If you have been bike riding for quite some time or have been learning more about your bike tires, you’ve probably learned or heard about carbon clincher wheels.
There are two types of bike tires, the clincher and tubular tires. The clinchers are considered as the standard, typical, and most common type of bike tires. It is the most widely used type for children and is used on bikes for mountain and BMX racing.
Clincher bike wheels have an outer carcass, and as what its name implies, the tires clinch to the wheel’s rim. Similar to the tires of cars, clinchers also have an open bottom, and it needs to have an inner tube to operate. Such a tube is what is holding the air, creating a solid pressure that goes against the tire.
The first ever fully carbon clincher was introduced in 1998 to create a bike tire that offers the same aerodynamic features and weight savings that a carbon tubular wheel can offer, but with the versatility and ease of a clincher.
Since then, the carbon clincher technology has only grown, offering a lightweight, stiff, aerodynamic, versatile, and also fashionable bike wheels.
Why Use Carbon Clinchers?
There are several reasons why you should choose carbon clinchers instead of its tubular counterpart.
- It’s Way Cheaper
Compared to carbon tubular wheels, carbon clinchers are way cheaper. If you think that it is less expensive because it compromises the quality of the wheels, you’re definitely wrong.
The main reason why carbon clinchers are a bit less expensive is that when the wheel gets flat, you will only need to change the tube. Unlike when a carbon tubular gets flat, you will most likely have to change the whole tire.
- It’s Easy to Use and Change
Since clincher tires are fairly common, most cyclists already know how to work on and with them. The opposite case goes with using tubular tires which is rather tedious to work with.
It requires to be glued to the rim and if you’re using it for the first time, learning how to change a carbon tubular can take some time.
- It Makes Road Fixes Easy and Quick
When it comes to road fixes, carbon clinchers with its simplicity and familiarity with the design is a far better choice. Fixing a clincher is easier and quicker whereas fixing a tubular takes some patience and time.
- It’s Readily Available
Since the carbon clincher is relatively common, you can mostly find an available clincher wheel for whatever bike tire model you are looking for. Whether you have a mountain bike, a bike trainer or a tri bike, carbon clinchers are widely available.
4 Factors to Consider When Choosing Carbon Clinchers
What things matter most when choosing the best carbon clincher wheels?
Choosing a carbon clincher is like any big investment. There are a lot of different factors you should consider depending on who you ask or talk to. It will also depend on what bike riding you usually do.
There are four basic factors you should consider when buying carbon clinchers. While some factors are better than the others, these four should never be taken for granted or sacrificed for the other.
The performance of a carbon clincher wheel considers and measures a lot of things such as its versatility, stiffness, comfort, aerodynamics, braking, handling, and acceleration.
The best carbon clincher should be able to offer versatility that allows it to be ridden in different terrain types from flats, corners, hills, mountains, windy roads, downhills, and others. It should offer excellent performance in whichever of these cases without compromise.
Acceleration is also an important matter in choosing a carbon clincher wheel. It should be able to offer great responsiveness whenever you spin or engage the pedals when going faster or harder.
When taking turns or getting the bikes where you want them to go, stiffer carbon clinchers will work best. The stiffness of the wheels will determine how precisely they follow the move you want to make.
When it comes to the performance of clincher wheels, braking is among the critical criterion. You’ll also want an all throughout comfort even on long rides or rides across uneven surfaces with the best carbon clinchers.
The design of the carbon clincher defines how well the wheelset performs. The criteria when it comes to carbon clincher design involves its wheel material and weight, profile and width, depth of the rim, spoke and hub selection, wheel finish, and the brake track.
The best carbon clincher well will most likely be one of the lightest there is as it can allow quick accelerations whenever you have to shift gears, head up to a climb, or increase your cadence. The depth of the rim will most likely determine the weight of the carbon clincher.
Also, the rim finish might be another thing you want to consider. While it won’t directly affect the performance of the carbon clincher, it’s a factor that affects the overall look of the clincher if that matters to you.
The quality of the carbon clincher wheel will determine its durability and the overall quality of the wheelset. The durability of the rim, hub, and spoke are among the most important. Most of the hubs in carbon clinchers are of high-quality and very durable, and most of the spokes are inexpensive and easy to replace.
Moderns carbon rims have also become more durable than before and are far better when it comes to durability compared to alloy rims.
In the end, the quality of the rim of a carbon clincher will depend on how high-quality the manufacturing company makes its products. In this case, you’ll also want to consider buying a carbon clincher wheelset that has at least two years’ warranty.
Compared to other wheels and wheel types, carbon clinchers tend to be a bit more expensive. This usually differs depending on the brand name and some other features. The key is to find the best carbon clincher that fits your budget.
Carbon clinchers are fairly common and widely used in most bikes, and because they are widely available, choosing the best for your bike can be tedious.