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

Example: Racing

To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
From: Grant McLean <grant.mclean@sympatico.ca>
Date: Wed, 7 Jul 2010 19:24:51 -0400
Subject: [CR] Are tubulars obsolete on off-topic race bikes?

Hi John,

The majority of today's pro racers are on tubular tires. In classics, when they're on 32 hole wheels for pave, or deep aero wheels in TT's and for the rolling stages, or for ultimate light weight for climbing in the mountains.

Partly, it's about sponsorship, as teams with equipment from Campagnolo and Fulcrum only have deep section carbon wheels in tubular versions. I suppose the reason they don't make their high profile racing wheels in clincher is they're just too heavy.

Certainly Shimano and Sram (Zipp) deep section wheels in tubular are much lighter than their clincher versions. Riding a flat tubular is also an advantage, as is the pinch flat resistence, unlike clinchers. So, the 50+mm section wheel that's so popular in the field these days has brought life back to the old tubular tire, for sure.

Grant McLean Toronto, Canada

Message: 9 Date: Wed, 07 Jul 2010 15:50:00 -0400 From: John Betmanis <johnb@oxford.net> Subject: [CR] Are tubulars obsolete on off-topic race bikes? To: CR List <ClassicRendezvous@bikelist.org> Message-ID: <4C34DA68.5070409@oxford.net> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed

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