2013 ZIPP 404 Firecrest Tubular vs Clincher

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


This is not another tubular vs clincher thread. I am asking a very specific question that I can not find the answer to via search or anywhere online.

What wheel is faster - 2013 FC tubular or clincher. Assume all variables are the same besides the wheel itself. Not interested in earlier versions of these wheels. I know there is one variable, the tire, that also is not the same, but let's say the tubular is a Veloflex Carbon and the clincher is a Conti 4000s. Not interested in the convenience issue at all. I actually hope it's the tubular that is faster.

Which of these wheels is faster with the same bike, terrain, rider, gear... (all of that stuff should be set in stone the same in disussions like this imo).

I am assuming the tubular! Please confirm oh great ones.

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by Ozrider

Aerodynamically they should be similar, providing you use same width tyres.
The advantage of the tubulars is weight, a saving of 170g. Clincher 1525g vs tubular 1355g according to Zipps tech specs.
Theoretically the tubulars would be marginally quicker in accelerating and on inclines due to lower weight, also this is rotating mass, so has a greater effect than 170g frame or component weight. According to some sources, rotating weight has double the value of static weight in acceleration and climbing.
There is also the advantage of the more supple ride of tubulars, and supposedly lower rolling resistance.
One of the Zipp engineers is a board member, maybe he, or another tech expert can give better feedback. :smartass:
Last edited by Ozrider on Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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by Weenie

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by prendrefeu

Typically, CRR is less with tubulars - usually due to the latex tube used within tubulars.

However, that being said, Tony Martin (among others) used clinchers to massive TT-success and lately reports have shown that the difference in CRR between a clincher & a tubular isn't that far off. :wink:

However, that being said, do not use latex tubes inside a full carbon clincher.

However, that being said, a thinner butyl tube will offer better ride feel, and potentially less crr, than a regular thick tube.
Which you would do anyway.
Because this is Weight Weenies. :twisted:
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by djconnel

Al Morrison has some of the best rolling resistance data out there. Clinchers w/ latex tubes and tubulars with sufficient glue are fairly close. Carbon clinchers used to have a massive reliability problem but that's improved with superior heat management on designs the last few years. To me weight's the remaining factor. So I'd only do clinchers if I wanted their clincherness.

Tony Martin thinks clinchers have lower rolling resistance based on testing but he runs super-thin clinchers which are puncture-prone.

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by DartanianX

Tony Martin runs super thin clinchers (specialized tires) now that he is with omega pharma and they are an outright specialized team. On HTC he rode Continental something (they released a TT tire which is supposedly the same as what he used, but who knows).

I do know that whilst at World champs when he won it was a wide tire on the rear, 25mm or more. My Belgium manager last year (Kristof de Kegal) did some work with Tony on his position in conjunction with his mechanic and his aerodynamic guru and the tire width was something I remember him telling me about.

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by mellowJohnny

To me saving the 170g between clincher and tub is the deciding factor. All things being equal you will be spending extra effort to keep those extra 170g of rotational weight in motion over the course of the ride / race. Assuming the aero properties are the same, if the "engine" stays the same (your power output) but the vehicle gets lighter, you go faster.

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by sawyer

so the data suggests crr is more or less a wash... though assuming you choose not to run latex tubes in the carbon clinchers, it's fair to say tubs have a slight advantage on a like for like basis.

so, two reasons tubs will be faster:

- better cornering - especially on faster descents, hairpins etc

- lighter weigh for fractionally faster accelerations

On the latter point, some WWs poo-poo the idea this can be felt, but IME riding the clincher and tub versions of the same wheelsets (with c300g difference at the rims admittedly) the difference is obvious
Stiff, Light, Aero - Pick Three!! :thumbup:

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by tinozee

Thanks for all of the info guys, great stuff. I have been on two pair Reynolds 46 clinchers for a while and want to move to tubs so this is good to hear. I am looking forward to working with the tubs.

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by teufelhunden222

best answer? get both

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by tinozee

I went with the tubs. Hey if I like the wheels I might get the clinchers too. My wife and I both race (she is actually really good) so we can swap parts around. I'm going to use Veloflex Arenbergs and Carbons on the tubs and compare. Thanks again guys for the info.

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by CharlesM

mellowJohnny wrote:To me saving the 170g between clincher and tub is the deciding factor.

That's pretty much it. Aero is close... The weight is the biggest dif.

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by dcl10

As far as rolling resistance some manufactures, namely continental and Vittoria claim their testing has shown clinchers to be superior. There are also some other tests, such as the one conducted by Tour, and roues artisanales (conducted at continentals test facilities) that show a noticeable advantage with clinchers. Comparing the spread in the later test between the best clincher and best tubular would indicate you are giving up nearly 16 watts with tubulars.

Now Al Morrison has done probably the most comprehensive testing of road bike tires out there, and his tests show a slight advantage in favor of tubulars. That said he is using vastly different equipment and test protocols, and no disrespect to him and all the hard work he has put into it, but for my money I'm going to go with what the multi-million dollar R&D facilities are showing, and not some guy with rollers in his garage.

An Excerpt from Lennard Zinns article quoting the Tour test.

Germany’s Tour magazine has published the results of rolling resistance tests for clinchers to go along with their previously published testing of tubulars. All the tests were performed at the Continental Tire facility, and I’ve attached a summary of Coefficient of Rolling Resistance (Crr) of both types of tires tested in a single list. [Editor's note: The following table represents a combination of these twolists.]

Tire Crr
Deda Tre Giro d’Italia 0.0038
Vittoria Open Corsa Evo CX 0.0039
Michelin Pro 2 Race 0.0042
Vittoria Diamante Pro Rain 0.0044
Michelin Megamium 2 0.0047
Pariba Revolution 0.0048
*Veloflex Carbon (Tubular) 0.0049
Michelin Carbon 0.0050
*Gommitalia Route du Nord (Tubular) 0.0050
Panaracer Stradius Pro 0.0051
Schwalbe Stelvio Plus 0.0052
*Gommitalia Platinum (Tubular) 0.0053
*Vittoria Corsa Evo CX (Tubular) 0.0054
Schwalbe Stelvio Evolution Front 0.0056
Continental GP Force (rear specific) 0.0057
Hutchinson Fusion 0.0057
Schwalbe Stelvio Evolution Rear 0.0057
*Vittoria Corsa Evo KS (Tubular) 0.0057
Continental Ultra GatorSkin 0.0058
Ritchey Pro Race Slick WCS 0.0058
Schwalbe Stelvio 0.0059
*Continental Competition (Tubular) 0.0059
*Veloflex Roubaix (Tubular) 0.0059
*Continental Podium (Tubular) 0.0060
Specialized S-Works Mondo 0.0061
Continental GP 3000 0.0067
Hutchinson Top Speed 0.0069
*Schwalbe Stelvio (Tubular) 0.0069
Continental GP Attack (front specific) 0.0073
*Tufo Elite Jet (Tubular) 0.0073
*Schwalbe Montello 300 (Tubular) 0.0075
*Tufo Hi-Composite Carbon (Tubular) 0.0077
*denotes tubular tire test

As can be seen by that list, from a rolling resistance standpoint, the best clinchers have a significant rolling resistance advantage over the best tubulars tested. Particularly interesting to me were the results of the Vittoria Corsa CX and Open Corsa CX tires. These tires are literally identical (same casing, same tread) except for the means of attachment to the rim.

In this testing, the tubular version had an almost 40 percent higher rolling resistance, 0.0039 vs. 0.0054.

There are others tests out there as well, but the fact is Al,s testing is the only I've seen that puts tubulars even in the same realm as clinchers as far as rolling resistance.

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by tinozee

Weird I didn't realize the Veloflex carbon was the fastest tubular, I thought it would be a more race specific tire like the Record or Extreme.

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by Thirstyman

Interesting data but looks fairly old based on the series of tires cited ie Michelin pro race 2 which is several years and two product generations ago. Does anyone know the date on the tubular test data?

by Weenie

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by RichTheRoadie

Also doesn't take deflection into account - rolling resistance is one thing but ride feel and deflection must contribute to, and enhance, the ability to put power down?

I'm sticking with tubs purely from a ride quality perspective, I know that much!

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