A barrier to cyclocross nirvana has been torn down — no more gluing! That is the promise of a new tape reviewed here that makes installation of a tubular tire a 10-minute (or less) affair.
From a performance perspective, tubular tires are superior in every way. They are lighter and can be ridden at lower pressure, for more traction; they have a more-supple casing, also increasing traction; and they are more puncture-resistant.
But not many people use them because tubular tires must be painstakingly glued to the wheel’s rim. The task is a nightmare. Some people have tubular wheels that wilt in their garage unused because gluing is such a daunting task. Well, not anymore.
Tape Your ‘Glue-Ons’
Once the source of messy work benches, piles of used latex gloves, and hours of despair, tubular tires are now easy to install. The first time I tried Effetto Mariposa’s Carogna (say, car-own-ya) tape it took me about 10 minutes.
The double-side, thick, gooey tape has been tested to both install easily and provide great strength. Here’s my method for a 10-minute install.
Tape-On Bike Tire: Instructions
1) Start the roll of tape at the valve stem, leaving the pink protective plastic on.
2) Pull the tire over the fully-taped wheel.
3) Inflate the tire to 30psi and adjust the tire straight. (Straightening the tire used to be difficult when using glue, but now the tire adjusts easily because the tape has its protecting film covering the sticky side at this point).
4) Now, pull the tape ends that you left hanging out to the side. This will expose the second side of the sticky tape and begin the adhesion of tire to rim.
5) Pull more parallel to the rim than perpendicular to ensure the plastic does not split or tear.
6) Inflate the tire to max pressure (about 65psi for cyclocross, 130psi for road). That’s it. Anybody can do it.
The tape is pressure sensitive. At high pressure, the gooey nature of the tape will “flow” into the cloth of the tire, developing a tenacious bond that reaches 80% strength after 8 hours. Full strength is achieved at the 24-hour mark.
Better Tubular Tape
Carogna is different from existing tubular gluing tapes in a few ways. It is two sided, and it is very thick. It appears almost like a spongy epoxy close up. The adhesive was developed for use underwater in high demand commercial applications. It’s very strong.
High strength is necessary for cyclocross especially, because the tires are tall and exert a lot of leverage. So far, it’s working superbly in our review and test, including in several races this fall. (Contact us if you find that it does not work as well as it did for us.)
We have not used it for installation on carbon wheels, but trusted industry vet Leonard Zinn reports no problems, which makes sense as the adhesive was developed for bonding plastics.
Clean up is easier than glue, because this product can be “rolled” off the wheel. The tape is said to be softer and have higher adhesion on the tire side, which helps when removing the old tire.
It’s still a chore, but the tape can be rolled off in less than an hour. We need not ever use glue again.