This weeks blog is some much needed information for those battling with new wheel purchasing decisions and baffled by some of the science. For today’s blog we are parking the carbon fibre debate and focusing in on the tyre type. Equally we will save deep rim wheels and disc wheels for another day.
Tubular rimmed wheels have potential to be lighter due to the wall edge of the wheel that holds the tyre in place and their is general belief that they corner and roll better than clinchers due to the truly rounded cross section of the tyre. A tubular tyre will also likely have capacity for a higher inflation PSI reducing the risk of pinch flats that you might experience with a clincher tyre. In the event of that much hated flat tyre the tubular is more likely to permit you a safe and graceful exit as it remains glued to the rim whereas a clincher can properly chuck you straight off as it removes itself swiftly. So all sounds like a winner and tubular tyres all the way! Well not quite. Tubs tend to be more pricey and their is a real art in properly fitting a tyre with the correct glue meaning for many a roadside repair can become impossible without some form of a foam based injector product. Repairing a clincher roadside generally just needs the forethought to take a spare inner tube and take the time to switch out the old one remembering to look for any sharp items in the tyre that caused the flat in the first place.
Personally I have ridden with both and am yet to feel the full effects of tubular perfect rolling surface that many reference and touch wood I have never had to deal with a flat on my tubs. I certainly don’t put myself in the tubular replacement guru team so every change of tyres on mine is a trip to my friendly local cycling shop for help. The fear factor of a tub blowing out in a race is a real one and having not used mine on anything longer distance than a half-iron its on the wish list for upgrades before stepping to the big one. That said you can pick up some real bargain carbon deep rim tubs as many like me just pussy out and switch leaving the market open for people to give them a go.
About the author – Billy is the founder of Trivelo Bikes and currently a three bike man although coveting both a new road bike and mountain bike…maybe later this year!