Clincher vs Tubular vs Tubeless How to Chooes?

Clincher vs Tubular vs Tubeless How to Chooes?

Pneumatic bicycle tire has gone through 100 years of history. Dunlop has made an important contribution to this invention, so that the company’s founder John Boyd Dunlop were often considered to be the ancestor of the tire. Dunlop Tire Company commercialized the invention and applied for the patent. The history of pneumatic tires is inseparable from some well-known names, such as Michelin or Clément, and the brand “Clincher” of Beiying Rubber Company directly affects the name of modern clincher tires, even though the tires at the time are not the same as the current ones.

It’s the biggest challenge of early tires that how to properly and reliably fix them on the rims. It’s is a very effective way to bond to the rims in the past, and there are also other fixed ways, such as hook-shaped rims, wire pull-ups, etc. However, these methods are too complicated. Eventually, the Clincher, Tubeless and tubular have became the most mainstream form. Even though, it is still fierce debate advantage for different tire performance.

The ideal tire:
The ideal bicycle tires are light in weight, good in stab resistance, excellent grip, long-lasting, reasonably priced, low rolling resistance and comfortable. However, these are ideals. In reality, many elements are mutually exclusive. In the current technical background, ultra-light tires do not have very good anti-puncture capabilities, we have to compromise on one or more performances in many times. It depending on our actual needs.

Many people regard the tire as a static structure with a single function – a rubber tube that contains gas, but there are many factors on the road that act on the tire. In fact, the tire is dynamic and constantly changing shape to adapt to road changes, wheel angle and the weight of rider.

For this reason, the flexibility of the tires is very valuable feature, when the wheels rolling on the ground, the soft tire easier to fit and rebound. It’s grip, rolling resistance and overall are better.

The choice of materials largely determines the final weight, softness and durability. Lightweight materials are often used to produce high-speed tires with low rolling resistance and soft surfaces. However their puncture resistance is not strong, easy to wear and expensive. Heavy materials enhance puncture resistance, wear and cost reduction. But have higher rolling resistance and the comfort is reduced. These principles also apply to clincher tires, tubeless tires or tubular tires.

1. All three tires include a woven outer casing that encloses the air chamber and it’s covered with a rubber tread.
2. Use the same material or manufacturing process.
3. The appearance is similar after installation on the bike wheelset.
4. All three tires can be designed for different riding habits, performance, price and usage scenarios.
In contrast, the difference between the three types of tires becomes simple – how to form and house the air chamber. For the tubular tire, the air chamber is completely enclosed inside the tire. Clincher tire requires the inner tube to accommodate the gas. Tubeless tire itself is the air chamber, but needs to cooperate with the tubeless rims.

Select the tires, look at the wheels first:
Each tire requires a specialize bike rims to match, in other words, cyclists have to select the tire based on the bicycle rims. Tubular tires cannot be used on Clincher wheelsets. Clincher tires or tubeless tires cannot be installed on tubular wheelsets. Clincher tires can be mounted on Tubeless wheels, but inner tubes must be used. Tubeless tires can also be mounted on a standard clincher wheelset, while can no longer be used as a tubeless tire, only with inner tube.

Tubeless tires are very beneficial for off-road riders because tubeless tires can be used at air pressures of less than 40 psi or less than 3 bar and can increase additional grip and traction, but for road bike riders, this advantage is not What is of great use is the lack of tube and open inner tube structure, which slightly reduces the friction between the tires. Users of Adventure or Gravel Bike may prefer vacuum tires, but vacuum tires are not a prerequisite for road off-road.


Clincher tires is popular than the other two types of tires. Clincher tires and easier to use than others.

Uses: competition, training, off-road, commuting, long distance

Advantages: easy installation, simple disassembly, numerous products

Insufficient: low pressure easy “snake bite”, wire tires increase weight, hook-shaped bead increases overall weight

Requires accessories: open clincher wheelset, tire pad, inner tube

Maintenance: testing tread wear and foreign objects

Cost: from high to low, consumers will face a huge product range, ranging from tens dollars to hundreds dollars. The inner tube is relatively cheap, but it is a continuous cost.

It has long been recognized as a good choice for competitive-grade road bikes. Tubular are widely used by professional cyclists, but because of the difficulty and time-consuming installation and maintenance, tubular tires are not very attractive for ordinary riders. However, the tubular tires can save a lot of weight.
Uses: competition, training, off-road, long distance
Advantages: Lightweight, matched wheels are also very lightweight, more resistant to “snake bites” than Clincher tires.
Insufficient: Installation is difficult, and it is impossible to quickly repair in the roadside. The tire repair technology is similarly “World Cultural Heritage” (true · hand-sewing).
Requires accessories: tubular dedicated tire wheelset, glue or double-sided tape.
Maintenance: need to check the tread wear of the tube, the adhesion of the tire and the wheel.
Cost: above average, although you can buy 100 $ tubular tire, but it adds extra cost of double-sided tap. Cyclists should spend time learning to install to save money.

As a new product in the market, tubeless tires are favored by off-road enthusiasts for their excellent puncture resistance.
Advantages: Excellent puncture resistance, low tire pressure and repair fluid offer additional anti-piercing ability.
Insufficient: installation requires technology, product types are limited, maintenance is confusing.
Requires accessories: Tubeless dedicated wheelset, tire pad, tubeless tire nipple, repair fluid sealant, air compressor.
Maintenance: Check tread wear, need to add repair fluid in several months.
Cost: medium and high, tubeless tires are more expensive than clincher tires. The tire pads and nipples can be regarded as one-time costs, but the repair fluid will be a long-term cost. It takes a considerable amount of time to maintain and requires some equipment. For example, a compressed gas cylinders or an air compressor.

How to Choose which tire:
From the above discussion, it is not difficult to find that each tire system has advantages and disadvantages. In general, high-end Clincher tires (cotton sleeve structure) and Tubeless tires have been able to achieve or even exceed the performance of the Tubular tires. For lightweight cyclists, tubular tyres are the best choice. For most riders, Clincher tires are easy to maintain that was significant advantages. But the choice of tires sometimes can’t be completely arbitrary, depending on the wheelsets you choose. After all, the cost of changing the wheelset is higher than the tires.


Brade Track Width: 23mm

Inner Width: 16mm

Rim Depth: 60mm

Rim Type: Clincher