This current off-season found me with a new bike and my race wheels and set of Open Corsa tires. Through rain, cinder, fallen limbs and the occasional gravel wash the tires did not get any cuts or cause any pinch flats all winter long. I must admit that I could have gotten more mileage out of them if I had rotated the rear tire to the front but I knew I was replacing my beloved red stripe Corsas with a new set this spring. Current claims in other reviews and forums showed that cyclists were able to get 1500 miles out of the rear and 2000 out of the front tire. I managed 2000 miles out of the rear tire before squaring it off. My Front tire has almost 1500 miles and still look very usable. This will be kept as an emergency spare.
So I replaced my 2009/2010 Vittoria Open Corsa CX tires with a new set of the 2011 Vittoria Open Corsa CX tires. Quite a bit has changed with the Open Corsa tires since the last redesign when they changed how they laid in their color stripes from a dual stripe on the outer section of tread to an single inner stripe. Vittoria also upped their thread count in their cotton casings from 290 TPI to 320 TPI with the addition of a puncture resistant belting layer for cut protection.
I have my guesses as to why they did this but can only share my personal experience with the 2009 Open Corsas. In a Criterium race I managed to strike a curb hard damaging my rear wheel and causing the color section of the tire to delaminate. While I do not think that this would have happened in normal use it was disappointing to say the least when I had to replace the tire.
So the 2011 Open Corsa EVO CX tires come in several popular sizes and color choices. The traditional 700-wheel size comes in tire widths of 20c, 23c and 25c. The 650-wheel size used primarily by triathletes only comes in the 20c size. The 650 20c only comes in black but the 700 23c comes in black, blue, yellow and my 2 favorites red and white. The 700 20c and 25c only come in black.
Why do I like the Open Corsa’s so much? They are light and roll like a dream and corner on rails! I know this sounds like great marketing speak but let me explain. When I first started racing I was not comfortable cornering at speed. I often felt like I was a hair’s width away from skidding or having a wheel slide out. Years ago I had a rock-climbing instructor tell me to succeed as a sport climber you have to trust your gear. I just didn’t trust my tires. This all changed when I switched to Vittoria Open Corsa tires. These tires truly are meant for racing and that special group ride where you really want to out hammer the other club riders. The tires are not cheap. I have seen them go for as high as 89.00 a piece and as low as 59.00 a piece. If you’re lucky you may find a shop or big discounter closing them out at 39.00 a piece in colors that don’t sell as well.
Its been said that the reason that the newer design wears better and does not get cut as frequently is because of the 320 TPI (Threads Per Inch) casing and the new Kevlar® SiO2 compound. While I could tell no difference between the older 290 TPI and the newer 320 TPI.
So what else is special about the 20111 Vittoria Open Corsa EVO CX clincher tires. Vittoria uses the following technical designations for the new tires:
Corespun 320 TPI – This is the fore mentioned cotton casing that uses a 320 Threads Per Inch. This is where the comfort and road dampening come from.
Kevlar® SiO2 – This is the tread compound that uses silica and microscopic Kevlar particles. The Kevlar silica compound is what Vittoria claims is what gives the Open Corsa its low rolling resistance and improved traction on wet roads.
Twin Tread – The tread at the crown is harder as this is where the tire is ridden most often and the shoulder of the tire is made of softer compound to further improve cornering.
PRB 2.0 – Is the puncture resistant belting layered under the tread made up of new aramidic fibers. While Vittoria makes claims the belt is not made of Kevlar like so many other puncture resistant tires. This seems strange because that’s what aramid is, Kevlar.
The recommended tires pressures will vary based on the weight of the rider but are comparable to other high TPI count clinchers. I found that in race conditions the recommended pressure is a few PSI to high for my taste. I find it a bit skittish especially on the front tire.
Likes: Hand made, light, smooth rolling, cornering confidence inducing, easy to mount, wears well for a performance tire
Dislikes: Expensive – But what can you expect, they are handmade!
There you go another review. If you haven’t figured this out about my reviews I only review those items in my cycling experiences that I feel have made a positive impact on my performance. I have had several disastrous results with other tires and other products for that matter. Why don’t I review them and give the manufacturer in question a written Black Eye? I have been tempted but as the name implies, I am trying to keep it positive. If you are in need of Vittoria tires and can’t find them at your LBS try Main Street Bikes.