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New this year from Vredestein, the Fortezza Senso Superlite tyre is aimed at riders who want a fast grippy tyre for all weather conditions.
Perhaps trying to save us the bother, they give it marks out of five for rolling resistance (4 - where we assume higher is better unlike, er, rolling resistance), dry weather grip (5), wet weather grip (5) and durability (3). So we can infer from this - and the price of £50 - that the market is probably biased towards racing rather than commuting, where you'd likely be more interested in durability and toughness than rolling resistance.
We've reviewed Vredestein's big selling Fortezza Tricomp tyres before . The new Fortezza Senso range replaces the Tricomp models but shares much of the technology. Tricomp refers to the use of a harder compound on the centre of the tyre and softer rubber at the sides, here using a new AWS rubber. The idea is that the tyre rolls faster and wears more slowly in a straight line while enhancing grip when you're cornering.
Also featured is the Curve Control System, designed to ensure the tyre wears more evenly, keeping its round profile for longer and giving better handling behaviour as it wears. I suspect that this is more a question of giving a new name to a secondary benefit of the Tricomp construction than anything else, but it sounds good and preventing a flattened-off profile does make a tyre more predictable in corners.
Vredestein use a range of thread densities on their Fortezza tyres, from 120 tpi to a whopping 290 tpi. The Superlite model uses a fairly fine 220 tpi carcass and is comfortably the lightest of the range. At 200g, it's not quite in Continental Grand Prix Supersonic territory but unlike that featherweight, this tyre still has decent polyamide puncture protection (I had no punctures in hundreds of test miles, albeit in relatively clement summer conditions). It's a similar weight to top-end offerings from Michelin and Schwalbe.
Fitting the tyres was a piece of cake. Once fitted, they are reasonably supple and comfortable for their size (they're only available in 700x23, which is a bit of a shame as larger section tyres are becoming more popular even on out-and-out race bikes). I fitted them to my commuter and thrashed them along road and tow path, finding them to be surprisingly tough for such light tyres. With them fitted on my race bike I was similarly impressed by the combination of fast rolling and sure-footedness in the corners; fast hairpins held no fears with these fitted.
I have a couple of places that I use to assess straight-line grip - a very steep section of tarmac (unrideable in the wet on 90% of tyres) and a hill with an unusually high concentration of steel drain-covers, which can catch you out badly in the wet. These Vredesteins did well, particularly on the drain-covers where they showed exceptional grip.
The centre of the tyre has no tread and there is a very fine thunderbolt pattern on the shoulders, presumably more to enhance the grip than for water dissipation. In any case, it works well. I was also pleasantly surprised by wear-rates - this obviously isn't a tyre you'd ride around the world on and neither would it be my first choice for commuting duties, but it's not showing signs of excessive wear over the test period and has plenty more use left in it.
In short, there's a lot to like here. The Fortezza Senso Superlite offers a great combination of low weight, great grip and low rolling resistance. Pumped to 100psi or so, I had no issues with punctures during the test either. They're not cheap, so most people would probably only fit them to their best bike, but for fast riding and racing they're a great option.
Performance road tyre that excels in terms of grip, speed and weight
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Make and model: Vredestein Fortezza Senso Superlite
Size tested: 700x23c
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Lightweight competition tyre for all weather conditions.
Based on the newly developed AWS compound, applied using our TriComp Technology®.
The 220 TPI casing results in a superlight, flexible competition tyre with optimum comfort.
Low rolling resistance and outstanding grip in both wet and dry weather.
The Curve Control System® guarantees durability and an exceptional ride quality, even in corners.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Size: 700 x 23c
Min/Max pressure (bar): 8.0 to 12.0
For a 23 it's not bad. Shame you can't get it in a 25.
Not cheap, but it is really good.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well - it's a great choice for fast riding.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good grip, especially in the corners and the low weight.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not a lot.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Age: 36 Height: 190cm Weight: 78kg
I usually ride: Boardman CX team for the daily commute My best bike is: Rose Xeon CRS
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Jez spends his days making robots that drive cars but is happiest when on two wheels. His roots are in mountain biking but he spends more time nowadays on the road, occasionally racing but more often just riding.