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Little help with this choice on my disc and 3 spoke. Just a few items to help a experienced rider get away from one to the other. Good for training? Or only racing--tubulars? How easy to fix in a race? any faster than changing a clincher?
1. Tubulars don't pinch flat
2. they're faster to change in a race than clinchers. Just rip off the old tire and slip on the new tire, then inflate.
3. Better ride quality. Better road feel.
4. You can ride a tubular pretty flat without damaging the wheel.
Ride pretty flat? No big blowouts?
is it just me, or is anybody else left wondering about a world where guys say you CAN'T tell the difference between an aluminum and a steel frame's ride quality, but you CAN tell the difference between sew-ups and modern clinchers pumped to 130 psi ? :)
But tubulars can go to 200psi
The other major factor in a race situation is that in the case of a tubular you have changed the equivalent of the tyre and tube - so there is no chance of leaving a piece of glass in the tyre to puncture again 1 minute later.
You would generally only ride at 200 PSI if you were riding on a velodrome... else above around 125/130 psi you get decreased returns becuase the tire si nto able to conform to the road and will bounce off imperfections in the road instead of rolling over them...
I doubt anybody can feel the difference between the best clinchers and tubulars. ( 25% of the peleton and stage winners i TdF would not ride Michelin Pro Clinchers if they were bad). Other clinchers are less flexible, which makes it harsh (and slower) to ride on rough surfaces. Unless the surface is 100% smooth as a velodrome, a pressure higher than 110 (for a 150 pound rider) will slow you down.
Personally, I love the ride of Michelin Pro Race and Conti Supersonic, but don't like the other clinchers I've tried (eg. Conti GP3000, Michelin Axial Pro...)
The tubular is faster to change during a ride, but you have to be carefull in turns afterwards, since it's not glued to the rim. You don't have this problem with clinchers.
When using clinchers, I only have one spare tube and some self-gluing repair pads with me. This weights much less than a tubular, and makes it possible to repare more than one flat (which very rarely occures).
It's easier to get clinchers 100% perfect mounted; wrongly/uneven mounted tubulars (as I often see) makes the wheel slower. Many clinchers fits better to the rim (depending on which tire and which rim), making them more aero.
Conclusion: ?? - there are pros and conts. The weight difference also depends on the wheels: Some corbon clincher wheels are more than 100g heavier than the tubular "brother", while other wheels have the same weights.
If I could start from scratch I would probably go for tubulars (I'm a bit old fashioned), but since I already have some clinchers, I don't want any mix - if the pro's can win with clinchers, it's good enough for me.
I think there is a difference in ride quality - at least between a good sewup and an ok clincher. this is especially true when you get into big tires like 25mm clinchers. at 120 lbs they are plush. If you are comparing 19s there may be no difference. also, it may be that when you compare them to a high end clincher there is not so much difference.
Nevertheless, I firmly believe that tubulars take the edge off bumps better, and here in minnesota we have a lot of bumps. You can ride them flat if you have to - they are still glued in place on the rim, so they won't squirm out of the way and leave you skating on your rim like a clincher will.
Andy Tetmeyer (I work at HED)
Big difference in ride quality. I always use Conti sew-ups on my race wheels and go to about 170 psi. My training wheels are the heaviest I can find as are the tires and I usu run about 120-130. When I get on my race wheels, boom I am going 2 mph faster at the same effort and feel like I am rding on air with the added PSI. I have never flatted a Conti sew-up but have my fair share (3-5 per season) of flats with clinchers.
Most people that are pro-clincher have never tried tubies. Frankly, if I rode clinchers in a race and flatted, it would just seem that tubies would make things even more complicated.(i.e. rolloffs, muliple flats.) The fact is tubies rarely flat in a race. I did 30 bike races last year, 1 flat, and that was on only 2 sets. Those pro teams that race clinchers are paid to race clinchers, not just free stuff. Mercury a couple years ago rode Fuji frames, and it wasn't because the riders took a vote. Fuji brought cash to the table. Train heavy(clinchers), race fast (tubies) especially on a good set of wheels.
Outside the weight of the tire/tube combo, tubulars will make your wallet lighter as well.
If all your buds ride tubies, ride 'em. If all your buds ride clinchers, you're probably better off on clinchers. That way when you get that extra flat on the ride, you can always beg off someone else.
In the pros column:
1. lighter (rim and tire/tube combination vs. clincher.)
2. softer ride quality even at high psi. (IMHO)
3. better puncture resistance.
4. better cornering traction (I think....).
5. much faster flat changing in race environment
In the cons column:
1. Generally more expensive since flats really require replacement of entire tire/integral tube unit- no, you really can't repair them as good as original.
2. substantial "voodoo beliefs" surrounding gluing, etc. All of it unfounded.
3. does require some expereince or instruction to glue and generally maintain.
4. not as readily available in LBS as clincher stuff.
That's what I tell people.....
The Tri Shop.com
generally i think tom is right as usual. still, he misses one fairly notable con in my opinion and that is the relatively high "dink around factor". consider when you get a flat with clinchers you change a 4 dollar tube in 3 or 4 minutes and you are done - fini. not so with sew-ups, you are just starting and it is going to cost you further time and/or money and probably both. cool if all you have to do is diddle around with your bike but many have other things to do with their time. this is the main reason sew-ups exist in the relatively small % of market that they do. don't get me wrong, i think they make good sense as an all out time trial/tri raceday choice - it is perhaps the only place they make sense to me, excepting while riding on a team with a dude in a car behind us with a bunch of wheels he stayed up late preparing for us.