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Just trying to get a feel

I am 100% tubular for road and CX race but how many people do you think still use clincher tires (percentage)?


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HI - I am not running them tubeless.  I have never tried that - fearing that hard fast turns at my weight might increase the chances of burping the tires.    I am running the Fango clinchers on Velocity 23mm rims, which, in theory, should also help prevent pinch flats due to the wider surface area.  Also, I just picked up some Continental cyclocross tubes from Amazon - these are really high quality. Thicker than the specialized or Bontrager tubes, which should also help against pinch flats.

I weigh 180 - 175 on a good month.  The thing is, if you are running tires at 35 or more psi your best, cheapest bet is to usetubes with sealant in them.  Yeah, you MIGHT get a snake bite but at those pressures it isn't likely.  The sealant will prevent thorns, etc from flatting you.  I run PDX tubulars in the mid 20's.  I have some Iron Cross rims set up on a single speed that I (so far) have been able to run tubeless around 31-32 psi.  Haven't burped with the Bontrager CX3 or Kenda Kwicker but the jury is still out.  I am going to set them up with some Happy Mediums and see if I can get my pressures down.  At more than 35psi the beat the heck out of me.

For me, the absolute biggest advantage of tubulars is that you can run them at low enough pressures that you can take full advantage of their grip.  There is no comparison between how a tire feels at say 25psi and 35.  There are huge downsides to tubulars - though Clement has solved one with its "tubeless" design.

I recently published a tire guide article specifically on clincher cyclocross tires. I think they're great. There are a lot better offerings now than there ever used to be.

Best Clincher Cyclocross Tires Guide

Yep, running clinchers. Tubies may be svelte but The cost, limited use, and fear of tearing them up on the MTB trail keeps me from worrying too much about them. Yes I ride the cross bike on the MTB trails pretty regularly.

One set of wheels is set up tubeless with a general-purpose tread and the other set of wheels is either more mud-specific or file tread.

I can get the tubeless setup to ride pretty well at 28-31psi, not bad for 180lbs. With tubes I am not far above that and in some cases (with Duro's Ellie Mae file tread) I ran 26F/28R on a flat and very bumpy course with no problem.

Hutchinson Bulldogs on Velocity A23, tubeless.  I'm 195#, run 'em at 35 front/38 rear.  No burps in two years. The key for the older A23s is to use rim strips, not just tape.  The new versions of that rim don't require strips.  

I got a set of Stan's Alpha 340 to run tubeless, and have been having burping problems for the first few races of the season at around 30-35 psi (Michelin Mud 2 burps with/without Stan's rim strip, Hutchinson Kevlar bead Bulldog burps without rim strip) but now I found the Vittoria Cross XG Pro TNT and they are working awesome so far even at 30psi (no rim strip).  That being said, if I was doing it again I'd get the WTB Chris Cross rims, I wouldn't buy another tubeless rim that doesn't have a raised lip on the inner edge of the bead seat shelf.  I think this is key to low pressure burp resistance for 'cross.  I've only seen it on the WTB rim and American Classic Argent so far.  If the Stan's Alpha had this lip they might work better for tubeless.

I talked to the guys at Stan's and the key when setting up cross tires at low pressure is to do one of two things.  1. Use Iron Cross rims if you have discs.  They work great.  2.  If using Alpha's or other Stan's rims with break surfaces, you must use a rim strip.

The lip in the WTB may or may not add anything.  It cannot hurt though.  I have run my Iron Crosses in the low 20's without issue and I am 185

I have heard good things about the Iron Cross (if you have discs), I think part of the reason for its burp resistance is its width.  Maybe the problem with the 340 is that it is fairly skinny at 20mm external width, where most modern road hoops are going to 23-25 mm.  This seems to really help low pressure performance.  Another teammate has HED Ardennes (23mm) and has had no problems, not sure what tires though.  I tried the Stans rim strip on the Alpha 340 and it still burped (165lbs/30-35 psi) with every tire I tried except the Vittoria TNT.  One of the guys on my team had the same experience with the 340 until he got the Vittoria TNTs too.  Maybe the perfect tire for the 340. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to knock Stan's, their customer service is awesome, their wheels are super light and fairly affordable (in the world of obscenely expensive wheels).  Most people rave about their MTB stuff.  I just think the 340 might be due for an update to a wider profile with an inner bead shelf lip to address the poor low-pressure performance.  I'm looking forward to using mine on the road with some Hutchinson tubeless tires though, should be a great setup.


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