What are the differences between "clincher" and "tubular" tires?

  • What are the differences between "clincher" and "tubular" tires? I'm just a casual road cyclist at this point and don't put any more than 200 miles in over the course of the week. I'm looking to upgrade to some better, lighter wheels, but want to make sure I go with the correct type. I'm looking for something that will be easy to fix on the road and doesn't add a lot of complication when problems spring up.

    I'll comment that I've been doing "adult" cycling for over 40 years, about 25 of those years pretty serious, been in about 2 dozen mass rides of one sort or another (from 50 milers to week-long tours) and I have never, that I was aware of, encountered a cyclist with tubular tires. No doubt in some of the group rides there were a few tubulars, but they would have been in the cluster of elite cyclists that were always gone before I got there.

  • Tim

    Tim Correct answer

    11 years ago

    If you want simple and easy to fix then you sure as heck don't want tubulars.

    Someone else will probably provide more details and links, but clinchers are rims/wheels with a tube, then a tire is mounted over the tube and the bead of the tire is hooked under a lip on the rim.

    Tubular rims have no lip. The tire encases the tube completely and is sewn in typically. SO fixing a flat means cutting open the tire and patching the tube, then sewing it back up.

    The tire assembly is glued to the rim.

    Heat from brakes can melt the glue supposedly and cause tires to roll off.

    The rolling resistance used to be much better on tubulars. Unless you are a purist or a pro I don't think there is a reason to go with tubulars these days.

    Heat from the brakes shouldn't melt the glue unless you've used something other than tubular glue, glued the tire on incorrectly, or are riding your rim brakes doing downhill mountain biking, in which case you're certifiably insane (rim brakes and tubulars on a MTB?).

    So are you saying that tubes did not roll off?

    Tubular tires won't come off the rim unless they've been improperly glued. You can realistically ride several miles on flat tubulars if you have to. Do that with clinchers, and you'll be riding on your rim pretty quick.

    @Stephen Re-reading your last comment reminds of the time my brother flatted his rear (using singles) in a race 1km from the finish. He still managed a place.

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