Review: Vittoria Corsa G+ Clincher Tyre
Over the winter months I rode (and tested) the Rubino Pro G+ tyre from Italian tyre specialist, Vittoria, and was impressed not only by the durability and grip they offered, but also their low rolling resistance. In short, a winter/training tyre to compete with the perennial bestsellers out there.
For those not yet up to speed on the Vittoria G+ range of tyres, unveiled in 2015, the ‘G+’ stands for graphene, a carbon allotrope that, when added to rubber compounds, so Vittoria claim, makes the rubber harder when rolling straight (and thereby offering lower rolling resistance), but softer when breaking, cornering or accelerating, thereby increasing the contact patch on the road and providing more grip.
Vittoria were the first cycling brand to announce the utilisation of graphene and it now features across their entire range of road tyres. I’ve been itching to try out the more race/summer orientated Corsa G+ tyre and a pair duly arrived fresh from Italy, just in time for a week of riding in the Mallorca.
Vittoria argue that the incorporation of graphene negates the need to compromise speed for grip and durability and vice versa. The Rubino G+ review certainly bore out this claim and the Corsa G+, albeit only after 500 miles of testing, suggests that Vittoria do appear to have developed a rather special tyre, which utilises four compounds, and the addition of graphene of course, to maximise the all-round performance.
There are a lot of devotees of the original Vittoria Corsa tyre – fast, grippy and light, it’s been a stalwart of the race scene and the summer tyre favoured by many. My own previous experience of the Corsa was that durability was compromised in the pursuit of speed.
Would the new Corsa G+ alter my preconceived opinion that ti might be a little flakey? Well, where better to road test the latest incarnation of the Corsa than on the sun-bleached, smooth asphalt of Mallorca? Perfect roads to assess the subtle nuances and see if the claims of Vittoria would stand up to scrutiny. Or so I thought. A week of spring training in the sun was punctuated by unseasonably cold weather and torrential rain.
Not the Mallorcan spring I am used to, but at least the inclement conditions provided an opportunity to ride in all conditions and on all types of roads – it’s a bit of myth that Mallorcan roads are all ribbons of perfection to be honest. Some, in fact a fair few, can compete with the worst of UK roads for broken surfaces, potholes and detritus. As test tracks go, my Mallorcan sojourn offered every conceivable surface, weather condition and riding terrain to really put the Corsa G+ through their paces.
Firstly, let’s take a brief look at the tyres themselves. The 25c (tested) weigh in at 240g, so a relatively light tyre, but to illustrate where it sits in tyre weight charts, that makes it 20 grams heavier than the original Corsa and, likewise, the Continental Grand Prix 4000S II or Bontrager R4, but lighter than Schwalbes Durano RaceGuard. Weight weenies may fret over the odd gram, but for the majority, the Corsa G+ is not going to be discarded on the grounds of weight.
The Corsa G+ is a very supple, foldable tyre and slips onto the rims with ease – making it very easy to get off as well. One tyre lever proved enough. The tread is comprised of longitudinal grooves and is also non-directional, so no confusion as to which way to mount the tyre. It’s an unusual tread and initially I had reservations on two counts – how effectively would water be directed off the contact patch and would any small bit of debris or glass get caught in grooves?
The distinctive ‘look’ is also worth a mention. The tan sidewalls, very retro in feel, may not be to everyone’s taste. Prior to receiving my tyres from Vittoria, I had seen a friend’s matt black Parlee sitting in the workshop of the mechanic we both use, newly fitted with the Corsa G+. They looked awesome. On my silver-grey ‘anthracite’ Orbea Orca I was not initially sure - they look so totally different from conventional black sidewalls. Any misgivings I had were dispelled when I set up the bike in Mallorca and immediately garnered some favourable comments from others. Now I’ve had time to get used to the dichotomy of an aero looking bike with retro looking wheels, I’m rather won over!
Now to performance and much like their winter sibling, the Corsa G+ delivers in all areas. These tyres feel fast and independent rolling resistance tests suggest that they are one of the fastest clincher tyre currently on the market. On dry, straight roads they just zip across the surface. It’s sometimes difficult to quantify just how ‘fast’ a tyre is, but these just fly. It’s tangible.
And then there is the grip. When cornering the tyre emits a sort of sticky, tacky sound as you swoosh around the corner. It’s audible and both myself and my friend on his Parlee, noticed it. Is that the graphene softening as we lean into the bends, we wondered? Well, possibly, but what it does provide is a reassurance that the tyres are securely planted on the road.
On several technical descents in Mallorca, including the multiple switchbacks of the Col de Soller, the Corsa G+ gave me confidence to take the hairpins at speed, carving tight lines into the apexes. My confidence in the tyres to keep me upright increased as the week of riding went on. The grippiness was all the more apparent in the torrential rain. Admittedly I had no major descents to negotiate, but smooth tarmac covered in torrents of water holds its own inherent danger, but once again the Corsa G+ were more than up to the challenge, allowing me to ride at speed throughout. I doubt I would have felt any safer had my rims been shod in an all-weather winter training tyre!
As for tyre pressure, I took on board some advice from Jon Heasman of Vittoria UK, who just happened to weigh the same as me and suggested riding at 100psi, which is a little lower than I would normally run on a 25c tyre. It’s noticeably softer and forgiving than my usual 110 psi pressure and perhaps explains the reassuring contact and bond I felt with the road surface. Coupled with this was a reduction in road vibration, which definitely increased when pumped to 110.
The Corsa G+ have also proved to be very durable too: 500 miles and as the image below shows, there is very little noticeable wear and tear on the tread. I did experience a slow flat twenty minutes into my first ride on the tyres. I cursed, but only on further investigation did it transpire that the cause was a leaking patch. No punctures then, so a vast improvement on my previous experience of the original Corsa. So far the high quality 320TPI corespun casing appears to be more than a match for road detritus.
It’s hard to fault the Corsa G+ and question the claims made by Vittoria. Is it all down to the incorporation of the graphene? Other brands may rubbish the supposed benefits of this new wonder material when incorporated into a rubber compound – on a recent cycling industry jolly a rep from a leading German tyre manufacture was damming in his assessment - but from my own experience, the tyre does appear to perform exceptionally well. Speed, durability and grip in one tyre? On this showing, Vittoria have every reason to be crowing!
The Vittoria Corsa G+ folding clincher tyre retailsat £56.99, so at over £110 for the pair the Corsa G+ is not the cheapest option out there, but online deals are available from the likes of Wiggle, Chain Reaction and Evan Cycles.
Vittoira also offer a tubular version of the Corsa G+ and a tubeless ready optin, but for those racers out there looking for that little extra zip, the Corsa Speed G+ tubular, might be the one to consider!
Road Tested by Dave Nash April/May2017. 550 miles ridden, in all weathers. Punctures: zero.
Add a Comment