After a recent chat with a customer of ours that swears by them, I have made the daring move to go over to tubular wheels on my road bike. Most people have written tubular wheels off as old tech that is only used by the pros. And whilst certain aspects of that statement are true (it is, by todays standards, a pretty ‘retro’ technology. It is also rarely used by anyone but pros) I’ve been asking myself how it compares to a standard inner tube setup and the newer, increasingly popular TLR setups we are seeing today.
I want to start this off by laying out some simple benefits that Tubular tyres and wheels offer over the other setups:
- Tubular Tyres roll faster than their tubed counterparts.
-Carbon Clinchers are at risk of warping due to a necessary lip on the rim in order to get the tyre to sit. With tubular wheels this lip doesn’t exist making the chances of warping immensely less likely.
-Due to the lack of that lip, Tubular wheels are lighter than clinchers.
Within one ride on my set of Enve 6.7 tubs I was sold. My whole cycling life I have ridden with inner tubes, and recently flirted with a TLR setup. It was going to take a lot to convince me to make the move over, but I was so impressed with riding tubs that it’s hard to imagine going back. Due to the shape of the tyre and the way it sticks to the rim cornering feels quicker, more agile and like I’ve got more control. And while I’ve not yet (touch wood) had a puncture, I’ve been informed that the fix is less scary and ‘pro’ than the tubular name suggests. With a simple Co2 canister and tyre plug it actually becomes easier to fix a tubular puncture on the go than a clincher one.
When it comes down to it a tyre setup is a tyre setup and everyone is always going to have their own preference and convince you to convert to it. But the simple truth is this; tubular offers a lighter and more agile style of riding. Plus, if you’re buying second hand you get the best wheels at the fraction of the price and you can easily over come the downsides with some simple prep before a ride.