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Tufo C Elite Road Tubular Clincher

12:08 20th May 2005 by Road Cycling UK
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  • Weight: 315g
  • Size: 23mm
  • Pressure range: 115 – 220psi (8-15 BAR)
  • From: Sonic Cycles: 020 7243 2848
  • www.soniccycles.co.uk
  • Price: £39.50 (each)

    Benchmarks

    Various High Pressure (clincher) tyre weights (all 23mm):

    Michelin Pro 2: 189g
    Continental Grand Prix 3000: 217g
    Hutchinson Carbon Comp: 200g
    Vittoria Open Corsa CX EVO: 238g
    Remember to add the weight of a tube and a rimtape (approx. 160g)

    Standard racing tub weights (22mm):
    Continental Competition: 280g
    Vittoria Corsa CX EVO: 270g
    Schwalbe Stelvio: 240g

    Which do you prefer tubs or tyres? Not sure of the difference? OK, here’s a crash course… Tubulars (also known as sew-ups or tubs) are tyres which have a carcass stitched over an inner tube. Then the complete unit is glued to a concave rim. High Pressure tyres (or Clinchers) rely on a bead to attach to a hook inside the rim and have a separate, replaceable inner tube.
    Tubs are messy and not very practical and ironically high pressure tyres can’t cope with high pressures too well. Clinchers ride well enough, some expensive ones are almost as good as tubs, but cheap rubber, deep section rims and steel beads ride like a block of wood.


    the Tufo ‘clincher strip’ attaches to underside of tub carcass

    Why? well the rim design is already less radially compliant than the ‘sprint’ design used for tubs, it’s also arguably less strong. And the tyre carcass is less flexible than a tubular (even a cheap tubular) so the whole thing feels harsher.
    Tubs are fantastic to ride on for sure, but for the non-mechanical they can be an utter nightmare to look after and change. Gluing the tyre to the rim is at best messy and at worst the most frustrating aftenoon you’ll ever spend with more glue on your hands than on the tyres. So unless you can get someone to show you how (I feel a feature coming on) they are best left to the Pros who have mechanics to do this for them.

    Why do tubs ride so well? Basically because they can withstand 150 PSI and still ‘ride soft’ allowing grip in the wet and providing a comfortable cushioned ride. They allow the rider less rolling resistance and timetrials can be ridden at 200 PSI, so super fast.


    It take a bit of effort to push the Tufo bead into place

    So here is the Tufo Tubular Clincher. The tubular tyre than fits a clincher rim. We’ve been riding them for a few months and so far we’re very impressed.

    Tufo are a Czech company with an extraordinary amount of tyres in their range. They have been around since 1991 quietly making world championship winning tyres for Cyclo-cross riders, triathletes, road racers and, somewhat bizarrely, artistic cyclists.

              

                           



    Before inflation…

    then pull on, tuck in…

    … after inflation

    Fitting a Tufo Tubular Clincher tyre is very simple. First make sure that your rims are compatible they need to measure a set distance across the beads (13-15mm) and most Mavic and Ambrosio rims are fine. Then simply pull the type over the rim pushing the lips of the tape into the beads of the rim. This is best done from the valve and working in both directions at the same time. The last bit can be a struggle but once it’s on it’s quite therapeutic to position the beads in place – they sit into place with a reassuring pop.


    Clinchers and they take 220 PSI!

    The only major downside of the Tufo system (and for tubs too) is when you puncture. Tubs at the correct pressures puncture less than high pressure tyres but they still succumb to the British roads and weather. Repairing them is a complete hassle but it is possible. Tufo have solved the immediate ‘getting home’ problem with a special sealant that will repair holes up to 2mm in diameter, apparently it’s very good although three months down the line our Tufos are still going strong, wearing very well, so we’ve had no chance to use it.

    Tufo use an incredibly strong 210 TPI carcass and a leak free (almost) inner tube, they are constructed with a puncture proof ply, a protective rubber ply and an activated silica tread compound. The strip for fitting is bonded tightly to the tyres and there’s no chance of them rolling off, even once flat they’re almost wedged solid. Grip is as good as a tub and better than a clincher, however I would say that they do still feel a little harsh on deep section rims but you can get them up to 220 PSI so the tendancy is to over fill them at first. Combined with a Open Pro rim they were great (even in the wet) and in the heat no need to worry about overheating the rims and melting the glue…


    Solid fitting and neat and tidy on the rim – no glue!

    Tread is minimal, with the natural supple rubber providing the grip with a small herringbone pattern side wall for the corners. They give excellent all round performance at 150 PSI and at 200 took to the boards like a duck to water.

    So this pair has ridden the track (Reading and Manchester) with no problems, although we actually preferred the larger volume tyre (there is a narrow track version too) and apparently they behave in a similar way to tubs when they flat so no worries about them rolling off if they should flat suddenly. They’ve also managed a stage race and a couple of time trials and no problems. Tufo’s range is growing and the technology has been perfected over the past 15 years, I’m just quite surprised that more people don’t use them. You get near-tubular performance without the mess.


    Tufo’s tough rubber and treads grip in all weather

    The Tufo tyres are a great alternative to tubs and perfect for your race or TT bike, OK so they’re a bit heavier than tubs, but it’s marginal. We’d stop short at using them for everyday use, but only because you’d want to save them for special days and racing, especially at almost £40 a go. Also without experiencing the repairing sealant I can’t comment on how easy repairs would be at the top of Alpe d’Huez… but you could always carry a spare folded over your shoulders old-skool Tour rider style…

    Verdict: Excellent solution and perfect for all applications; Track, Cross, TT, Road and Artistic(!) But a bit on the pricey side.

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