Tubular Tire Maint

theDude

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#1
I've not had tubular tires before, wondering how people work with them in a couple of cases.

1. Tires mounted on wheel. I've got some Vittoria corsecxsomethingoranother which seem to have latex tubes, so they obviously lose pressure relatively quickly. I don't/won't use these as daily riders so don't plan to be pumping them up every day. I usually store my bike on a rack (wheels off the ground) so that would keep them from getting all flat and bent out of shape, but likely will eventually have some other wheels on them so then what should I do with the wheels? Hang them as the best option? Should they never go flat as a rule or no big deal if there is no sealant (or whatever it is called) inside?

2. Spare tire. At Ys they pumped up the tire a bit to help it keep shape (before stuffing in a bag?). Fair enough, I suppose. But as a spare, if I carry it I will fold it up and try to get as much of the air out of it. Is this all right? Can I leave it folded up (like the 'cheaper' ones at the shop)? Or should I return it to a O shape after a ride with it in my jersey pocket?

Thanks.....
 

FarEast

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#2
The tires should hold about 30-40 psi to keep the shape and that should hold for about 1 week then just add a little air when needed.

In regards to spare - I just fold it and then wrap it "cling film" wrap that you use on food - if it's never been pumped up and deflated the talc powder should still be inside and stop the latex from sticking.
 
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theBlob

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#3
I'm not sure the best way to leave them with sealent in them, But i guess down or up. just not 3/4 up!
My front keeps clogging up making it hard to pump. I have cleared it a few times but it is risky business cleaning the valve with a spike!

I love my front tufo light! It is my daily rider and never had a puncture in my front tyre in 2 tyres and 12000km
 

AlanW

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#4
I keep my race wheels with Vittoria Corsa CX tyres in wheel bags which are hung up. Never had any problems, even with sealant inside. I don't bother to pump the tryes in between uses :oops:.
The potential problem with sealant, particularly with latex tubes, is that if the tyre is totally flat, e.g. the weight of the bike pressing down, the sealant can dry out and stick the latex tube together at the flattened spot. Then when you go to pump it up, the tube can rip at that point.
I keep my (cheap) spare tubs folded up, secured with a fabric strap, in a ziploc bag.
 
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FarEast

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#5
You don't want to be leaving them with sealant in them! Pro teams actually wash the sealant out of the tubular using water after races (one of the reasons why Vittoria tubulars with removable valve is a top choice in the peloton) But really if these are your racing wheels or specail occasion wheels and you carry a spare then I would not use sealant at all.

If you puncture - switch to the spare, then repair with sealant once you are home. Once the whole is plugged wash out remaining sealant.
 

GSAstuto

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#6
You can use sealant as a prophylactic , but its recommended to remove it if you plan to store the tires in a decompressed state for any length of time. Most sealants can be washed out of the tube by flushing it with water. Or you can use Caffe Latex sealant dissolve first. Then pump up the tire a bit and let it sit with valve down, then drain it. The only hassle is that tires that have been pre-sealed or flushed or even ridden much will lose much of the tube talc - so when you fold them and store for any length, they might stick together inside. Then when you try to inflate again, it will rip the tube.

Tires that use 'classic latex' tubes - like Corsa SC, Soyo, Challenge, etc will lose air quite rapidly. You'd generally need to inflate them every 2 or 3 hrs to keep desired pressure. Tires that use silicon-latex tubes will hold air much longer. Like Veloflex, Corsa CXIII, and certain DuGast. You may get by with as much as 10-12 hrs riding before having to re-inflate. Tires that use butyl tubes like Tufo, Challenge Triathlete, Soyo Upstream, etc will hold air as same or longer than their clincher counterparts.

Latex tubed tires have roughly 2x pinch flat resistance than butyl tubed tires. They also have lower energy loss due to minimized movement (compliance) in the tire. (Think about every time you push the pedal the rim must transfer the energy through the tube chamber, tube walls, tire carcass and finally road)

Learn to fold your tubs so the glue side is always facing 'in' and generally just touching the sides of itself. This protects it somewhat from elements and also lets you peel it apart without ripping the base tape off. Plastic film wrap , Zip bag or anything like that will further protect the tire from elements. Tubs generally use non-vulcanized treads and the UV will kill them quickly. (Unless it's specially a vulcanized or UV guard treated tread) My favorite emergency tubs were Swallow (Korean) which I think now is Schwalbe, but they lasted forever folded and were very lightweight with butyl tubes. Crappiest riding tire ever, but a great spare! I STILL have one that I use for a spare and it's more than 25yrs old!

Finally - you CAN repair tubulars. I've posted about that before. And you can also SEND your tubulars out for re-tubing. I know a place in Florida and in Italy that does it. Or you can do it yourself. High quality inners can be purchased from SOYO and quite a few other companies.

If you have a sidewall rip or tear that almost always 'bricks' your tire. But nearly any direct tread puncture or cut can be repaired. The tread itself can be repaired with Shoe Goo or use a bit of super glue and a piece of rubber.

Finally - keep your sidewalls sealed and smooth by using some liquid urethane. Most camping supply places sell this for sealing tents, bags , jackets, etc. Generally as a seam sealer. Some brands are like Aquaseal, etc. Or you can go vintage and get some liquid latex and use that. CX riders generally clean and reseal their tires every race due the severe abuse the sidewalls get from the abrasion of the dirt, sand, mud, etc.

Tubular glue can be removed with acetone or purpose specific remover like Soyo, Continental, etc. The purpose specific stuff has lower flash point and easier to work with. My favorite is the Panaracer remover or Goof Off. Be careful, though, this stuff can remove decals, finish coats and other details you might NOT want removed.
 
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theDude

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#7
The tires should hold about 30-40 psi to keep the shape and that should hold for about 1 week then just add a little air when needed.

In regards to spare - I just fold it and then wrap it "cling film" wrap that you use on food - if it's never been pumped up and deflated the talc powder should still be inside and stop the latex from sticking.


Cling film (saran wrap in american) is a great idea! cheers.
 

theDude

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#8
Thanks Tim, lots of good stuff there. Some follow up questions on that below....


Learn to fold your tubs so the glue side is always facing 'in' and generally just touching the sides of itself. This protects it somewhat from elements and also lets you peel it apart without ripping the base tape off. Plastic film wrap , Zip bag or anything like that will further protect the tire from elements. Tubs generally use non-vulcanized treads and the UV will kill them quickly. (Unless it's specially a vulcanized or UV guard treated tread) My favorite emergency tubs were Swallow (Korean) which I think now is Schwalbe, but they lasted forever folded and were very lightweight with butyl tubes. Crappiest riding tire ever, but a great spare! I STILL have one that I use for a spare and it's more than 25yrs old!
I like this spare idea (getting a cheap emergency one). This wouldn't require any tape on it at all as an emergency tube, would it? My understanding is to get it on there and should be enough 'stickiness' to get home on, then change to a 'nice' tire? And you can still recycle the spare for later? (i suppose you should 'clean' off whatever sticky stuff is on it after changing out at home?


Finally - you CAN repair tubulars. I've posted about that before. And you can also SEND your tubulars out for re-tubing. I know a place in Florida and in Italy that does it. Or you can do it yourself. High quality inners can be purchased from SOYO and quite a few other companies.
Will have to weigh the hassle against the life/cost of a good tire. But nice to know you can do it.


Finally - keep your sidewalls sealed and smooth by using some liquid urethane. Most camping supply places sell this for sealing tents, bags , jackets, etc. Generally as a seam sealer. Some brands are like Aquaseal, etc. Or you can go vintage and get some liquid latex and use that. CX riders generally clean and reseal their tires every race due the severe abuse the sidewalls get from the abrasion of the dirt, sand, mud, etc.
I'm not sure what this all means. I wouldn't expect to have to maintain a tire like this.... Is this something everyone does with a tubular tire? What do you 'clean' with (soap and water or something more abrasive)?

Tubular glue can be removed with acetone or purpose specific remover like Soyo, Continental, etc. The purpose specific stuff has lower flash point and easier to work with. My favorite is the Panaracer remover or Goof Off. Be careful, though, this stuff can remove decals, finish coats and other details you might NOT want removed.
Does the Miyata type tape just pull off? When would you want to do a full clean like this? changing a tire, after some months/years? Every time you change the sticky tape?
 

GSAstuto

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#11
1) depending on how you prep the rim - the tape will stick mostly on the tire or the rim. I usually 'Belgian' the rim - meaning apply a thin tack layer of glue on it AND use tape. So, its not uncommon for some tape to stay on the rim.

2) If your rim does have glue layer and / or some residual tape, then you can usually get by with a non-glued spare to stick enough to get you home. But, I'd generally apply at least one coat of glue to the spare - even if to seal the base tape.

3) Full rubber impregnated sidewalls rarely need sealing. Only the tires which have natural or latex coated sidewalls. That type of tire is made in such a way to be very supple and elastic under wide operating pressures. Like CX, for example, or criterium silks, or sprinter tires. if the sidewall has a beige or cotton appearance it's likely a 'natural' sidewall and you would need to re-seal or treat it now and then. If it's hard rubber or black, probably not.

4) If you are careful about removing the tire - you can generally get the entire tape with the tire - or conversely leave it on the rim. Miyata tape never fully cures, so if there is enough on the rim (or tire) you can remount another tire. I will sometimes just splice in a section where it's missing. HOWEVER - water absorption will damage and deteriorate the bond - so, if the tape is affected this way, you'll need to remove it entirely, clean and retape the rim. Even on pre-glued rims the tape is pretty easy to clean off without any solvent. You just roll it off with your thumb.
 

theDude

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#12
2) If your rim does have glue layer and / or some residual tape, then you can usually get by with a non-glued spare to stick enough to get you home. But, I'd generally apply at least one coat of glue to the spare - even if to seal the base tape.

That last part, when do you apply this coat of glue to the spare? Before the ride? Carry some glue?

At the moment I'm working with a Fresh From the Store (FFS?) tire, haven't done anything to it besides try to get the air out.... will that not really cut it?
 

FarEast

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#13
Side wall sealing is really only needed on cotton wall tires and mostly CX tires - in all my years never heard of anyone including my grandfather sealing the sidewalls of road tires.

Vittoria tires have an already sealed sside wall - thus why it is black or off yellow. Also Vittoria do a "Japan Specific" tubular for 2,500 JPY verry good for getting you home of if you have a set of tubulars for training wheels.
 

GSAstuto

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#14
The Vittoria strada is indeed a pretty decent training tub. Much better than the excuse of a tire they call the Ralley. It's longer wearing than Conti Giros and less lumpy than SOYO. The only neg I have is it comes only in 21mm which is great for track, but a little narrow for my personal road tastes. Almost any handmade tubular with natural latex + cotton or silk carcass will require sidewall sealing now and then. Includes almost every DuGast, Many Challenge, some Vittoria (SC and some CX tires) , Veloflex Masters, etc. Like FE said,, if it has the black , pre sealed sidewall, no need to do anything, If it has a natural finish then you might need to.

I don't carry glue. I just carry a spare that has been pre glued. For longer trips where I know I'll be away from support or my shop more than a short ride home I'll carry a small tube of Panaracer glue. For emergency you can use many things to stick a tire on. Double back tape is the most widely available. And just about any contact cement. That failing, even bubble gum will work.
 

FarEast

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#16
This entire thread makes the whole thing sound like such a complicated pain in the a$$.

Does it really have to be this much trouble or are people just going OTT?
Seriously mate- I just glue them on and ride, carry a spare in my jersey wrapped and if sealant don't fix them when I get himn I bin them and get a new one out.
 

theDude

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#17
I don't carry glue. I just carry a spare that has been pre glued. For longer trips where I know I'll be away from support or my shop more than a short ride home I'll carry a small tube of Panaracer glue. For emergency you can use many things to stick a tire on. Double back tape is the most widely available. And just about any contact cement. That failing, even bubble gum will work.

Tim, what does "pre glued" mean for a spare? What exactly is done to it and how does it not stick to itself?

Re: Panaracer glue.... is that a product you can buy (i.e. the small tube of it) or do you have a big one and then find some other small tube to put it in?
 

theDude

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#18
This entire thread makes the whole thing sound like such a complicated pain in the a$$.

Does it really have to be this much trouble or are people just going OTT?

It does seem like it. But I want to figure these things out. Not looking forward to trying to fix a flat on my own the first time, but at least being ready for it is what I'm trying to figure out. Bit more work than just sitting in the living room and playing around with clincher tubes/tires and figuring those out....


I've gone in and bought 'em, definitely going to use 'em so need to get as self sufficient as possible.
 

GSAstuto

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#19
@Dude -

1) Pre-gluing is just applying a single coat of contact cement to the base tape. Even though it will eventually dry, it will still offer a little stickiness when contacted to the rim glue. Also, the glue seals the base tape to prevent moisture saturation.

2) You can get Panaracer tube (small) at many places like Y's Custom. The Panaracer glue is a soft glue and doesn't completely harden like track glues or as much as Vittoria Mastik. But actually, just about any contact cement will work.

You can spend as much or little time as you really want with any tires, tubulars are no different. Yamada san (the ancient) is still humping a set of 25yr old Wolbers up and down the Arakawa almost every day. I think they've been patched up more times than original tread or tube is left. But he's from a generation of riding (post war) where things had more value and people had to work hard to get them and keep them riding as long as possible.

This is one thing I don't like about the seamless woven tires - they are nearly impossible to repair. There is no seam! So you can't extract the tube for repair. Once it has flatted, outside of using sealant, there is no maintenance solution. Fine for the track and perhaps swept course events, but not very practical for everyday training or riding.

James - I used to collect binned tires from the teams and repair them, then selling cheaply or give to friends. Next time you punc, please keep them and I'll happily recycle and repair , if possible, to give to the University and High Schoolers I support.
 
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