Saturday, February 28, 2015

Short term review: Vittoria Open Pave CG tyres.

Well loved Shimano R500 wheels and Vittoria Open Pave CG's. Pretty much indestructible.
Anyone who has done much riding will tell you that wheels - and in particular tyres - are the most important single component if you're seeking to get the best performance out of your bike. But like with most things in life, there's a trade off with tyres: light fast tyres tend not to be tough or long-lasting and are more prone to punctures, heavier tyres are more durable but tend not to roll as nicely. I've tried quite a few different tyres and have found some which had great potential they never quite lived up to. For example I was a big fan of the Grand Bois tyres initially for their lovely supple ride, but found their high price, lack of puncture protection and short lifespan too much of a hurdle to overcome.

Enter the Vittoria Open Pave CG. The kind folk at Abbotsford Cycles sent me of the 25mm wide model of these these tyres to test. They are the clincher version of a distinctive green-banded tubular tyre popular with the pros on rides like the Paris-Roubaix. They're a nice, light folding tyre - sub 300g - and they look the part right out of the box. They were easy to fit and the light file tread reminded me of the Vittoria racing tubulars I used to use in days of old. The sidewall and tread appear to be smartly a single piece of rubber, eliminating a weak spot I found a fatal flaw on the Challenge Griffos. 
By Tasmanian standards, this is a very very nice gravel road.

I have been running the Open Pave's for a couple of weeks now in all conditions and I have to say I'm most impressed. On the tarmac, they are smooth and fast and responsive like a good light high pressure road tyre. They roll along with a pleasant hum, their grip is impressive - inspiring confidence in the wet. But they also handle dirt road astoundingly well. I've given these tyres an absolute pounding on the sub-standard roads around home. Even my venerable Gatorskins develop cuts and small holes over time and repeated gravel runs, but there's not yet a mark on the Open Pave's. 

In general, only a madman rolls down bumpy dirt roads with 100psi in their tyres as it's generally a recipe for shaking the fillings out of your teeth. The Open Paves have a suppleness to them that - while it certainly doesn't made the ride plush - certainly smooths out the bumps and reduces the road buzz far better than anything else of the same width. 

I note the Open Paves' are available in a 27mm tyre as well, which would probably be more to my liking for the sorts of conditions I ride in regularly where the road changes from tarmac to gravel and back every ten kilometres or so on some of the quieter routes I prefer. I'm going to use them in the 360km Oppy ride coming up in a couple of weeks in preference to the red Rubino Pros I usually ride on long road events. 

A few of the online reviews I've read have suggested the Open Paves are a good commuter or winter tyre, but I think this is selling them well short. This is a tyre perfect for spirited road riding in all conditions. They're an ideal tyre for Audax cycling, combining the elusive mix of fast-rolling, toughness, suppleness and strength. I'll keep riding these to see how well they last but at this early stage I like them so much that when they wear out, I'm definitely buying another set.

Yes, I have tested lots of different tyres!


Hamish said...

How do you rate them compared to the Grand Bois, David?

I'm running 25mm Conti GP4000S tyres on my bike, I've got room for something a bit bigger and I'm interested in trying some of these other tyres. Considering
- GP4000SII 28mm
- Compass 26mm or 28mm (successors to the Grand Bois?)
- maybe these Open Pave?


David Killick said...

Sorry to be so slow replying. I've found them much better than the Grand Bois, so far. A few more miles will tell. I've always found Conti tyres to be very good and durable.

Lakeisha Tam said...

Thank you David for sharing like this useful post.