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Tubulars for daily riding?
Last Post 09/25/2013 02:50 PM by Nightfend the cyclist. 10 Replies.
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09/24/2013 03:55 PM
I've only raced on tubulars and don't even have experience gluing them. But that said, I'm starting to consider a pair for regular riding because they are lighter and offer a superior ride quality. Are they worth it? Currently riding Mavic Ksyrium SLR's with the matching Griplink/Powerlink clincher tires.


09/24/2013 04:48 PM
I did it for decades. I used lots of the (French, I believe) Tubasti glue which never gets hard and NEVER cleaned the rims. Pulling a tire on the road for a flat was hard but not impossible. I rode carefully after that, but they were solidly on by the time I got home. Huge plus (in my opinion) was that I could change a tire anywhere under any circumstances in 5-10 minutes, rain, darkness, snow, beer, etc. That meant I could be on my way guaranteed in unsavory neighborhoods. Also tubulars are rideable flat. Again, possibly lifesaving/bike saving in unsavory neighborhood. Another plus: you can hit a bottomless pothole at night and put a 1"+ dent in your rim and still ride home. It is quite possible you will not even flat.

And, the crash I did two months ago will never happen; blowing out a tire and having it roll off the rim and jamming in the frame.

Biggest issue will be with the wife or whoever balances the checkbook. And you MUST be carrying as many tires as you are going to flat (or have a cell phone and willing driver/be willing to walk a long ways/ have lots of patience and hours to kill fixing the tire on the road).



09/24/2013 08:29 PM
don't forget that for most smaller-hole flats you can carry around a tube of stan's, caffe latex and the like. but, if it's a sidewall tear most likely that stuff'll spray out all over your shoes.


09/24/2013 09:44 PM
You can not have just the tires on your ride. Need to have a pair or 2 stretching and ready to go. Tubulars are great if you are self sufficient, no one is really all that hot to glue them for you - trust me

Gave up years ago, thinking tubeless might be the way to go


09/24/2013 10:10 PM
I did it for years because my training wheels were my race wheels. I would repair a tire three times before I tossed it assuming it had enough tread left to make it worthwhile. Sewed one up to jeans once. The first repairs were lumpy but after four or five I got pretty good at it. Certain rides required two spares. Normally I carried only one though and never had to ride a flat. I also never stretched a tire when new. Just glued it and mounted it up. Spares were used tires. I could change a flat in two minutes plus reinflating. That said, tubeless is better. Similar ride quality and I am more confident that I won't loose a tire off the rim.


09/24/2013 11:13 PM
Tubnasti was great for training wheels - just carry a couple of old race tires with glue for spares. In changing over to clinchers, I continued to carry spare sew-ups to use for spares and used them a few times. They will fit on a clincher rim and hold well enough to get you home as long as you don't do any fast cornering. I just made sure the base tape and stitching were centered between the bead lip and the tire was pumped up to 100+ psi. With the high pressure and old glue, the tire took some effort to remove when I got home.
The old tip was white tubnasti for training, wobbler gold for racing and clement red for rolling tires.


09/25/2013 08:14 AM
I'll wager that most of us who have experience with riding tubulars all the time did so many years ago, when clinchers weren't as nice as they are today. We did it, but like the stories above illustrate, it was labor intensive.
Cosmic Kid


09/25/2013 11:15 AM
Rode tubulars almost exclusively for 20+ years. Only reason I switched to clinchers for training was because my PT hub was warranted and they sent me a full clincher wheel as a replacement.

My n=1 experience is that I flatted FAR less often with tubulars. This became even more true after I started using TUFO sealant in them. And any punctures that did occur were slow leaks that were not discovered until the next day. Drop in a bit more sealant and you were good to go. Side note - I prefer TUFO sealant over Stan's. Stan's works well but can eventually dry inside the tire, creating a hop in the wheel. Never had that problem with TUFO.

I would regularly get multiple seasons out of my tubulars. Still use them for racing, though.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!


09/25/2013 11:31 AM
I rode sew-ups exclusively until about 20-years ago when I stopped road racing. I never found glueing to be that much of a hassle and the ride quality was great, but I did have more flats than with clinchers. Most recently, I've had great luck with Conti 4000s 23s -- good ride quality, fairly long wearing, easy to mount and pretty flat resistant.


09/25/2013 11:32 AM
Rode all this year on tubulars-- finally flatted at the end of the summer. CK's experience is same, fewer flats with tubulars. Bigger hassle when it happens though. Love the feel of quality tubulars


09/25/2013 02:50 PM
It really depends on the area you live in. When I moved to the East Coast, my rate of flats decreased so significantly (probably close to one ever 6 months) that I could easily ride tubulars daily now. But, when I lived in the Southwest, I'd get flats like once a week. You'd have to be wealthy to afford tubulars out there.
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