Tubular for daily use - Any thoughts?

by AWP   April 4, 2013  

I've decided to give tubulars a go. I'm after a 25C tyre to use on a regular (nearly daily) basis. I was looking at the Schwalbe Ultremo HT but I'm concerned that the latex tube will mean I have to pump them before every use.

Will that be the case?

Others I've looked at are:

Tufo Elite Ride 25
Vittoria Corsa CX

Can anyone give me any advice on a suitable option, possibly from the list above?

Many thanks.

20 user comments

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I have always wondered if tubs are any use to a regular rider and not just a Pro-only thing. I can't imagine the inconvenience of fixing an inevitable flat and regluing the tyre without having a mechanic and support car following you all the time.
Having never ridden on tubs I would love to know what advantage they bring and how significant is it?

I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1723 posts]
4th April 2013 - 23:20


Do you not pump your tyres up before every use anyway? You really should...

Tubs rock. I use mine daily. You puncture less anyway, and because you can ride in a flat they're less of an issue to begin with. Then there's the fact that you (generally) flat less to start with, and because you carry a pre-glued tub (remember, it's contact adhesive so the glue 'dries' to the touch but still sticks on contact with the old glue on the rim) you can always change a flat if you have to (and doing so is as easy as changing a clincher - you have to trust me on this one as you only realise once you have to do it). Of course you can also carry sealant.

If you want to try it out, get some Ksyrium tub wheels (or el cheapo second hand ones) that you can easily sell to a CX racer if you decide they're not for you. Use Schwalbe Milanos or Vittoria Rally tyres to get the hang of it - then upgrade once you've been sucked in... Wink

It's worth it just for the ride quality.

posted by RichTheRoadie [86 posts]
5th April 2013 - 0:00


I've done over 2000kms on Tufo elite 25s in wet and dry (but not the depths of winter), including commuting. They have been outstanding, no problems and they seem to cut up far less than the Vittorias. Have got through two Corsas on the front, still got the same Tufo elite on the rear! Maybe slightly less grippy than the Corsas, but not that much in it.

posted by gralegav [7 posts]
5th April 2013 - 0:02


You may find that the biggest worry is worry!
In the early 80's we used tubs a lot more as the supply/choice of clincher's was small. As you all carried a spare it you had enough in a group to have a puncture at both ends without carrying two. Now you will be on your own and in theory....
Having said that I think tub punctures are a lot less likely. Smacking ruts doesn't matter so much.

posted by mattsccm [306 posts]
5th April 2013 - 8:18


Thanks for the input.

I was initially keen on the Tufo's but I've heard that they are a very hard ride. Could this be true?

I ride Conti 4 Season 25C at the moment with Conti inners; will the Tufos be better than them for quality of ride?

I don't intend to carry a spare as I will use something like Tufo sealant. I'm not sure if that only works on Tufo tyres though.

Do you loose a lot of air when using latex tubes?

posted by AWP [110 posts]
5th April 2013 - 11:06


AWP wrote:

Do you loose a lot of air when using latex tubes?

About 10-15PSI per day with tyres up to pressure to start with

posted by mhtt [45 posts]
8th April 2013 - 22:26


This thread has made me investigate tubular tires, especially as I am considering/saving-up-for some aero wheels. Most 'fancy' wheels now come with a clincher options so tubs is an option not a requirement.

I was interested to learn about pinch-flats and have to say I have had them before but didn't know what they were called. The distinctive double holes gives them away. In fact since I got my Continental GP4000S last summer (which I love and will reply to any tire thread to suggest them) I have had maybe 4 flats and they have all been this kind. I blame the gravel and stones on the road these days.
So the idea of even less punctures with tubulars seems great. I get how they deform the full tire and do not overlap the wheel edge. However, here is the big BUT: I checked some vids on youtube about changing them and it just looks a terrible fuss compared to an inner tube. I struggle to see how they can be so much better performance as to be worth carrying one of two spare tires around in a sportive.


Currently I go out training with a micro pump, inner tube and irons in my back pocket. I still have space for extra tubes if it was a long race, where would I put a whole tire? Would I want to fold up and carry a wet dirty punctured tire?

Without a team I just don't get it. Please someone tell me what I am missing?

I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1723 posts]
9th April 2013 - 20:51


Changing a tub is quicker than a clincher, just pre stretch your spare. I carry a tuft lightweight (about 160g) as a spare and never needed it yet. Even without any glue a well inflated tub will get you home, just try rolling one off!!

posted by berni [32 posts]
11th April 2013 - 11:44


I use tubs on my TT bike mainly because the bike came with them on the aero wheels. They are great and providing you are happy to pump them up before every day they are no problem. A spare takes up slightly more room than an inner tube but fits ok in a seat pouch as you dont need to take tyre levers as well. They are quicker to change than a clincher and you dont need to pre-glue the spare. The residual glue on the rim will be enough to hold the spare on until you get home. Of course you pay more for a new tub than a new inner tube which is what puts most people off


posted by pashda [15 posts]
11th April 2013 - 15:36


I was after advise on choosing a tubular to use on a daily basis. Again, thanks to those that have replied.

I wanted to tryout both carbon rims (38mm) and tubulars as a bit of a test really just to see how both items perform. I'm looking to fit them on my commute bike (Planet-X SL-Pro Flatbar)as they will get a good testing there.

I have decided to fit Tufo Elite Ride 25C tubulars. People have said that the Tufo tubes are a bit harsher than others, this is mainly because they use butyl rather than latex inners. I'm happy with the harsher (harsh by tubular standards) ride on my commute as it means I won't have to be pumping them on a daily basis. I can carry a small bottle of Tufo sealant which, according to many, will deal with most punctures. The Tufo seems to be the only 25C tubular that has a butyl inner, and I think I've just bought the last black/black pair in the UK! I also intend to use Tufo tape to fix them to the rims; I've heard good things about that product too. I'm not a Tufo sales rep - honest.

Most tubular riders I've spoken to have given up carrying a spare, they are that confident of not getting flats but agree it took a while to get to that point. I believe they generally use something like Stans Sealant which works better on the latex tubes. I'm hearing conflicting info on this so I need to dig a bit deeper. Tufo only recommend using their sealant on their tubes.

If you're interested I let you know how thing go; I hope to have everything together next week. If I survive the carbon brakes......

posted by AWP [110 posts]
11th April 2013 - 15:37


pashda wrote:
They are great and providing you are happy to pump them up before every day they are no problem.

Thanks, you have convinced me these aren't for me. I am quite happy changing the odd tube on the road if I have to carry less, and I am certainly not pumping every day. My clinchers stay rigid for a couple of weeks at a time.

I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1723 posts]
11th April 2013 - 18:41


Correct me if I'm wrong but having to pump the tyre every day is down to the latex tubes and not tubulars per se?..

I'm interested in this thread as I've been debating making the move to tubulars.

I'm worried about the hassle of carrying spares and re-gluing on the road, but it may be worth it - how else do you access the aero / ultra-lightweight wheel market?

1 kg wheelset is very tempting!

posted by 700c [703 posts]
18th April 2013 - 20:52


Oh, and you don't re-glue on the road - it's contact adhesive, you pre-glue!

posted by RichTheRoadie [86 posts]
18th April 2013 - 23:03


Having to pump the tyres up every day is just something you should always do!

Yes, latex tubes lose more air overnight than butyl, but I still lose enough through butyl tubes (or butyl tubed tubulars) to make the bike squirm.

Worried about carrying a spare? Don't be: http://biketart.cc/2012/05/david-asks-the-bike-tart-or-how-i-rolled-that...

This is how that looks on a bike:

Hardly cumbersome eh?

Lately I've kind of 'accidentally' been using the FMB Comp CX 25c tyres pictured above as daily use tyres. They've been incredible. Around 1000km in and not a single cut. I weigh 82kg on a good day so most tyres cut easily under me!

I have a set of clinchers being built next week - I'm desperately trying to source a set of the tubular version of the clincher rims I was going to have because I just don't understand why I'm building a set of wheels that carry no benefit.

posted by RichTheRoadie [86 posts]
19th April 2013 - 0:07


berni wrote:
Even without any glue a well inflated tub will get you home, just try rolling one off!!

That is the most irresponsible post i have ever seen on a cycling forum. Kill yourself by all means but do not post potentially lethal advice for others to follow. A sharp, unexpected corner will easily roll a tub which is not glued on properly. I have seen glued on tubs roll so i can only assume that you dont corner very hard and have (so far) been lucky.
Try carrying a roll of tub tape with your spare, easy to use and works well.

posted by Welsh boy [244 posts]
19th April 2013 - 6:41


Welsh boy wrote:
berni wrote:
Even without any glue a well inflated tub will get you home, just try rolling one off!!

That is the most irresponsible post i have ever seen on a cycling forum.

And you followed it up by suggesting a method which mixes sticking methods and is no more secure?... Thinking

Seriously though, why bother carrying tape? Just pre-glue! It DRIES. It is NOT sticky. It sticks when it contacts old glue on the rim. Why bother with anything else?!

Tape is for wrapping presents, not sticking tyres.

posted by RichTheRoadie [86 posts]
19th April 2013 - 7:19


Tufo (butyl inner) tubulars have been on for a week. Have topped the pressure up once, only needed a few psi.

Fitting with Tufo tape was so easy a 10 year old could have done it. Tyres haven't come off the rim as yet. I spoke to a number of people, including a very switched on individual and well known wheel builder, and was told there are no issues with the Tufo product; infact it was recommended by some.

I am not carrying a spare. I have a bottle of sealant and a valve core removal tool. If/when I get a flat I shall report back how I got on.

As an aside, the carbon rims/brakes are excellent, however, I haven't had to use them in wet conditions.

posted by AWP [110 posts]
19th April 2013 - 11:07


Oh the tape holds perfectly well (as long as you don't use glue as well [I can't believe people do that]). All I'll say is have fun cleaning up the tyre and rim when you have to remove one - something you don't have to do with glue, but is essential with tape.

As I say, tape is for wrapping presents...

posted by RichTheRoadie [86 posts]
19th April 2013 - 12:05


Agreed and undetstood that the need to inflate tyres is no worse on tubs than clinchers. In fact my clinchers use latex anyway so I'm used to adding 20 more psi in the morning..

I think there are some misconceptions about the hassle of tubs, and perhaps unfounded safety concerns about installation and repair, but you have to have confidence in your equipment otherwise you'll never fulfil your potential.

Tubular wheels are a big investment and there's always some risk that you won't get on with any different or new system. Personally I'm confident the benefits will outeigh any potential risks so my long term plan is to invest in tubs.

Apologies that this thread had been hijacked by a tubular/ clincher debate, but it's proved quite useful to me, so thanks all.

posted by 700c [703 posts]
19th April 2013 - 12:11


Planet X video showing how quickly a tub can be replaced (admittedly edited a bit but interesting nonetheless):



posted by arrieredupeleton [586 posts]
19th April 2013 - 16:11