SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MARCH 18th
Vittoria Rubino Pro Control Graphene 2.0
337g (700x28c) £41.99 each
The Vittoria Rubino Pro Control Graphene 2.0 are marketed as an all-conditions model, designed with grip, puncture resistance and durability in mind. I’ve been suitably impressed by their road holding prowess-wet, or dry, they’re relatively compliant over rougher roads. However, while no slouches, they’re less responsive than some in this class/price point.
Pros: Excellent Road holding, especially in the wet, durable, lightweight, generally compliant rode quality.
Cons: Less sprightly than some competitors with higher TPI.
Ours were the 28mm sections but there’s 23 and 25mm too. 60tpi nylon casings might not set pulses racing but bodes well for durability. Now, what’s about this Graphene part then? Well, it’s been around for a few years. Aside from being very thin, yet extraordinarily strong, it supposedly interacts with rubber by filling space between the molecules, extending useful lifespan.
Therefore, properties such as puncture resistance remain consistent, rather than dulling as the miles rack up. The 3D compound feels slightly tacky to touch and continues this narrative promising long life, great handling, puncture and rolling resistance. Folding beads save a few grams into the deal.
Though supple, our 28mm sections didn’t fight back when mounting them to mid-section rims, specifically the Halo White Line Classic and Halo White Line Evaura . However, the Crank Brothers Speedier tyre Lever certainly helped persuade the final 10% home.
The pressure range is relatively modest 70-100psi and I’ve tended to run ours at the upper end. Inflated the casings are virtually slick, save for a very faint diamond texture around the shoulders, which I presumed were for cornering prowess, while being psychologically comforting. After all, slick (not bald) casings afford the best traction, especially in the wet.
Test Machine/Riding Contexts
My fixed gear winter/trainer was the most obvious candidate. Essentially a cyclo cross bike with track ends and spacing, it runs 71–76-inch gear ratios and though sees less intense weather than Ursula, still serves rain and shine.
As a control, I ran this Bontrager AW3 Hard Case Lite on the rear, since they’re of a similar ilk and price point), albeit 32mm (about 1.26 in) wide and 120tpi. These have been a default for some months and 2,500 miles (about 4023.36 km).
Ride quality has been surprisingly good, especially for a 60tpi casings- Though quiet, country roads can be quite variable in terms of surface quality. Some can be washboard; others give the sensation of riding through treacle. Even at 100psi, ours showed surprising compliance-not in magic carpet territory but more supple than some long standing 60tpi favourites with lower operating pressures.
While not a race tyre, they’re also quite agile and frisky- say accelerating on a climb or powering away at a junction. Where they have really induced confidence (and some big grins) is in the wet. Whether waterlogged country lanes carpeted in bovine dung or tackling town centre roundabouts-with the usual hazards-split derv, shards of glass, holes, they’ve behaved impeccably.
Manhole covers and similarly slippery ironworks require a bit more restraint, dare I say, common sense but no heart-in-mouth, soiled-my-shorts moments to date.
On the open road I’ve let rip along 1in7 descents with similar confidence. Though I’ve kept an eye out for rogue red deer, farm vehicles, derv and other potential hazards, I couldn’t coax the Rubino Pro off-line, let alone induce a shimmy, or slide. Similar story into the S bends.
During the test period, at identical pressures, the Bontrager are more obviously compliant and anecdotally, rolling resistance is also slightly lower than the Vittoria. Otherwise, there’s little separating them in the handling stakes-wet, or dry.
Puncture Resistance/Durability 3.75/5
Obviously, I can’t comment on Vittoria’s claims that they’ll stay sharp and puncture resistant, right until the end. However, I'm yet to flat in 700, often soggy miles. I’ve deliberately made a beeline for the dung, which would encourage flints, glass, thorns and similar sharps to become embedded and work their way into the casing.
Similar story around town, where I was again, dodging the holes but targeting shards of glass. The latter induced a small cut, leading to a flat on the Bontrager, but not so much as a nick in the Vittoria’s casing.
However, prevention’s always better than cure, so get that brush out and dust the casings down, when giving bike(s) a weekly check over.
£41.99 is competitive by genre standards. Bontrager AW3 Hard Case Lite (£44.99) are a bit quicker and offer a marginally plusher ride. Specialized All Condition Armadillo elite can give both a good run for your hard-earned. They also come in 23, 25, 28 and 32mm £44.99.
On a tighter budget but still wanting a bombproof slick for training and commuting, then WTB Thick Slick Flat Guard Tyre (£29.99) are worth a look. I’m running a 25mm set on my Holdsworth. Riders seeking something with a plush, lightweight tyre with a tubular-esque flavour may find Soma Supple Vitesse EX Tyres (now £45.60) very enticing.
Riders seeking a tyre replicating the pace and feedback of their race rubber should look to something with a higher
thread count. That out of the way...As “off season” all-rounders for training, light/weekend touring and indeed, commuting, the Vittoria Rubino Pro are solid choices. I’ve been particularly impressed by their wet weather prowess and puncture resistance.
Verdict: 3.75/5 Lack the outright pace of some but still very capable all-rounders.
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PUBLISHED JULY 2022
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