Clinchers versus tubulars Posted on 4 Aug 15:22 , 0 comments

We covered how carbon has revolutionized the bike wheel market and how carbon is incredibly strong, rigid and light - let's continue looking at carbon wheels and examine the difference between the two main types, tubulars and clinchers, and which may be right for you.

clincher versus tubular tire and wheel
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Tubular wheels are the type traditionally used by professional bike racers. They require specially-made, rather expensive tires that combine the inner tube and tire into one piece. The tube is fully enclosed in the tire, often sewn closed, hence the alternate name 'sew ups.' Tubular tires have to be painstakingly and professionally glued onto wheels, otherwise face the risk of it coming undone and almost certainly resulting in a crash. And since you can't just pull of the tire, replace the tube, and pop it back onto the wheel, if you puncture when riding a tubular tire, your ride is over unless you have a support car behind you with a spare wheel to swap for your flat one.

Sounds like tubulars are a major hassle – so why does anyone bother? Well, until recently, tubular wheels and tires were by far the fastest and lightest option on the market, and even though the tires cost a lot, the tubular wheels weren’t much more to buy than regular wheels, but they were lighter and stronger.

Advances in carbon fiber technology have changed all this. Regular bike wheels that have a tire and an inner tube that can be changed or replaced quickly are called clinchers, and until now were heavier and slower than their tubular counterparts. It used to be the shape of a clincher rim wall meant that: A) Carbon wasn’t suitable as the technology to mold it into shape didn’t exist, or B) If carbon fiber was used, such large amounts of material were needed to guarantee appropriate strength that the resulting carbon wheels actually outweighed aluminum versions of the same wheel!

cyclingMOFOS production uses high-quality carbon and precision layup

Today, manufacturers like cyclingMOFOS have figured out the necessary formula of high-quality carbon – in our case, a combination of TORAYCA™ T700, T800 and T1000 series prepreg – stored and applied at optimum temperature can be used to make high-end, low-weight, and reliable carbon clincher wheels. Unless you’re a bike nerd, this probably doesn’t excite you much, but to us it’s a huge deal. It means that every bike rider out there, from professionals to everyday weekend warriors, can opt for the savings, convenience, and performance that a lightweight carbon clincher can offer.

Carbon clinchers are professional performance on a budget – AWESOME!

Your cyclingMOFOS team

P.S. After all that you may be surprised to know cyclingMOFOS does sell carbon tubular wheels! We haven't gotten to listing them as they're a small part of our business, but we are glad to offer them to the many people who prefer riding tubular wheels for other qualities, such as better puncture resistance, lower rolling resistance, and a plush ride quality. While the extent of these benefits are debatable and the gap between clincher and tubular performance is narrower than ever, we're happy to offer options to suit everyone's tastes. Contact us for more info on tubular wheels.

P.P.S. Tubeless ready is a topic we'll tackle in a future post. Many are saying tubeless is the tire technology of the future, and cyclingMOFOS have you covered as all MOFO road clincher wheels are tubeless ready.