Tubular love

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by kopride, Feb 27, 2017.

  1. kopride

    kopride Member

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    So I took my vintage Masi GC out this weekend and it has tubulars. Man, I forgot how sweet it is riding on tubulars. Part of it may be the frame geometry, it was always a nice handling bike, but it just cornered so much better with those tires, and then you have that ride!

    Clinchers just suck. They are easy and convenient, but you do lose more than I ever imagined with the ride.
     
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  2. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    I just glued a new Clement on the track bike last week, Sweet!

    I rate really good clinchers 'almost' as good as a medium to high end tub. Sew-ups roll smooth, roll fast, ride better and grip like death as long as the glue job is a good one.

    I rode sew-ups to train and race on for 34 years. The last 11 it's been clinchers for training and some racing, sew-ups for races that matter to me. Every time I put the sew-up wheels on I smile as I accelerate away from a stop.

    When it comes to clinchers for even every day training I have to mount top level tires and at least decent light weight inner tubes. I can keep the weight disadvantage to a minimum that way and get the best grip, ride and rolling resistance possible. The Ribble R872 came with some stupid Conti junk tires and Valvert inner tubes that just suck for any kind of feel. I can't wait until they're shot and I can mount my reference tires.

    Give me Michelin Pro4's or Power's, Vredestein brought back my Fortezza Tri-Comps and for 'almost tubs' there's those cool Vittoria's.
     
  3. kopride

    kopride Member

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    I have always poo poo'd the difference between tubulars and high quality clinchers, in part because it has been so long (25 years) since I have been riding regularly on tubulars, and they were a PIA for the poor starving student I was when I was riding regular on them in terms of cost and aggravation. Ride quality was not something I cared about as much then. I was riding a 2.8 Cannondale frame for chrissake which had no ride quality whatsoever.

    But riding a 40 year old bike with tubulars was really eye opening. It handled and cornered extremely well, and just rode awesome overall. I didn't even mind the old friction down tube shifters, or the straight block 6 speed freewheel on a very hilly ride.

    And Campy, for your sake, I am attributing the ride quality to tubulars and not the steel frame
     
  4. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Yup. Recycled beer cans that drove the seat up your ass. A good steel frame WILL have a lively and accurate ride...I always said a really great steel frame (any material, actually) would just 'disappear' beneath me.

    A good sew-up is probably as close as a rider can get to feeling the tire/road interface. But. it does to my mind take a decent frame to get that sew-up 'feel'. I raced a beater Columbus Cromor frame for a season. No matter what tubular wheels and tires I slapped on it, it felt dead to me.

    I'm glad you're enjoying the Italian Stallion! Masi frames were pretty damned good! They didn't build much junk even during the boom years when other Italian builders were cranking out crap and sub'ing out work to guys that wouldn't have made 'lug filers' in the old man's shop. Even after the split, both Masi facilities built top shelf framesets.
     
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  5. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure what all the hoopla is all about concerning tubs. I used tubs for about 10 years before switching to clinchers way back in 81 I think when I heard about the new Specialized folding turbo tire. The tubulars were a time consuming hassle with all the gluing and even worse when flatted which they did frequently due to being only cotton or silk back then with no flat protection, it wasn't uncommon to have 2 or even 3 flats on a hundred mile ride, so I had to carry two spares under my seat, and a tubular flat repair kit in case the 2 spares flatted; once I had to fix the tubular on the side of the road it wait take about 45 minutes to do. The other argument for tubs is the inability to have pinch flats, well in 30 some odd years of using clinchers I've only had one pinch flat so it's not an issue.

    On the subject of repairs the clincher is actually able to have a staple for example removed from the casing and be used again, a tubular you cannot do that.

    It's been said many times that a tubular will not roll off the rim if the tire blows out...not true. Having raced and trained on tubs in the mountains of So California I've seen quite a few tubs roll of the rim during a blowout including one of mine own. Sure the argument could be made for improper gluing, I can't say for sure if they were or weren't, but I can say they rolled off. Also if you have to replace the original tub you were riding on that went flat on a ride you now have to be more careful hitting curves because the chances of the spare rolling off increases, this is why when a pro flats they get a new wheel with new glue and new tire all cured and ready to ride, a little difficult to do if your racing in a non pro event with sag support.

    Clinchers are less expensive to buy overall, sure there are some cheap tubs on the market but they pale in comparison to a mid level clincher for the same price.

    Ride quality was about the same, tubs required about 15 more psi then clinchers, so even while the tubs are more subtle sidewalls and cotton or silk casings the firmness of the extra psi defeated any comfort advantages the tubs would have had. In addition to that a person who complains after riding clinchers is usually because of one of two things or a combination of both; 1:) too much air in the clincher for the body weight of the person on the bike; 2:) using butyl tubes instead of latex that come with tubs, latex by itself feels softer even inside a clincher, it makes the tire feel like you're riding about 15 pounds less air, which you can duplicate that feeling with a clincher by reducing the PSI to get what I'm talking about. Yes a very high end, read that as expensive, tubular tire will probably win over a mid level clincher.

    Today rolling resistance is pretty much equal between the two as long as the tub is properly glued on, a improperly glued rim will take add to the rolling resistance and make it worse than a clincher; but in the top 10 fastest rolling tires it was about an even mix of tubs and clinchers.

    Yes, tubs and their rims were lighter than clinchers, but not by that much. I sort of remember the older tub wheels weighing about 200 grams less on my first set of clincher wheels, but my second set of clinchers were actually only about 75 grams less.

    For training or everyday riding nothing beats a clincher, if you're racing tubs might have an advantage but only in the weight department, but I use to race on clinchers and never looked back to tubs. I did about 10 years after I quit racing took my pair of old tub rims round about the year 2000, put on a new set of tubs and went for a ride thinking maybe I was missing something, wanting a bit of nostalgia, which in some instances I prefer...I wasn't impressed.

    Of course my interpretation of what I felt while riding on tubs vs clinchers is obviously subject to opinion.
     
  6. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Tony Martin won the World's ITT on clinchers. The very best clinchers have a lower CRR than the very best sew-ups. After you drop out of the best of both, sew-ups are superior in that category. Getting them glued straight is easy.

    Ride quality, IMO goes to sew-ups, but that's subjective. I've used about clincher tire and tube combo out there and some of them ride very nicely. Like Froze said, air pressure is a big factor in ride, as is rim material and profile and wheel spoking.

    Cornering...I'll take sew-ups every time. Clement CX-CG combination in a crit was scary good. When you find yourself consistently freaking yourself out at speed, yet coming out the other side with a grin...that's some good adhesion.

    Sure, other than CRR and faster roadside change with a sew-up, it's pretty much all in the rider's head. What got me off sew-ups was the improvement in the overall weight package of using clinchers and the improvement in ride quality. I still use sew-ups on the trainer and for racing. For day in and day out training clinchers are more convenient for me.
     
  7. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    I do remember the silk tubs I use to buy years ago did indeed corner well, and I was racing in mountains of California so that was a nice feature, problem was, well back then anyways, they had no flat protection just the rubber and silk casing (cotton casing wasn't any better but it didn't quite handle as good as silk); so getting a flat while attempting a fast downhill turn can be quite dicey, especially if you sliding on your arse with you and your bike heading towards a drop off that goes down who knows how far! Yes that happened to me on tubs, and I've seen it happen to others. Today's tubs I'm sure offer more flat protection but even the very lightest ones don't still.

    Even in this recent article: http://cyclinguphill.com/best-tubular-tyres/ the author is afraid of getting lighter tubs due to the increased risk of flats.

    By the way, I trained on cotton and raced on silk because cotton was cheaper. I think there were some polyester (or maybe some other fabric, I don't remember now) tubs that were even cheaper but they were quite poorly made and weren't any better for flat protection.
     
  8. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    The nylon case sew-ups were the worst. The Panaracer nylons I used got sidewall cuts just looking at them wrong. The was a sew-up with a flat protection band in the case. Can't remember what it was...let me Google around.

    That year I went through 36 sew-ups guys on the team had a pool going by mid-season to see how many I would roach. I never repaired the $8 wonders, just the good ones.

    I remember trying the first Conti Sprinter 250's, thinking they would be something special. Wrong! Wolbers...never had good luck with those and Hutchinsons were trash...at least for me they were.
     
  9. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    From Leonard Zinn: http://www.velonews.com/2013/04/bik...tubulars-waxing-with-kerosene-and-more_281358

    Dear Lennard,
    Following up on your article on the new Michelin tires, where you noted that the new tubular was ridden in 2012 by Ag2r at Paris-Roubaix and Le Tour, how common are tubulars with puncture-resistant belts on pro team rigs? I could see it being a good idea at Paris-Roubaix or Strade Bianche, but do they tend to equip them for other races as well?
    —Clark

    Dear Clark,
    Essentially all racing tubulars have a puncture-protection belt under the tread. The only exception is superlight time trial and track tubulars. I ran your question by a number of manufacturers and have paraphrased their answers below.

    Vittoria: All of Vittoria’s cotton casing tubulars have a PRB layer under their tread. The technical specification of the PRB can change, based on the model. Regarding the question from Clark, some riders use PitStop (prevention against punctures), but this is an additional measure.

    Vredestein: Fortezza Pro TriComp has a protection belt; company claims the tire “is famous for being extremely puncture resistant.”

    Challenge: All Challenge tubulars have protection under tread, and now for the Almanzo Gravel, have adopted double protection (see photo). The second protection belt is placed inside the tire casing and goes in direct contact with the tube; this is Challenge’s new double protection system.

    Tufo: Protective belts in all road tubulars, except the training PRO series.

    Clement: Protective belts in all road tubulars.

    Schwalbe: Current high-end tubular range includes 22mm and 25mm Ultremo HT, which come with a RaceGuard protection strip. However, a 22mm Ultremo TT is similar to the Ultremo HT, but comes without the RaceGuard breaker.

    FMB: Protective belts in all road tubulars.

    As you can see, puncture-protection belts are standard in road racing tubulars.
    ―Lennard


    Read more at http://www.velonews.com/2013/04/bik...-kerosene-and-more_281358#WTs4mcAVIfEt7TUb.99
     
  10. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    CX's and CG's had the Kevlar belt, but someone...back in the 1970's had a 'vectran' or nylon or some such shit blet...still looking for it.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Heh! Even the cheap Rally's have Kevlar now:
    [​IMG]
     
  12. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Panaracer had a Kevlar belt, but I don't remember if it was in their early line or not...too many years.
    [​IMG]
     
  13. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    These are the $8 wonders i used and still use. I have some that have been aging for over 20 years and some of the new versions that now cost about $17. Still priced @ 3/$50.
    [​IMG]
     
  14. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Wolber had flat protection belts way back when...
    [​IMG]
     
  15. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    More of the really dirt cheap sew-ups I still use...

    [​IMG]

    And another label version of them from Yellow Jersey...

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    You have to remember something too, in pro racing they clean the streets like crazy by using all these methods on the course routes: machine street cleaners to people with brooms, to even more volunteers with brooms, then cars are kept off the route due to steel belted tires that may be worn with steel fibers sticking out that will shed onto the road. They are constantly cleaning the road routes right up to the point of the when the race starts. So to get a flat on a pro race course is much more rare then racing non pro events.

    A lot of my flats on winding twisting roads was due to shredded bits of steel from people driving on tires with steel belts exposed. When I had to race in the Mojave Desert area of California then I ran into thorns being a huge problem. But it was due to the frequency of flats that actually drove me to clinchers, the hassle of gluing was only secondary, if I didn't get the flats I would stayed racing on clinchers, but even though I was the first on my team (actually second, I followed the captain who operated a bike shop and carried the Specialized tires) to switch to clinchers, others eventually followed suit over about a year time period.

    Those old Specialized Turbo tires were actually quite nice for back then, I never had an issue with them, they rode nice, handled great (not quite as well as tubs but nothing disconcerting or make me hesitate about how hard to take a turn), wore much better then tubs, flatted less (of course newer clinchers flat even less); there was a slight weight penalty that probably slowed me down a tad on uphill climbs but that didn't keep me from doing well and since as time went on we were all using clinchers there was no disadvantage then.

    I now remember those Woblers with the flat resistant belt you mentioned, I never rode on them but I remember people saying they rode like bricks.
     
  17. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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  18. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Schwalbe makes some good tires, but at 305 grams and only 110 PSI for a maximum? That would drive me back to sew-ups! I guess that's why I like the so called 'racing' class of clinchers. Nearer 200 grams and those Fortezza Tri-Comps were rated at 145 and an astounding 175 PSI max.

    The funny thing is...the Tri-Comps are the most puncture resistant clincher I've used. Grip is fantastic, CRR is good. Just don't expect the rear one to last more than 1000 miles or so.

    I've been getting most of my rubber for $30, but I pay the price for a shorter service life.

    The Ribble came with Conti Ultra Sport's. They are...not so good. Too heavy and kind of dead feeling. Sadly, They'll probably be long wearing and I'll have to run them until they're shot.
     
  19. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    I never pay more then $30 for a tire, and I always get them on sale of at least 50% off, but having different needs then you CampyBob, I look at the reviews and buy tires that have high marks for puncture resistance and wear. I live in the semi flat lands and straight roads of NE Indiana where handling just isn't a priority any more like I did riding the mountains of California.

    I hate the flat lands and straight roads of NE Indiana! I've lost my mountain legs, I look at freeway overpasses and find those challenging! LOL!!.
     
  20. kopride

    kopride Member

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    The Masi is sporting Conti Sprinter Gatorskin Tubulars. They are by no means the smoothest riding tubulars but they do have pretty good flat protection. I still think they ride smoother and corner better than my summer clinchers, which are Pro 4 Comp, but the Masi probably just naturally corners better than my Litespeed Sienna so I am comparing two different bikes with two different tires. My recent experience with the Masi, however, leads me to believe that the combo is extremely sweet riding.

    I don't ride on pristine swept streets, but I must say that I am not really plagued by flats unless the local townships spread this gravel in the winter that appears to contain glass shards. if they've done that kind of treatment, tires are shredded to pieces regardless of what kind of special belts they have, and we are basically screwed until the spring rains really gives the roads a good drenching and pushes all the gravel off.

    Aside from those rare occasions when the local municipalities spread ground glass on the roads, checking tire pressure before you leave each ride, and giving the tires weekly inspections for shards starting to work their way into casings, and picking them out, is pretty effective at minimizing flats, even with the Pro 4 Comps. Oh, and the lost art of scraping the tires with your gloves on the fly if you happen to ride over any real rough stuff also keeps the flats down to a minimum.

    Again, absent the "sharding of our streets," I have probably gone 10 plus years without a flat on road tires. Now pinch flats on cross clinchers, I get them every few rides. By next fall, I'm training on tubeless and racing on tubulars as soon as the WS+1 formula let's me purchase another wheel set and tubulars for my CX ride.

    Here is the strava link to my last Masi ride, including pictures of my beautiful ride. You can see the brand new contis: https://www.strava.com/activities/879425550
     
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