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Clinchers vs. Tubulars


Used to be capable of taking higher pressures, had lower weight and mounted onto stronger, lighter rims than clinchers. Clinchers have now largely caught up, but many cyclists thinking hasn't.

Tubular tire + rim combination still lighter and stronger. This is still a matter of debate, depending largely on quality.

Are easier to change than clinchers. This matters more to some people than others - triathletes, mechanical morons and those riding in unsupported races.

Cost megabucks if you replace them every time you puncture. The process doesn't take much imagination, you just unstitch the case, repair the tube in the normal manner using the thinnest patches you can buy, stitch it back up again and (the secret to success) put a drop of Superglue over the hole in the tread.

Can roll off if improperly glued or inflated. In this case, you probably deserve what you get. Unfortunately, the riders behind you don't.


Can be difficult to change (for mechanical morons) and are always slower to change than tubulars. Most people still carry a spare tube and do their repairs when they get home.

Are cheaper to run: if you puncture a lot clinchers will probably still save you money over tubulars, even if you repair your tubulars whenever possible. Tubulars are only repairable most of the time, you virtually never write off a clincher casing due to a puncture.

Have improved immensely in recent years; top models now inflate to high pressures, and are lighter and stronger than they used to be. Likewise clincher rims. Some debate over whether tubulars are still lighter and tubular rims stronger. Probably depends on quality you select. No doubt that high quality clinchers/rims stronger, lighter and more dependable than cheap tubular/rim combination.nothing to do with heat treatment and does not strengthen rims. To make up for that, it costs more.

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