Tubular Thread

GSAstuto

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Oct 11, 2009
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#1
I'm starting this thread to discuss (rationally) topics regarding the use, reviews, rants and raves about tubular tires. My own Private Idaho, as it seems. I know a few of you out there are closet users, so this is your chance to 'come out' and wave the free flag of freedom!
 

TimeTraveler

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Feb 6, 2012
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Koto-ku, Tokyo
#3
Tufo C S33 Special Tubular Clincher

As my curiosity has been sparked from all the comments about tubular tires, and as I am constantly looking for any advantage that I could possibly get...other than doping...to improve my cycling performance, I am wondering if anyone has knowledge or experience with the Tufo C S33 Special Tubular Clincher Tire. It would be great to save money through longer intervals between tire and tube changes as well.

The following link claims that this tire fits clincher rims with no taping necessary - http://www.biketiresdirect.com/product/tufo-c-s33-special-tubular-clincher

I do not race, but I am serious about improving my cycling performance so any information provided would be greatly appreciated.
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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#4
Ok lets get some facts straight first.


On Tubular the innertube is woven in to the tyre so you still riding with an inner when on tubular - exactly the same as a clincher.

Tubular are no more puncture resistant or last longer than clincher tyres, its all dependant on brand, type of tyre and conditions you are riding in, as well as your riding style (Gutter rider, skidder etc.)

Tubular are not dangerous,infact on carbon rims they are safer in a blow out as the rim is protected by the overlapping rubber of the trye, this is especailly important when cornering as clinchers will fold the oppersite way.

Tubulars do not peel off the rims if glued correctly - and its not rocket science - in fact its very easy (Plenty of videos on Youtube) or if you use Miyata Rim Tape - this stuff is used by the pros and has an amazing bond (I will happly do 80km/h plus in to down hill corners on mine)

Modern day tubular do not give anymore gains over modern day clincher and tubeless tyre sets. Infact the new Mavic combo sets have proven to offer better performance over that of Tubulars.

If you are looking for any marginal gains then buy some bloody good wheels or hire a professional coach.

I usse both clincher and tubular. I train on clinchers for the simple fact that they are way more convient than tubular. But when it comes to racing I'm on tubular for several reasons - safety in the case of puncture and also neutral support at races. The other reason is our sponsors ...its cheaper for them to provide us with carbon tubular rims than carbon clincher!

In regards to my training tryes, I'm using Victorria Evo Corsa II both clincher and tubular - I have a power tap on both tubular and clincher wheel sets and I can tell you now - there is very little difference between the two.
 
May 22, 2007
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#5
I am reading with interest, although my experience is too limited to contribute much.

What I seek, if anything, are sensibly-priced puncture-resistant tyres that won't let me (or themselves) down. Don't really care about a few grams here and there.

I might add this:

When I was buying more Stupid Valvie-Extendie™ things the other day, the chap in the shop mentioned that the manufacturing trend was changing, as consumers were too frustrated with all the different versions and options of valve part combinations.
 

TimeTraveler

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Feb 6, 2012
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Koto-ku, Tokyo
#6
FarEast, I am beginning to see a pattern here. It seems that through all that I have read on the subject and advice that I have received, it all boils down to preference and purpose.

As I am primarily a runner and do not see myself participating in a road race event any time soon, I do not see much advantage in tubular tires. After reading your post, I suppose that my Shimano RS80 Carbon Clinchers with Serfas Seca Comp tires will suit my cycling purpose; as a key cross training regimen for marathon preparation.

Thanks
 
Dec 31, 2009
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Matsumoto
#7
If you are interested you should go to your local shop (tim) and take a set around the block and see if you notice a difference. I feel safer in corners and also feel faster with tubulars. I also like that I can run a lower psi without worry of pinch flats. For the most part I only use them for racing though.
 

GSAstuto

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Oct 11, 2009
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#8
Tufo has been an innovator with their integrated tires. This is made by actually lining the inside carcass with butyl or latex so the tube and the tire are formed in one piece. They extended this idea into the clincher realm by producing the compatible clincher - tubulars.

Now then, my direct experience with Tufo is that if you get the High TPI versions , you'll see pretty decent performance. However the lower TPI versions roll quite sluggish. If you are doing HC TT for example, the TUFO Elite Jet is a good choice. They also make a pretty solid Tri tubular - the Jet Special, which is lower TPI, but harder compound and heavier butyl tube so it doesn't lose air in the impounds.
 

GSAstuto

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#10
We conducted rolling resistance tests for our wheels with a Japanese partner. Our findings were similar to others in that modern clinchers generally outperform a tubular in pure Cdd tests. Not by much - but they do. This is largely to do with the fact that Cdd is directly related to compliance energy losses. So, if you're looking at Cdd as your only choice parameter - then I'd suggest going with a clincher - and make sure you use latex tube and hairspray to mount the tire to further reduce any compliance associated losses.

The problem with clinchers has to do more with the deformation of the sidewall under angular loads - like in cornering. To some degree this is improved by using 'open tubular' design clinchers - and like the Tufo - an actual tubular tire that 'hooks' into the clincher rim, but , like they say, there is no replacement for cubic displacement. A tubular tire maintains it's sidwall curvature all the way through the rim angular rotation -way past the point that any rider would experience. So, the envelope of traction performance far exceeds the operating range of the tire/wheel itself. Unlike a clincher where the envelope of traction is actually less than the operating range. Cornering performance is probably the most noticable difference between clinchers and tubulars.
 

GSAstuto

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#11
As for flat /puncture resistance - if you are prone to pinch flats, then tubulars will likely give you relief from this. It's easy to see why. When you depress a tire section of a clincher, once it 'bottoms out' you essentially pinch the tire (and tube) against the rim hook and cut it. Now if you have enough air volume and pressure to prevent this from ever happening, you are fine. But if you don't, or hit a particularly hard edge, grate or whatever - you'll punc out immediately. Tubulars are less prone to this because they don't pinch the tube when they are squashed flat. So, you can literally smash them down as hard as you can, flatter than a pancake and unless you physically rip or tear the carcass, chances are the tire will be fine.
 
May 22, 2007
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#13
All good to know. Thanks.

As for road detritus punctures, I have Stan's sealant is what I have. Presumably that works as well for butyl and latex tubes?

(I don't know what is inside the Vittoria tire I just fitted, but it's still hard as a rock after three days so I'm guessing butyl.)
 

GSAstuto

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#14
One added note for mounting high performance tires intended for extreme conditions. I've noticed in alot of riding that the tubular tapes have lower melting point than commonly used 'gutta' type glues. Especially as the ambient temps went up, I spotted some tape distortion on my tires and also saw it on other rider's bikes. Combine with hard, white knuckle descents, and you have raised the overall temps into a zone where the tire bond could be compromised. So - how do we guard against this?? I experimented with a variety of techniques and found this way to be the easiest and best:

1) Prepare the rim by cleaning it throoughly with acetone. Especially if you7re using carbon rims - the acetone will get all the mold release agent off the binding surface and even soften it slightly to allow a better bond.

2) Use a thin layer of 'hard glue' directly on the rim. I use Panaracer or SOYO. They are thin, nearly shellac and very easy to work with. Basically it's just contact cement that dries a bit harder.

3) Correspondingly use a thin layer of glue on the base tape. Now you are probly thinking - well, why not just followup and glue the tire on the rim? Well, this is the normal process - especially if you're hard gluing for a track wheel - but we want a more substantial bonding layer to suit road race. So here's the departure.

4) THEN apply your Miyata tape and fit the tire! The tape will now be bonding via the hard glue layer to rim and tire. This further enhances the strength of the bond and also acts as a small thermal barrier.

Bear in mind this is largely subjective - I didn't use an infrared spectrometer to measure the temp changes, etc. BUT - I did experience far less tape 'bleeding' under severe conditions. And I A:B tested this against several sets of wheels all with the same results.

By using the tape - you still maintain the far easier servicing aspect than glue alone. And much faster to swap tires if you need to. The rim glue layer will stay put - you don't need to clean it off. And the tape will remove pretty easily by just rolling it off with your thumb.

My service kit just contained a small tube of Panaracer track glue - not much larger than normal clincher patch repair glue, in fact. So, if I wanted to prep a new tire , I could do this easily and with no more hassle than gluing a patch.
 

GSAstuto

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#15
Latex tubes are more sensitive to the sealant. So you should always use stuff that's intended for them - namely doesn't contain ammonia based chemicals. And also - always leave your tires in slightly inflated - off the floor position. If you squash the tire (even with no sealant in it) the latex tube will tend to bond to itself. Then when you pump it up - BAM!

Most of the Vittoria 'Ralley' lineup and actually any of their tires excepting the EVO use butyl tubes. So Stan's or any other sealant is fine.

If you're in doubt then I suggest Caffe Latex or GEAX.

If you want maximum IED level protection then I suggest the TUFO GOLD. it's designed more for CX and MTB (and butyl tubes). I have anecodte about that stuff , too. Amazing. I hit a set of those nasty 'brick reflectors' you see on Japanese hiways at fullspeed after flying off one of the stupid speed bumps they also put on the highways. I hit so hard I smashed my seatpost to the lower limit and delaminated my front wheel in 3 places. The front tire was flatted - in fact it was funny - the pressure had blown the valve core OUT of the stem! After I gathered my senses and my very sore kabum, I put another valve core in the stem (I generally carry a couple in my wallet) and dosed the tire with some Tufo Gold then pumped it up. Amazingly it held! And even more amazingly the wheel was sufficiently true to ride. So I did. And the darn thing was still ridable after more than 500km later. I only recently dismantled the wheel so I could re-rim it.

Do not use Stan's in Latex Tubes!

All good to know. Thanks.

As for road detritus punctures, I have Stan's sealant is what I have. Presumably that works as well for butyl and latex tubes?

(I don't know what is inside the Vittoria tire I just fitted, but it's still hard as a rock after three days so I'm guessing butyl.)
 

Doug3

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Jun 24, 2010
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Setagaya
www.tokyocyclingcoach.com
#16
As someone who loves a high speed descent, and tends to push it, I want to have confidence in that little patch of rubber (and the whole tire wheel combination) that keeps me safe.

Personally I do notice a difference between the clinchers and tubulars. As I increase the lean angle with tubulars, I find it to be a more smooth and continuous process, which gives me more road feel, especially in the transitions from leaning hard on one side than quickly switching to the other. With the clinchers it does not seem as linear, and takes just a bit more concentration on what I am feeling, then it gets to a point at higher lean angles where the tire steps out more than with tubulars.

Of course this noticeable difference in performance may just be due to the tires that I typically tend to run most recently, Michelin Pro3Race vs EvoCX II. But, I think I could generalize the above description to other tires I have used in the past also.

I have never worried about the bond between the tire and rim on tubulars. I just use panaracer glue.

All that being said, and a bit off topic, another part of the descending equation is braking. My clincher rims are alloy, while my tubulars are carbon. I prefer the alloy rims in this respect as they seem to give me better modulation and overall stopping power. I find alloy rims more suited to technical descents like coming down Wada, and the carbon rims better for going down sweeping corners like the back side of Kazuhari.

A final point, back on topic, is the road feel. For me, tubulars seem to offer a more plush ride, with just a bit more comfort. My subjective view, or a placebo effect?

Summary, I think tubulars offer better performance in high speed sweeping corners when you are riding at the limit. I also think they offer a bit nicer road feel. In practice however, I usually ride my clinchers. (Until I get another PowerTap and have it laced up with a 50mm carbon tubular)
 

GSAstuto

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Oct 11, 2009
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#18
Here's a video of the Thailand Vittoria Factory showing how tubular tires are made. I think you can find the Dugast video link on the same page. Another great one to watch. Sadly, Dugast has closed it's (his) doors for the general public. If you've ever had the chance to ride a Dugast or Clement Seta (original) you'll shed a tear for this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=jwrwbxPKjAI&noredirect=1
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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#19
I also like that I can run a lower psi without worry of pinch flats. For the most part I only use them for racing though.
That is another point Chuck, although in the past tyre makers recommended riding lower Psi in wet conditions now with the TPi and tread designs some are going the other way - Vittoria recommend an extr 5 -10 psi for wet conditions.
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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#20
All good to know. Thanks.

As for road detritus punctures, I have Stan's sealant is what I have. Presumably that works as well for butyl and latex tubes?

(I don't know what is inside the Vittoria tire I just fitted, but it's still hard as a rock after three days so I'm guessing butyl.)
Latex is used on all Vittoria tyres - also I would suggest getting Vittoria Evo's as these have removable stems - you can then purchase the required lengths so you don't need to faff around with valve extenders!

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