[CR] Are tubulars obsolete on off-topic race bikes?

(Example: Production Builders:Cinelli:Laser)

Date: Wed, 07 Jul 2010 15:50:00 -0400
From: "John Betmanis" <johnb@oxford.net>
To: CR List <ClassicRendezvous@bikelist.org>
Subject: [CR] Are tubulars obsolete on off-topic race bikes?

Here's something that I wonder about regarding the kind of tires used in road racing in the classic era compared to the present. From what I recall, in the early 1980s racers always used tubulars unless they were just starting out and couldn't afford them or were overwhelmed by the maintenance required. However, in that decade fast, lightweight clinchers were starting to appear. From that time onwards, more and more serious road riders switched to the new clinchers and more racers used them. Something I've always heard about tubulars is that with all other things being equal, such as weight, section, materials, tread and rim weight, they were still faster and felt livelier than clinchers. So, what I want to know is, do pro racers today still mostly use tubulars? Certainly, they wouldn't have to worry about changing them or fixing them themselves. In today's stage of the Tour, George Hincapie said he had to ride one kilometre on a flat tire before he got a new wheel. One of the advantages of tubulars I've heard is that they're not as dangerous and squirrelly to ride when flat. Would the teams in the Tour be using tubulars on clinchers? This may sound off-topic, but it's the tires I want to know about. I know that many classic bike owners have switched to clinchers for ease of maintenance, even though the bikes originally came with tubulars.

John Betmanis
Woodstock, Ontario