I recently picked up some rather expensive tubular wheels on the back of a lot of advice to do with rolling resistance, comfort etc. However I've recently found I'm quite afraid to use them on long training rides for fear of getting a puncture in the middle of nowhere. I'd like to know what people do to prevent/deal with punctures on tubular tyres.

  • I think they fix them. Carry a spare and a tube of glue. – Daniel R Hicks Oct 1 '14 at 11:39
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    Don't train on them. Do a test ride, then reserve them for racing. – Emyr Oct 1 '14 at 13:40
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    Daniel is right. In the days when everyone rode on tubs, if you got a puncture you would use your spare. A coffee stop was the ideal opportunity to fix punctures. You just need to be able to open and close the outer casing (which I think involves picking the thread then sewing), the innertube could be repaired with the usual patches/glue/whatever your preference. – PeteH Oct 1 '14 at 15:09
  • I was considering this, I have seen videos of people cutting the tyre off and replacing it. It seems like a lot of effort mid ride. I think i might keep my old wheels as training wheels and my new ones for racing. Just seems a shame to have them gathering dust – Thomas Almond Oct 2 '14 at 8:18
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    FWIW, In my experience flats are much less common when riding tubulars. Use heavier "training" tires and carry a spare tire and you should be fine. – Fred the Magic Wonder Dog Oct 4 '14 at 17:10

You could try adding sealant to your tubular tire.

Tufo Tire Sealant, Stans's No-tubes (and other tubeless sealants) can be used to deal with small punctures. Most recommend not using the sealant as a preventative measure, but more so as an after the fact solution to quickly fix punctures on the road.

However, Tufo Standard tire sealant says that it can be used as a preventative measure, but I can't speak for this. I've heard that it could affect ride quality, so it may be best used in a roadside emergency.

  • I did spend a lot of time thinking about these. My wonder is, how do I get my tyre back to 160 psi after i've filled them with sealant. Gas canister I would presume. These might be the best shout for race day I suppose, quick temporary fix. – Thomas Almond Oct 2 '14 at 8:21
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    Unless you're riding the KILO on a track bike, nobody needs there tires at 160 psi. – Fred the Magic Wonder Dog Oct 4 '14 at 17:12

When I used tubulars, aka singles, for any serious distance, we always carried at least one spare each. Usually one tied under the seat, and one in the back pocket of the jersey.

The bunch leaders would watch for, and call out glass, rubbish, potholes, etc, so the rest of the bunch could avoid them. If you did run over some glass, you'd immediately brush your tires. Usually, we avoided flats.

If someone in the bunch got more flats than their spares, it was normal to share the spares the rest of the bunch carried (usually your oldest tire). You just pull the flat tire off, stretch the good tire, mount it on the rim, pump it up, and ride carefully. You would generally only use extra glue when mounting your own new / repaired tire.

For those who don't know what we're talking about: enter image description here

Up until the 1950's, riders in the peleton always carried at least one spare. Here's Louison Bobet on his way to winning the 1953 TDF and carrying a spare looped over his shoulders, as everyone did:

enter image description here

  • deux bidon! I do like the handlebar mount, though, even without a straw. – Móż Aug 4 '16 at 10:31

You need to carry a spare tyre and tape, the biggest problem getting the puncher off use the tape not glue as the tape usually stays on the rim and is a lot less messy


Use puncture resistant tire liner like that one: http://www.flowbikestore.com/band-zefal-puncture-zliner-blue-26

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    I've tried products like that and I'm pretty sure they can only be used on clichers. Not tubulars as the question is referring to. – Kibbee Oct 1 '14 at 16:49
  • Welcome to Bicycles SE. We prefer answers on this site to be self-contained. That way, the answer is still valid if the link dies. Please include a description of tire liners or, better yet, an image. Otherwise, your answer is likely to be downvoted, flagged for moderator intervention, and possibly deleted. Also, if you are affiliated with that site or product, you must disclose that affiliation within your answer. bicycles.stackexchange.com/help/behavior – jimchristie Aug 4 '16 at 22:05

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