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.
Coach Fred Matheny is an RBR co-founder who has four decades of road cycling and coaching experience. He has written 14 eBooks and eArticles on cycling training, available in RBR’s eBookstore at Coach Fred Matheny, including the classic Complete Book of Road Bike Training, which includes 4 eBooks comprising 250 pages of timeless, detailed advice and training plans. The Complete Book is one of the many perks of an RBR Premium Membership. Click to read Fred's full bio.