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Vittoria's Open Corsa is a cracking road tyre with a supple feel and good all-round grip. It's not the hardiest through a thorny winter but it's definitely one to consider for your good bike.
Given that the RRP for these beauties is £50 a pop you'd expect them to be packing some tech to justify that price tag, and they are. The carcass of the Open Corsa is as close to that of a tubular as you'll find in a clincher tyre.
When it comes to a supple ride and the ability to deform over a rough surface to give the best possible grip, the most important number is the TPI (threads per inch) of the casing. Tyre casings are generally made from nylon and the thread count is usually between 60 and 150, with some going as high as 220. The Open Corsa uses the same cotton/polymer mix as the Corsa tubular tyre, at 320TPI. That allows for the same strength at lighter weight (215g each for this pair) and means that the casing is more flexible.
Out on the road the Open Corsa does give an excellent ride feel, with 100psi in the tube feeling more like 90 in a standard tyre. They're rated to 145psi and the recommended pressure is 115psi to the maximum, I ran them at my usual 100/110psi and they felt great. The amount of grip they afford from the diamond pattern centre tread and ribbed side sections is very good too. Colour-wise it's the centre tread that changes (black, white, red, blue and yellow are available) with the edge tread remaining black. While that does mean that light colours can get mucky-looking, it also means that the black rubber - which affords the best grip - is underneath you when you're leaning into a corner. Vittoria claim that the Kevlar/Silicon dioxide compound gives reduced rolling resistance and better wet weather grip. I couldn't tell you how much the compound contributed to the rolling of the tyre compared to the high-TPI carcass, but they're fast alright. In the damp the grip is predictable and gives way gradually, so it's always easy to gauge how fast you can take the corners.
The Open Corsa has a latex rubber band under the tread which Vittoria say increases the tyres suppleness and adds puncture protection, and it's somewhere in the middle of the pack when it comes to shrugging off punctures. I've put a couple of thousand kilometres into these tyres over some questionable surfaces and only had a handful of thorns intrude, which isn't bad at all for what's really more of a racing tyre. I also had the pleasure of using Open Corsas at the Di2 launch in Aigle, and they're a super tyre for carving down alpine passes, offering masses of predictable cornering grip and never feeling harsh, despite being fitted to a Giant TCR that's possibly the stiffest road bike I've ever piloted.
One of our favourites – a lot of money buys you a lot of tyre
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Make and model: Vittoria Open Corsa Evo CX tyre
Size tested: Red
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?
Here's what Vittoria have to say:
Corsa CX has proved successful in road races all over the world, but the new EVO version is bound to even greater success.
With a 'handmade' tubular structure for superior performance and comfort, it has also got a special latex inner tube that increases its elasticity and puncture resistance. Further features are the Kevlar® SiO2 3D Compound with added silica - for reduced rolling resistance and better grip in the wet Our new high density casing - 320 tpi - delivers unbeatable comfort and superior performance with inflation pressure of up to 200psi!
New PRB 2.0 puncture resistant belting placed underneath the tread increases the flat prevention properties of the Corsa Evo CX up to 40%, even while reducing the weight. The new Corsa Evo CX is tougher and faster than ever before.
Kevlar® SiO2 is a compound with a high silica (SiO2) content developed from Vittoria's top range of compounds. It also contains microscopic Kevlar® fibres, making it the state of the art compound for tyres with high grip even on wet roads, low rolling resistance and good duration too. Kevlar® SiO2 3D is the new reference standard for high performance tyre compounds.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Special tread compound for supreme grip in corners
Size: 650x20, 700x20, 700x23, 700x25
Weight: 185, 195, 210, 220g
Max Bar Ratings: 8/10
Max PSI Ratings: 115/145
You'd expect a high quality tyre for this money, and that's what you get
Excellent all round performance, supple carcass offers predictable grip
They're lightweight tyres and not designed to be super-durable, but they've lasted very well
215g a pair is pretty light
Very comfy tyres even in a 23mm
£50 ain't cheap but you can get them for less than RRP and I doubt you'll regret the spend
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Ride feel, grip
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing much, they cost a lot but you get what you pay for
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 38 Height: 190cm Weight: 98kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.