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Old 02-17-21, 06:19 PM
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Keeper?

For the past week since selling the Colnago Super I've been re-thinking the planned sale of the only other bike I've been considering selling: the Alpina. It's probably the most obscure bike in my collection when it comes to photos or discussion on the Forum; it's only seen the road a handful of times since I first purchased it in London just a few months after the Colnago Mexico. As such, it's the bike I've owned second-longest. The frame's been repainted twice; once in London (fluorescent orange) at Condor Cycles and once by the now-defunct Elliott Bay Bicycles in Seattle. In fact, this was the first frame EBB refinished for me.

For a quick history lesson, the frame was originally a Saba. Saba not only supplied frame building materials such as BB shells, fork crowns, etcetera, they also made some frames. Not able to find much in the way of production span or numbers. Here's a shop sticker that's currently on Ebay - the logos are representative of the decals which originally graced the frame; the upraised arms and head were also featured as cutouts in the lugs:



I searched for Saba decals for years before giving up and deciding to have Bob Freeman make up a set of decals called "Alpina" using an old set of Alpine (DC framebuilder in the Georgetown area) decals as a font guide. I made modifications to the frame's engravings and pantos, removing all trace of Saba's brandings. The frame was painted, decaled, cleared and I put it together slowly with the first drillium pieces I made - probably early in 2004. Over the years it's been ridden maybe twice since the restoration, mainly because I was always moving on to the next project in those days!

Anyway, the reason for this thread: I made one substitution already which will help my fit, but I need to know the best way to proceed with my second planned substitution. The first substitution was a longer seatpost. As with a number of my builds, Jon Williams had his input here as well. Long ago he made a limited run of milled-head Record posts and I was able to commission one complete with round-cut flutes and a bored out upper pivot; Jon also milled the 1A stem and polished it and the post to a beautiful matching finish. The post was replaced for a time by a milled SR unit (since sold) and a too-short but very lovely SR unit which Jon also did a bit of modification to - alas, too short. The two-bolt gives me plenty of length to get where I need to be for 2-3 hour rides, which is all this bike will l be used for. Why? Because the second substitution is a tubular wheelset:



This set has been sitting around for a long time now. Did some tweaking to the axle spacing last night and got a sweet chainline as a result. It will fit perfectly - but how will it perform?



I finally added a pair of drilled jockey wheel cages to the RD, so that finalizes the drillium theme. Note also the corncob freewheel - this will be a flatlander ride, no question!



An overhead shot giving an overall view; still not sure about the colorway...



The first nice Spring day, I want to take this out again for the first ride in forever. However, I admit to having my concerns about riding tubulars. First off: which is best, gluing or modern tape? If you have a preference, why? The last time I used tubulars was in Hawaii '98 - and I had my fair share of punctures while using them regularly in London, too. The Super Champions above have light glue residue (which I'll remove, of course, before proceeding) but no marking to the rims which tells me they've not been used in anger, so that's good. The tires are clean, non-too-dear Gommitalias which will be a nice way to try out tubulars again. Who knows, maybe if I get into these I might glue/tape up a nice pair to the Mavic SSCs and press them into service, too

Any tubular suggestions/advice/tips would be mucho appreciated. Thanks!

DD
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Old 02-17-21, 07:11 PM
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DD, while my tubular experience is not extensive, here's my two cents worth of advice:

Tape is easier and less messy. I've not had any issues with my taped tubulars.

I've not had any punctures when using Schwalbe One tubulars. While not as light and supple as the highest end tubulars, I feel they strike a nice balance between protection and performance.

Since riding tubulars I carry a can or two of Vittoria Pit Stop. While I've never had use Pit Stop on a tubular, my experience using it on a fast clincher tire and tube combo has been positive. The sealant did the job and has remained liquid for over a year.

Best of luck and happy riding with your tubulars.
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Old 02-17-21, 07:18 PM
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No advice on the tubbies, but if mine, no question it would be a keeper. Very cool bike and I would think the history of the bike, association with Bob and EBC would carry more value with you than some other random bike lover. That’s just me though.
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Old 02-17-21, 07:25 PM
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tubulars are great

Jeff, When I quite racing 30 years ago, I got rid of all my tubular wheels. However, as I got into collecting and restoring bikes, I have most of my bikes back on tubulars for two reasons and with the aid of a third.

Number one is that they ride better and the wheels in general are lighter. Number two, mounting tape makes mounting tires super easy, eliminates the mess, and you can ride them right away. I use Tufo brand tape. The third thing that has come along is that tubeless sealant works great in tubulars and eliminates the concern of having to pitch a tire when you get a flat. I remove the valve core, squirt in about an ounce, put the valve core back in, pump up the tire and away I go. The sealant needs to be added about once a year because it looses its "stuff". Again, easy to do.

Also, good clincher tires cost as much as good tubular tires, but in my view still don't ride as well. I usually buy Veloflex brand tubulars. I mail order them through Lord Gun or Merlyn Cycles.

Hope that helps?

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Old 02-17-21, 07:27 PM
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tubulars are great

Jeff, When I quite racing 30 years ago, I got rid of all my tubular wheels. However, as I got into collecting and restoring bikes, I have most of my bikes back on tubulars for two reasons and with the aid of a third.

Number one is that they ride better and the wheels in general are lighter. Number two, mounting tape makes mounting tires super easy, eliminates the mess, and you can ride them right away. I use Tufo brand tape. The third thing that has come along is that tubeless sealant works great in tubulars and eliminates the concern of having to pitch a tire when you get a flat. I remove the valve core, squirt in about an ounce, put the valve core back in, pump up the tire and away I go. The sealant needs to be added about once a year because it looses its "stuff". Again, easy to do.

Also, good clincher tires cost as much as good tubular tires, but in my view still don't ride as well. I usually buy Veloflex brand tubulars. I mail order them through Lord Gun or Merlyn Cycles.

Hope that helps?

AA
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Old 02-17-21, 07:40 PM
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-----

beautiful frameset and work

thanks so much for sharing it

selection of Alpina name somwhat unfortunate as there are at least three exisitng Alpina marques issuing from DE, CH & FR


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Old 02-17-21, 07:49 PM
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Always love seeing you post pics of the Alpina, it is such a pretty, classically built and configured bicycle. As to tubs, personally I use glue, out of habit since 1979. The modern tape is much easier to use, and cleaner to boot.

I thought about switching to clinchers on the two C&V bikes I have, but after getting feedback here I kept them on, and I'm glad that I did.

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Old 02-17-21, 07:56 PM
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Well that's a freakin' beautiful bike, isn't it?
Colorway is well balanced and very sharp. Limiting the blue to just the rims makes it work.
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Old 02-17-21, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
DD, while my tubular experience is not extensive, here's my two cents worth of advice:

Tape is easier and less messy. I've not had any issues with my taped tubulars.

I've not had any punctures when using Schwalbe One tubulars. While not as light and supple as the highest end tubulars, I feel they strike a nice balance between protection and performance.

Since riding tubulars I carry a can or two of Vittoria Pit Stop. While I've never had use Pit Stop on a tubular, my experience using it on a fast clincher tire and tube combo has been positive. The sealant did the job and has remained liquid for over a year.

Best of luck and happy riding with your tubulars.
Just the kind of feedback I am seeking; thank you. My main concerns are (1) tire stays on in use, and (2) finding a good middle ground between price and puncture-resistance. I'll take a look over on the Tubular sticky, too, see other recommendations. The stuff I have currently (two pairs - unused - of Gommitalias and a single pair of Conti Giros - also unused) have been hidden away aging nicely in the closet, but I'd like to try something modern.

I've wondered about using a sealant. The last time I did - coincidentally, on Oahu with a tubular - it was an absolute mess and I barely got home, the entire rear of the bike covered in Slime. Ugh - wouldn't like a repeat of that! So I'm gonna sit on the fence and have a think on that one...

DD
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Old 02-17-21, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Spaghetti Legs View Post
...if mine, no question it would be a keeper. Very cool bike and I would think the history of the bike, association with Bob and EBC would carry more value with you than some other random bike lover.
For sure the history of the bike is only really relevant to me. Let's get serious: I Drewed it and labeled it something other than what it is. In some circles that'd be enough to get me shot, but for sure it means there's no way to get full value were I to sell. So, finally, I'm going to ride it, with tubulars, and it will serve as my serious go-fast bike. I think it weighs about 18lbs right now.

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Old 02-17-21, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy Antipas View Post
Number one is that they ride better and the wheels in general are lighter. Number two, mounting tape makes mounting tires super easy, eliminates the mess, and you can ride them right away. I use Tufo brand tape. The third thing that has come along is that tubeless sealant works great in tubulars and eliminates the concern of having to pitch a tire when you get a flat. I remove the valve core, squirt in about an ounce, put the valve core back in, pump up the tire and away I go. The sealant needs to be added about once a year because it looses its "stuff". Again, easy to do.

Also, good clincher tires cost as much as good tubular tires, but in my view still don't ride as well. I usually buy Veloflex brand tubulars. I mail order them through Lord Gun or Merlyn Cycles.
Funny thing is that the major reason I've been avoiding putting on a set of tubulars has been the low weight; I'm at 190 (and dropping, but never fast enough) currently, so a lot is riding on my tires/rims. I've always felt supremely confident on my clincher wheels and I want to feel the same on these. But damn, this bike is already light - just over 18lbs with a display tubular set of Mavic SSCs/Campy Record. Anyway, once I'm set I'll just start out slowly and get a feel - and carry a spare under the saddle in a sock.

Thanks for the brand suggestions and another vote for tape (which I'm leaning toward) - I hadn't thought about the benefit of being able to ride them right away, too. Good point!

DD
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Old 02-17-21, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
-----

beautiful frameset and work

thanks so much for sharing it

selection of Alpina name somwhat unfortunate as there are at least three exisitng Alpina marques issuing from DE, CH & FR


-----
Thank you. I just wanted something simple, and since I had the Alpine set already (but didn't want to put that on - knowingly making counterfeit) I made up my own name.

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Old 02-17-21, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
Always love seeing you post pics of the Alpina, it is such a pretty, classically built and configured bicycle. As to tubs, personally I use glue, out of habit since 1979. The modern tape is much easier to use, and cleaner to boot.

I thought about switching to clinchers on the two C&V bikes I have, but after getting feedback here I kept them on, and I'm glad that I did.

Bill
Thanks, Bill - perhaps I'll be posting pics of it on rides this spring and summer for a change. I plan on it, anyway. You know, I have two tubes of still-pliant Tubasti glue, but I think I'm going to go the no-mess-and-ride-immediately route with the tape. Seems like I could even take a roll along on a ride as a spare, too.

My clincher wheels provide superior braking feel compared to the older stuff which lacks a defined, machined brake track. Otherwise, I'm with you - at least with this one vintage bike the tubulars will likely be a mainstay.

DD
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Old 02-17-21, 09:11 PM
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Oh, a funny by-the-way: when I swapped out the Mavic SSC wheelset that was in the bike (display) it was spaced for six speeds but wearing a 5-speed freewheel. Why? The Alpina has always been fitted with a Portacatena system - drilliumed, even. Until yesterday. When I swapped in the Super Champion Arc en Ciel I wanted to leave the spacing alone - and use a 6-speed freewheel. Removed the chain rest from the rear DO but left the gear lever. So get this: now, when I want to go to my top gear, I have to depress the button before I shift - it's like having to hit the NOS (Nitrous Oxide System - not New Old Stock) button for that extra burst of speed

It's a 12t, so no worries - I won't be in it much.

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Old 02-17-21, 09:14 PM
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DD-

I just switched to tubulars on my Colnago Super after believing I would never use tubulars. After reading the Totally Tubular thread, it was clear that there were a lot of opinions and no right way.

I chose tape for 2 reasons. First, the ability to ride after install and the second was the install was so much easier and seemed way less fiddly and prone to error. There's some good videos on line.

The second reason I will willing to change was the ability to use sealant. I just had my first flat on some nice Victoria tires. I was able to remove the valve stem, put in a bit of sealant, use a CO2 cartridge and I was on my way. Easy.

I bought an early Bob Jackson that came with some really nice wheels and ride it almost exclusively on tubulars based on the Colnago experience.

Someday I may try glue since it's old school, but the first step for me was making it easy and enjoy the ride.

Mike
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Old 02-17-21, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Fahrenheit531 View Post
Well that's a freakin' beautiful bike, isn't it?
Colorway is well balanced and very sharp. Limiting the blue to just the rims makes it work.
Thank you! I'd much prefer the rims to be silver or even the old-school grey, but yeah, have to work with what I've got. Plus, when I thought about getting it fitted better, then on the road, I originally began thinking about putting together yet another clincher set (was also kicking myself mentally since I sold the only Record hubset I had months ago). I think the input I'm getting here is convincing enough; I'll be going the tubular route.

DD
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Old 02-17-21, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by SwimmerMike View Post
DD-

I just switched to tubulars on my Colnago Super after believing I would never use tubulars. After reading the Totally Tubular thread, it was clear that there were a lot of opinions and no right way.

I chose tape for 2 reasons. First, the ability to ride after install and the second was the install was so much easier and seemed way less fiddly and prone to error. There's some good videos on line.

The second reason I will willing to change was the ability to use sealant. I just had my first flat on some nice Victoria tires. I was able to remove the valve stem, put in a bit of sealant, use a CO2 cartridge and I was on my way. Easy.

I bought an early Bob Jackson that came with some really nice wheels and ride it almost exclusively on tubulars based on the Colnago experience.

Someday I may try glue since it's old school, but the first step for me was making it easy and enjoy the ride.

Mike
Thank you for that feedback

Had this been a poll, looks like 3 to 1 in favor of tape. Makes sense, particularly the no-mess part; I guess my biggest worry was that tape wouldn't hold as strongly as glue, but thankfully that seems like an unfounded fear. As for the sealant - have you a brand name I can look up? The procedure as outlined a couple times now in the thread is different than my one forgettable encounter. Today's sealant seems to be much more reliable than the crap of old

Once I'm all set and get a good ride in I'll report back my findings on "feel". The ride of all my clincher-tired bikes on Vittoria Open Tubulars is pretty damn nice - it will be interesting to compare and contrast the ride.

DD
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Old 02-17-21, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
Thank you for that feedback

Had this been a poll, looks like 3 to 1 in favor of tape. Makes sense, particularly the no-mess part; I guess my biggest worry was that tape wouldn't hold as strongly as glue, but thankfully that seems like an unfounded fear. As for the sealant - have you a brand name I can look up? The procedure as outlined a couple times now in the thread is different than my one forgettable encounter. Today's sealant seems to be much more reliable than the crap of old

Once I'm all set and get a good ride in I'll report back my findings on "feel". The ride of all my clincher-tired bikes on Vittoria Open Tubulars is pretty damn nice - it will be interesting to compare and contrast the ride.

DD
DD -

I chose the method of riding w/o sealant until I flatted. (I have about 1000 miles on the 2 set now, and the first flat was last week). The argument I followed was, the sealant will add rotating weight and "change the feel". Made sense. And I have no regrets.

I used Stan's. I keep a 2oz bottle in my saddle bag along with a valve wrench. When I flatted, I put about 1/2 the bottle in, rolled it around a bit, put in some additional air ~20psi, rolled it around some more (not sure if it was needed , but it seemed like the right thing to do), then pumped it up fully. had a bit of bubbling from the hole, I put that side facing down, and 5-10 sec later it was fine.
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Old 02-17-21, 11:03 PM
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On my main ride I only have a tubular wheelset. I have never tried tape, but glue works great and is easy to apply without much mess. I typically use a rubber glove to apply the glue to the tire and rim.
All tubulars were easy to mount. I always have mounted them first with air to "stretch out" and had no trouble once gluing.
Centering the tire can be tedious but not to difficult and gets centered in about 5min of adjustment.

I have tried the 3 for $50 tubulars from Yellow Jersey. They are great for the price but wear fast and failed me on a small glass cut in the tire.
I have had similar experience with Vittoria Rally Tubulars too, just ok

I spent a little extra on some Veloflex tubulars and they are working great. Very nice ride and puncture resistance so far (knock on wood). Ridden them all last season and they are still in great condition. Although the sizes were a bit off (25's measured 22-23mm and 28's measured 25mm)

In terms of dealing with a puncture, I have tried Vittoria Pit Stop and Stan's

Vittoria Pit Stop - when it works it works great. when it doesn't your out $15 a pop. Sometimes the head doesn't seat correctly on the valve causing a mess. Also had the can not inflate the tire enough to be rideable.
Stan's - Works great most times (better results than Vittoria & smaller to carry in saddle bag). If you pre add you have to top off or it will expire in the tire after some months. I find it best to add when needed and fill up with a pump of CO2.
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Old 02-17-21, 11:54 PM
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You mentioned reading the tubular thread. If you do you will see all the various methods. It just becomes a personal choice.

My choices changed over time. Started with Tufos and Tufo tape for a low cost entry point. Easy to use but found it very very hard to change a tire and would never attempt it on the road. Quit using tape and relegated my Tufos to spares since I did not like their ride.

I now use Veloflex and Vittoria. Not the most expensive tires but still up there. I decided if I am going to do this I wanted to enjoy the ride.

And I learned to fix a flat the traditional way. Not a big deal especially if you have sail stitching experience.

If I flat now I just swap in a spare to get home. Later I glue on a good tire. I did try Vittoria Pit Stop till I almost got stranded. I’ve only flatted three times. I have more peace of mind changing out a tire and not worrying if the sealant will hold. It’s easier than fixing a clincher flat.

Last edited by obuckler; 02-18-21 at 12:03 AM.
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Old 02-18-21, 07:25 AM
  #21  
SJX426 
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Jeff, Great looking bike! Ride it like there is no tomorrow! 18lbs?

I am in the process of converting to tubulars. The impression that they made on me in 1968 is still with me. The De Rosa has them, Vittoria Corsa G+ - Vittoria Corsa G2.0 Tubular Road Tire Twin Pack | ProBikeKit.com. You may be able to find them for less somewhere else. They have an additional puncture resistant layer some of the others, Corsa Speed, do not have and are a little heavier. I really like these tires and have a clincher pair on the Montello. You will likely get a lot of confidence once you let go of the apprehension.

I glue, I know how to do it and I don't worry about timing. I try to carry an equivalent as a spare that is already glued. Changing is easy. Like @rlorenz2, a gloved hand works really well and not messy with Vittoria glue. Why I am hesitant to use the tape is the cost and comments about the difficulty of changing tires on the road. A replacement tape is needed. The fear related to rolling the tube off the rims is not of concern to me. I am not descending at 50+ on a curvy mountain road for miles with a lot of brake action to heat up the rims. Even with a pre-glued spare, I have not fears. It takes a lot of force to roll the tire off. Try doing it with no clue and pumped to your desired pressure, at home. There is a lot of pressure on the rim as the tube tries to reduce its ID when pumping it up. Most others have stated that they pump between 90 and 110. I pump to 125-135 with the Vittoria's and get a better ride. I am slightly above your weight.

WRT sealant. I don't use any. Tried it once, using the green stuff. The hole was to big for it to seal. If you need to add every year, when does the tire become solid? Sounds really messy to me. I would rather patch myself. This requires some investment in the tire stock.

I don't have any recommendations as there are plenty in this thread and Totally Tubular. To each their own.

When I was between jobs and/or tight financial state, the YJ tubes were purchased. They are still on the Colnago and will remain until they are worn out or I am ready to mount on a different bike, like the '72 Bottecchia. One was lumpy, replaced by JY and with it came the suggestion to stretch evenly to avoid lumps. Putting you foot in and stretching with your arms is a no-no, with a lump possible. I guess this is due to the construction of the case, 150tpi? The Vittoria's are 320 tpi. I have a couple of damaged tubular rims I use to store and stretch.

I am interested in your experience with the decision you go with.
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Old 02-18-21, 08:29 AM
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I have a pair of tires stretching inflated on a Colnago right now. The last three bikes I have been riding are clinchers.

if Clement Red was still being produced, the tires would be glued on the Colnago.
I have a few cans of Vittoria glue.
bought very cheap along with a case of tires, while it works fine, an on the road tire exchange falls short.
change the tire and ride gingerly home.
My thought now is to purchase the Miyata tape and have it as the on the road bond method so I do not need to turn around after a puncture.
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Old 02-18-21, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
Just the kind of feedback I am seeking; thank you. My main concerns are (1) tire stays on in use, and (2) finding a good middle ground between price and puncture-resistance. I'll take a look over on the Tubular sticky, too, see other recommendations. The stuff I have currently (two pairs - unused - of Gommitalias and a single pair of Conti Giros - also unused) have been hidden away aging nicely in the closet, but I'd like to try something modern.

I've wondered about using a sealant. The last time I did - coincidentally, on Oahu with a tubular - it was an absolute mess and I barely got home, the entire rear of the bike covered in Slime. Ugh - wouldn't like a repeat of that! So I'm gonna sit on the fence and have a think on that one...

DD
My experience with sealant is, if I can pump up the tire and it will hold air long enough that I can ride it for a bit, sealant will work. If the tire won't hold air at all, sealant is a mess, won't work so I'll patch. I change a flat on the road (so easy) and wait until I get home to use sealant or patch the flatted tire.

I was told by a bike shop not to use Stans because it has ammonia which will dissolve latex. I have no idea whether or not that is true, just took their word for it. I have had good luck with Effetto Mariposa sealant.

I have become suspicious that latex tubes are more resistant to puncture (deform more easily?) than butyl. I am curious as to others' thoughts on this.
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Old 02-18-21, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Andy Antipas View Post
I usually buy Veloflex brand tubulars. I mail order them through Lord Gun or Merlyn Cycles.
+1...
Been riding tubulars since I first began cycling back in the 70's. Started w/ Vittoria's, but switched to Veloflex & haven't looked back. Great riding tire & durable. I like the 'Sprinter' & 'Criteriums' in particular.
A friend once brought me back a pair of Signature Veloflex's on his return trip from Italy in the 90's since I owned a Colnago. They read 'Colnago Master' on the sidewalls. I treasured these tires for years & 1 tire still is OK...
I've always glued my tubulars on & use Vittoria Mastk 1. Stuff is very sticky & really don't relish the task, but it's always held strong.
I'll have to look into Tufo Tape? Sounds easy~peasy. How difficult is it, removing taped tubulars from the rims?
Jeff: as much riding as you do, I think you'd luv the ride tubulars can give...

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Old 02-18-21, 09:48 AM
  #25  
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Tufo Tape

Tufo tape holds strong. When I tape a tire on, I leave approximately one inch of the rim opposite the valve stem without Tufo tape. I carry a small slotted screwdriver in my tire sock. On the very rare occasion where I needed to change a tubular on the road (once in the last 5 years and I ride around 5,000 miles a year), I use the screwdriver to help get the tire started for removal. Once you get a little bit of tire peeled off it is easy to remove it the rest of the way.

Back in the day, I used Wolber tubular glue and never had a tire roll off, but there are more steps to mounting a tubular with glue. I find that Tufo tape makes mounting and running tubulars much quicker and easier. Plus, as I mentioned in my earlier post, tire sealant takes the fear out of having to throw away a tire with a minor puncture. I have been getting an easy 1,000 mile plus out of Veloflex tubulars used on the rear wheel. Of course, YMMV.
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