Formed in June 09, Here Come the Belgians is a non-elite anti-team celebrating all things cross, cobbled and Belgian.
Seeking a different experience to the traditional cycling club, its aim is to harness the energy of a vibrant internet cycling community with grass roots racing and riding based around Cyclocross and Spring Classics. There is no race programme in the style of a racing team, more a collection of individual experiences through rides and racing, in whatever location a member may be, that all can share in and contribute toward.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Right then, this tubulars lark

Lets just say that in the idle months waiting for the nights to draw in, I've been pondering tubs. Apart from track racing the tub is uniquely 'cross (well, generally) so I'm standing on the precipice of the 'cross geek abyss pondering whether to take the final plunge and declare my cross intentions (and make the house small of glue) and gets tubs built by fellows with French names. So can I ask the learned team please:

1. Let's take a hypothetical rider - early middle age, trains a bit but could do more, willing to train harder this season (!) - is a tub going to really offer much better performance over a clincher?
2. If you spend all week sorting and gluing a general tread only for the following Sunday to be a mud bath, then what? Assuming one does not have a shed of handbuilt hoops hanging spare...
3. Do you have to get removable valves to whack sealant in?
4. Are punctures a major faff? How do you get a tub off? Do folks repair them themselves or send them off to obscure chaps in sheds for repair?
5. Whats a good all round tub for that sort of wet but not deep mud that most courses consist of from October?
6. Are they really realy really all they're cracked up to be?

Yours in anticipation, Cycles Goff.


  1. Realistically, they won't offer a significant performance advantage given your circumstances. You won't suddenly start gracing the podium :-) That said, you WILL gain grip and traction that will make a difference in the corners and on climbs and give confidence all round.

    Unless you live in the drought afflicted South, then a mud tub will see you right all year. Multiple tire choices are for pros and ahem, geeks like me....

    Most quality tubs come with removable valve cores, if only for use with deep section wheels.

    Punctures are most likely less than with clinchers - i have had 2 in 3 years. Peel tire off if you can't seal with sealant and send to Pete Burgin who does an old school, professional job.

    Tufos are a good start - Cubus is their mud tub, and they do a more general one too. Schwalbe Racing Ralph, Spesh Terra would also be good for mud. Or Grifos which are a good general tread.

    Good tubs eg FMB and Dugast are simply phenomenal if you like the whole geek/gluing/feel thing. But even more budget offerings can still give you the feel and extra grip that you simply don't get with clinchers.

    Email me: thecrossjunkie at gmail dot com if you want more.


  2. Hi Goff

    Go for it I say. Last year I was in the similar situation (there's a little blog on here somewhere?).

    Crossjunkie is the man when it comes to tubs and, amazingly he never... ever... seems to get bored talking about them?

    I think they are really good and, even at my lowly level of racing, there are performance advantages to be had. I'm defo faster on them I'm sure. I'm now generally faster than 20% of the field instead of 10%. I put this down mainly to the low pressures you can (more)safely run. It is true that they feel more supple and float across rough stuff. (Perhaps justifying the cost in my head by feeling sensations that don't exist??)

    Although Al recommended a mud tread to me too, I did in the end go for an all-rounder - Grifo's. This was for a number of reasons:

    1 - I am only going to have one set of wheels with tubs.

    2 - Here in Yorkshire we have Summer Cross too - not overly muddy.

    3 - I'd raced on Grifo clinchers and liked them

    4 - I understood the major grip from tubs comes from the deformation of the carcass rather than the tread.

    5 - middle of the road costs.

    I raced my Grifo tubs at Tod and Mugdock, in Scotland - both very muddy - and was fine on the general tread. To be fair though I don't ride overly aggressive MTB tires either and used to a little bit of slipping and sliding.

    I'm yet to puncture so can't comment. They seem tough and considering I spend most races battering the rim then I'm sure they are going to take some puncturing!

    Hope this helps?