Friday, May 29, 2009

Gluing Tubulars

I'm not going to make this a tutorial because you can find plenty of those all over the web - here, here & here (okay, not that last one) and I really don't have much to add to the subject. Once you do it a few times, you'll realize how straightforward it is. The best way to learn is from someone who knows what they are doing so grab a six pack of good beer and make nice with a local mechanic.

I will try to answer a few questions we've gotten and make a few suggestions. So first off, type of glue: Vittoria Mastik One is what I use. Others will work but I've found this to be the best.

Tape: With the possible exception of the glue / tape combo method for cross tires (I don't personally use this but I've seen it done with success and I hear it's all the rage in Belgium), I do not recommend tubular tape for our carbon rims. Tufo tape is really, really strong and I've seen it actually pull away a layer of carbon when taking the tire off the rim. To my knowledge, no one has had this happen with any of our rims but I've seen it happen to a variety of others and I wouldn't want to chance it. If this does happen to you while using tape, we would not consider this a warranty issue but we would be able to rebuild the wheel for you under our very reasonable rim replacement program.

If you do decide to use Tufo tape on any wheels, it's important that you only use Tufo tires or tires that are similarly constructed. Tape depends on a very strong adhesive that holds the center of the tire to the rim (as opposed to glue that depends on a strong bond at the edge of the rim). This can be problematic for tires with a visable seam down the center or any type of coating on the base tape.

Never use only tape for cross tires. Without the edges glued down, there is a good chance that dirt and water will eventually seep in and when contaminants are added to low pressure and off cambers, the result is likely to be a rolled tire.

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