The Tire That's Already Leading the Peloton
2023 has had a thrilling Spring classics season for road bike racing and we here at BikeTiresDirect have, suitably, had our eyes on the rubber that meets the road. By our count, heading into the Giro d'Italia, 12 of 21 UCI Men's and 2 of 14 Women's World Tour races have been won by riders on the new Vittoria Corsa Pro G2.0 road racing tires. That includes Mathieu van der Poel's double monument wins at Milano-Sanremo and Paris-Roubaix (where Alison Jackson also won the women's race on these tires,) as well as Team Jumbo-Visma victories from Belgium to Barcelona to the Basque Country.
The Vittoria Corsa has long been as "Pro" a tire as there is, and this latest update doesn't just slap that name on without a slew of improvements to earn it. Vittoria knew their tires would have to perform when lining up against competing race rubber from Continental and Pirelli. So they fixed what was lacking, took what worked, and cranked it to 11.
The Techy Tech
Many of the improvements found in the Pro were first introduced last year in the N.EXT, a sort of trickle-up to ensure the apex of Vittoria's racing line was only ever receiving changes proven in real world circumstances.
The Pro is now not only exclusively tubeless, it's also hookless compatible in sizes 28, 30 and for the first time at this level, 32mm. Studies increasingly show that wider is not slower and may even increase speeds on less-than-perfect pavement through micro shock absorption. And as the pros have increasingly adapted to this new normal, the Corsa Pro is ready for it.
Additionally, the Pro moves the Corsa into the latest generation Graphene + Silica compound shown to both decrease rolling resistance and increase performance and grip in wet conditions without sacrificing tire longevity and wear.
Vittoria claims that the Graphene + Silica combo increases puncture resistance in the Corsa Pro by 18% while reducing rolling resistance by 12%, and weight by 4%.
But fundamentally the Pro remains the same Corsa known and loved by all who race the prestigious tire. It retains the classic tread pattern with longitudinal lines that maximize grip and speed balance, all held together with the same triple layer 320 TPI ultra supple cotton casing.
Our friends at Vittoria provided an advance pair of the Corsa Pros for review so we could have the inside-scoop on real-world miles ready to share with you all on launch day. Tyler, cyclist-supreme from our purchasing team, who reviewed the Corsa N.EXT last year has again returned to put Vittoria's latest and greatest through the ringer.
For context, Tyler mounted the 28mm version of the Corsa Pros tubeless with Orange Seal on a set of hookless ENVE Foundation 65 wheels on his S-Works Tarmac SL6 disc with an Ultegra 12-speed Di2 hydraulic groupset.
What kind of experience have you had with Corsas before this?
I've ridden Vittoria Corsas off and on for a while and had a great experience testing out the N.EXT tubeless. I'm usually running latex tubes in a 25mm tire, especially in races. Wider tubeless tires at lower pressures always feel new and different to me.
What were your first impressions riding the Corsa Pros?
First thing I noticed was how noticeably thin and lightweight the tire was. Especially in comparison to other Corsa models, or even GP5000s.
The light casing feels like it conforms to the road more for a more compliant contact patch which felt really good while descending.
They roll noticeably more supple than the N.EXT or old cotton Corsas with latex tubes. Running at 59/61 PSI, they roll incredibly smooth on most pavement surfaces. Felt amazing on the smooth track at PIR [Portland International Raceway], and equally good on chip seal on a 90 mile ride.
There is a noticeable difference going to the Corsa Pro for racing and really fast rides in speed and cornering ability, but feels like it's at the cost of durability and punctures.
Did you have any issues with that?
I got a puncture within the first 45 minutes of riding from a piece of glass. But the sealant sealed it and I have had no issues since. I even rode 6 miles of gravel with no issue. Punctures happen on tires like these—I'm used to running that risk. I also got one riding the N.EXT. Tubeless makes it a lot easier when it does happen though.
You mentioned a few comparable tires. Could you talk about where you see the Corsa Pro within the Vittoria family?
When comparing the Pros to the other hookless compatible Corsa N.EXT, the Pros feel 100% like a race tire, where the N.EXT is much more clearly on the border of a training tire that just might surprise you in a race.
If the sky's the limit, the Corsa Pros are among the best there are. But if racing and training on one wheelset, the N.EXT would be my choice.
How was installation?
It went onto the wheel incredibly easily. Tubeless tires can often err on the side of being too tight, but not these. It almost felt too loose. In fact I had an issue setting these tires up on a wheel with a deep center channel. The tire was too loose and air was escaping due to the decreased circumference. Probably not an issue if you've got an air compressor or something.
But I had no issue setting it up tubeless on a different wheel with no channel and mounted with a floor pump with valve core in.
What's your favorite part we haven't talked about yet?
They have tan sidewalls! I love tanwalls.
Cotton has traditionally been hard to get hookless compatible because it's so light and supple. Tires are prone to stretch and there's a maximum level of stretch allowed to be hookless compatible. The qualities that give it a great ride have made it difficult to get sufficient stiffness but they've done it now.
How would you sum up your ride experience?
Feels fast, man. These are perfect for a race setup.
Advances in tire-building technology increasingly mean quicker training tires and tougher race tires meeting in the middle. It's hard to go wrong these days! So when they call this Corsa the "Pro", Vittoria is putting a definitive stamp on the experience you can expect from it.
While it may feel superfluous to add such a label to a tire that won the Tour de France last year, we are talking about a truly new generation reaching even higher competitively. The Corsa is dead; long live the Corsa. Vittoria is striving to manifest just what a race tire is truly capable of. Not just going faster and faster, but minimizing the tradeoffs necessary to achieve such speeds.
Written by Ian McDonald Photographed by Bertrand Mejia-Morin Published on May 6, 2023
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