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Would like to hear some arguments that would favor a tubular set up over a tubless set up for gravel grinders. I have plenty of experience with the tubeless set up, and like the ability to repair in a remote gravel area, so why consider a tubular set up? I have litte experience in this area. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
 

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Harmonius Wrench
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Tubular tires would only be more of a mechanical/logistical problem, as far as I can see. In terms of performance, it is going to vary dependant upon where you ride. In Iowa, yeah.....maybe. In Kansas in the Flint Hills? No way! Flint tears up a tire like a hot knife through butter as it is, and with tubular casings being fabric and not all that tough, you would be looking at a "when" the tire would get destoyed, not an "if" the tire would get destroyed.

Logistically it comes down to whether you have the space, or "want to" to cart around a spare tubular. Tubulars eat up a lot of space, so if you are a minimalist, or space is a concern, tubulars will cramp your style a bit.

Also, there is the whole removal/re-installation thing in dusty/dirty environs. Probably not conducive to getting a secure seal on a rim.

I would opt for tubeless with a tube back up and a patch kit for really long events. Bring a zip loc to throw your tubless valve stem into in case of a repair, and bring a rag to wipe up with due to the sealant mess. (Been there, done that)

In events like the DK 200, where flint rock is like knives, I just bring a tubed set up right off the bat, although you can certainly do tubeless there if you want. I just would rather by-pass a near certain mess due to a flat. At least for that place. :D
 

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Cheesiest
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I'm planning to build up a set of Stan's ZTR 355 29ers for a mix of road/gravel/singletrack this summer. I'm not quite sure which tire to go with, but I am looking for something between 32 and 38c that rolls well.

I'm hoping this setup will work well. I'm interested in anything you might find.
 

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I think that you will find that Stans ZTR rims make a great tubeless gravel wheel set. I really like the Hutchinson bulldog or piranha CX tires.
Unless you are using the burlyest touring tire there is always the potential to cut tires in KS. I personally have never cut a CX tire in the flint hills of KS(and I log a lot of flint hill miles), but I did cut the 2.6 Ardent (super beefy DH tire) that we have on our mtn tandem when we were gravel cruising last summer.
A couple of Nebraskans rode tubulars in the PCL's Good Life Gravel adventure 2 years ago, but much of that course was on sandy pea gravel roads.
 

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intheways said:
I'm planning to build up a set of Stan's ZTR 355 29ers for a mix of road/gravel/singletrack this summer. I'm not quite sure which tire to go with, but I am looking for something between 32 and 38c that rolls well.

I'm hoping this setup will work well. I'm interested in anything you might find.
I had a set of 'cross racing wheels built up this year using the 355 rims and Ultegra hubs. I run 'em tubeless paired w/ Hutchinson Bulldog tires. Once I figured out an acceptable tire pressure and got over the fact that the number was higher than I had hoped it would be, they worked perfectly. FWIW, at my weight (~195) I couldn't run the tires any lower than 40 psi. BUT, at 40 psi they were softer to the 'thumb test' than a 32mm wide Tufo tubular at 34 psi. Maybe there really is something to the idea that the lack of a tube allows the tire to flex more and therefore ride smoother.

A buddy of mine set up his wife's bike for the '09 DK using Bulldogs on Open Pro rims that he'd converted to tubeless. She's tiny, but they still set her up w/ her tires up to ~60 psi. She said they rode pretty well and she did 150+ miles with no problems or flats.

I'm planning on running my 'cross race wheel setup at this year's DK w/ pressures up to around 60, which should certainly preclude any pinch flats and hopefully not ride too harshly.
 

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scooter2468 said:
A buddy of mine set up his wife's bike for the '09 DK using Bulldogs on Open Pro rims that he'd converted to tubeless. She's tiny, but they still set her up w/ her tires up to ~60 psi. She said they rode pretty well and she did 150+ miles with no problems or flats.
Was she on a Moots crossbike? If so I recall seeing her a number of times on course last year.
 

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I'm pretty sure I'm going to go tubular.

likely not riding that wheelset for dirty kanza, but for most situations in MN area I've been told I won't regret it. Guess dk will require my mtb wheelset with the hutch. piranhas with tubes...

any further input on this topic? I'd love to hear from others who are running tubular for this application, or even just for cx?
 

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agriholic said:
I think that you will find that Stans ZTR rims make a great tubeless gravel wheel set. I really like the Hutchinson bulldog or piranha CX tires.
Unless you are using the burlyest touring tire there is always the potential to cut tires in KS. I personally have never cut a CX tire in the flint hills of KS(and I log a lot of flint hill miles), but I did cut the 2.6 Ardent (super beefy DH tire) that we have on our mtn tandem when we were gravel cruising last summer.
A couple of Nebraskans rode tubulars in the PCL's Good Life Gravel adventure 2 years ago, but much of that course was on sandy pea gravel roads.
I too like the Piranhas, but I have put a small gash in one in the rocks of Michaux State Forrest (Pa.). I just need to repair the tire and remount.:)

Those tires are GREAT on the ZTR rims.
 

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Tubeless > Tubular for Gravel Grinders

I spend a fair amount of time racing CX in addition to mountain bikes. I've done my share of research, and written several articles, on the merits of tubulars v. tubeless for CX.

I can think of no good reason to choose tubulars over tubeless, or traditional tube/tire setups, for endurance gravel events. Cyclocross racing, sure, tubulars are still king - though both tubular and tubeless have their merits for cx racing. (Check out CXmagazine.com for more info on the subject.)

Endurance gravel races are a different story...

Do tubulars ride better? Yes, but you would be better served by running a higher volume clincher at low pressure than a using high TPI 32/34c tubular that is very supple, but also more fragile.

What happens when you flat? If you're running tubulars your race is over, plain and simple. If you've ever removed a well-glued tubular cross tire then you know it a can be an endurance event in itself. Good luck prying it off the rim, then gluing on your spare tubular tire-properly-and finishing the race.

I've raced DK200 with tubes and tubeless, and plan to go tubeless this time around. :thumbsup:
 

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2silent, is that you that's getting a custom bike built - have you bought your tires yet? If not, I'd definitely recommend Tufos, not from personal experience, but from all the people on forums who rave about them. I'm a tubeless convert, but Tufos sound good if you're sold on tubulars. For gravel events, though, forget it.
 
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