Now For Something Completely Different... Training on Tubs

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

The short version first: to train on alloy tubular wheels or not?

The long version: I am toying with getting a race specific wheelset for a hill climb in seven weeks (and more as the season progresses). Currently, I weigh in about 149-150 and race weight is morel like 143-145. I mention this detail only as the set I was considering ordering (HED Belgium Tubular rims laced to Tune 70/170 hubs in 24/28 coming in at 1350 g) is probably strong enough even for training given my relatively light weight.

But... here's the other shoe.

I want to ride more often with tubulars. Better feel, better cornering (I'm becoming a reasonable climber but remain a shit descender, not that tubulars will fix that), fewer pinch flats, etc. I like the old school appeal, etc. Yet (insert shoe), in some ways training with heavier clinchers makes the "race wheels" seem so much more magical. Would it make more sense to build up heavier tubulars or just keep rolling on my Ksyriums? Swapping the Tunes for R45s might be heavier and more reliable. But... I don't know. At a quandary with this one.

Anyone have any experience regarding this setup?

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by Pantani

If you think tubs will make training easier, just ride harder.

Absolutely no reason why you shouldn't ride on them in training. A Conti Gatorskin and a tube is close to the price of a Gatorskin tub - which will puncture first is probably just a crapshoot.
Not everything that counts can be counted. Not everything that can be counted counts.

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by Werdna

I started "training" on tubulars about a year ago.
Before that (on clinchers) I would flat about 6 times a year.
And out of those six or so flats, one would be a puncture. The other 5 would be random blowouts, pinch flats, rim strips shifting, etc.

I've had one flat since riding tubulars, and it was a puncture. I patched it in about 20 minutes after riding my spare home.
Personally, the pros outweigh the cons for tubulars.
I don't think I'll be switching back to clinchers for a long time.

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by fdegrove


I want to ride more often with tubulars. Better feel, better cornering (I'm becoming a reasonable climber but remain a shit descender, not that tubulars will fix that

IMHO training and descending on tubular tyres may well turn you into a faster descender as tubulars will build up your confidence. In yourself and in the tech inherent to tubulars.

Ciao, ;)
Being a snob is an expensive hobby.

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by angrylegs

I trained about half and half last year on my AL tubulars vs my AL clinchers. Fast group rides and races were always on the tubulars, as were various days I simply felt like enjoying the tubulars. In a typical season past I'd get 2-3 flats using clinchers, but I got none last year, clincher or tubular. Luck have anything to do with it? Sure, but I've never really been one to flat much. Even so, I see absolutely no reason not to train exclusively on tubulars. Once we get past spring, this year I'll probably ride tubulars most of the time. Benefits far outweigh the negatives imho. FWIW, last year was also the first year I had tubulars. I became a very quick convert.

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by mellowJohnny

The short: yes
The long: hell yes

Build up a set of "race day" tubs, and a pair of training tubs. You'll be all set. Training tubs like Vittoria Rally or Conti Giro will be a bit heavier anyway.

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by teleguy57

Rode tubies back in the day of GP4s, then off the bike for a number of years (kids, job, got fat, etc) and started riding again about 5 years ago on clinchers. Built up a couple sets of 23mm rims (C2s and A23s) with Vittoria Open Pave CGs and latex tubes. So far, so good.

But I kept reading these darn threads (and on Velocipede Salon) about tubulars, so decided to build up the classic set -- 32 spoke Nemesis on silver Campy Chorus (couldn't rationalize the cost difference to go silver Record) and put on Veloflex Roubaixs. Wore out the rear (cords showing) and the front is going strong. I won't say that I didn't puncture this season, but let's just say I didn't change tires except for the worn Roubaix.

The ride on the C2/Open Pave/latex tubes is fairly comparable to my tubular set up, and the weight with the bulletproof Nemesis is about the same too. But I'm much more confident on crappy stuff and cornering, and no longer worry about a catastrophic blowout and rapid deflation while descending or moving in a fast group.

Bottom line -- anyone want to buy a set of A23s on Ultegra 6600 hubs? I only want to keep one set of clinchers to ride on my CX/rain bike....

So -- go for it. Get a nice set of alloy tubulars; Hed C2, Ambrosio Nemesis (or Montreals -- lighter but still durable and less expensive if you can give up the fancy etchings), or Velocity Escapes. You won't regret riding tubulars all the time.

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by Bingomck

Would any of you recommend commuting on tubs as well? Or is that just too far?

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by gjash

Bingomck wrote:Would any of you recommend commuting on tubs as well? Or is that just too far?

I regularly commute on Tufo S33 Pros. All good and very puncture resistant.

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by wasabi1

Nothing beats a nice handbuilt tub. Nemesis with conti sprinter. Had one flat last year and that was more down to riding dodgy track rather than anything else.

Having said that i have been on clinchers since november and havent flatted yet. Gp4000s is excellent.

The moral of the story is 'Handmade in Germany'!

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by Wingnut

I agree nothing beats a nice tubular...and I have a few sets now.

But unless you like inconvenience and and have money to spare why bother...personally I'd keep singles for race day & stick with some nice clinchers...
"It's not the's the ride!"

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by BdaGhisallo

You could always do what Robert Millar used to do. He "kind of" trained on tubs. He used to ride clincher wheels, with a big wide clincher tire but instead of filling them with normal inner tubes, he would use a narrow tubular as the inner tube in his clincher setup! He reported that he never had any punctures during his winter rides doing that. The ride was terrible but what mattered to him was not having to change flats in freezing temps and having to be out there any longer than he absolutely had to be.

He was a character!

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by HillRPete

Bingomck wrote:Would any of you recommend commuting on tubs as well? Or is that just too far?

Maybe if you have perfect conditions most of the time on your way to work, and can ride a nice tyre. Running Gatorskin tubs just for the sake of running something sewn-up is not worth it.

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by dcl10

I have just as many flats with tubulars as i do clinchers, so that's my experience. I don't really get pinch flats, that's not an issue for me. The difference is with a clincher it takes 10 min to fix and a 25 cent patch. I trained on tubs last season, mostly because we weren't provided with any clincher wheels, and the ones I have suck. In any case a spent so much time screwing around with those SOB's I'll never do it again. Some people here just love gluing up tubs, and that is great if you do, but I don't have time for it. I ran vits and they are a good tire, but I only get two weeks on the rear, and usually a puncture every two weeks. I ran through 33 tubs last year, and even though i get them for pretty cheap, that was still almost $1,000 for 11,500 miles of riding. Conti's last longer and are a little cheaper, but still that's pretty bad. I probably spent and extra 30 minutes to an hour each week because of them. I think that time would have been better spent training than mounting tires, but that's just my opinion. Between cycling and my regular job I really don't have any free time to be screwing around with something like that.

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