Question for Tubular Riders: Do modern wide clinchers come close?

Everything about building wheels, glueing tubs, etc.
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by RyanH

There's a part of me that wants alloy braking and Continental rubber (for wet pavement grip). I *could* just get a set of Belgium tubs and put Conti comps on, so that's Option A. But, does anyone have some feedback on how the wider Hed Belgium/Ardennes type wheels feel descending and sprinting compared to a good set of carbon tubulars like the Boras? Tubeless is out of the question, so it'd be clincher and latex tubes. This also isn't a question of comfort or smoothness, I want to know about feel when cornering and sprinting.

Last set of clinchers I had was 2017 and I hated them. I had H plus Son Archetype laced to Ultegra hubs (32/32) with Veloflex Master 25s and latex tubes. Going in a straight line, they felt more supple than the tubular offerings. However, pointing it through turns felt like I was driving a 90's Cadillac. I almost sold that bike because of it and then tried the bike with the Boras and it was a revelation.

Was that just a bad build (too many spokes? not great rims?) or is that a fair representation of clinchers? I have Nemesis 32x tubulars that feel great (a little flexy when sprinting) but corner well, so I have a hard time believing it's the spoke count.

by Weenie

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by fa63

My last three wheelsets have been:

HED Belgium+ rims / T11 hubs / DT Swiss Comp spokes (28f/28r)

HED Belgium+ rims / DA9000 hubs / Sapim Laser spokes (32f/32r)

Campy Zonda C17

Same tires on all of them (Vittoria Corsa G+). I much prefer the Campy wheels to the handbuilts (in fact, I sold the handbuilt wheels). The Zondas just feel more responsive, especially under hard efforts. They feel great cornering as well (though I have a feeling your rides involve more aggressive cornering than mine). They also feel faster, and my speedometer seems to agree on that as well, but that could be attributed to other factors as well.
Last edited by fa63 on Tue May 07, 2019 1:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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by pdlpsher1

No experience with tubulars here but I have a set of hand-built Belgium + for my tandem. Running GP5K 28mms and they measure 30mm wide. The tires have a round shape similar to a tubular. No lightbulb shape. With wider tires and wheels you can run a lower pressure, which will give you the extra grip and feel that you desire. If you gonna go with Hed rims I recommend a custom build with CK hubs. Also check out CK’s website. They now sell wheelsets using their hubs and Hed rims. Very reasonably priced.

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by caballero

dont build clinchers. Build up a set of Al tubs on wheels mfg hubs / Cx-rays / Hed c2 tubular on prowheel, theyve got a 5-15% discount on all builds plus free shipping

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by BdaGhisallo

caballero wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 9:26 am
dont build clinchers. Build up a set of Al tubs on wheels mfg hubs / Cx-rays / Hed c2 tubular on prowheel, theyve got a 5-15% discount on all builds plus free shipping
Wheels Mfg is no longer marketing those hubs. Jeremy gave it his all for a number of years but his Alchemy design hubs seem to have had their day. I don't know that I would invest in a discontinued product that doesn't come from a large established industry player.

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by dim

Another recomedation for the HED Belgium Plus

I spent weeks researching reviews etc and eventually opted for the HED Belgium Plus. I opted for the Chris King R45 hubs and bought the upgraded version with ceramic bearings and Sapim Cx ray spokes (20/24 and I weigh 73 kg)

o far, I have used them for 4164 Km and they are still as true as the day my wheelbuilder assembeled them and I ride on shitty potholed roads ... you need to have the Chris King hubs serviced twice a year though but it only costs £40 per sevice for both hubs (£80/ year)

I have used a few tyres on these, and the most comfy has been Specialized Turbo Cottons in 24 wide. I have also used IRC tubeless tyres and am currently using Continental GP 5000 TL and have 1956 Km with zero punctures and these are fast and grip well in the wet and dry and I think they have a lot of km's left in them before replacing.

I will get also get tubular wheelset built 1100 grams or less and most probably carbon and I will use these for special rides when the wind is in my favour on some hilly courses so as to get some Strava PR's or KOM's

so my advice, is first get a decent set of wheels that you can use clinchers or tubeless, and get a second set of lightweight tubular wheels for special rides

I am planning on buying a vintage Miyata touring bike for long Audax rides and as my winter / wet bike (hoping to get a 1000 LT but if not, a 610 will do), and I will have a wheelset built with the HED Belgium Plus, and a Son28 dynamo front hub)
Trek Emonda SL6
Miyata One Thousand

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by bm0p700f

Sort off. tubular rims are inhernatly better structures than clincher rims in a number of way but priniciply it is possible to creat a lighter and stiffer rim with a tubuar design that is not only radially and laterally stiffer but resist twisting better. You also have a more flat spot resitant rim and brake tracks dont bow out.

the ride of a good clincher or tubeless on a modern wide rims gives similar feel and grip you get of a good tub but since tubs are of limted appeal it almost pointless trying to suggest them.

HED beligium rims are nice but the tubeless compatiability is not there. I know HED say it is and HED fans think it is but it isn't. That does not matter if your using inner tubes though. The fact remains though as nice as the HED beglium+ rims are the humble kinlin gives similar ride quality. The other issue with HED belgium+ rims is they are so wide internally tey are really for tyres bigger than 25mm. 19mm internal is as big as I like for 25mm tyres that sit at 25 to 26mm on wide rims. The shape of such a tyre on a HED rim means it will wear out faster/sqaure off quicker. Handling may be adversley affect as well but its honesly hard to tell.

HED tubular rims are perfect. Kinlin have the TB20 though.

by Weenie

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by Mr.Gib

@RyanH, I am not sure if you are questioning wheels or tires. Regardless, it is certainly possible that a clincher wheel can achieve everything that a tubular does, but will only be able to do so at a higher weight.

With regard to tires, yes cornering grip can be the match of any tubular, but there are qualifications. I think the industry is getting closer, but 19mm internal is not quite enough width to deliver all the benefits. One you get to 21mm internal things get interesting with 28mm tires, and rim internal of 22 or 23mm is even better. I have found when a caliper reads close to 30mm, and the pressure suitably low (60 - 75psi depending on rider weight), cornering grip can be mind blowing. I am a very aggressive descender/cornerer, love seeing how far I can lean the bike over, and I am amazed at the feeling of absolute grip, security, confidence on wide soft clincher tires.

The whole exercise is futile of course if the rim is not wide enough to properly support the tire. I grew up racing and training on tubulars exclusively, and rode tubulars (mostly Veloflex) until just a few years ago, and I see no reason to go back. To be fair, all my tubulars were either 25mm or 23mm so maybe not a fair comparison.

Sprinting? Well, if it's lighter it will accelerate faster. That's all there is to that (assuming aero is equal).

Not sure what your "Cadillac" experience was all about, but remember how it is with perception, most people think they are going faster on harder tires when in fact they are slower.
wheelsONfire wrote: When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.

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