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Tubs vs Clinchers

There comes a time for every rider, a time when you’re sitting at home wondering what to upgrade on your bike. You want something that’s going to make the difference, take the weight down, make you faster. Presuming you’ve bought a frame or bike from us - if not, why not? - you’ll already have the most solid starting point, but there’s a secret that we all learn, that frame and groupset can only do so much, it’s time to bite the bullet, turn your mind to bearings, freehubs and rim diameters, and just succumb to the fact you need some new wheels.

Unfortunately this is where the hard work starts, or the fun bit depending on how you’re inclined. There’s so much to consider when finding the perfect match and more criteria to meet than a UCI controlled substance list. It’s a minefield, and we know how tough it can be when every company is out there boasting about shaving milliseconds off your PB’s, we know - we’ve heard it all, and probably said it all too. But there is something in it, and we have nothing but the upmost confidence in the quality of both construction and performance in our wheels, be it for training, racing or generally just blitzing around town.

The one question you're bound to ask yourself when you start delving deeper into things is if you want clinchers or tublular. We recommend that everyone have a go at riding tubulars at some point, but the safety net of clinchers can't be misunderestimated. To help you decide what wheel is right for you we've put together a brief, but hopefully helpful, breakdown to help you make an informed decision.


The racers choice - tubulars are both lighter and faster, yet also more expensive and more difficult to change. However, things are changing in the practicality of tubs, thanks to the availability of decent quality tub tape you changing tyres at the side of the road is actually a lot easier than you think, and the need for glue is left to your discretion. We still like to glue ours for peace of mind and because we enjoy the process. That's the thing you see, tubulars attract loyal followers who chatter on about ride quality, speed and performance benefits.

Track riders use them for their ability to run on extremely high pressures, and 'cross riders too, yet for the opposite reason, as they frequently run theirs down to 20psi. Even the cheapest tubs are both lighter, stronger and faster, thanks to increased TPI (threads per inch) and much lower rolling resistance. Top end tubulars are often of the handmade silk variety and carry a price tag that some people would spend a on a whole wheelset, but the bottom line is, if you race, get tubulars


The practical choice - clinchers are perfect for everyday use, be it commuting or training. We all use clinchers, they're by far the most versatile wheel choice, there's something reassuring about going out for a ride safe it the knowledge that with a mini-pump, tube and tyre lever, you will rarely have a problem. On the other hand clincher wheels and tyres are heavier, noticeably so in many cases, for instance, our CT45 clinchers are around 400g heavier than the tubular version. But that's to be expected in a race primed wheelset, and weight is not an area where clinchers come into their own. It's purely about flexibility and durability whilst on the road.

Clincher performance is improving all the time, treads are getting grippier, weights are tumbling, puncture protection increasing. This is clearly seen in the sharp rise of clinchers in competition usage, especially visible in tri and Ironman circles where clinchers are often favoured above their tubular counterparts. Clinchers also represent fantastic value for money, as decent tyres can be bought for sometimes a quarter of the price of tubs, and instead of having to change a whole tyre when you flat, you can just swap out the tube and be on your way. 

Luckily for you we stock a wide range of carbon clinchers and tubulars so you can make the decision for yourself. Consider how you're going to use them, consider the balance between performance and practicality, and you won't go far wrong.

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24 June 2014

Tubs vs Clinchers

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