We live in an exciting time of material advancement. Carbon bikes - remember when those became mainstream? Not that long ago. But there's already a new material in product development that is claimed to be the thinnest, lightest, and strongest material yet. And as cyclists, we're lucky enough to have some of the first contact with it, in our tires. Graphene is making waves in the electronics industry due to its ability to conduct electricity better than any other known material (Imagine being able to charge your phone within seconds). When it comes to the rubber keeping your bike connected to the road, wouldn't you prefer to have the world's most advanced material working for you?
Vittoria has infused the latest wonder material into many of their road and mountain bike tires. The Corsa G+, labeled as a competition tire, is currently the best all-around road tire you can mount to your bike. So, what exactly does graphene offer for bicycle tires? Take the benefits of a great race tire (grip, suppleness, and low rolling resistance) and merge them with the benefits of a great training tire (durability, resistance to cuts) without needing to compromise. In fact, cornering grip and rolling resistance are enhanced using graphene. Sound too good to be true? Vittoria has also dropped the price of their flagship tire. It's surely an anomaly, and it's one we enjoy riding.
Let's talk about grip. It's fun to have, and unsafe not to have. Most tires take time to develop confidence in their ability to stick to the road when leaning the bike around a corner at speed. Even the timidest of riders will warm up to the Vittoria Corsa G+ tires quickly. Vittoria claims that graphene allows the tire to 'soften up' when an acceleration force is placed on it. The moment you change direction, there's no doubt about the tires' commitment to maintain contact with the ground. No doubts. Whether the compound truly undergoes a change or not, we've never ridden a clincher tire that feels so sticky. Keep in mind, it's nothing new for tire manufacturers to use a softer compound on the sides of the tread for grip and a harder compound on the center of the tread for longer wear.
Not everyone cares about going around corners as fast as possible, but most cyclists want to go faster in a straight line. Clincher tires normally struggle to match tubular tires for speed. Tubulars can be built with less sidewall support because they 'stand up' by literally sitting on the rim bed. Clinchers need to prop themselves up with stiffer sidewalls that can't match the suppleness (think responsiveness to small road imperfections) of tubulars. Vittoria Corsa G+ tires use very much the same casing as most tubulars - corespun cotton. As a result, they're as close to the feel of riding tubulars as you can get, but they're strong enough to provide a stable fit on the rim. The tread, containing our favorite new material, stays hard in a straight line to roll fast.
Up until now, high performance tires have only shined for about 300-500 miles before succumbing to severe cuts and squared-off tread profile. Not anymore. You can now buy high performance tires with the confidence that they'll make it through an entire season without hanging on by threads, but only if they have graphene in them. Compared to Vittoria's last iteration of the Corsa, the CX, the new G+ model wears longer with much less cuts. Occasionally, we've had to pick a small stone off the tread which left an impression into the tire, but not nearly as deep as it could have been with other tires. In the event of an unplanned excursion through a construction zone with golf ball size jagged stones, fear not (Employee tested and confirmed). The added durability provided by graphene makes the Corsa G+ a gutsy training tire and a robust racing tire.
Rear tire with approximately 400 miles on it.