Ah... Let me sing in praise of the bicycle tubular. I know many of you state-siders have never ridden them, and many of you so called “x-generation” have never even heard of them. Well, what can I say except it’s your loss. Look at any sport on wheels and the number one concern on the racer’s mind is their tyres. Nothing dictates how a vehicle handles more than that which connects the wheel to the road. So why do 95% of European professional cyclists ride tubulars (alias: sew-ups)? They will use such vague terms as “supple”, “lively”, “buoyant”, and “responsive” in their defense. I’m sure Mr. Dunlop would be as surprised as anyone, at the mystical command his “air sausage” inventions maintain today. Yet, even the mystique of the bike tubular pales next to the racer’s preference for the adhesive which bonds this unique tyre to its rim. As a special service to my Eagle readers, I have assembled in this month’s column a review of a sampling of several of the more popular brands:

       -VITTORIA-          A light, white glue, with a buttery finish and a hint of citrus and almonds.

                                    Excellent when served with a Hardox, Campagnolo rim.


       -WOLBER-           Another fine white, with a delicate aromatic, grassy bouquet and palette.

                                    Highly recommended with rim of Ambrossio.

    -HUTCHINSON-      A volatile white, with a pronounced top note reminiscent of plastic model

                                    cement. A worthy companion to any deep dish rim by Rigida.

      -CLEMENT-           A robust red glue, with a complex, full body and peppery overtones. A

                                    gourmand’s delight, especially when accompanied by MAVIC SUP.

       -PASTALI-            Another tenacious red, with rich oak aging, creating its renowned, “moldy

                                    basement” character. May I suggest a blackened FIR Quasar pairing.


      -FASTACK-           A desert glue. A sticky, gooey, snot-ball, tar baby mess. Possessing an

                                    acquired taste, this elixir should only be reserved for special occasions,

                                    like Corima track wheels.

I know you will want to try them all, and explore each label’s own subtle nuances and defining characteristics. A small word of caution though, as such sensitivities take years to develop and cultivate. I can remember an instance in my young and foolish days, when I attempted the appearance of sophistication by emptying an entire tube of Tubasti Extra, and passed out from its powerful nose. Ah, experience, like tubulars, only improves with aging...   -Euro Freddie.

<INDEX                                              DECEMBER - 1998                                                 NEXT>

Criterium Corner with Euro Freddie