Tyres are important, they serve as the first point of contact for the bicycle. Selecting the right tyre for how you apply your bicycle can increase your speed, comfort, and tyre wear. As a racer I value speed over everything – speed in a straight line, confidence around corners, and handling in the wet. However, I also train 8000 miles a year – I like to train fast too, so I need a fast tyre that wears well and can offer me some puncture resistance.
Recently I was given a pair of Vittoria Diamante Pro Radiale folding clinchers by Nick and Graham at BiTyres – I will test them to the limit and give an unbiased opinion on how these tyres perform. They are billed as the perfect tyre for amatuer racers.
Cost: £39.99 RRP
On and In the Box
I will be riding the 22mm version of the tyre, it does also come in a 24mm size – for increased comfort. This tyre is a step down from Vitorria’s top racing tyre – the Open Corsa Evo – but it could be argued that it is very close in terms of technology. As it says on the box the tyre has 220TPI casing, to make a flexible, grippy tyre – it should soak up road noise even at high tyre pressures. The radiale technology is interesting, coming from the automotive industry, it again makes the tyre more comfortable, flexible, and grippy – allowing Vittoria to narrow the tyre to 22mm, making it lighter than most available 23mm performance tyres…and also more aerodynamic – awesome technology from Vittoria. Despite being lightweight (rated at below 200g per tyre) there is plenty of puncture protection, actually a very decent amount for such a weight weenie tyre.
Inside the box you get some instructions, a couple of stickers (nice touch) and yep…the tyre! I was surprised by both the instructions and the stickers – usually you just get the tyre.
For those that care – these tyres are made in Thailand but designed in Italy.
Weight isn’t everything but it does help if the tyre is light – quicker acceleration. I was quite surprised by just how light these tyres are – well below Vittoria’s quote of 195g. These tyres are lighter than the Schwalbe Ultremo R1’s that they’ll replace, those are considered light tyres so these are definitely lightweight – and with all that technology!!
Fitting the Tyre
It helps if the tyre goes on with minimum fuss – there will be a time you find yourself at the side of the road fixing an unwanted puncture – the quicker you are back on the road the better. Folding tyres can be quite hard to fit, they are much more supple than fixed tyres but you have to mould them as you work. I partnered the tyres with Vittoria Latex Inner Tubes, again these are quite easy too pinch…it’ll be worth it as they’ll fly! I’ve worked in a bicycle shop so I know how to fit all sorts of tyres and consider myself quite quick at it. I pre-pumped the inner tube and began work, once I’d finished the stopwatch read 5 minutes 46 seconds. It was a very easy fit up until the final few centimetres – the tyre was very tight and required quite a lot of work. It’ll be easier once the tyres are moulded in. Overall I was happy with the fitting process. These tyres are rated to between 100-145 PSI – I’ll be riding them at 100-120; the 145 figure is the maximum pressure, not what you should routinely ride them at! Rotation is also important, handily there is a rotation marker on the sidewall; it requires the most logic to fit them in the right direction on the rear wheel…wow talk about an IQ test!
For some this is all important – it’s nice to leave your bicycle at the cafe with nice looking tyres – these are simply black with white logos and in my opinion look quite nice, especially against my black frame. I’ve had coloured tyres in the past but I’m moving away from these as I feel the coloured areas have decreased traction on the road.
Feel on the Road
First impressions are everything and the minute I got these tyres onto the road they felt fast, noticeably faster than the Schwalbe Ultremo’s I had on previously – and this was with tired legs! I was actually taken aback with the feeling; I’ve always read tyre reviews and been somewhat skeptical when reviewers proclaim one tyre faster than the rest, how on Earth can you feel any difference? My standpoint has changed after my initial impressions of the Vittoria Diamante Pro Radiale – they just felt quick!
Straight line speed isn’t everything however, decent handling inspires confidence and therefore less braking round corners. I’ve yet to hammer any seriously fast corners but my general view is that these tyres handle well. Conditions recently have been quite testing with plenty of April showers; parts of the road have been wet, parts dry and parts greasy (oil galore) – I’m going to reserve total judgement until I’ve got more miles ridden on them but certainly buy these tyres if you want great cornering in testing conditions!
Comfort is probably not too important for a race tyre – I’ll certainly sacrifice a bit of comfort for speed. I do feel that these tyres are a bit harsh in comparison to a Continental Gatorskin (a very popular winter tyre) – I was surprised by this given that the 220 TPI should lead to a flexible and therefore comfortable tyre. I’m willing to wait and see, give the tyres some time to get rolling and try and find the right pressure until I make a full judgement on the comfort. I’ll update a few times over the coming miles.
Cuts after 100 miles? Non. This is a marked improvement over the Schwalbe’s – light and sturdy, great stuff!
So after 100 miles I’m thoroughly pleased with the tyres – that initial impression of speed has really stayed with me, it’s made riding the bicycle more fun. The second I get on the road I’m surprised…it’s subjective but please try the tyre and see if you get that feeling…just so that I know I’m not going mad! Cornering, aesthetics, price (cheap for a race tyre), and weight are all top draw, exactly what you expect from Vittoria. So that leaves comfort – I don’t think this is a tyre if you are looking for a comfortable ride. Buy this tyre if you want to improve your sportive times, fly round corners at your local race or improve your time trial PB.
Update 1: Race day performance; a tyre might be great whilst training but it’s only when you are in a race you really test a tyre to the limit. Well, yesterday I really tested the tyre to it’s limit, not only did we cover 70 miles in just over 3 hours but the conditions were extreme. I was amazed by the tyre’s performance in the wet (I could not see for the spray), the hail (oh yes) and the occasional dry patch. At no point did I feel the tyre lose traction – great stuff!