Question: I’m new to cycling and have seen road tires described as “clinchers.” What’s a clincher? — Derrick P.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: You almost certainly have clincher tires on your bike. The term derives from the way that this type of tire “clinches” the rim.
In a clincher, wire or Kevlar runs along the edge on either side of the tire. This “bead” fits under the hooked inner edge of the rim when the tube is inflated. It holds the tire in place.
The other main type of tires are called a “tubular” (or “sew up”) and tubeless. In tubulars, the tube is stitched into the tire casing, then the tire is glued onto a special rim. Tubulars aren’t seen much anymore, but some racers still use them.
Tubeless are, as the name implies, tires that do not require a tube. The do, however, require a “tubeless-ready” or “tubeless-compatible” rim that holds the air in the tire much like a car tire functions.
Search the site for more info on all these types of systems.
Here’s a great article on some of the top tire choices of Road Bike Rider readers and the ones that our writers use.
Weight . Advantage Tubulars. Because you don’t have the clincher bead, and the tube is really part of the tire, the tubular tire is usually going to be a bit lighter. While this might matter for elite cyclists, most of us would probably notice more of a weight difference if we simply lost a pound or two!