It’s rare for me to get remotely excited about road tyres, whether I’m touring, racing or time trialling. I know that I’ll get a good tyre as long as I spend a “decent” amount, and just paying a bit of attention to puncture protection and rolling resistance. Customer reviews and forum opinions can vary enormously, especially when it comes to punctures and general durability, so a combination of high casing thread count (TPI) and kevlar beading is good enough for me.
Things have now changed. Several months ago I took a punt on a pair of Vittoria Rubino Pro G+ tyres for racing and fast touring, after reading up on the positive effect that a graphene supplement (represented by the G+ label) could have. The superior performance of graphene-infused rubber was claimed on the three key fronts of improved rolling resistance, puncture protection and durability. Tyre choice is usually a bit of a trade-off between these three, so this seemed too good to be true. But I was aware of the special properties of graphene in various applications, so decided that these G+ tyres had to be worth a try. I actually rode the Vittoria Rubino Pro Control G+ tyre on the rear, to give me a bit better wear on the tyre that has to deal with power transfer.
Many months on, and thousands of miles later, I can happily report that these tyres are utterly amazing. My riding has mostly been in the dry, but with plenty of wet riding on flint-strewn roads thrown in for good measure. Not only have I avoided a single puncture (touch wood!), but there is only minor indication of wear and tear on the rubber. The ride quality has also been fantastic, as I’ve enjoyed decent traction with minimal inertia or loss of momentum. Take that with a dose of scepticism though, as evaluation of ride quality has never exactly been one of my strong points! A claimed benefit of the Vittoria G+ graphene compound is that the rubber is harder when you’re riding in a straight line, softening when you’re cornering; this sounds great and may be happening, but isn’t something that I’ve been aware of specifically.
For 2017 I have invested in a pair of Corsa G+ tyres. Very highly rated in rolling resistance tests, they are the proper race tyre as opposed to the longer-wearing Rubinos. Given how well the Rubinos have lasted, I wouldn’t be surprised if these Corsas also go half a season or longer (5000+ miles) without a fault. Watch this space!
For an added bonus, Vittoria also has a smartphone app that helps you choose the correct tyre pressure for different tyres and conditions. Find out more at Vittoria iTire.