The Vittoria Corsa Pro TLR is the latest flagship road racing tyre from the Italian brand.
With claimed improvements to key characteristics such as rolling and puncture resistance, the Corsa Pro TLR has already been used to take a number of significant wins at the highest level.
Of course, the likes of Mathieu van der Poel and Marianne Vos can flatter any equipment, so I was thrilled to get the chance to head out to northern Italy and try the new tyres myself.
Over two days, I put the Corsa Pro TLRs through their paces at Vittoria Park, Vittoria’s new test track facility, and out on the roads, cycle paths and hills around Bergamo.
While such a short test period can only reveal so much, I nevertheless came away impressed.
For all the details on the overhauled range, head to our news story on the new Vittoria Corsa Pro. Here, I’ll focus on my first impressions on how it rides.
Vittoria Corsa Pro TLR details and specifications
It’s been a number of years since Vittoria last overhauled its Corsa range of flagship road racing tyres.
On one hand, that’s testament to just how good the outgoing models, such as the Corsa G2.0 TLR, were.
On the other, though, developments in road bike tyres, particularly tubeless-ready ones, have come thick and fast in recent years. As a result, some (including me) have felt Vittoria’s competitors have not only caught up but, in some areas, surpassed it.
The new Corsa Pro TLR is designed to put Vittoria back on top of the pile.
Headline developments include a claimed improvement to rolling and puncture resistance of 12 per cent and 18 per cent, respectively, while weight has dropped by 4 per cent.
Vittoria says it has achieved this via two new features – a new construction method known as ‘electrical vulcanisation’ or ‘electrical curing’ and a reformulated tread compound, which combines Graphene with silica.
Controlled testing will be required to discern whether it can overhaul stiff competition from the likes of the Continental GP5000 S TR (£79.95), Schwalbe Pro One TLE (£72.99), Pirelli P Zero Race TLR (£78.99).
In terms of price, an RRP of £89.99/$99.99/€94.95 per tyre means it’s significantly more expensive than many of its competitors.
On the scales, though, my size 700 x 28c Corsa Pro TLR samples weigh 274g per tyre, 21g lighter than the claimed weight of 295g.
That puts it in between the Schwalbe Pro One TLE (264g) and the Continental GP5000 S TR (280.6g), and below the Pirelli P Zero Race TLR (299g).
Vittoria Corsa Pro TLR ride impressions
My first day of riding was confined to Vittoria Park.
As well as a 700m asphalt track for testing road bikes, the facility is home to gravel and cobbled sectors, MTB trails, dirt jumps, a pump track and even an airbag jump (which I was too scared to have a go on, of course).
There’s also an area dedicated to hazards such as potholes, tram lines and damaged tarmac.
Having come from the UK (where, as we’re always reminding you, roads are generally terrible), blasting around on the unspoiled asphalt track was a pleasure.
A surfeit of headset spacers and wide handlebar aside, it was a lovely bike to borrow for a couple of days.
Once I had my tyre pressures roughly dialled in, the 700 x 28c Corsa Pro TLR tyres (set up with butyl inner tubes) felt great, offering plenty of speed, grip and that familiar supple ride feel long associated with Vittoria Corsa tyres.
Not wanting to be ‘that guy’ who crashes on a press event, I won’t pretend I pushed the tyres to the absolute limit, but I certainly felt confident carving through fast turns.
Straying briefly onto the short gravel segments posed no issues for the tyres either – whether it be coarse gravel or sharper Strade Bianche-style stones. The Corsa Pros shrugged it all off, and didn’t cut up or puncture.
Attempting the cobbled sector (which has a descent on rough, Paris-Roubaix-style stones before turning into a short climb designed to replicate the slightly gentler cobbles featured in the Tour of Flanders) told me two things. Firstly, racing cobbled classics must be extremely tough; and, if you ever have to ride one, wider tyres are essential.
Bergamo to San Pellegrino Terme
The first part of the next day’s ride took us along a pleasant segregated bike path to San Pellegrino Terme.
Lazily following the Brembo river from north west Bergamo, the path wasn’t especially taxing on the tyres, but the route had its purpose.
In the days prior to the launch event, Vittoria employee and two-time world mountain bike champion, Dario Acquaroli, had died tragically while out riding his bike.
His funeral was being held that day in San Pellegrino Terme, and our hosts were understandably keen to pay their respects.
After doing so, we meandered back along the bike path before turning up a sporty, fourth-category climb (according to Strava) just outside Bergamo and setting off a few fireworks in the group.
Happily, the bike and tyres (and my limited fitness) enabled me to climb with the front group, and felt lively when closing gaps or responding to moves from other riders.
Speeding down the other side to end the ride, the tyres again felt sure-footed and grippy.
Vittoria Corsa Pro TLR bottom line
First impressions are often important and though the manicured cycle tracks and roads around Vittoria Park and Bergamo can only tell me so much, the early signs are positive.
It’s a first ride review cliché, but the real test will inevitably be how it performs on the broken roads in the South West of England, and whether it has closed the previous Corsa’s slight speed deficit to the best road bike tyres.
Given the tyres were set up with basic butyl inner tubes (as opposed to tubeless, or with latex or TPU inner tubes), my instincts are that there’s more speed and ride feel to come when I can set them up as designed.