How to glue on a tubular tyre…
How to glue on a tubular tyre with Continental Tyres
30th November 2012
Not as many amateur riders bother with tubulars now as in days gone by. For many of us, if you were serious, glueing on a tubular used to be an important skill to get the maximum performance out of your bike. Tubular tyres and wheels were way better than their clincher equivalents.
Nowadays though things are not as clear cut with clincher wheelsets toting weights approaching those of sprint wheels and being allied to clincher tyres that are reportedly as quick as their tubular cousins, at least according to the manufacturers; see our Michelin Pro-Race 4 review for an example.
Many manufacturers offer what they call open tubulars now as well, such as these Veloflex Master tyres we tested earlier this year, which are basically a tubular tyre minus latex inner tube and that has not been stitched closed; proper tubs are often known as ‘sew-ups’ for this method of closure. With this constant technological advancement and such a wide range of performance clincher tyres, all offering much easier maintenance and repair, you’d forgive riders for not bothering with tubs, but are they missing out?
There is an argument that they probably are, but the evidence would suggest only in certain situations. We could waffle on about subjective things like ride quality, speed and cornering feel. Without specific data there’s no point.
The real advantage of a tub is that if you puncture you can still coast along for a while whilst waiting to get a spare wheel from the following service or team car. Try doing that on a clincher and you risk destroying both tyre and rim. However, this is only relevant to riders who race in bigger races with service vehicles; if that’s you then tubs make perfect sense…
Of course, tubs still rule the roost in one part of our sport and that’s in cyclo-cross. If you race cyclo-cross, tubulars will probably be your first choice tyres as its all about tyre pressure, where tubs will tolerate much lower pressures, affording better grip in poor off-road conditions. They are also more resistant to pinch punctures than clinchers at lower pressures.
Whether on-road or off-road, be prepared to spend a lot more cash on your initial tubular tyre outlay at the season start compared to if riding clinchers. If you puncture a tub think carefully; are you really going to bother getting it fixed or will you be forking out for a new one? Either way tubs are an expensive option.
Having said all of that, if you want a really light, stiff wheelset and tyre combo, your best bet is still to buy a really good set of tubulars. If you do go down that route there are a whole host of manufacturers who still offer quality road racing tubs and even more offering specialist cyclo-cross tubulars.
For example, we reviewed the top of the range Schwalbe Ultremo HT here. Strangely, the reviewer, an accomplished and experienced rider, used ‘tub tape’ for the first time rather than glue on his new tubular tyres. It got us thinking that if he couldn’t be doing with glueing on his tubs, then maybe it is the ‘glueing on’ process that puts off many riders from trying tubs for the first time.
Continental Tyres might have been thinking the same thing. Conti make a selection of very nice tubulars which we have raced extensively over the years on the road, the track and in cyclo-cross. Possibly to encourage tubular use among the newer racing cyclist or rekindle affection for tubs from older riders, they have made this rather clever video where Conti’s Jochen Lamade demonstrates how to glue on a tubular tyre correctly.
Its quite long but is interesting, comprehensive and shows you a very ‘correct’ technique. We think it is well worth a watch.
Note that Continental recommend using different cements for different rim materials, so if you have aluminium rims watch this video:
But if you have a carbon rim, watch this video: