The sticky world of tubulars

I first fell in love with cycling through cyclocross. Of course, I’ve always been a bit of a traditionalist too. The combination of these has always led me to choosing tubulars for my race wheels. Clincher technology is developing rapidly as carbon clinchers combine light weight and aerodynamics with the ease of installing and changing tires. Of course, race wheels are meant for racing, so hopefully you only have to deal with the indignity of gluing and removing tubies once or twice a year.

Especially as a cyclocross racer, I’ve always worshiped at the church of Stu Thorne and Adam Myerson when it came to gluing my tires- layers upon layers of glue on the tire and rim, and a layer of “Belgian” tape in between. In my growing laziness as a grad student with a full time job and bike habit, I’ve been recently looking for shortcuts.

Here at the shop, the service techs have always sworn by Tufo Tape  for their adhesion needs.  I’ve always been a bit skeptical about Tufo Tape so I’ve never used it for myself, but the techs and customers here have had good experiences. Looking for a way to avoid the Mastic mess, but still get solid adhesion, I’ve been playing with Effetto Mariposa’s Carogna Tape this season. I’ve been able to ride my cyclocross tires in the wet at well under 20psi without issue, but we can talk about that more later.

One issue we’ve always had at the shop is how to get used tubular rims clean enough to secure the tires with tape (either Tufo or Effetto). Effetto Carogna requires a clean rim to insure proper adhesion between the tire and rim, but none of us are too interested in burying ourselves in the basement scraping away at last year’s tubular cement.

Effetto Mariposa offers a solution to this in their Carogna Mastick/Glue Remover. The company claims that the product is safe on both aluminum and carbon rims, something we’ve always been concerned with when it comes to chemical glue removers.

image2We decided to test this out on one of my personal rims. I’ll be gluing this wheel up (pretty late in the season) to use on my single speed cx bike. The wheel has been used for a few years and has quite the accumulation of glue and some dirt.







image4The remover is much more liquidy than I expected, and came out of the bottle pretty quickly. Once it goes on, it stays where you put it, but it does drip a bit coming out of the bottle.








I applied a thin coat down the middle of the rim and then spread it out with an acid brush. I was sure to pay close attention to the thicker portions of old glue and the edges of the rim. The rim edges are where proper adhesion plays the most important role.

And, now we wait. Effetto Mariposa recommends leaving the remover on 2-12 hours to let the glue “cook” under the remover. I’ll revisit the wheel this afternoon, and start scraping.

The remover is safe to use indoors, which means the service techs that we lock in the basement don’t need to worry about getting fumigated while working on wheels.

We hope to report back after the cure time with our thumbs up. If the test goes well, we’ll have a nifty way to get your race tubulars as clean as the day you bought them, and insure that your tubs are strong and secure.