Traditionally, I would have said that using tubular’s wasn’t worth the hassle but with the updates in wheel tape and adhesives it is now just as quick to change a tubular tire as it is a clincher.
In fact, once you get used to it is quicker to repair a tubular puncture than a normal tyre.
The Best Tubular Tires for Triathlon Racing
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Our Top Choice
Our favourite tubular tires have to be the Continental Competition Tubular Tires. When it comes to weight, ride and overall quality you can’t really compare them to anything else.
They are really fast rolling tires and smooth as anything on the road. They will serve you very well on fast rides and when you are launching yourself into corners during a triathlon.
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One of the most widely used tires in competitions and endurance races around the world.
I have raced on Gatorskin clinchers for some time and have to say that these tires are awesome.
One thing to note about tubular tires though is that if you get a puncture during a race you may be able to get to the finish line. Try doing that on a normal road bike tire and you will end up on the rims very quickly
Try doing that on a normal road bike tire and you will end up on the rim very quickly.
Pro’s & Con’s of Tubular Tires
We get asked all the time about the difference between tubular tires and clinchers and the advantages of one over the other.
Let me start by stating that tubular’s are definitely not for beginners or daily commuting – although because of the latest puncture resistance in the tires you could probably get away with it.
I wouldn’t use my race bike or 404’s for that matter on a daily commute, but each to their own I suppose.
If I could sum it up in one quick statement I would say Tubular tires for racing days and clinchers for training days and weekend workouts.
Changing a puncture
When you get a puncture with a tubular tire it can sometimes be a bit of a challenge to change it, but with the advancements in rim tape and adhesives, this is quick enough once you get used to it. Plus when running a tubular tire setup you may be able to get to the finish line once the tire stays stuck to the rim.
With a clincher when you get a puncture your race is pretty much over – especially if you are doing something like a sprint or Olympic distance triathlon. You just don’t have enough race time to absorb the losses from a puncture.
Believe me, I have tried to change a tire under pressure as my fellow competitors are whizzing by me but it’s not easy. Rush a clincher change out and you may end up pinching the tube and then it’s definitely racing over.
As mentioned above, installation is very straightforward – once you get used to it and some of the seasoned professionals swear it’s actually easier to change a tubular setup than a standard road bike tire. I’ll let you be the judge of that…
Yes, they are more expensive than standard road bike tires but if you are serious about your racing and keep them for ‘good use’ then they are worth the additional cost.
We have always been big fans of this type of setup on our road and Triathlon bikes. For obvious reasons we only ride tubular’s on race days and in competitions. Cost aside you still get enough advantages over clinchers to justify the cost but it really depends on you – the rider – on which way you go.
Make sure you get a tire that has good puncture resistance like the Conti and you will be good to go.
Finally, one thing we noticed when we switched over was that we didn’t have to keep pumping up the tires before each race as they help their pressure very well. Only a small thing but a soft tire on race day is going to slow you down. Couple this setup with some decent aero bars for your bike and you will fly down the road and ahead of the competition