High performance racing bicycle technology and technique
Reviews - Schwalbe Lugano Tubular Preview
Thursday, April 9th, 2015


Schwalbe Lugano Tubular Preview


Simon Whiten


Preview of the ‘economy’ Schwalbe Lugano Tubular


Schwalbe pitch the Lugano as their entry level road tyre and in a surprise move to me at least, have produced it as a tubular, or as they say an ‘economy tubular tyre’. I say its a surprise as few people use tubs for training in modern cycling and surely they are implying that it’s aimed at this market..?

So do you know anyone who trains on tubs? I don’t and although I did, I have to go back to 1995 on a quiet road in North Yorkshire to think of the last time I was out on ‘training tubs’. Back then I was on Wolber Invulnerables (they weren’t by the way). The reason I remember that specifically was that I met another rider also out training on tubs, though I forget his particular brand. Even back then, on that cold, grey winter’s day, it was a rare enough occurrence for it to stick in my mind.
Schwalbe Lugano Tubular
Why would you train on tubs in 2015? Clincher tyres are nearly the equal of tubulars in performance terms and inner tubes easy to fit in the event of a puncture. Tubeless road tyres are slowly gaining ground, are said to better the performance of other tyres and come with the added reassurance of automatic puncture repair on the move. I am not sure why you would choose a tubular tyre unless you were hoping that sealant added to a tubular tyre will make it a viable training option? Schwalbe do offer their own brand of sealant but, unlike Tufo (who do advocate training on tubs), do not overly promote it for use with their tubular tyres, though reference is made to its potential use as such.
Schwalbe Lugano Tubular
Or maybe I am just missing the point altogether..? Perhaps this is the tub for those racing on a budget and actually the performance is not going to be that far off that of the more expensive tubulars. That I will endeavour to find out; it is less than half the price of Schwalbe’s top of the range One tubular, which Vince Halpern is reviewing elsewhere on this site.
Schwalbe Lugano Tubular
The Luganos have a classic diamond profile tread that I can already tell you is grippy and there’s a reassuring kevlar puncture protection belt called K-Guard sitting under the tread. The Luganos use a 50 EPI carcass (ends per inch, same as threads per inch) which may not sound like much in the world of 320TPI carcasses of the top Italian tubulars but actually feels supple enough. The tyres are 22mm wide, just wide enough to fit on the new wide rims; these are going on older narrow rims for reviewing, though for the photos were sat on much wider 27mm hoops.
They weigh in at a reasonable 300g, which puts them on a par with a decent clincher tyre with inner tube. Factor in that most tubular wheels are around 250g or so lighter than their clincher equivalents and the Lugano T user is already well ahead of the game.
Schwalbe Lugano Tubular
The Lugano tubs will also handle much lower or much higher pressures, with anything from 6 – 10 Bar (85 – 145 psi) being fair game. So you could run very low pressures in wet races and run them very hard for smooth circuit races…
As is often the case with these things, I’d already ridden the tubs by the time this was ready for publication. I can tell you that they feel super fast, really grippy and not really ‘economy’ in any way. In fact had I not known what I was on, I think I’d struggle to say they weren’t a top tubular. Certainly a good start. Check back in a couple of months to see how they’ve held up.
Schwabe Lugano Tubular £29.99 / $58.40
Schwalbe Lugano Tubular
Schwalbe USA
Buy Schwalbe Lugano Tubular
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