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Tufo Alca tubular wheelset first-look

Tufo Alca tubular wheelset first-look

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Words: Steve Walker

Tufo Alca 26
Tufo Alca 26″ wheels.


Tubular wheels for a mountain bike? Are you mad?

Helmut at Sonic Cycles has kindly loaned us here heathens at Bike Magic a set of the wheel/tyre combo that requires glue and a bit of patience.

The jury’s still out on whether it’s necessary to run such a set up, but first impressions are likey, likey.

Tufo Alca wheels. Do we really need tubulars for mountain biking? The jury's out but The Butcher will soon let us all know.
Tufo Alca wheels. Do we really need tubulars for mountain biking? The jury’s out but The Butcher will soon let us all know.

Here’s some maths:

–       Pair Tufo wheels + QR skewers + XTR rotors + XC2 (2”) Prima tubulars = 3,000grams.

–       Pair DT Swiss Tricon S10-CL wheels (came on my super-light Scott Scale Premium) + XTR rotors + Schwalbe Rocket Ron tyres (2.1”) set up tubeless = 3,300grams.

(Those are home-weighed on my Butcher Scales, not made up weights found on company websites and both include sealant.)

Full test and review to follow after I’ve hammered them a bit and ground out a few miles.

More information: Tufo Alca tubular MTB wheels


  1. serge the seal of death

    Butch, (what is this the blue oyster bar)
    a few months ago some super light almost indestructable clear inner tubes appeared in a bike magic news article, As this idea of glueing tyres etc is more about weight, any ideas if BM could do a bit af a trail with these, similar rims and non tubeless tyres, Which i beleive tend to be lighter as they have less sidewall protection.

    1. The butcher

      The plan is to hit a few trails with the tub set up. Tub rims are always going to be lighter because of the nature of the rim profile. If you fancy a blast let me know. As far as I’m aware tubeless ready are lighter than ust. I only ever ride tubeless ready nowadays with plenty of jizz!
      After the tufo wheels have been hammered the review will include a Q&A with helmut, the u.k importer of tufo wheels.

  2. serge the seal of death

    For those who are not so into rubber tech.

    The tire that most of us are familiar with is the clincher which consists of an inner tube and a tire. I won’t go into how that works because I’m pretty sure everyone understands this. The tubular, or sew up, is glued directly to a rim that is specifically for tubular tires. The glue is basically a contact cement. The tube is sewn up inside the tire making it a single piece system. You can get to the tube if necessary but it is time consuming and many simply discard it and replace the whole tubular…costly.

    Most manufacturers recommend that you let the glue dry for 24 hours before riding on the newly mounted tire, though the tire can usually be ridden lightly immediately. Note that the wheels and tires for clinchers and tubulars are not interchangeable.

  3. The butcher

    Thanks serge. You’ve just ruined my feature. Ha ha

  4. James McKnight

    I guess it’s just interesting to see how these fare. They are being produced so someone out there must want them! I went on a very interesting tour of the Continental Tyres factory recently and heard plenty about the pros and cons of both.

    1. The butcher

      Tell me more, tell me more (did you get very far)……

  5. serge the seal of death

    My aim was more to let people know about Tubular, if you are a MTBer then you may not have any idea what is different about these from Tubeless, this is certainly the first time i have seen them in MTB style. useing terms without explanations can really put of peole, UST as an example, its just a trade name of Mavic and Michelin.

    1. James McKnight

      Very true. Thanks for your input Serge.

  6. The butcher

    Serge the navy seal. Your a legend. Let me know if you wanna roll on tufo tubs.

  7. Luke

    looking forward to the review on the tubs, to see if they are the way forward for XC!!!!

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