Silk Tubular tyres in rain

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

Hi All,

Looking some definite advise here. Been told by a few NEVER to ride a silk tub in the wet or rain. Just put a set on TT (dugast silks) but due to the silk absorbing water very easily, compared to cotton, they will swell then pop. How true is this?

Also, been told to coat the sidewall with Aquasure sealent. Will this make them 100% capable of being ridden in rain or just slow the above process? Not keen to aquaseal as this will take away some flex to the side wall hence taking away a little of what the tyre is very good at.

Any help welcome, emails to Dugast but no reply at all.


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by xnavalav8r

I used silk tubulars for cyclocross. That's as wet and muddy as it gets. I used Aquaseal on the sidewalls and had no problems. The tires performed extremely well, even at low pressures.

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by Stolichnaya

Silk absorbs water more easily than cotton hence a silk tubular tire can swell up and pop?
In all my years I have never come across this comment, but I am now kinda worried about wearing my silk ties to work on rainy days. They might get dosed, expand like a airplane safety vest and choke me out!

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by mattr

The silk is pretty much encased in rubber. Which is waterproof.
Unless you have lots of slits and tears in your silk tubs (unlikely) i'd not worry.
I've never heard this either.

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by LouisN

Between silk and cotton, I'd say cotton has the most water absorbing properties of the two.

Louis :)

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by 11.4

Back when everyone rode Clement Criteriums and Criterium Setas, this was a common comment and yes, mechanics switched out silks when the day was going to be rainy. The problem wasn't with water absorption into the casing per se, just with the greater fragility of silk tires. Today silk casings tend to be about the same kind of thread count and denier as cottons, but back then, they were often extremely fine and supple. And fragile.

The heaviest silk that I can remember was the Clement Paris Roubaix seta, which was by today's standard a lightweight 24 mm or so tire (akin to a Veloflex Master in tread) on a silk casing. The lighter Criterium Seta Extras were not much more than a Vittoria Evo Pista is today.

And yes, when silks puncture they can still go with a pop rather than just fizzle down. So riding in the wet, with its inevitable increase in punctures, led to more popped tires.

If you're riding silks, I'd assume you have the wherewithal to have an extra pair of wheels for wet weather racing. I'd certainly ride some rainy race wheels in that situation rather than my best silks unless you are already winning so much at the elite level that the tires really give you that extra edge.

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by barsook77

Seta's (silk) start to rot when ridden in the rain. It may take a while, but they will go sooner rather than later. That is why Egyptian Cotton is so nice. You can get them wet without worry.

And the only rubber covering the sidewall casing is latex... we all know how that breaks down when exposed to ozone!

Keep the seta for dry weather. Unless you have unlimited funds ... :thumbup:

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by Geoff

No problem with silks in the rain.

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