The CST Cito is a tyre that offers premium performance at a budget price, with very little to fault once fitted. The grip is excellent, they roll smoothly, and the weight is competitive. There is no tubeless option, which might disappoint some, and they weren't the easiest to fit, but it's worth the effort because once on these are fantastic tyres.
CST (Cheng Shin Tire) might not be a well-known bicycle tyre brand within the UK but it claims to be the largest tyre manufacturer in the world, so there is a high chance that you will have used a tyre produced by CST under a different name.
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Within its own range, the Cito is the lightest, most race-focused offering; it's available in three sizes: 23, 25 and 28mm as tested. CST doesn't currently offer a tubeless version of the tyre.
At 240g the tyre weighs exactly what it's claimed to, which is a similar weight to competitor brands such as the Goodyear Eagle F1 at 234g and Pirelli P Zero Race at 235g; Continental's GP5000 in a 28mm width has a claimed weight of 240g.
The tyre features a 170 TPI casing construction and also has a puncture-resistant layer called EPS, an acronym for Exceptional Puncture Safety; the layer sits across the contact area of the tyre and doesn't extend to the sidewalls.
The tyre wasn't the easiest to fit; I had to take care and time to ensure they fitted without damaging the tube inside. While some tyres can be tough to seat on the rims I used for the majority of the test, it's only been a problem with tubeless-ready tyres – all other clincher tyres have fitted more easily.
Once on the wheels, which have an internal rim width of 21mm, the tyre measured 29.8mm when inflated to 80psi, several days after to allow it to settle. The slight extra width is likely to be partly because of the rims being a little wider than some, but it's something to factor in should clearance be tight.
Once out riding, the tackiness of the tyre and grip provided were very evident, and throughout testing I continued to push it on both wet and dry roads, from high-speed descents to wet, green lanes and it was fantastic, with no slipping, even on the steepest and most challenging sections.
Although almost impossible to test rolling resistance, it doesn't feel slow and is at least as good as the Schwalbe One that it replaced. It also feels supple and delivers plenty of feedback back to the hands without feeling harsh or uncomfortable.
The high 170 TPI casing could potentially make the tyre more fragile than some, but so far it has been perfect and shows no wear, with no cuts or abrasions on the outer despite it being tested through a wide range of weather.
It has also remained puncture-free to date, and many rides have been along narrow lanes after hedge cutting, suggesting that the puncture resistance layer might live up to its exceptional name.
With approximately 500km on the tyre, it still has the same rounded shape as when it was new, with no flat spot to show at all.
No other premium road tyre that can match the Cito on weight and similar specifications such as TPI can compete on RRP.
> Buyer’s Guide: 46 of the best road bike tyres
The Panaracer Race D Evo 4 is one of the closest at £39.99, but most similar high-level tyres are over £50 – the Continental GP5000 is £59.95, for example, and Pirelli's P Zero Race is £54.99 – making the CST Cito something of a bargain.
If you are looking for a high-performance tyre, the CST Cito is a fantastic option that I would happily choose over better-known rivals.
Fast and smooth ride that is competition for tyres twice the price
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Make and model: CST Cito tyre
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?
CST says: 'Lighter, more flexible and stronger than the competition. That was the order and that's what CST's engineers delivered. The Cito can compete with the best racing tires in the market. The carcass consists of 170 TPI, so these tires are flexible and strong. Available in various colours and, of course, in addition to the familiar 23-622 size, also available in wider sizes 25-622. With the Cito, CST introduces a top-class product to the racing segment.'
It's also available in 700x28, as tested.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
TIRE SIZE: 700X28C
Weight (G): 240
MAX PSI: 120
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Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
After a struggle to get them mounted, the performance while riding was fantastic. The tyres feel grippy, not once struggling for traction, and they roll quickly.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Excellent grip and feedback from the road.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Tight fit and a struggle to mount.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Cito is cheaper than all other brands' premium race tyres; for example, the Continental GP5000 is £59.95 and Pirelli's P Zero Race is £54.99; even the Panaracer Race D Evo 4, which Stu said was 'an attractive price', is almost £10 more than the Cito.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's excellent – the tyre offers a very impressive performance that is a match of other premium tyres, but at a much lower price.
Age: 35 Height: 168 Weight: 62
I usually ride: My best bike is: Cannondale SystemSix
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, sportives, mtb, Lots of gravel style riding
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