Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How to... Tubular Installation.

Ok, the title is a bit misleading. I, by no means, know what I'm talking about when it comes to tubular tire installation. Fortunately, I was able to successfully install my first set of Vittoria Cross Evo XG tubulars on my set of Major Tom's. Before I dive into the installation process, I've got to gloat a little bit about the MT's. Can I say that these have now become my favorite rim/wheels from Velocity. Sure, I work there but like a father and his children, each hold a special place but some seem to rise to the top.

I built these up for the product shots and Interbike display, I had to take my A23 wheelset apart to build them up and thus how they came into my belonging. It's built up to the Pro Build: Saphim CX Ray spokes, radial 24 hole front, 2x 28 hole rear with brass nipples. Yes, I'm a bigger guy but the argument then turns on a few other factors: riding style and where/how I'll be riding to name a few. I'm on the upper end of the scale where going to a double budded spoke could be considered, these wheels will be used for gravel rides/races and the upcoming Kisscross season. I fully intend on pushing these wheels to the limit to see how they handle.

There are multiple different approaches and thoughts on how to glue up tubulars, I suggest exploring around asking those with expertise their thoughts and then diving in. I ended up going with 3M Fast Tack Adhesive for the glue instead of other options, just because of the rave reviews given by a lot of the local legends and roadies here in GR and the followed the instructions on how to install the tubulars listed on the back of the packing from Vittoria.

First I set out everything I thought I might need: the Fast Tack, ample amount of shop rags, and since my kitchen doubles as 'shop area' had degreasers and a couple of different kinds of soaps at hand.

I had let the tubulars stretch on the rim for 4 days at max pressure to help aid in the installation process. Below is Vittoria's 'Fitting the Tubular' instructions [with a few photos from my process, understandably it was a little difficult to take pictures and then mess with the glue and visa-versa]:


Gluing and mounting
1 Lightly abrade the rim base to provide a key for the cement, clean with a gentle solvent, and leave to dry
2 Clean the base tape of the tubular with just soapy water and a gentle cleaner [no solvent] and let dry
3 Spread a thin layer of [glue] over the rim, and over the base tape

4 After 5-10 minutes, apply a second coat of [glue] to the rim only.
5 Leave to dry for 3-5 minutes
6 Mount the tubular on the rim, inflate slightly, and center it
7 Inflate the tubular to working pressure. [Glue] reaches its full strength after about 24 hours

Keep tubulars in a dry place and, importantly, out of the light. After riding, remove debris such as metal, glass, flints, or anything stuck in the tread. Clean with water and mild soap such as washing-up liquid - avoid products containing hydrocarbons, dilutants, or corrosive substances. When not in use, tubulars should be kept inflated to 5-6 bar [70-90 psi] and suspended [to avoid causing 'flat spots']


So how did my experience go? Very well. A few sticky fingers but the Seam Relief Channel the Major Tom has truly helps aid in tubular installation and centering. I could easily see how frustrated people can and do get installing a tubular on rims that don't have such a guide. It also seemed to help in keeping the glue in place.

Two thumbs up! Now to hit the gravel and if all goes to plan the Kisscross race this weekend!

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