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Thread: Tubular Options

  1. #1
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    Tubular Options

    I did a couple of searches and didn't see any threads so I thought I would start one.

    Just doing a little research.

    I've heard that tubulars can offer a lot more cush and traction over clinchers. You can get away with lower pressure and the racer boys (and maybe girls) seem to like them. Plus you can build up some really light wheel/tire combos. But I haven't really seen much out there on the market. Geax seem pretty good.

    Maybe it's too early and they haven't really reached the main stream yet and I'm jumping the gun. But if anyone out there has any first hand experience with tires and rims please contribute.
    Last edited by modifier; 01-03-2013 at 05:45 PM.
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    Have you ever glued or repaired a tubular? If you are world cup material it might make sense, or if you like messing with your bike and not riding...... or cx race.

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    Yes. So Smedley you have personal experience with all the MTB tubulars on the market and find them unreliable?
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    I wouldn't say it's too early - it is just a quite specialized market for tubulars on MTB.

    Compared to CX / Road tubeless setups, MTB tubeless works great and the benefit over tubular is much smaller compared to CX/Road tires in tubular so the market isn't as strong. I would like a set as well as a race wheelset for the weight savings alone.

    ENVE makes a 29 tubular, as well as TUNE/AX lightness

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    No it never stops hurting, but if you keep at it you can go faster.

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    Quote Originally Posted by modifier View Post
    Yes. So Smedley you have personal experience with all the MTB tubulars on the market and find them unreliable?
    I am not questioning their performance or reliability. What are you looking to achieve you don't get from tubeless? I have two sets of road tubular wheels and a pile of junk $90.00 tires. They are a major PIA if you flat or need to re-glue. If you have not done this think about it,. Expensive tires.that if you flat you have to rip off the rim, un-sew, patch, re-sew, re-glue, which is three coats of glue and at least 24 hour before you can ride. So my point is, if you are not a top athlete in a major competition , why bother?

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    Quote Originally Posted by modifier View Post
    Yes. So Smedley you have personal experience with all the MTB tubulars on the market and find them unreliable?
    It is not so much the tubular tires are not reliable, but that they are not really repairable on the trail. Small punctures may be fixable with sealant. Cuts/tears mean you are walking unless you have team support with spare wheels following you.

    You can ride on a flat tire, but will destroy the tire ($100-160 and up) and likely damage the rim.

    Tire weights are similar to clinchers with tubes. Rims are generally lighter. Still need to go carbon for significant differences.

    I have a set of Geax Sugaro tubulars and they do ride great with super traction. Ridden 3-4 times because I am wary of a 3 hour ride becoming an 8hr hike.
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    Quote Originally Posted by modifier View Post
    The 7th post sums it up well.
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  9. #9
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    Modifier, I have a set of Enve 29er carbon tubular hoops that I use regularly(a few rides a week). I alternate between that and stock wheels tubed or tubeless, and a set of Stans Crest's. I've used the tubulars for around a year now and have had three different tires mounted using Tufo tape and glue mounting methods. The first set of tires I had were a custom set of Dugast tires someone else had made. The base tape split on them first ride, so I replaced them with a set of Tufo XC2's mounted with the supplied Tufo Tape. I have tubulars on my cx bike and road bike. Though I often have someone more experienced than me mount them, I have mounted tires on all three bikes myself, with glue. I can tell you that I have never had such a perfect and easy-to-mount set of tires as the tape and Tufo tire combo. They mounted fast and straight and never failed or flatted. The tread isn't right for where I live this time of year, so I recently replaced them with a set of Schwalbe Racing Ralphs, which I glued on. I am a beginner, no pro. I raced a 13hr on the Tufo's and just did a sprint race on the Schwalbes, with several more races scheduled that I will use them in. Having used them a fair amount in all three disciplines, I can tell you that in my experience, I find them to be much easier to live with than tubes and tubeless setups (MTB specifically). I can run them at a lower pressure and not worry about burps compared to my tubeless setups, and don't really worry about instant tube-type puncture flats. I generally add Stans or Conti goo to most of the tubbies, but not always.

    I did get a flat once on the road with a tubular, several years ago. I didn't have goo in it, and it was a drag having to pull it off on the road, but I had a spare tire with me, put it on, and finished my day.

    I also rolled a front tire once off my cx bike, and recently on my 29er. The cx bike was me riding poorly and landing crossed up after a log hop. I didn't crash, but am sure I would have if I had done the same thing on a regular tire/tube/metal wheel vs. the tubular and 50mm carbon hoop. So I let a tiny bit of air out, pushed the tire back on the rim where it had popped off, and ride for another couple hrs.

    The more recent one was simply me not doing a great job with the glue on the 29er. Just rolled a bit off in a sandy, off camber corner. Though there was a lot of sand on the tire and rim, I was still able to ride after popping the tire back on. Took only a few seconds. Again, no crash.

    In my personal experience, again, I think the quality of rims and tires on 29ers nowadays definitely makes it tougher to justify using a tubular over a tubeless setup. The Crests with Aspens are within a couple hundred grams of my Enve tubular setup (but are a much more sluggish wheelset). The tubular setup rides way better though. Quicker, more connected, and faster. If I had lots of spare money laying around, I would get a set of regular enve's and run them tubeless. They would probably be pretty close in total weight to the tubs, and offer the ability to have a lighter wheelset that I can change tires on more quickly for conditions(though I really don't find changing tubeless setups to be fun or quick).

    For cx, there is a HUGE performance gap between tubular and tubed. I will never use a tubed wheel/tire again for cx.

    On the road, I have really enjoyed the tubulars. Haven't tried tubeless. With tubes I've had lots of flats. Only one with tubulars (so far). Ride quality is close at my level of riding. I feel safer in crits on tubulars oddly. My training wheels are tubular with Gatorskins. Good tires ride well, tubular or otherwise.

    I'm 180ish lbs, so no flyweight. I ride fairly light on the bike though, but am an aggressive cornerer. The ride of the Tufo tubular XC2 was amazing. I haven't found a similar tubed or tubeless feel yet, without going so low on air that I was burping or bottoming out hard on stuff. The Schwalbes grip way better on loose surfaces like we have here in the Southeast this time of year. They don't have the same ride quality though. While that is noteable, grip is more valuable to me for now.

    I haven't tried any other 29er tubulars, and don't know that I feel like I need to. The Schwalbes work really well, as do the Tufos. I was and still am disappointed with the failure of the Dugasts, so I can't really offer any opinion there. Both of them are lower profile than I would prefer. Right around 2.0. I pedal strike a tad more with them than with higher volume tires. It would be great if there were some other choices out there that were light-ish and also larger volume, but based on the races I've done, I really can't say the tubulars have been anything other than an advantage to me over my tubeless and tubed combos as is. I would probably use my tubulars every ride if I were not trying to preserve the tread for upcoming races. As it is, I use them probably 70% of the time.

    So that's my experience thus far. I'm not setting the world ablaze with my incredible speed. Just a regular dude. I like em. I'd use them more if I could, but feel that a similar tubeless setup would be mostly comparable on the 29er, with the edge going to tubular for no burping.
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  10. #10
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    No matter the pro's or con's, if you are asking on a forum why you should be riding tubulars, they are not a good idea for you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeroenK View Post
    No matter the pro's or con's, if you are asking on a forum why you should be riding tubulars, they are not a good idea for you.
    That's has to be the most lame brain and useless post I have ever seen on mtbr. lol You win
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    Quote Originally Posted by modifier View Post
    That's has to be the most lame brain and useless post I have ever seen on mtbr. lol You win
    OK, posting just after I should have went to bed is never a good idea, but I was kind of serious. I was just amazed that your searches came up with nothing, because my view was that the topic of tubulars typically is good flame bait on MTBR. Expand your search to all the subforums and lots of information pops up. Google is your friend too.

    twentynineinches.com is also a good source. Under allmost every reviewed tubular tire is a small list of riders' experiences and opinions.

    What I meant with what I said is that, if tubulars are of real use for you, you are probably allready in the environment in which riders ride tubulars, or at least debate them. That is because the range of meaningful use of tubular tires is really small. Mainly short course XC racing, or perhaps longer range with good external support.

    So I turned it around and I admit, rather bluntly and dogmatic: If riders around you don't ride or debate tubulars, they are probably not suited for you either. You'd be asking different questions here.

    That is, unless you have a big wallet, you want to lighten up your bike, have high bling stuff on it, or you just want to try out stuff. Nothing wrong with that.

  13. #13
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    I've been trying new technology or creating my own buy building it myself for 30 years and if the time for tubular tires had finally arrived I wanted to get some feed back. I don't know why people are so fking weird about it. I had tubeless tires many years before they became the norm and most other things I adopt for my bikes that are out of the norm don't become fashionable for a long time. However, what I come up with is almost always eventually adopted.

    I used to run tubulars on road bikes. You carry an extra pre glued tire if you are worried about flats.

    Most people are main stream and don't like to rock the boat and won't adopt something until most others have already done so. So paying attention to the guys that ride in my area does me little good.

    I'll try a more global search again because so far most of the reports I read from people who have actually lived with tubulars for a while [rather than those simply wanting to cut down anything new on principal alone] have spoken of good results. But at this point I'm probably not going to try it anyhow. Mainly because I like fat knobby tires and that isn't really an option with tubulars. Plus I change out tries pretty often always looking for something better.

    I was thinking of building up a really lightweight all carbon SS rigid, so the ride quality of tubulars is what got me interested. But after quickly adding up what it would cost to build the bike I think I would rather buy a new GasGas dirtbike instead. I'm more into motor powered right now anyhow.
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    Quote Originally Posted by modifier View Post
    I used to run tubulars on road bikes. You carry an extra pre glued tire if you are worried about flats.
    A folded mtb tubular is huge, the 29er more so. On its own it would fill the pack I usually ride with.

    Swap on the trail and it would be just a limp-out backup since it will be prone to rolling the tire off the rim.
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    I have no experience with MTB tubulars, but I do run CX tubulars and road tubulars. I typically run tubulars year round for the road. My CX tires I use A LOT on singletrack and have picked my way through many rock gardens with them. The Tufo's that I use on singletrack seem pretty bombproof. Never a flat. They have taken a good beating. If I were runnig MTB tubulars, this would be my first choice, Geax second.

    Also, if I were running MTB tubulars, I would carry a spare CX tire instead. They fold up easier, and would probably stay on the rim easier with more pressure. You really only need to get back to your car at that point, and CX tires are more than capable of allowing you to do that.

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    .........
    Last edited by 88 rex; 01-05-2013 at 07:00 PM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    A folded mtb tubular is huge, the 29er more so. On its own it would fill the pack I usually ride with.

    Swap on the trail and it would be just a limp-out backup since it will be prone to rolling the tire off the rim.
    That's a good point. And so is the idea of carrying a CX tubular as a spare.

    You basically aren't going to get a pinch flat. Thorn flat very possible. I wonder if Stan's works? Sharp rock puncture possible. In all the years of riding I've only had a couple of side wall cuts.

    I don't know about construction techniques on other brands but Tufo are bonded so once they flat there is no repairing in a traditional cut patch and resew way. But they do make a few products. TUFO Accessories
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    Quote Originally Posted by modifier View Post
    That's a good point. And so is the idea of carrying a CX tubular as a spare.

    You basically aren't going to get a pinch flat. Thorn flat very possible. I wonder if Stan's works? Sharp rock puncture possible. In all the years of riding I've only had a couple of side wall cuts.

    I don't know about construction techniques on other brands but Tufo are bonded so once they flat there is no repairing in a traditional cut patch and resew way. But they do make a few products. TUFO Accessories
    I don't use tubulars on my mtb but use them extensively on road and cx.

    a bit of a misnomer regarding "no pinch flats" as they can happen but it is generally more difficult. Tufo I think is the only tubular (and I think the new vittoria cx) that doesn't have a separate tube (i.e. not a "sew up") making that even less likely (you'd probably have a nice flat spot on your rim if that happened).

    Regarding repairing, tufo sealant is considerably more viscous than stans/slime and does a much better job at repairing larger cuts/tears. With a higher volume tire, I'd bet you could get away with some minor tire surgery in combination with sealant. Wouldn't want to go on an epic ride with that tire but...

    I'd never use tape to mount as even with the smaller cx tires, a rolled tub could easily lead to a damaged wheel and loss of skin. IMO, the only place for tufo tape is with the tri-dorks where the higher pressure (and lack of technical courses) will help keep the tire on the rim. A larger volumed tire would put even more stress on the glue and would have to increase the likeliness of losing a tire.

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