Any reason to "try" tubulars today

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.

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by wintershade

In just over a decade of riding I've never ridden tubular wheels. Always looking for that last 1% marginal gain, I can't help but ask myself what I've been missing. Is it time to give tubulars a try? This would primarily be for training and the occasional fondo, as the only real racing I do are 70.3 / 140.6 triathlons.

On the flip side, I hear tubeless is the "future" and I'm liking my tubeless 404s and 808 NSWs so far. I might even race them tubless this year depending on how the next few months go. Is there any additional incremental improvement with tubular over tubeless, especially considering what seems like a fairly sizable increase in the PITA factor?

So try tubular, or has that ship sailed?

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by VTR1000SP2

Ship has sailed IMO.

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by Kumppa

I would not say it has sailed but alot more hassle vs clinchers/tubeless. For triathlon I would stick with tubeless or clincher. Easier to bring couple inner tubes than spare tubular tire if you don't want take a risk with sealant on race.

Even this is WW and you could save some weight I don't see point to get new wheels as you already have top level sets and weight isn't main thing for tri bike. And tubeless should have that 1% margin if you look tire tests...

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by Kayrehn

That depends on whether you are a true weightweenie.

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by Kurets

Tubulars ride a lot nicer than other tyres. Don't have any experience actually riding a tubeless setup, but I have tried 30mm Schwalbe G-Ones Speed TLE fitted with latex tubes, and even at 3 bars they feel harsher than a set of 23mm Michelin Pro4 tubulars at 7bar. If you are looking for a good ride then the ship has not sailed, and I do not believe in tubeless as the future for road bikes.

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by VTR1000SP2

I spent most of last year on tubular and most of this year on tubeless. I say most because late last summer I switched to tubeless and I say most of this year because I switched wheelsets and wanted to try 23, 24, 25mm tires to find the ideal width for my frame and rim. During this test period I ran the wheelset clincher.

I still have a set of tubular wheels that I will use for rides with lots of elevation as I don’t quite trust clinchers/tubeless carbon when descending for a long period of time.

In the short time I’ve ridden tubeless (about 12,000kms) I’ve tried a handful of tires from Schwalbe, Vittoria, Specialized, and Hutchinson. My current go to is the Vittoria Corsa Speed because they are very fast, inflate to 26mm which is a perfect width for m my frameset, and match the aesthetics of the bike well. My least favourite would be the Hutchinson, specifically the Fusion 5 Galactik. I would never recommend them.

In regards to comfort, I run my tubeless setup at 65/70 most days and 90/95 for friskier days. Are they as comfortable as the best tubulars, no but those tubulars were very expensive so not a value driven option for training like the S-Works Turbo Cotton clincher tires; super comfortable but terribly expensive clinchers.

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by Jugi

Kurets wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:06 pm
Tubulars ride a lot nicer than other tyres.
Exactly what I was about to say. There doesn’t seem to be any ”free speed” to be gained with tubulars these days, but I prefer tubular’s superb road feel above all else. I’m still very keen on running a 22/23mm front and a 24/25mm rear tire. There is a clear learning curve when getting into tubulars (as in tubeless as well), but they aren’t too laboursome once you get used to them. In my area the roads are in a good overall condition and quite clean for most of the season, so I rarely get ”big punctures”. For smaller ones I have some sealant in the tubulars, which works as a ”limp home mode” when bad luck strikes.

All that said, I haven’t tried the latest and greatest clinchers and nice inner tubes.

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by Matt28NJ

IMO nothing replaces tubulars for racing. They're awesome. Grip, feel, safer when puncturing.

For race days, IMO, nothing is better.

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by C36

For absolute performance on flat surfaces no. There is no real gain. Unless you go for the very fastest tubulars a tire will roll better and flat you don’t care about weight.

Now for « sensations » yes, they feel really great they are a lot more alive (coming from already great tires and latex inner tube, so for those coming from hard dead continental GP that would be day and night), so I enjoy them more.

To climb, yes, rims are lighter, and / or stiffer, can brake without having a doubt on delamination... my rim + tubular is 270+205 (+15 for glue?) that’s a tire-rim with its (heavy)rim tape weight. The weight gain is real and even if gain on rotational weight is largely exaggerated compared to the real physic... it feels really great.

People who love material and who can afford should try.

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by spdntrxi

when I was riding rim brake I would tell you I much preferred tubs.. not just for the lightweight climbing but the descending as well. Less fear factor I guess.
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by wintershade

FWIW -- I'm definitely sticking with clincher for TT bike and triathlons. I was thinking of putting the tubular wheels on one of my road bikes, used for mainly recreational riding and off-seasons fondos. So it's not performance I'm after, but more about sensation and feel.

How big of a different in feel are we talking vs the best clinchers like P Zeros and Vittoria Corsas? Are we talking Gatorskins vs Corsas, or more like GP 4000 vs Corsas?

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by VTR1000SP2

Try a set of Turbo Cotton clinchers and that’s what good tubulars feel like. Silk casing tubulars are next level from my experience.

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by bm0p700f

Lighter stiffer rims is the point of tubular tyres. Carbon rims that are more tolerant of heat build up is another reason.

Tubs are nice to ride on but the nice ones are too fragile. One the way to a hill climb last week my tub punctured and riding flat for a few hundred metres ruined it and sealant did not fix it. Only a borrowed wheel saved the day. Lift home was required though.

Tubs feel different. Even conti gatorskin tubs are a world away from there clincher cousins but the casing is different.

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by ico

I prefer tubulars for lighter rim, road feel and safety when puncture in downhill e.g. For occasional puncture I carry a Tufo 20 tubular in my under saddle bag.

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by kgt

Pros ride tubulars for a reason.

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