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Apartments and tubular tires

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Apartments and tubular tires

Old 08-20-19, 11:25 AM
  #1  
McNamara
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Apartments and tubular tires

Short version of my question: is it safe to glue tubulars in an apartment?


The long version is that carbon wheels will be the second major investment in my road race bike after a power meter (already decided which one to get there). It's a rim brake frame, with clearance for 25mm tires maximum. I could always go with carbon clinchers for convenience, but I'd really like tubular wheels for a variety of reasons. Chief among them is that I'd like to learn the art of gluing tubular tires - part of the allure of cycling culture, I suppose - and because I'd like to experience the ride quality for myself and see what if any difference I can discern from good clinchers (currently on Conti GP4000s). It does seem like there are many more choices in rim and disc brake carbon clincher wheels these days, compared to rim brake tubulars.


I live in a one-bedroom apartment though, so I'm quite concerned about the safety of gluing tubulars in such a small space. My apartment is also constantly full of dog hair despite frequent cleaning, haha. Is gluing on the balcony a potential option, or would the heat and humidity wreak havoc on the curing process? I could pay a local shop to glue them, but then I wouldn't learn anything.


Opinions and advice gladly welcomed.
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Old 08-20-19, 12:19 PM
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I've used a lot of different tire cements over the years and not one of them has been as noxious as other things commonly used in apartments, e.g. oven cleaners, roach sprays, wall paint, cigarettes, vaping, and dare I say it, essential oil atomizers and so-called air fresheners.
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Old 08-20-19, 12:34 PM
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If your concern is organic solvents, they're nasty, but you need a fair amount of exposure to begin to really cook your neurons. I built lots of models as a kid and still grew up to have a titanium bike. Open a couple of windows or, if you want real safety, buy a $40 respirator at any good hardware store. Just check that it's rated for organics.
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Old 08-20-19, 01:14 PM
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just buy a $50 respirator if you're really concerned
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Old 08-20-19, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
just buy a $50 respirator if you're really concerned
Heck they aren't even that much you can get one on Amazon for under $20. May have to get a specific type of cartridge for vapors (which is what I used when spray painting in a tiny enclosed space), but that should eliminate any concerns over fumes.
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Old 08-20-19, 02:08 PM
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Removing old glue off rims might be the bigger issue. Depending on what solvents or mechanical methods you use.
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Old 08-20-19, 05:48 PM
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I glued tires in a one bedroom. My biggest issue! Keeping glue off the carpet.
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Old 08-20-19, 06:52 PM
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I suppose it's possible to hurt yourself with tire glue but I had no issues gluing my tires over 25 years and 70,000 miles except very sticky, hard to clean fingers. (Tubasti - several boxes worth and Clement for my race tires plus another glue or two over the years.) And that's from a guy who sensitized himself to a wide variety of solvents building fiberglass boats. Now, the solvents some use to clean the rims is another story. I don't think I ever did more than scrape off old, hard glue and never saw the need to "clean" the rim, seeing a clean rim as inferior to a rim covered with really stuck old glue. That glue isn't going to care about your dog's hairs; they'll just be part of your ride. You might notice them first stop (in your brake pads). Humidity isn't going to affect the glue. All the high outdoor temperature will do is thin the glue a little and make it messier to work with as well as probably making it harder to stick the tire down properly but easier to move if it is not quite right.

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Old 08-20-19, 09:57 PM
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Thanks everybody! Tubulars it is, then. I suppose I can use solvent to clean rims, if needed, on the balcony but do the gluing in my living room.
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Old 08-20-19, 10:05 PM
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Fine. I glue from can. I'd put the lid on when done.

The cleaning solvent - depending on what you use, how much and where the rag goes - not so good for an apartment.
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Old 08-20-19, 11:06 PM
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Honestly at this point it's not really worth having tubulars.
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Old 08-21-19, 12:48 AM
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Originally Posted by UmneyDurak View Post
Honestly at this point it's not really worth having tubulars.
He is racing with the wheelset. There are advantages to running tubulars. You can ride on them when tire is flat. They also handle braking heat better than carbon clinchers.
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Old 08-21-19, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by colnago62 View Post
He is racing with the wheelset. There are advantages to running tubulars. You can ride on them when tire is flat. They also handle braking heat better than carbon clinchers.
I realize he said he is going to race. Overwhelming majority of amateur racers are on clinchers now days, and I think pros are doing it mostly for historical reasons.
Those advantages are over blown. Sure you can ride with a flat, but in a crit it's a short course and you can get back to wheel pit quickly enough even without riding. In Road Races it's miles to finish line, either you get wheels from follow car or chill for neutral vehicle. That assumes racer has spare wheels. If not whole thing is moot. The race is over, might as well just chill out. The heat thing is again over ratted. In crits you rarely use brakes, in RR same.

Now days between tubeless and latex tubes clinchers are not that far off in weight and rolling resistance from tubulars, and there been studdies that they are actually more aero when right tire is paired with wider rim.
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Old 08-21-19, 08:57 AM
  #14  
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Yes, there's a reason the choices of tubular wheelsets are diminishing. Ten years ago, it seemed that half the aftermarket wheels were for tubulars. Nowadays, it seems less than 1 in 20. They've become pretty rare. Clinchers (especially tubeless) are easier, less messy, and a lot of them perform just as well as a set of tubulars. A few perform better. Even in the pro peloton, tubulars are headed toward extinction. But they could be pretty cool as a kind of vintage, throwback option.
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Old 08-21-19, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by UmneyDurak View Post
I realize he said he is going to race. Overwhelming majority of amateur racers are on clinchers now days, and I think pros are doing it mostly for historical reasons.
Those advantages are over blown. Sure you can ride with a flat, but in a crit it's a short course and you can get back to wheel pit quickly enough even without riding. In Road Races it's miles to finish line, either you get wheels from follow car or chill for neutral vehicle. That assumes racer has spare wheels. If not whole thing is moot. The race is over, might as well just chill out. The heat thing is again over ratted. In crits you rarely use brakes, in RR same.

Now days between tubeless and latex tubes clinchers are not that far off in weight and rolling resistance from tubulars, and there been studdies that they are actually more aero when right tire is paired with wider rim.
I didn't actually cite racing performance as my top two reasons for trying tubulars in the OP, but I would very much appreciate the ability to finish a lap in a crit on a flat tubular. Easier than changing a tube just to get back to my car. That said I really don't have anything against carbon clinchers - I'm not worried about braking heat. There isn't a descent within hundreds of miles of me that would challenge rim brakes.

Mainly I would like to become proficient at gluing tubs before they (inevitably?) go extinct in a decade or so. I feel like I need to see what all the fuss is about over ride quality. Some people have said they don't notice a difference compared to quality clinchers with latex tubes, others do. And as conservative as the pros can be, I doubt they use tubs mostly for historical reasons. They probably do it because they don't have to glue the tires on themselves!

After doing some searching, it looks like a set of lightly used carbon tubular rims might be the smartest way to get into this. Plenty of choices compared to new wheels and somewhat cheaper too.
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Old 08-21-19, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by UmneyDurak View Post
Honestly at this point it's not really worth having tubulars.
Agree. But its a free country so OP can try and reach his own conclusions.

There is a reason why really good, gently used tubular wheelsets can be found for cheap.
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Old 08-21-19, 01:22 PM
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I've used all kinds of chemicals in enclosed spaces and I don't remember having any troubles.

I also don't remember my birthday, what I had for dinner last night, who is the current president, or my parents' names.

Who are you people and what am I doing here?
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Old 08-21-19, 01:27 PM
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Yes. It is safe.
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Old 08-21-19, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by McNamara View Post
Thanks everybody! Tubulars it is, then. I suppose I can use solvent to clean rims, if needed, on the balcony but do the gluing in my living room.
There's no compelling reason to remove old glue from the rim bed. If it gets on the sidewalls and you have rim brakes, then you might want to clean that much off.
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Old 08-21-19, 01:59 PM
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OP, the good news is it's safe to glue tubular tires in your one bedroom apartment. The bad news is the cost of running tubular tires will keep you in a one bedroom apartment
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Old 08-21-19, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by McNamara View Post
I didn't actually cite racing performance as my top two reasons for trying tubulars in the OP, but I would very much appreciate the ability to finish a lap in a crit on a flat tubular. Easier than changing a tube just to get back to my car. That said I really don't have anything against carbon clinchers - I'm not worried about braking heat. There isn't a descent within hundreds of miles of me that would challenge rim brakes.

Mainly I would like to become proficient at gluing tubs before they (inevitably?) go extinct in a decade or so. I feel like I need to see what all the fuss is about over ride quality. Some people have said they don't notice a difference compared to quality clinchers with latex tubes, others do. And as conservative as the pros can be, I doubt they use tubs mostly for historical reasons. They probably do it because they don't have to glue the tires on themselves!

After doing some searching, it looks like a set of lightly used carbon tubular rims might be the smartest way to get into this. Plenty of choices compared to new wheels and somewhat cheaper too.
The thought that is at the back of the minds of the pros - what if I flat on a crazy speed descent? With a well glued tubular, you just brake to a stop. From any speed. You can use the brake on the flatted wheel (gently). And it doesn't matter what caused the flat or what happened to the tire. You could probably roll to an uneventful stop from 50 mph after a close range load of buckshot from a passing car (if the rim survived). Now, if a blowout destroys a wire bead on a clincher, that outcome may well be career ending. You can also do major rim damage to a tubular rim and as long is it still rolls and gets though the frame and brake calipers, the tire stays on and you have a good shot at not crashing. I've several times put 1" deep or more indents in tubular rims from winter potholes and the like and just bumped home. Not even a flat. (10 miles once.)

I am looking at going back to tubulars in the not so distant future for the peace of mind. That and for enough money I can ride those magic carpets again, a nice bonus. Good race silks or modern synthetic equivalents. For a while I commuted on Clement synthetic Pari-Roubaix's. 290 gram tire and tube on 400 gram rims. Completely race worthy (for poor pavement; a little heavy for the smooth). All weather, sturdy tires and what a ride!

Ben
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Old 08-21-19, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by nomadmax View Post
OP, the good news is it's safe to glue tubular tires in your one bedroom apartment. The bad news is the cost of running tubular tires will keep you in a one bedroom apartment
LOL what do you call an aspiring pro cyclist whose girlfriend breaks up with him?

Homeless.
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Old 08-21-19, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by UmneyDurak View Post
Honestly at this point it's not really worth having tubulars.
Just converted a few bikes to them. I've ridden for years, but my issue was flats. Not that they flatted more, they flatted less, but when they flatted they were a pain. I found some better routes with fewer goat head thorns and less glass and they are easily worth the flat/season I expect. I went to heavier (lighter setup than clinchers or tubeless) ones too, so I have not flatted.
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Old 08-21-19, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
...
There is a reason why really good, gently used tubular wheelsets can be found for cheap.
So I can buy them :-)
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Old 08-21-19, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
... and a lot of them perform just as well as a set of tubulars. ...
What are you comparing?
Some of the better clinchers perform as well as some of the lessor tubulars. Many clinchers seat better.
I know of no clinchers that perform as well as the best tubulars. All are 400g heavier, more flat prone and less responsive.
Here is my ready to ride set all built up 1370g. Those are road tires G+ and hold up well.
The best 23mm clinchers/tubeless are going to be a few hundred grams more and subject to breakage these are not. But those 23 clinchers are not the handlers of these.
To get the air above the rim and and feel of these 23mm you'd need about a 25/26mm tubeless.
The general population does not race. Nobody cares. I get that.
But for those that do, and buy the good stuff, the difference is significant, which is why the good wheel sets are not cheap, nor are the tires.





Two at same PSI. One a tubular of silk casing. The other a "25" Veloflex Master. The tubular has the air of a 28 meaning you need 2-3mm more width in a clincher to get the same feel/bump protection. I'd put 23mm tubulars on the tandem, when for clinchers I want 25s.
I was taking slomo video of how these grip the road and deform on a corner. My kid saw me taking that video and laughed why I'd even bother. The difference is so stark, it is silly.
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