In these times of ultra-bald tyres in rainbow colours it’s a rare thing to see a straight black tyre, like the Vittoria Diamante Pro Tech, with a file tread on the edges and a smooth central strip, it’s gives an almost old-fashioned warm fuzzy glow of nostalgic reassurance. Though there’s nothing archaic about these tyres as they’re full of modern technology and zeitgeist buzzwords.
Vittoria are keen to emphasise that, the Pro Tech, their race and training tyre has 220 TPI (Threads Per Inch) in the carcass which is well above the norm for your average clincher tyre. The graphic on the side of the Diamante box suggests that a basic training tyre will have 60 TPI, a race/training tyre 120TPI, a race tyre 220 and a tubular topping the list with a high-weave 290-320TPI. As a general rule the higher the threads per inch the better quality the tyre will be, the sidewall will be thinner and more supple, all contributing to lower rolling resistance with better grip, the tyre will also be lighter with the downside being possible increased fragility. The sidewalls claim you can pump these up to anywhere between 115 and 145 PSI which is a fair bit higher than your usual clincher too, they were generally inflated to the middle of the suggested range, mainly out of an irrational fear of pumping them any higher.
On the road these Vittorias instantly bestowed added speed and zing to the bike, noticeable in the first corner despite being in the mid-pack weight wise for a training/race clincher, the Diamante Pro Tech caresses the back of the neck of the scales with a tender 199g per tyre, which is pleasantly over 20g lighter than claimed on the box. Despite being able to be pumped up to pressures previously unseen in the workshop they were the opposite of harsh riding tyres, the suppleness allowed by the high TPI in the sidewalls certainly took the high frequency buzz off the roads, useful on the crappy training roads that seem to be struggled along most of the time, and the ability for the tyre to conform to the tarmac's surface gives an immediate confidence to cornering.
We all know that on tread or absence of it a race tyre has little to do with grip don't we? It's all down to the rubber compound and thankfully the Pro Tech's special Aquagrip rubber works, they're certainly no slouch in the dry and the Vittorias never asked to be held back in the wet, an inspiring and certain ride in all conditions then, wonderful. And the rubber certainly seems to be durable, after many rides down scruffy lanes and sometimes along what couldn't be described as roads but more gaps between the trees the Vittorias are wearing well and aren't cutting up so bad, although they are sporting quite a few hefty battle-scars they generally seem to be a lot more resistant to the rash of cuts and nicks suffered with most other tyres. The special Mithril sidewalls seem to be doing their protective job, despite being plenty scuffed now they haven't split, although a road tyre sidewall gash seems to be an uncommon occurrence.
Sadly however the PRB 2.0 puncture resistant belt under the tread doesn’t quite live up to its promises and succumbed to a puncture on its first time out (what is it with puncturing on test tyre virgin rides?), but thankfully the tyres are easy to rip off the rims as over following rides there was a pretty high chance of piercing the tyre, not every ride, but it was more of a certainty than with any other race/training tyre for quite some time, but in it's defence the puncture belt kept the inner-tube from bulging out of a final tyre-death gash well enough to get home.
A fast, confident, all-weather tyre that should probably only be saved for racing, or training on smooth roads and sunday best rides.
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Make and model: Vittoria Diamante Pro Tech folding tyre
Size tested: 23mm
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?
"The foul-weather tyre of our racing range, the 220 TPI Diamante Pro Tech has the same tread pattern as Pro, in our special wet-grip compound. For extra protection, sidewalls are reinforced with a dense but flexible polymer weave."
As a fast racing tyre they perform really well, especially if conditions are against you, but they're a little too fragile for the rough and tumble world of a training tyre.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The Vittoria Diamante Pro Tech II has tread made of Aquagrip Compound for excellent grip even on the wet, a 220 TPI nylon casing with Mithril sidewall protection for increased flexibility and rolling efficiency, a PRB 2.0 puncture protection strip runs under the Prisma C.O.M. Vector tread design. The 700x23 tyre can handle 115-145 PSI and weighs around 220g.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
If the Diamante Pro Tech II could keep all it's lovely speedy yet sticky traits while increasing it's puncture defiance then it would be a fantastic tyre, as it is it's a great tyre with a fatal flaw.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The supple ride and all-weather predictability.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It's ability to puncture.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they wanted a fast tyre for Winter racing or rode the smooth roads.
Age: 42 Height: 180cm Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: It varies as to the season. My best bike is: The one I\'m on at the time
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Fun
Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.