Clincher vs. Tubular Tires

Which tires are better: clincher or tubular?

By Monica Sanchez

The gap in quality between carbon tubular and clincher tires has become narrower than ever in recent years. In fact, some cycling enthusiasts claim they can hardly tell the difference between the two. So no matter which ones you choose, you are guaranteed to get something that’s worth spending your money on in the long run.

If you’re spending all day scouring the market for new tires of the highest quality and the best price, the decision about which set to buy can be a bit overwhelming. Cycling companies, such as RHC Components, understand this dilemma and want you to make an informed purchase. You certainly don’t want to break the bank and spend half your paycheck on tires that will blow out faster than you can race down the block. So what should you review in order to make this decision? While you should consider quality and price, it is also important to check out all the benefits and disadvantages of both before impulsively clicking that tempting ‘add to cart’ button.

Carbon Tubular Tires

Maybe you’ve heard the hype about tubular tires, and guess what? It’s all true! If you’re a professional cyclist, this is the set of tires you’re going to make sure you own. These are the tires to choose if you are serious about racing. Why? Tubular tires significantly benefit cyclists in performance. They fare well in competitions because they weigh less than clincher tires. It’s an incredible advantage to own this style if you are a competitive cyclist. They will surely improve your performance because you will be able to fly down the road with lighter tires. Professional cyclists will always choose the tubular option if they are in the market for a new set of wheels.

Durability and overall quality are some more added benefits to buying tubular tires. These tires are known for having better puncture resistance than clincher tires. So if you take care of them properly, tubulars might last longer and save you money as a result. You also have to consider the fact that you can put more pressure in tubular tires too. And a bonus? Some cyclists report that tubular tires provide a slightly smoother riding experience.

Sounds like tubular tires are the clear winner, right?

Unfortunately, they do have some disadvantages that may dissuade you from choosing this option. I’m quite sure you’ve already figured out the main drawback. Yes, it is exactly what you were expecting. If the quality is good, then the price is high. Tubular tires are notoriously more expensive than clincher tires. If cost is your concern, then you might not want to buy tubular tires.

Aside from quality, what is it that makes them so expensive? Well, the reason they have a higher price tag is due to the laborious way in which they’re made. These types of tires are stitched to a tubular specific rim, enclose an inner tube, and then the whole tube is glued onto the rim. Obviously, this process is not as quick as switching out a regular old tire if, heaven forbid, it gets punctured. If you have to glue a tire just to make it hold up, then you can bet that the upkeep of such tires is expensive too. Just think about it. In addition to the initial retail price for one set of tires, you would have to pay for an extra inner tube, a tire, and the glue to put it all back together should anything unexpected occur. If you’re a cycling enthusiast but don’t intend to race professionally, then these tires would be impractical for everyday use. Can you imagine yourself on the side of the road trying to fix and glue a tire together if you end up with a flat?

Clincher Tires

Tubular tires may be the choice for most professional cyclists, but not everyone has disposable income to throw around. If you’re short on cash, then there’s no need to worry! Clincher tires have just as many benefits. First of all, the cost of these tires is cheaper, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality. Some clincher tires are made so well that cyclists often have a hard time deciphering between the two. If you pair a high-quality clincher with a latex tube and a good set of carbon wheels, then you’re sure to have just as great of a riding experience as you would with tubular tires.

And with clincher tires, upkeep isn’t that big of a concern. It will be far cheaper and easier for you to replace a clincher tire than what it would take in order to fix a tubular. You don’t want to shell out extra money or waste your time, so don’t! Realistically, these tires are much more practical for everyday use, and you still get a high-quality product.

A cheaper, high-quality product? These tires have to be the winning choice.

Before you jump the gun and frantically mash the keys to get back to your cart, consider this. Because clincher tires are made differently, they tend to be heavier than tubular tires. Instead of being glued onto the rim like tubular tires, clincher tires are attached to the rim with a hook on the inside to hold everything in place. While they can be used in racing events, it is impossible to ignore that accelerating with clinchers is a bit more difficult. These tires may be great for everyday wear and tear, but they could be a serious disadvantage if you are looking to race professionally. Frankly, the majority of cycling professionals simply wouldn’t take such a risk.

So Which Tires are the Better Deal?

Hmmm. Decisions. Decisions.

Concerned about price? Go with the clinchers. Most cyclists own a good pair of clinchers for daily use anyway. If you’re a newbie to the wonderful world of cycling, then these are the tires you’ll want to start with. There’s no point in paying the top-notch price for that extra bit of speed when you’re just starting out.

Quality is your main priority? Then, fork over some extra dough for those sweet tubulars. You’ll be glad you did when you’re zooming down the road on an adrenaline high.

Better yet?  Save up your money and get both! Make this happen, and you can have those fancy tubular tires for racing adventures and dependable clincher tires for everyday use.

No matter what your needs or priorities are, RHC Components has you covered. Check out their tubular and clincher options. You’re sure to find something you’ll love.

*Originally published by RHC Components


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