Current pros, and many amateurs, still largely use tubulars to race on due to the advent of carbon as a rim material. Carbon tubular rims are a lot lighter than clincher carbon rims, in the realm of a pound for the Zipp wheels for example.
If not for the advent of carbon rims, I think that tubulars probably would have died out for most racing usages by now, which would probably have meant much less choice in nice sewup tires for those of us who glue them to old aluminum rims. Kind of ironic, I suppose.
Baird _______________________________ Baird Webel Washington DC
On Wed, Jul 7, 2010 at 4:16 PM, <email@example.com> wrote:
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: John Betmanis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> To: CR List <ClassicRendezvous@bikelist.org>
> Date: Wed, 07 Jul 2010 15:50:00 -0400
> 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