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The Vittoria Corsa N.Ext tyres are a durable yet fast-rolling option that grip harder than you might expect. They're lighter than the regular Corsa Control tyres and come at a cheaper price point than many of their rivals, the result of which places them firmly among the best road bike tyres out there.
According to Vittoria, the Corsa N.Ext was designed for the everyday rider and to fill the gap between the Pro Competition and Advanced Training tyre categories. I've been testing them for the past 2,800km in a variety of settings and conditions, and I'm impressed.
Looking at the best road bike tyres, vulcanised nylon construction is a common theme owing to the material's propensity to offer better protection and all-round longevity. In fact, Vittoria was actually working on something long before Continental brought the new and improved GP5000 to market in 2018. The Vittoria N.Ext, or 'Project Warrior' as it was codenamed, started back in 2015 but the COVID-19 pandemic and other setbacks curtailed progress.
While the more premium options in Vittoria's Corsa tyre range still use a corespun cotton construction, the Corsa N.Ext has a nylon casing – something Vittoria claims is more robust and durable. As such, the new tyre eschews a 320tpi cotton casing for a 100tpi nylon-based option that aligns it more with the Conti GP5000 and Schwalbe Pro One tyres.
The Corsa N.Exts are constructed using a special recipe containing silica and graphene compounds. It's not only designed to promote better grip, rolling performance and overall efficiency but also claimed to last longer, too – and there's a tread wear indicator on the tyre to monitor long-term use.
Looking at the specification sheet, the new graphene silica compound is claimed to give a 9% increase in speed and rolling efficiency, 32% improvement in traction and 21% better protection when compared with a normal compound. After using them for 2,800km now, they certainly feel impressively supple, fast and grippy.
Visually, the tyre doesn't stray too far from Vittoria's design ethos and takes on the same minimalist approach we've come to expect from the Italian brand. The only real update comes in the form of a new sidewall hot patch complete with QR code to equip riders with all the necessary information pertaining to pressure, installation and maintenance – it's all very clever. Other than that, the Corsa N.Ext adopt a distinct tread pattern defined by centre tread (spaced with directional grooves) and side tread (closely spaced).
My 28mm test pair weighed in at 250g per tyre, which is 15g lighter than the Corsa Control in the same size. In fact, Vittoria offers the Corsa N.Exts in six tube-type and TLR configurations spanning 24mm to 34mm, each of which has been designed to perform best with wheels with 19mm internal rim widths.
Vittoria Corsas have a reputation for being incredibly difficult to fit – I've certainly struggled with them – but the Corsa N.Exts are much easier to manipulate over the rim and position in place. You'll still need a tyre lever or two and strong thumbs, but it's a lot easier to mount than take off, especially on hookless rims that conform to the ETRTO/ISO sizing standard.
When it comes to removing them, the beading requires a significant amount of force to unseat it from the rim, but once you've managed to pry it away from the edges it's a relatively easy exercise.
Speaking of the beading, the N.Exts benefit from a 'Bead Shield' which helps protect the tyre against smashed rims or a rough bead finish.
Setting them up tubeless is a straightforward affair. When fitted and topped up with sealant, they hold pressure well with little in the way of air leakage – something that's troubled Corsa TLR tyres in the past.
There's not a massive difference in character between the N.Ext and regular Corsa tyres, but there are nuances in feel. Whereas the corespun cotton versions seem to possess a more direct – read communicative – and supple feel, the N.Exts are more comfortable by the manner in which they iron out road imperfections and chatter – a known attribute of a lower tpi nylon casing. That's not to say the Corsa N.Exts lack any sense of suppleness. In fact, the more miles I covered, the more supple they started to feel.
This can be improved by running lower tyre pressures. The N.Exts have a maximum pressure rating of 95psi when used with an inner tube, but as a 62kg rider, my tyre pressures front and rear are naturally very low, and the security of the stronger nylon casing allows you to go even lower, if you wish. I went as low as 42/48psi front/rear, a combination I felt fostered a good balance between grip, speed and compliance.
I continued to play around with tyre pressure for a few rides before settling on 45/50psi, which I found represented a sweet spot that ensured high levels of compliance, grip and communication, which allowed me to lean in with precision and carry more speed through the corners.
However, the drawcard here is more the durability of the casing and tyre compound. While Corsa tyres have a propensity for succumbing to cuts from flint and glass, the Corsa N.Ext and its triple-nylon layer has proved mighty resistant to road debris. As I've said already, I've done over 2,800km on these tyres and have yet to experience any hiccups in terms of punctures.
In fact, a quick examination of the tread thus far has revealed little in the way of blemishes, the only notable scuffs coming in the form of some wear from locking up the rear on one occasion.
Having used these tyres on sections of gravel, some circuit racing, and a handful of time trials, they've impressed in all settings, including several rainy rides where the tread pattern does well to displace surface water and keep the grip balance neutral.
While they're not as fast as their corespun Corsa siblings, the Corsa N.Exts still roll impressively well, and they grip like limpets in the corners. The big talking point here, though, is what they offer when it comes to puncture resistance and tyre wear, which could be more valuable attributes than outright speed to the average rider.
The Schwalbe Pro One, which has become the benchmark for tubeless-ready road tyres over the past couple of years, is super-fast and easy to fit, but in my experience can't quite match the Vittoria when it comes to puncture protection and peace of mind riding – and it's £71.99.
At £54.95 a pop (up from £39.95 when we tested it in 2020), the Hutchinson Fusion 5 Performance tyre is a much cheaper proposition, and does come close to what the N.Ext offers, but is heavier and doesn't offer the same sense of suppleness, communication and durability.
Overall, the Vittoria Corsa N.Ext tyres are just as fast as their chief rivals and possess one of the best puncture-resistant casings on the market. If you're looking for a tyre that can double up for use as both a training and racing option, you can't go wrong here.
Fast-rolling performance tyre with the protection levels to match
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Vittoria Corsa N.Ext tyre
Size tested: 28mm, TLR
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?
Vittoria says: 'Designed to satisfy the requirements of enthusiast cyclists who clock up the miles on long and demanding weekly rides, Corsa N.EXT combines Vittoria's peerless knowledge of racing performance with the durability of a long-lasting nylon casing that uses a unique Silica and Graphene compound for improved rolling efficiency, grip and longer wear-life.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Types: Tubeless-ready and foldable.
Compound: Silica and Graphene compound, 100tpi three-nylon-layer casing.
Protection: Three layers under the tread and two layers on the sidewalls
Available sizes: 700x28c, 330g; 700x28c, 250g; 700x30c, 355g; 700x30c, 275g; 700x32c, 356g.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A super-grippy tyre that got faster as time progressed. During 2,800km of testing, the tread remained blemish free and did a superb job of ironing out road imperfections, not to mention delivering a puncture-free experience – no cuts, no pressure loss.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Ease of fitment, peace of mind in terms of puncture protection, buttery-smooth ride quality.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Hard to remove/unseat.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Vittoria Corsa N.Ext undercuts its chief rivals on price, coming in at £10 less than the Continental GP5000S and £7 less than the Schwalbe Pro One.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's excellent – a fast-rolling tyre that doesn't skimp in the grip department, and the ride quality is up there with the very best in the category. There are faster-feeling – read more communicative – options out there, but those come with drawbacks pertaining to puncture protection and the like, and the Vittoria Corsa N.Ext is easily one of the most durable offerings around.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Novice
I regularly do the following types of riding:
Aaron is the editor of off-road.cc. Born and raised in South Africa he completed his BA honours at the University of Cape Town before embarking on a career in journalism. As the former tech editor of Cyclingnews and Bike Perfect, digital editor of Bicycling magazineand associate editor of TopCar, he's travelled the world writing about bikes and anything with wheels for the past 17 years. A competitive racer and Stravaholic, he’s twice ridden the Cape Epic, raced nearly every mountain bike stage race in South Africa and completed the Haute Route Alps. He's also a national-level time triallist and eSports racer, too - having represented South Africa at the 2022 UCI Cycling eSports World Championships.