Sunday, November 15, 2009

Review: What Tubs?



Some thoughts on that pressing question :- what tubs?

Continental
The German powerhouse has always been my tub of choice over the years. I've tried Competitions, Sprinters, Sprinter Gatorskins, Giros and Podiums. My conclusion is that one tire combines the criteria of value for money, rolling resistance, durability, weight and grip- the Sprinter. I'd agree that Competitions are a better choice if value for money / durability aren't such an issue but at pushing 50 pounds a pop it's a hard pill to swallow if you puncture. I found the Gatorskins to add a little grip in the wet at the cost of rolling resitance and weight but most bizarrely I puntured them very quickly. Giros seem to defeat the object of tubs- performance, and Podiums are a bit sketchy as a 19mm tire but seem to be surprisingly durable. GP4000s are an option I haven't tried but all in, the Sprinter seems to suit my needs and I can handle the 25 pound replacement cost once they go. The other thing I like about Continental tubs is that I can add some stans to the tubes to add extra thorn protection / small cuts, but Stans won't cover you against a ripped valve stem.

Vittoria
One of the reasons I posted this was I recently had my Continental loyalty tested when my brand new second hand Corima deep sections came fitted with a pair of Corsa Evo CX. And to say I was impressed by the ride is an understatement. It's difficult to be completely objective as the wheels were a variable but they certainly roll nice and the dual compound / tread seems a good idea. Where these tires fall down is in their use of latex tubes which means 2 things. 1./ You can't put Stans inside and 2./ they loose nigh on 20psi per day which means less sleep in the morning as I have to get the track pump out. I guess the pro's don't have to worry about such things. The only other Vittoria I've tried is the Rally, which is terrible beyond belief. They're also doing a version of the Rubino Pro which sounds interesting and competes with the Sprinter on price point.

Tufo
Everything I read about Tufo (like riding in melted tarmac) puts me off them but they are useful for one thing- spare tubs. Because of the way they are made, Tufos fold up very small- almost the size of a clincher tube. Combined with a CO2 this'll fit neatly in your rear pocket. Yet another reason not to use those pesky clinchers.

One last word, my recommended reading for tubs in general if you don't know too much / are debating the glue / tape issue (I'm a recent reconvert back to glue) is the following http://davesbikeblog.squarespace.com/blog/2007/7/27/tubulars-part-i.html. Now, I'm off to add another layer of glue. In Rapha world, how romantic?!?