, I did more checking and asking around some old farts and geeks and it's true, no 27 inch rimmed tubs. Although the way tires are labeled is somewhat confusing. Some makers labels them as 700c and some are 27's but most are labeled 28's. I guess El Presidente's 27 tubs are safe :)

other guys who uses tubs in the club are Cesar and Spak. I have a few 700c and a couple of 650 that I use occasionally.

Why don't we try a sewup ride on the 16th? We'll see if the weather cooperates and we'll head north. Maybe somewhere where Javier is or Steve S.

Manny D (dial@1260am) said...

rodge, today's ride saw two rigs with tubulars - romy el presidente, and king richard (as he noted above)..yeah both hauling a**, gotta get a pair of them tubes, jack said tufo's were good but pricey.

Manny D (dial@1260am) said...

anyone got any experience on these tubular clinchers - they're tubulars but for clincher wheels, sales pitch says it has the feaures of a tubular with no need for glue or tape, but can be mounted on regular clinchers - Tufo tubular clinchers

Jack Ibagbaga (also known as) Batillog said...

richard, here is the the link for the sewup repair site. the're prices has gone up considerably since i last visited their site.

JohnnyBoy said...


The sew up day is a nice idea - now only if I can find a set to use :P

Jack Ibagbaga (also known as) Batillog said...

hint hint ;)
I have one rear spare at the moment and it is a Shimano hubbed rear HED tri-spoke that you can use. I still need to re-glue all the 650s.
We'll figure something out.

Cesar, you coming out for a sewup ride?

JohnnyBoy said...

Thanks Jack,

I asked BobbyG this morning and come to figure out that I gave my custom tubular wheels to him. Go figure if I would have thought there would be a sewup ride day lol.

BobbyG said...

JohnnyBoy, your wheelset is in my garage, you can have them back, if you want. I think you need to replace the front hub or spoke though I forget which.

JohnnyBoy said...

They're yours BobbyG. Maybe I can just borrow them once or twice :)