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Thread: Ride Quality Modern Tubulars versus "silks"??

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    jimp1234 is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Ride Quality Modern Tubulars versus "silks"??

    A recent question to L Zinn in VN got me wondering about the ride quality of modern tubulars as compared to the "seta" tires I rode back in the late 70's early 80's. I've been riding clinchers since the mid 80's and I sometimes think I might make the jump back to tubulars. For me the benchmark for "silks" was the Clement Criterium Seta at 250 gms, and the Clement Paris Roubaix Seta at 280 gms (these were often training tires). Really terrific tires. As I understand it the casing for modern tubulars are "poly-cotton" basically a blend of synthetic and cotton fibers. T/F? Does anyone still make a silk tire? What are the modern "high end" tubular brands that are comparable to ones mentioned above? Finally anyone care to offer a subjective opinion on the ride quality of the older silks versus new tubulars?

    thanks

    -Jim

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    SteveP is offline vSalon Legend
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    id go back to tubulars if i could get strada 66s.
    they were cotton casing and light.

    rode like a dream

  3. #3
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    Default round and straight

    the problem i had with tubies were:

    1) fixing a flat tire. a flat tire shouldn't cost $40...or more

    2)the tires (tubies) are not round and straight. this is a deal breaker.

    Riding on Pro race and 4000s. Nice tires, my indulgence.

    A late thought...tubies are nice, can you justfy the cost-vs-miles?

    PS...I made the best pizza tonight
    Last edited by RIHans; 08-28-2008 at 09:13 PM.

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    agilismerlin is offline VSalonistas
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    changing tubulars, on the road, at less than 50 degrees will send you straight to the nail salon, yo'



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    Quote Originally Posted by jimp1234 View Post
    T/F? Does anyone still make a silk tire?

    -Jim
    yes, Challenge makes a silk.

    http://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...s.php?id=24969

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    dang is offline VSalonistas
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    Honestly, it's been a long, long time since I bought a silk casing tubular tire (Clement, in the early '80s I reckon), so I've no real idea how I'd compare it today to a really good cotton tubular -- say a Veloflex carbon -- from the current market. I can say that Veloflex is making some really nice tires, period.

    Also, it seems that at least FMB and Dugast are offering silk tires nowadays, at a price:

    http://worldclasscycles.com/tubular_tires_only_cart.htm

  7. #7
    Too Tall's Avatar
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    Default Tubular Tyres are WIKKI-worthy

    Good for you. I rode tubulars for many yrs. like yourself and had plenty of the silks glued up. It was too long ago to really truly remember how fine they were...all I recall was what happened when you pumped them rock hard...the sound was fun...expensive fun.

    Straight away let's dispel a myth that they are hard to glue and impossible to change. With proper instruction you can glue and maintain your tubulars with about the same bother as clinchers and I'll stand behind that. Second, if your tubulars are glued up for training ,not racing, you can change a puncture in same or less time than a clincher....some folks here saw me change a front puncture 3 yrs. ago in a freezing rain than ride it without requiring psychotherapy after....that part is a myth. The other myth is that they are puncture prone???? You and I both know that tubulars will save your grits when hitting hard objects...they are very resistant to pinch flats. However the "prone to puncture" aspect is most likely due to the fact that newbie tubular tyre rides and for that matter many clincher tyre riders dynamite their tyres boooooo. DO NOT over pump your tyres, this will absolutely cause cuts, punctures and ruin the ride quality. Most of this is common sense but hey I'm on a roll so to speak hehe.

    Tubulars are getting more and more popular because good folks are teaching others how to work with the materials. This forum is ground zero :) Stick around my friend.

    GREAT quality tubulars are available that are straight, lump free and are soooo d@mn fine riding I can't see why you would go to the trouble or expense to buy silks again. The FMB silks are mighty tempting none the less. Furthermore there are tubular training tyres that are so darn nice that I'll bet you ride them just as much as the good stuff. Let's name names ok? VSalon tubular rides chime in and help.

    Veloflex makes a tremendous line of tubulars. Every single Veloflex I've used for myself or glued up for clients is very nicely made, free of defects and OH MY the ride quality is top dog. OK you want things to try yes? Veloflex Roubaix is a 24mm tyre that is 280 grams of pure joy. I am commuting to work 40 miles each day on metropolitan streets that are not great. The volume of these tyres makes them fantastic for many things. They seem to wear as well as the other veloflex tyres...about one season. If you want a 22mm gum wall than check the Veloflex Crit. which is my go to tyre for racing and weekend warrior rides. For training and general purpose my go to tyre for many yrs. was continentals sprinters and competitions which are probably the toughest very good quality tubular road tyre $$ can buy...I wear these to the cords. HOWEVER!!! Since Tom Kellogg (I'm such a friggin' name dropper ;) ) convinced me to try the Vittoria EVO CX 23's I'm not looking back. Modern Vittoria's mount sooooo easily it is almost disarming! Also, the basetape is thickly coated with latex that saturates the cloth making for a glue job that is more foolproof than most. These Vittoria CX tyres are grippy as he!! and every one I've glued up are straight as an arrow :) I think I've found my new go to tyre.

    If you stick around long enough good guy VSalon member "Giff", and is bucking for forum member GOLD STAR status, is going to shepard an order of custom tubulars from FMB very shortly. As a group we plan to order two diff. FAT road tubulars with a really special VSalon feature...shhhh it's still in the works. The FMBs by all reports are proving to be some of the best tubulars ever made.

    More surely to follow. Glad you are thinking about this.

    Best Regards, TT

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    Hardlyrob is offline VSalonistas
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    Well said TT;

    I have only one to add - Velofelx Servizio Corse - I've been riding these for the past couple of years and they are straight, light and fast. Yes they're a 19mm tire, but they ride great.

    A number of folks commented on my leeetle skinny tires at the Ramble, but they did just fine on the dirt road sections. Not sure I'd ride D2R2 on them, but for our pot holed MA roads, they're great.

    Come on - glue up a pair today!

    Cheers!

    Rob

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    El Chaba's Avatar
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    Veloflex is the king of bicycle tires. I have been using them for a LONG time.....and only an older Dugast or an FMB is as good, ATMO.

    I have long been a customer of Dan Donnelly. about 20 years ago I was calling to get another couple Vittoria Cx/Cg's when he said that he had gotten a couple of sample tires from a new company comprised of some Vittoria employees (Vittoria had been purchased by Lyon Tire of Japan...and the factory was being moved to Thailand..that story should be the subject of another thread)...So I got the two tires and used them immediately as per our agreement. They were fabulous, as Veloflex tubulars are.....better than the Vittorias that they had replaced. The problem was that it was another year before any more tires were available in the US..

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    I've been riding Veloflex Carbon's. I like everything but the price. But hey, the good stuff is worth paying for.

    I have ridden Conti Sprinters for years. They outlast most clinchers and deserve their own category. I'm gonna try some of those Vittoria's tt mentions.

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    El Chaba's Avatar
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    The new Vittoria CX'x aren't bad...Compared to a Veloflex-which is always perfect-every tenth tire might be a little out of round or have a slight tread wobble....and they are more likely to have the basetape peel a little at the edges if they have spent any time in the rain...BUT they are much improved over the past. They are also sometimes available at a really decent price....You could say they are 90% of a Veloflex at 50% of the price.

  12. #12
    11.4 is offline VSalonistas
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    Silk tires had a couple problems -- they sometimes exploded when flatted, and they also didn't put up with water very well. You also couldn't vulcanize a tread onto a silk casing so they are glued on and it wasn't that rare to see a tread peel right off a casing when you caught it on a crack in the road, or your rollers, etc. Silk did have the ability to stretch and flex more than cotton or anything else, so they gave this very nice ride although they could feel a bit squirrelly until you pumped them up higher and negated the suppleness of the tire.

    Yes, silk tires are still available. Dugast and FMB can both offer them. There are a couple small Japanese makers who specialize in them and make absolutely incredible tires for their high-end retro bike market -- looooong wait lists. Tires to consider that are equivalent in quality:

    1. Any Veloflex.
    2. Conti Steher (the sleeper in the crowd -- $45-50 a tire but rides like a Dugast, fairly big profile for those of you who like fat tubulars, great track tire, no special puncture protection technology but very durable nonetheless)
    3. Conti Sonderklasse (the classic pure cotton track tubulars -- not superlight (marked as 165 or 175 but actually about 240 grams) so fine on the road but amazing classic feel and the very finest white cotton casings that act like silk).
    4. Soyo cotton tubulars -- slightly erratic in quality among the different models but generally very nice and much better riding than your basic Conti Competition, Vittoria Evo Corsa, etc. Be sure you are getting the cotton ones, not the polyester blend cheaper ones.
    5. FMB or Dugast as mentioned above. Personally, I've found that Dugast road and track tires the past couple years have not been up to the old quality and FMB's are much better. Dugast is still the source for certain cross and track tubulars, but even there FMB is catching up with treads and casings and offers a better quality product.

    Then there are specialty tubulars such as the Vittoria Evo Pave -- a go-anywhere, do-anything tubular for cobbles, logging roads, the Eroica, you name it. A pair will last you easily a winter and never let you down. And from Britain they are even reasonably inexpensive. I also am a fan of the new black chili Conti Competition (not the Tufo-like Comp 4000 tubular) -- if you tend to puncture or are on uncertain roads, it gives up very little in ride quality but gets much more puncture and cut resistant compared to any of the tires above.

    And lastly, one can order custom tires -- you pick the diameter, you pick the tread, you pick the casing material, even the color. Order a dozen or more and various builders will make them for you.

    To the OP's original question, the silk in those original Clements wasn't always the best and the rubber was pretty primeval. The ride was nice, but you can get a cotton tire these days that gives a better ride and certainly is much more reliable. Honestly, the older tires are good for accuracy of historical reproduction but tires have really gotten better in the past few years and surpassed the tubulars of the 70s.

  13. #13
    twowheels's Avatar
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    i have a nos clement criterium seta that i pulled of a wheel this year. a friend had it sitting in his basement for a long long time and he asked me if i wanted it and i said sure. i probably should have ebayed it but i wanted to give it a ride. the rubber looked pretty good, not cracked or checked or degraded so i figured i'd give it a try since i used to ride these things a lot in the 70's and i wanted to see how accurate my memory was.

    i glued it to a front road wheel. the thing was as lumpy as a bad sprinter but actually rode pretty well. however, i don't think it rode any better than a modern quality tire or any better than my memory of the old strada 66's which were a favorite back in the day. those rode great and i seemed to get a million miles out of them.

    after a couple hundred miles, i pulled the seta off because i got that old feeling that i was pushing my luck with it.

    for my money, i think the best cost/quality is achieved with either a vittoria cx or a continental steher. you can find either for somewhere around $50. the cx's seem easier to mount. both are straight and true. some of the cx's are a little lumpy in the valve core area. the stehers are higher volume but the cx's feel bigger and more comfortable than they look. both are tough, sticky, long wearing and very comfortable. the cx's are probably a bit more resistant to punctures from sharp objects because they are belted.

    i also have a few conti comps as rear tires. those suckers are tough.

    with both clinchers and tubulars, i often use a more supple front tire and a tougher rear tire. the rear carries more weight and gets more abuse. also, most people loft the front over road hazards much more effectively than rears, which also abuses rear tires and wheels more than fronts. the front tire communicates more directly with your hands and therefore play more of a role in how the bike "feels" than the rear.

    fwiw, i have more cx's glued up than any other road tire.
    Last edited by twowheels; 08-29-2008 at 01:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Too Tall View Post
    Good for you. I rode tubulars for many yrs. like yourself and had plenty of the silks glued up. It was too long ago to really truly remember how fine they were...all I recall was what happened when you pumped them rock hard...the sound was fun...expensive fun.

    Straight away let's dispel a myth that they are hard to glue and impossible to change. With proper instruction you can glue and maintain your tubulars with about the same bother as clinchers and I'll stand behind that. Second, if your tubulars are glued up for training ,not racing, you can change a puncture in same or less time than a clincher....some folks here saw me change a front puncture 3 yrs. ago in a freezing rain than ride it without requiring psychotherapy after....that part is a myth. The other myth is that they are puncture prone???? You and I both know that tubulars will save your grits when hitting hard objects...they are very resistant to pinch flats. However the "prone to puncture" aspect is most likely due to the fact that newbie tubular tyre rides and for that matter many clincher tyre riders dynamite their tyres boooooo. DO NOT over pump your tyres, this will absolutely cause cuts, punctures and ruin the ride quality. Most of this is common sense but hey I'm on a roll so to speak hehe.

    Tubulars are getting more and more popular because good folks are teaching others how to work with the materials. This forum is ground zero :) Stick around my friend.

    GREAT quality tubulars are available that are straight, lump free and are soooo d@mn fine riding I can't see why you would go to the trouble or expense to buy silks again. The FMB silks are mighty tempting none the less. Furthermore there are tubular training tyres that are so darn nice that I'll bet you ride them just as much as the good stuff. Let's name names ok? VSalon tubular rides chime in and help.

    Veloflex makes a tremendous line of tubulars. Every single Veloflex I've used for myself or glued up for clients is very nicely made, free of defects and OH MY the ride quality is top dog. OK you want things to try yes? Veloflex Roubaix is a 24mm tyre that is 280 grams of pure joy. I am commuting to work 40 miles each day on metropolitan streets that are not great. The volume of these tyres makes them fantastic for many things. They seem to wear as well as the other veloflex tyres...about one season. If you want a 22mm gum wall than check the Veloflex Crit. which is my go to tyre for racing and weekend warrior rides. For training and general purpose my go to tyre for many yrs. was continentals sprinters and competitions which are probably the toughest very good quality tubular road tyre $$ can buy...I wear these to the cords. HOWEVER!!! Since Tom Kellogg (I'm such a friggin' name dropper ;) ) convinced me to try the Vittoria EVO CX 23's I'm not looking back. Modern Vittoria's mount sooooo easily it is almost disarming! Also, the basetape is thickly coated with latex that saturates the cloth making for a glue job that is more foolproof than most. These Vittoria CX tyres are grippy as he!! and every one I've glued up are straight as an arrow :) I think I've found my new go to tyre.

    If you stick around long enough good guy VSalon member "Giff", and is bucking for forum member GOLD STAR status, is going to shepard an order of custom tubulars from FMB very shortly. As a group we plan to order two diff. FAT road tubulars with a really special VSalon feature...shhhh it's still in the works. The FMBs by all reports are proving to be some of the best tubulars ever made.

    More surely to follow. Glad you are thinking about this.

    Best Regards, TT
    Great post, fantastic information thanks!

    I rode tubulars long ago - like most in the 80's and then made the switch to clinchers Vred Fortezza and I like them, but they're just not the same.

    I've been contemplating going back and this has probably convinced me.

    conorb

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    palincss is offline VSalonistas
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    Quote Originally Posted by Too Tall View Post
    Veloflex Roubaix is a 24mm tyre that is 280 grams of pure joy. I am commuting to work 40 miles each day on metropolitan streets that are not great. The volume of these tyres makes them fantastic for many things. They seem to wear as well as the other veloflex tyres...about one season.
    You commute on tubulars? Just how much are those things costing you, anyway?


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    Oirad is offline VSalonistas
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    I had Veloflex Carbons on my fixed gear road bike and just switched to their Paris-Roubaix and can confirm Too Tall's impressions about the latter. The 24mm seems a lot bigger than the Carbons that are 22mm.Boy!, are they ever cushy and still feel fast.

    Excellent posts, Too Tall and others.

    Oirad

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    Mud
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    Default Got an off line message from TT

    some time back and at some point may be ready to try something other than a Conti Sprinter. Contis are very tight but I found the knack for getting them on straight and they are really flat resistant. I liked the Vittoria CXs but seem to remember that they have been bought out by a Russian campany.

    I also am getting my Nimble/Tune rear wheel back from its vacation in Santa Fe so it might be a good time to try something else again. The Veloflex clincher are good for business in the store though. Our roads seem to have no trouble punching holes in them. That is why I am reluctant to bite the bullet for 4 of the tubulars.
    Livin The Dream in Surf City USA

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    Too Tall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by palincss View Post
    You commute on tubulars? Just how much are those things costing you, anyway?

    haha Hey I put my pants on one leg at a time just like you. Quality bicycle goods are something I don't mind paying retail for. Look around, my fav. tubular source is worldclasscycles.com

    FWIIW (knock on wood) I generally wear out my tubulars that get ridden to and from work. Truth...I can tell you the number of unrepairable flats and repairable flats I've had since New Year's...zero unrepairable and 2 glass punctures on tubulars that I had def. pushed to their limit...I tossed one and repaired the other into a good spare. As a data point I commute 4 days/week and round trip is usually 40 miles....sometimes more...you do the math and tell me if I'm getting my money's worth.

    Riding bicycles is something I love, REALLY enjoy and a single second spent riding garden hose tyres or a bicycle that does not excite me are lost moments. Pal..."this" really is all we have make the most of it.

    Friends don't let friends ride gawd awful clinchers ;)

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    Message to TT: Please come to Hawaii to kick my sorry ass around for a while. I need the motivation!

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    Quote Originally Posted by palincss View Post
    You commute on tubulars? Just how much are those things costing you, anyway?

    Since I went back to regular tubular use about 4 years ago I have had two flats and one of those flats was simply because the tire was worn out. And I do not baby them. I get more flats on clinchers. Commuting on them seems totally reasonable. I use Veloflex tubulars and they wear out normally before they puncture. Just check them for embedded grit once in a while.

    I wouldn't think twice about it. That said, I use clinchers too. But today's 40 miler in Grand Rapids was on Veloflex Carbons. I do think that in the future I am going back to Veloflex Criteriums. I like the tread better (it isn't actually better, but it reminds me of the old Italian CXs) and the classic look.
    My name is James Edward Kile

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