14

I'm looking into going for tubular tyres and I'm new to this part of the world. As far as I understand there are two main options to mount the tyre:

1. Tub Glue which sounds like kind of a pain in the ass time-wise and requires some effort, but seems like a very solid solution to fix the tyre to the rim.

2. Tub Tape like the one from Velox, which seems like a very easy and fast way to mount the tyre but for me personally it doesn't seem rock solid.

Can anyone with the experience of using both explain pros and cons of these methods.

Thank you guys! You're the best!!

  • What's driving your decision to move to tubs? I considered this a year ago but after doing some research I decided against it and stayed with clinchers. Not saying that it's not right to use tubs, just probably not right for me! – adey_888 Sep 5 '14 at 1:58
  • I read a lot here about clincher/tubular comparison and around the web as well so that's what I've concluded for me (i) most of people say just feel better, (ii) it's more puncture protected, (iii) they are lighter then the same priced clinchers, (iv) the tubular rims are lighter. From the cons as far as I understand is the installation and fixing times ... not sure but it looks like worth trying at least. Also maybe I'm missing something important here. – LoomyBear Sep 5 '14 at 7:02
  • If I could afford two good sets of wheels then I'd like a set for races / Sunday best. I was put off at the thought of gluing tyres onto the wheel (and the tyres are more expensive too). Also carbon rims seemed to dominate the high-end tubular market and I'm 95kg so I'm over the recommended limit for some and was not confident the braking would be as good. Apologies I've not contributed to answering your Q, I was just curious. – adey_888 Sep 5 '14 at 7:21
  • Thanks for your comments I really appreciate a second opinion anyway. I'm in my 70s and I'm ready for gluing routines so it doesn't stop me. Also I'm not planning to use my bike for races so far, only for long distance travels ... but who knows maybe later! – LoomyBear Sep 5 '14 at 7:36
  • 3
    If you are into long distance travel then you need to consider availability as LBS. Clinchers will have better availability. – paparazzo Sep 5 '14 at 15:10
15

I've glued hundreds of tubulars and learned the craft from some of the best mechanics in the sport including a former wrench with the Motorola team and a former Mavic Service Course mechanic. These days tubulars are really only used in cyclocross, track and at the very top level of the sport.

There are some very distinct downsides:

  1. Safety. Improperly glued tubulars can roll off in a corner. This is not to be taken lightly. Even top pros have rolled tubulars (Joseba Beloki famously went down hard in the 2003 Tour de France, effectively ending his career) On a long descent dragging your brakes can heat up the rim enough to soften the glue resulting in a rolled tire.
  2. Expense. A decent tubular costs significantly more than a good clincher.
  3. Repair. You can't patch a tubular during a ride. You pretty much have to replace the entire tire. This means you need to carry at least one spare tire per ride (and hope you don't get more than one flat!) This BTW pretty much negates any weight savings which are trivial to begin with.
  4. Hassle. Mounting tubulars is a multi-day process, especially if you're mounting them on bare rims for the first time. Getting the tire onto the rim is significantly more difficult than mounting even the toughest clincher.

Now, all that said if you're going to move forward I strongly suggest using mastik instead of tape. Tape isn't that much less messy and the bond seems to be less consistent then a good gluing job.

Park Tool has as good a guide as any on mounting tubulars as anyone: http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/tubular-tire-gluing

A few other tips:

  1. Do NOT use 3M Fast Tack! Some people swear by the stuff. I've personally seen several tires roll from using it. This is especially true with Continental tubulars. Fast Tack actually dissolves the glue that holds the base tape to the tubular casing. Someone a few years back did a study on tubular cements and Fast Tack did very poorly (http://kuktl.dept.ku.edu/bicycle/Cusa1.pdf) Stick to Continental or Vittoria.
  2. Mount the tires to a clean rim, inflate them to high pressure (120+ psi) and let them sit for a while (as in several days). This will make it much easier to mount them.
  3. People will tell you to put a foot in the tubular and then pull up until you hear a popping sound. They claim this is stretching the tire to make it fit easier. These people are idiots. The popping your hearing is the base tape detaching from the casing or threads in the casing tearing. Don't do this!
  • 3
    That's a very good answer. Thanks for sharing your experience good sir! I really appreciate that. I've posted this question a year ago and since then I decided for myself that I'm gonna go with the cement and your answer convinced me that I'm doing the right thing. – LoomyBear Jul 25 '15 at 20:03
  • @LoomyBear - It was my understanding that rim tubular tape has higher rolling resistance due to tire squirm. – Rider_X Oct 5 '16 at 20:10
5

Well, I hoped someone with more recent experience would chime in. It's been 20 years since I used tubulars, but here's what I remember. While the glue is important, the inflation of the tire will hold the tire to the rim. The glue is largely there to prevent the tire rolling when you're cornering hard and to keep the tire on the rim if you get a flat/slow leak.

Back in the Drillium days, racers used to try and use the minimal amount of glue to reduce rolling weight and a tire inspection was part of the starting line ritual.

There are actually two kinds of glues.

One is a sort of shellac that works very similar to contact cement.

The other is more gooey and never really dries. ( Looks like snot comming out of tube).

I always used the second kind since there was a reasonable chance that if you needed to mount your spare tubular on the road, the old glue on the rim would work until you got home. The shellac kind required that both the rim and tire have a relatively recent coat of glue.

That would be my primary concern with the tape. How well it does it work when you need to deal with a flat on the road? Although now that I think about it, I can't remember having more than one or two flats in over 10 years of riding tubulars.

With any luck, my likely incorrect memories will shake some real answers out of the trees.

  • Thanks fo the reply! I really appreciate you sharing your experience. Did you ever try using a tubular tape instead of glues back in the days? – LoomyBear Sep 5 '14 at 14:22
  • That pretty well covers the glue angle. I moved to clinchers a few years ago and the puncture rate has certainly risen. Can't say I miss the glue-hands. – andy256 Sep 6 '14 at 1:28
4

After 20 years of clinchers I decided to give tubs a go for summer riding and racing. I've used Tufo tub tape which was pretty easy to put on especially as there's some good GCN you tube videos demonstrating installation.

After a year of riding they're still attached and a pleasure to ride. Definitely an improvement over clincher performance in both speed and comfort. At the end of last year I ended up with a slow puncture and used some Vittoria sealant to get me home. Being lazy I've managed to get 1000 miles with the same tub using the sealant so tbh, there's no need to carry a spare tub on rides.

In summary, not a lot of experience with them (1 year) but so far I'd recommend them.

  • Gidday and welcome to SE Bicycles. Thank you for your contribution, but please note it doesn't attempt to answer the question, which asks for pros and cons of tape vs glue from someone with experience in both. Consider browsing the tour at bicycles.stackexchange.com/tour to see how its all about the question and answers. – Criggie Mar 7 '16 at 3:12
2

I have not been trained by world class mechanics but I have done work equal to world class USCF mechanics. So that being said, I have not glued hundreds of tubulars in spite of 50 or so years of cycling experience having bought my first tubulars in 1973 which were Clements, on Rigida rims.

Thank god for Tufo tape. Have never used Velox tape but the Tufo has never failed me and as easy to use. Strongly endorse.

I have used on Vittoria, Dugast, Veloflex, Challenge and of course Tufo tubulars.

Riding on ancient Dugast tubulars on my chrome 1973 Schwinn Paramount now and just put finishing touches on a Grandis with Tufos. My Litespeed Ultimate from 1994 riding on first set of tubulars I built, DA hubs DT Revolution and Mavic Reflex with Tufo tubulars on Tufo tape for ages and ages with nary a problem.

I adopted tape ages ago I think about as soon as it came on market cause glue is nothing but a pita for anyone do not care how good they are.

-1

Using proper glue in the tubular rims, after a while, additional layers of new glue on the rim will take up more space. Also (traveling on the road) if there is a flat tire it is very hard to remove the glued on sew-up tire from off the rim to then replace another carried spare tubular. That's so U can keep on pedaling the bike to get across territory.

  • I don't really understand what you're saying here. Are you advocating glue or tape? Or not using tubs at all? – David Richerby Nov 22 '18 at 10:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.