Doing a practice ride yesterday at Sarco, I managed to pinch flat both tires at around 33 psi. I think it's time to change rubber. Before I drop 2 grand on new wheels, glues, tubeless tires etc..., I'd like to try out tubeless clinchers. I have a few questions first.
1)Who makes them
2)Where do you get them and
3)Do they work better?
let's make sure we are singing off the same sheet of music.
you said before you drop 2k on wheels,glue, tubeless tires....???
I will assume you are talking about TUBULAR tires (or as us old guys call them, sew ups)
Tybular tires that you GLUE on to rims HAVE inner tubes. They are just sew into the casing and the tread is applied to the casing. Casings are now generally made out of a syntheic material rather than the good ol'd days of silk or cotton. Having said that, the very high end and much-o $ Dugast and FMB and even one of the Challenge brands have cotton or silk casings. These provide an incredible amount of suppleness and conforms better to the terrain. Tubular tires allow you to run the lower pressure than clinchers w/out much of the worry of snake bites. Not to say you won't get them, just a bit more difficult.
TUBLESS tires, are just that. Clinchers that require no inner tube. they have specially designed "beads" around the edges that allow them to hook and seal very tightly onto tubeless ready clincher rims. Some will say with that with a STAN'S no tubes kit just about any rim can accommodate this. True to a point. Some rims have better rims than others for this. One for instance would be the family of Mavic Ksyrium rims like the SL, ES and premium ES. They have no spoke holes in the rims so sealing them with the STANS tape is not necessary even tho ppl still do. Then you apply a special sealed air nozzle in lieu of an inner tube and put in some STANS fluid and pump up the tires to get them to "sit" into the rim and seal them up. (over simplification)
Open tubulars- are basically tubulars without the tube sewn in and mount like a regular clincher. These are what you want if you run clinchers. they have the same suppleness as their tubular brothers, with out the hassle of glueing. Challenge Grifo and Fango are the way to go for these. to help keep pinch flats at bay, talcum powder the hell outta the inner tube before installation. this lowers the friction inside of the tire and allows the tube to move/give inside without it binding and pinching.
Tubular clinchers= shit! Tufo makes them and you might as well mount a garden house that has been out in the yard for 10 years on your wheel. AND it will still outperform the TUFO. It is a tubular tire with tube sewn in but mounts like a clincher. nice idea HORRIBLE execution.
this is a 30,000' over view. we can talk specifics if you care to. ATMO- if you have no experince with gluing tires and you won't race them on the road DON'T buy tubular rims. Run a nice strong clincer rim like a Ksyrium and run open tubulars like the Grifo and or Fango (mud). flatting a $100 tubular in a 45 min race is not fun. jus' sayin'
I have used all 4 types, and had good luck will all the types. If you want to go the tubular route, unless you have good reasons, just use an aluminum rim. Carbon rims are supper kool, but you will need special brake pads, and the extra expense will not give you the results. The carbon rims also suffer in the mud, where the aluminum excels. The biggest advantage is the tubular tire, which will outperform any clincher. I have only ridden the Tufo, and Dugast tubular, but by far the Dugast were worth the investment, and the tires provided the ride I was looking for in mud and hard pack. In deep mud you will need a mud specific tire, but in the mud we had at nationals, the all-around tubular works fine. Here is a good article on comparison between the three brands: http://www.velonews.com/article/85785/testing-tubular-cyclocross-ti...
The most affordable option is to get a Mavic aluminum tubular rim, and just build a set; or the Mavic Ksyrium tubular, is also a good midrange option. The most popular seems to be Edge carbon rims on DT hubs. I would also use the Aquaseal for the side walls. The sealer keeps the sidewall looking good, but also protects the sidewall when running 26-28 PSI. The other piece of equipment to buy is a good tire gauge, to have accurate PSI readings. This allows consistency in the tire performance. There were times a 1 PSI difference, made all the difference. As for gluing up the tires, there are many tricks to a quality glue job, but remember at 30 PSI, the tire is only held onto the rim by the glue.
I tried the tubeless route with no success. I was riding Ksyrium SSL Clinchers with Bulldog tires and Stans juice. I am a larger rider 6'3 200 lbs. Any pressure under 40 psi I would burp the tire down to 30 and then to fifteen pretty quick. Three races, three flats. So I now just run a tube at about 35 psi.
I'm an old guy...I've always run tub's on the road and cross. My answer when asked why has always been...you can ride a tub when it is flat. I have seen and proven that fact! I have ridden clinchers a few times over the years and have not had the "feel" that a tubular gives. One thing I have learned is that with tubulars you do get what you pay for...quality tyres do last longer. I run Challenge Grifo's and Grifo SS on Campy wheels and rims. Gluing takes time and practice...not to be rushed, especially the first couple of times. Have someone who has done it for a while give you a show and tell. Good luck...JB, I think we are singing the same music!
I am a HUGE tubular fan and think that they provide a feel and ride characteristic second to none. However, here lately with the rise in popularity of cross many people who have never had any experience with the art, and it is an art to gluing tubulars have rushed to put these on their bikes in a delusional thought that they would make them the next Andri Van Der Poel. Most people are NOT realistic with the tire pressure they choose to run. A lot of novice racers hear that lower = better. What works for a 145 PRO does not translate well to what works for a 175lb weekend warrior.
Myktech did a nice job explaining about some very nice mid price tubular wheels to look at. Cross is wicked hard on equipment and you should evaluate your equipment choice based on your personal comfort level. Cost, time, knowledge, trial and error. All of these things need to be taken into consideration when dealing with tubulars.
Tubular tires can provide a lot of enjoyment, but can also provide a lot of frustration.