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Tubular or covers, what is better on the road?

Tubular or covers, what is better on the road?

When it comes to improve a road bike, invest in Good wheels It is almost always the best option. We usually look at the tire material (carbon or aluminum), the profile, the wheel width or the radiated. But it is also important to choose the tire system that we want to mount. The tires constitute the only connection point between the bicycle and the asphalt. The road wheels usually use two tire systems: tubular and cover. Which is better? What advantages do you have in front of the other? And, most importantly, which one should I choose? To answer these questions, it is necessary to be clear about what use we are doing, what objectives we want to achieve and what we need to choose the system that best suits us. Because, like almost everything in life, there is no solution that suits everyone. Related: tips to buy road wheels Both the tubular and the cover have their pros and cons depending on our objectives and needs as cyclists. Let's look at what they are.

Tubular tires

Triathlete with a triathlon goat Although this system is related to the world of professional cycling and we think that it is a recent innovation, the truth is that it is a system that has been used practically since the beginning of cycling. It consists of a kind of ring formed by a cover with a completely wrapped air chamber in the housing, which on the outer side has a rolling band and inside an area that is attached to the wheel tire with a special glue or double -sided tape.

Advantages of tubular

The tubular is a simple system in one piece and, therefore, is lighter than the camera tire. The tubular are very rolling tires, with which greater pressures can be achieved and with it less friction with the asphalt. They also absorb the blows better, which gives us a lower loss of power in our pedaling. And they are more resistant to punctures thanks to some protective sheets that are attached to the rolling band. In addition, with this system we avoid the classics and annoying pinches that can occur between the roof and the chamber, since the tubular is a single piece. Professional teams let tubular cure in wineries so that they harden and are even more resistant. It should be remembered that Wout van Aert, in the Cyclocrós World Cup that won in 2017 in Bieles, did not punish that all his rivals did it several times (Van der Poel up to 4 times) and it is said that he made the race with some tubular They had been healing at a winery for 6 years.

Tubular inconveniences

The tubular requires a specific tire that comes with a band on which the tire is sticking. If we compare it with the covered system, the price is higher (always depending on models) but to equal qualities a tire with tubular usually costs twice as much as one with cover. Another disadvantage of carrying tubular on the road is that they usually lose pressure easily, so you have to be attentive to take the bicycle with the proper pressure. The assembly is also more difficult than the cover. If you do not have mechanics skills it is necessary to go through the workshop, since to install it correctly it is impressive that it is well sealed to the tire. In addition, after mounting it you will have to wait for the glue to dry before using it. It is not a tire that you can ride in 3 minutes and go to the road. Another disadvantage is that, unlike the chamber tire, the tubular is not repaired in case of a puncture. If you click, you have to throw it away.

Cover tires

Cyclist fixing wheel This system is the most widespread today in the cycling world. It consists of two pieces. On the one hand, a roof formed by a housing, an fooling layer, a rolling band and a ring (kvlar or steel) that will hook with the tire. And on the other hand a chamber that will go inside the roof and perite the roof coupling to the tire thanks to the air pressure inside. >> Wide tires, a new trend in road cycling

Advantages of the covers

Being the most widespread system, we have a wide variety of roofs, with many offers and different price ranges, so it is easier to find them in any specialized store. Its price is also lower than that of tubular tires. And its duration is greater. In case of puncture it is not necessary to buy another new tire, just change the camera for a new one or repair the punctured camera with the help of a patch.

Disadvantages of the covers

Like the tubular, the covers require a specific tire with the notches on which the roof is talked, although as we have seen above, it is easier to acquire them in the market. The wheels with cover and camera system are heavier and offer a greater friction on the asphalt than the tubular, which can make we lose pedaling efficiency. On the other hand, they are more rigid and absorb worse the irregularities of the land. If you are used to rolling with tubular, the change to a chamber tire can be uncomfortable. Although it is easier to repair a puncture, it is also easier than clicking a camera tire. Little by little, the use of tubeless wheels on the road begins to be extended. There are also cameras with anti -infincial fluid inside, with the inconvenience of a weight increase. > Is it worth taking tubeless wheels on the road?


If your thing is to squeeze yourself to scratch until the last second, the tubular is the best option. You are going to go faster, you will win in speed and performance and roll more comfortable. It is a good option if, for example, you do triathlons or participate in competitive tests. But if entering the first goal is not your goal and you don't want problems when changing pneumatics or suffering a puncture on the road, the roof is your ally.
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