Tyre Test - Vittoria Open Corsa Evo CX
In a previous bikebritain article (http://www.bikebritain.org/article.php?id=74) I wrote about my experiences using Continental’s GP4000S folding tyres – and how I thought they were the best tyre you could buy. Over time my experience of other tyre types has broadened. The Single Speed currently sports Continental GP4 Seasons whereas the Day One has Continental Gatorskins already fitted as standard – both ideal choices for Winter or ‘tougher’ riding conditions. With the acquisition of these bikes and the Zipp 404s I had already decided to keep the Specialized for dry day/clean road riding - so for a change I opted to use Vittoria’s Open Corsa Evo CX’s. Having been so consistently pleased with the GP4000S’s, are the Evo CX’s any good?
The saying goes “A change is as good as a rest.” Having purchased a number of pairs of GP4000s I thought a change of wheels also deserved a change of tyre. Reading up on what type of tyre would suit the 404s best, the Evo CX (clincher) was described as a ’perfect partner’ (700x23cc). With the cost of the wheels being considerable, I wanted to get the most out of the newly purchased technology. According to Vittoria, the Evo CX’s are proven to be the fastest all round race tyre available, so on paper they were going to provide a stiff challenge, performance wise, to the Continentals. I had no prior experience of Vittoria before, but I knew they were one of the companies associated with professional race teams and had been for many years. A good enough pedigree for me to give them a try; fast wheels with fast tyres. I reckoned it should make for an exciting combination.
It is hard to say exactly how much difference the tyres have made to my overall ride experience because the impact of the wheels themselves has been so great. For me, grip and puncture resistance are the key elements to any tyre. I need to stay upright in all weathers so the road holding and grip, especially when cornering, needs to be good. Also, the last thing I want to be doing is fixing punctures at the side of the road. Whilst I have no intention of running the Zipps as standard during Winter time, the roads in Sussex are liberally populated with potholes and detritus alike – so puncture protection is equally important.
At the heart of the EVO CX is it’s unique combination of 320 TPI Polycotton/Kevlar casing that facilitates optimised handling and grip. Vittoria suggest running these between 115 to 145 PSI – I cycle with 120 PSI front and back, a shade under Zipps recommended max inflation of 125 PSI. If you look closely at the external band of the tyre you can see the surface is actually made up of lots of little half beads that help provide the enhanced grip. Puncture Protection comes in the form of the Vittoria’s patented PRB (Puncture Resistant Belting) system. Similar to the ‘Vectran’ system used by Continental, Vittoria include a lightweight layer of high density nylon beneath the tread to help protect against road debris. My experience so far though would indicate that’s it’s not as effective as the ‘Vectran’ breaker. Having cycled less than 500 miles on the new wheel/tyre combination and already picked up a couple of punctures, both front and back. Weight wise there’s very little in it – the Evo CX’s are quoted at 220 grams with the GP4000S coming in 15 grams lighter. That might make some difference to a pro racer – it means nothing to me. Both are the ‘folding’ type and proudly claim to handmade.
In summary, it has been interesting to try out a different brand of tyre. However the GP4000S now looks like better bet. Although the Vittoria’s might have the edge when it comes to rolling speed, their all-round durability is not as good as Continental’s. Given that my cycling predominately occurs on bumpy British roads, the GP4000S are more suited to this type of riding than the more refined but less robust Evo CX’s. They are a good tyre – just not on the roads I use. So ‘perfect partner’ maybe – but I’ll be spending my money elsewhere next time.
If you are interested in road testing these tyres for yourself, Vittoria tyres can be purchased from all good cycle retailers; I bought mine from www.wiggle.co.uk for around £40 each.
Words, Thumbnail and Slider Image – bikebritain
Technical data – wiggle.com, vittoria.com and conti-tyres.co.uk