Monday, 8 February 2010

Vredestein, V for Victory - Part One

Vredestein for many people is a tyre brand that doesn't come into the equation when making a choice for some new rubber. In my world of tyre snobbery I don't take manufacturers seriously unless they make tubs. That statement may seem crazy in the light that I choose not to ride tubs, well it's a bit overkill unless your racing these days. But the reason this is a good measure is that if they make good tubs, generally they will make excellent clinchers. Adding weight to this argument just look at the two big players Continental and Vittoria. Both make fantastic clinchers because of what they know about tubs, although the process is different.

I have ridden two recently the first being the Fortezza TriComp Slick and most recently the Fiammante DuoComp.

Fortezza TriComp Slick
It's not a name that flows off the lips and this may be a barrier for some people. Catchy easy to remember nams make it easier for a tyre to be recommended by your peers I am sure. For the sake of space I'm going to call it the FTCS for the purpose of the review. This is probably the lightest clincher tyre I have ever tested, and because of the Puncture resistant layer I decided to give these a go. Being tall and heavy I would normally run a mile from such tyres. Oh and the weight for the tyre was 182g which is truly impressive.

As you can imagine mounting on the rim was a breeze as the tyre is very supple due to both the kevlar bead and the reduced amount of material on the sidewalls. My routes to work have a multitude of road surfaces to encounter and provides a good daily litmus test to base the weekend riding on. The first thing you notice is that the FTCS quickly gets up to speed and has a very low rolling resistance. This proved to be favorable on the flat and climbs, but on the descents it lacked a little confidence in hitting corners at top speed. I messed around with pressures and found that 115 seemed about right, offering the grip that I was missing while using it at the higher pressures of 120-140 psi. At the those higher pressures the tyres went like a rocket and I suspect that using these on a TT or hill climb machine would be a massive advantage over other clincher users, but not over those on tubs.

Riding on wet roads while still raining presented no problems. The exception to that rule was when it had stopped raining and the slippery road surface would become too much and grip on corners would rapidly decrease. I would loose loads of speed coming into a roundabout as in these conditions I lacked confidence in its grip factor. This was an experience I last felt while riding the GP4000 (none black chili) as these performed the same way in those conditions.

So in my opinion I think on the right day these would make an excellent choice for the Sportive/Day rider, but in the right conditions. Basically a ride with a reduced chance of rain fall. On the puncture protection front these performed beyond my expectations. A dodgy tube allowed me to test the tyre at 60 psi and it had no major issues. The only puncture I received was in the same area where the object pierced a Pave CG tyre, so I was duly impressed.

If Vredestein can sort out the grip in the wet greasy conditions, and make it ride more like a regular TriComp they will have a winner of a tyre combo, which the sub 90 kg guys will really be able to make the most of. The tyre is available in 5 colours & around the £50.00 each.

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