Ask RIDE…Do tubeless tyres fit on tubular wheels?

Hi RIDE,

I have a pair of Mavic Mach2 CD2 wheels which are for singles (tubular tyres). They are about 20 years old and like new and have only been ridden a dozen times back when I competed in triathlons. I stopped using them because it was too hard to find someone to repair them quickly and it was also costly compared to a normal tyre and tube. I have heard a little about tubeless tyres but don’t know much about them.

My question is: Can you use the new tubeless tyres on rims that were built for singles?

Thanks,

Paul.

Hi Paul,

Despite their name tubeless and tubular tyres are completely different. Their construction and mounting technique is far from being compatible using the one wheelset. Tubeless tyres use a clincher-style mounting but omit the need for an inner tube. They differ slightly from a normal clincher tyre in the bead of the tyre and the inner casing. Tubeless tyres have an extra ‘seal’ around the bead – the edge of the tyre which sits against the lip of the rim – which stops air from leaking out of the inside of the tyre. The inside is also weaved tighter than a traditional tyre so that no air leaks through the casing. Tubeless tyres can be used on normal wheels but generally require a tubeless rim strip to prevent air leaking through the valve hole or around the spoke drilling. Tubeless tyres cannot be mounted to a tubular or single’s rims because their is no lip on the rim for the bead of the tyre to push against.

Tubular tyres are glued to the rim and as such require no such lip. They cannot be glued to a clincher rim because the shape is incorrect for the tyre to be able to mount properly. In short; tubular tyres for tubular rims and clincher/tubeless tyres for clincher rims. Fulcrum and Campagnolo produce a range of wheels dubbed “2-Way Fit”. Don’t confuse this with tubular compatibility. These wheels are basically set-up to run either tyre and tube or a tubeless system with no changes to the rims format, ie. No tubeless rim strip.

Hopefully this helps. If you don’t want to glue tyres then get them ride-ready and move them onto a new home. Purchase a nice pair of clincher wheels instead.

Alex Malone is the Technical Editor at RIDE Cycling Review. Follow him on Twitter @alexjmalone.

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