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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TUBULAR AND CLINCHER WHEELS?


When it comes to choosing an new pair of carbon wheels, you have to decide whether you want a pair of tubular or a pair of clincher wheels. Tubulars and clinchers have different properties and benefits, so here’s a quick guide to help you work out what type of wheel is best for you.

Tubular Wheels

A tubular is a tire that is stitched around an inner tube. You then glue this tire to the rim bed using either special tub glue or double sided tape. This means that unlike clinchers, tubular rims don’t have a ‘hooked’ rim for the tire to interface with.

Below: XYZ Cycling 24mm carbon fiber road tubular wheelset are used by the most of Pro Cycling Team when racing


Like our Tubular 24mm, are favoured by cycling professionals in most racing situations. This is because they have a lower profile rim shape than clincher wheels, which means that they tend to be a little lighter: For example, the 24 tubulars weigh 1,070g, while the 24 clinchers weigh 1,330g. In addition, tubulars are also a little more resistant to pinch punctures due to their round shape. The only downside of tubs is mid-ride repairs, since removing and replacing a well-glued tub quickly can be tricky, especially for less experienced riders.




The carbon tubular rims are lighter due to the lack of bead walls. The tires corner better because they are round in cross section rather than lobe-shaped like a clincher. They are usually a bit lighter as well, having no beads and being able to use a lighter inner tube. For events and road conditions that warrant it, high-end tubular tires can generally be inflated to higher pressures than clincher tires of the same size. They are harder to pinch-flat than a clincher (due to lower, more rounded rim walls and tougher latex inner tubes). Tubulars are safer to ride when flat, as they are still glued to the rim, whereas a flat clincher can come off of the rim. And unlike a clincher where higher pressure in the tire applies higher outward pressure on the carbon rim bead walls, the tire pressure in a tubular tire has no effect on the rim (other than to compress it uniformly radially inward, thus reducing spoke tension slightly, something that happens with all tire types).  

Tubular tires are one complete unit with the tube housed inside the actual tire. The whole ball of wax sits in a cupped foundation on the rim surface and is glued onto the rim itself. They tend to be less vulnerable to flatting, especially pinch flats where a tube gets pinched between the tire and the rim (something that can happen with a clincher tire). The ride is generally smoother than a clincher setup and they have a slight advantage over a clincher in terms of lower rolling resistance. Because of the way a tubular rim can be built it generally has a lower overall weight than its clincher counterpart in some cases by a few hundred grams per wheelset. And since that weight is rotational weight, its benefit is magnified much more than if you shaved the same amount off of say your frame, which does not rotate.

Tubular wheels are favoured by cycling professionals in most racing situations. This is because they have a lower profile rim shape than clincher wheels, which means that they tend to be a little lighter.

In addition, tubulars are also a little more resistant to pinch punctures due to their round shape. The only downside of tubs is mid-ride repairs, since removing and replacing a well-glued tub quickly can be tricky, especially for less experienced riders.



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