The paradox of clinchers. Can you explain why ?

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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by diegogarcia

So I have run tubs for some two years and in that time, I have had one puncture and that was due to the valve extension snapping.

I built some decent clinchers 2 weeks ago and this week, three rides, three punctures. I am running veloflex with decent inner tubes.

I realise it is a game of percentages but can someone remind me why tubs don't flat? It is simply good luck or conversely bad luck on the clinchers.

It is not a 'real' issue as I repair roadside, smash in a c02 canister and go again, but sometimes I need to remind myself why I bought back up wheels for long, long rides when in fact the first choice stuff stays up!


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by bones

Actually, tubular tires do flat.

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by natiedean24

What caused the three punctures? You sure it's debris and not the rimstrip or a burr?

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by BmanX

The other side of this is in the last 15 years I have flatted about 10 times and I only run clinchers. I pump my tires before every ride to my desired PSI and every couple of months I take the tube out, rub a little talc and reinstall. I have done this for the last 15 years and it just works for me. I run Butyl and Latex doing the exact same thing and never have had any issues really. Carbon clinchers and standard aluminum clinchers with good rim tape or Veloplugs.

Cervelo SLC 5960g/13.13 lbs

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by kgt

Has been discussed at nausea...
ww forum statistics suggest that tubulars do flat less frequently.

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by Mr.Gib

Tubulars appear to flat less because as a group we ride them in better weather and/or on better roads. Nothing increases the chance of a puncture like a wet, gritty road.
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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by mgordon

On the other side - I got my first set of tubulars, as race ONLY wheels - figuring the added maintenance wouldn't be a big deal given such low mileage - and got two flats in four rides on clean pavement. Needless to say I was frustrated.

I've probably had 3 flats in the past 5 years on clinchers.

Edit - after the below comment - I have been on Michelin Pro3s, Pro4s, and Continental GP4000s for clinchers primarily. And the tubulars were Corsa EVO CX's.
Last edited by mgordon on Fri May 11, 2012 10:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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by adriano

weight weenies get the lightest clinchers with minimal flat protection.

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by theremery

I love my veloflexes and it is the tyre I recommend for gear nuts. They have a puncture protection belt of cotton, however,..........i.e. no puncture protection at all. For the 1 puncture I get per month when riding intermittently, the ride quality, low rolling resistance and grip make them worthwhile. Conti's generally have a vectran PRB which is pretty tough to get a sharp object through. I don't like the feel of the conti's on the road and their grip in the wet is certainly NOT good on the local surfaces but they do resist punctures better.
It depends what tyre you ride and a bit has to do with shear luck.
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by fdegrove


They have a puncture protection belt of cotton, however,..........i.e. no puncture protection at all

Actually all Veloflex tyres, be that clinchers (Open Tubulars as they like to call them) or tubulars, sport the same puncture protection belt being a callicot cotton weave.
A callicot weave is a very tightly woven pattern stemming from India IIRC.

I used to ride Veloflex clinchers and tubulars and I can't honestly say I flatted more on one or the other. I rarely ever flat but then I can choose where and when to ride.

I have Conti Comp tubs as well and I actually flat them more often than the Veloflexes even though and I do not even ride the Comps half as much as I do the Veloflexes.
I chalk it up to the fact that I'm probably less careful with the Comps than I am with the Veloflexes. Either that or it's just mere luck or lack of it.

IME experience the Comps are in fact less prone to punctures due to city debris (glass shards, bits of steel wire etc.) than Veloflex tyres and that regardless of them being tubs or clinchers.

Statistically there is no difference between the two types of tyres, clinchers or tubulars but I do see two advantages to tubulars as far a puncture resistance goes: pinch flat are pretty much excluded and tubulars are often outfitted with latex inner tubes which can help protect against punctures as well.

As has been pointed out this has been flogged ad nauseam and it inevitably always comes to the same non-conclusive conclusion.... :mrgreen:

About five years ago we had the same topics pop up every other year or so. Lately it seems the same stuff needs to be rehashed every other fortnight. :(
Makes you wonder why all these powerful search engines are for.....

Ciao, ;)

P.S :
For the 1 puncture I get per month when riding intermittently,

That's an awful lot of punctures in such a short period of time or is it a few punctures over an awful lot of miles? :shock:
Being a snob is an expensive hobby.

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by sedluk

The whole theory behind tubulars is that the tire is round and can deform evenly. So while going around a corner the round tire deforms naturally and you have a nice oval contact area with more even pressure across the contact area. This is why the pros only ride tubulars.

Clinchers on the other hand are an upside down “U” and are stiff and constrained on the sides. They do not deform evenly and are much stiffer on the sides than in the middle. You do not get a nice even oval contact area while cornering.

The same goes to some extent with flatting. The tubulars are more likely to roll over the problem. You put that together with the fact that you can generally run with less pressure in a tubular without getting a pinch flat and you have an even more flexible surface that can roll over the sharp item.

Pump up your tubulars to 125 psi and you will get a flat quickly. Drop them down to 105-110 psi for a 170 lb rider and ride the same road without a flat.

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by notsoswift

mgordon wrote: I have been on Michelin Pro3s, Pro4s, and Continental GP4000s for clinchers primarily. And the tubulars were Corsa EVO CX's.

there is half your problem Evo CX is probably the most cut and puncture prone I have ever used
THey are fast and have fantastic grip, longitudinal and lateral, but they pick up any little bit of glass and metal you can find.
You need pitstop with CX's

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by mgordon

So what tires do you like with reasonable puncture resistance that are still fast and race-y?

Do people like Schwalbe Ultremo tubulars?

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by tommasini

There is something to be said for where and under what conditions you ride.

The earlier post suggesting that many might be saving their tubbies for special occasions (better conditions) might be believeable. In my case, my Vittoria CX tubbies are daily ride tires and virtually all last until I see the casing through the worn out tread - with no flats in between. I do however save my one set of clinchers for tougher conditions, but even then they are covered with clincher CX's...... and again flats with those are not a problem.

Put another way - high performance tires are just that. High mileage or high cut resistant are just that - you can't have it all - there is give and take.

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by Rick

I rode tubulars exclusively before modern high-pressure clinchers were even invented. Then I switched to tubulars for race only, and now I ride exclusively clinchers.
I don't know what a truly scientific statistical analysis would show, but my impression is that tubulars do flat slightly LESS often than clinchers.

But it is not a huge difference, because getting a puncture is mostly a random thing. If you don't pump your tires up solid, then pinch-flats are a bit more likely on clinchers.

But the difference is just not big enoigh to make me want to go back to tubulars. I still have a pair of brand new Corsa CX tubulars sitting on rims that I haven't even pulled out in 17 years. Sometimes I think about pulling them out and re gluing them....then I think....NAH! I'm going to go ride. :)

One day I had four flats on brand new tubulars during a race. Since it was on a circuit, I just kept swapping to my spare wheels and jumping back in the race. Man, that was an expensive race!

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