VITTORIA CORSA N.EXT FIRST RIDE REVIEW

Vittoria’s Corsa tire series just went through a major update with the addition of the Corsa N.EXT. The N.EXT is the first non-cotton-based tire in the line with Vittoria engineers opting for Nylon instead, that’s what the N in N.EXT stands for. It’s a modern update to the traditional Italian brand’s catalog and a sign that the team in Bergamo has embraced the latest trends in road bike tire tech, like tubeless compatibility, wider tire sizes and even an innovative hot patch QR code.

That simple Corsa tread pattern that’s oh so familiar.

THE TECH

With a quick glance at the tread, it’s hard to notice much of a difference between the traditional cotton Corsa and the N.EXT. However, the main differences are held within the construction of the tire. Glen Lee a 30-year Vittoria employee and  veteran in tire production described the tire as the “most important tire release for Vittoria in over a decade.”

For years the Corsa name has been synonymous with top-end performance with a focus on speed at just about all costs. This meant minimal construction with a disregard for puncture protection, something Vittoria is not shy to reveal. Most people that have ridden an older model Corsa tire can attest to the high likelihood of punctures as the tires wear relatively quickly. Vittoria has always known this but felt the tires provided the performance racers desired. As other tire manufacturers have filled the gap in tubeless development Vittoria catalog had a glaring hole just below its top-tier performance Corsa clinchers and lower-end Rubino and Zaffiro tires.

“Vittoria found that silica and graphene mixed together improved, rolling resistance, grip and puncture protection.” 

The Corsa N.EXTs step into this empty space for riders that desire a high-performance modern road tire with a level of utility and durability that allows them to be used during weekly training as well.

Vittoria achieves this with two models of the N.EXT a traditional foldable tire and a Tubeless TLR. They use similar same nylon casing layups with three layers across the middle and two layers on the sides with 100 TPI but the TLR tire has an added layer of nylon across. A layer of puncture protection sits between the nylon and a new rubber tread compound. The compound uses an updated mix of graphene and silica rather than graphene alone. Vittoria found that silica and graphene mixed together improved, rolling resistance, grip and puncture protection.

Vittoria’s hot patch was a welcome sight. While we aren’t completely sold on the 95psi max tire pressure recommendation we are stoked to see a max pressure of 72psi recommended for tubeless rims. Most riders should be running somewhere between 55-65psi, so, the 95psi may be a bit misleading as too many riders still believe that running the max tire pressure correlates with maximum performance but tools like SRAM’s tire calculator are helping people find the proper pressure for their riding conditions. Vittoria also added a QR code to the hot patch. While we had trouble scanning the code on the tire right out of the box; once mounted to the rim, the QR code directs users to Vittoria’s website with size-specific tutorials and a basic chart of recommended tire pressures based on rider weight.

 

 

The QR code proved difficult to scan out of the box but became easier once mounted on a rim. Scan this one to check out the tutorials offered at Vittoria.com.

THE RIDE 

We had a bit of time to test the TLR tires ahead of the launch and had varied experiences during setup, nearly polar opposite experiences to put it politely. We originally set the tires up on Hunt Limitless rims. The Hunts have a hooked rim and are relatively wide at 22.5mm. Installation proved to be difficult, we struggled to pull the tires onto the rim and spent over half an hour on installation. We attempted to seat the bead with a floor pump but resorted to using an air compressor after a few tries. As our luck goes after our first ride it was time to return the Hunts and we were forced to remove the Corsas.

This is where the nightmare truly started. Here at RBA pride ourselves on our hands-on nature and with over a decade of experience spent in bike shops, we have changed more than our fair share of flat tires. So, when it took us half an hour to remove the Corsas growing blisters on our thumbs (scroll down for photos) in the process before resorting to ParkTool Tire Seating Pliers we were a bit flabbergasted.

When we went to install the tires on our next set of rims, a pair of Zipp’s hookless, 21mm wide, 303S, our experience was completely opposite, with the tires sliding on by hand and seating with just a floor pump. We waited a bit before filling them with sealant to attempt to remove them and were pleasantly surprised by how easily they popped off.  We’re still not sure if it’s the hookless design, the rim width, or both, but the setup was as simple as it should be. There are a few more rims we have to mount the Corsas on to narrow down the causes of our struggles and will include more info in a follow-up review.

“We’ll likely ride these until they fail but as it stands we’d easily pick these over a pair of Continentals GP 5000s.”

Our first few rides were a bit discouraging as the tires were stiff and had little feedback, but this changed after about 75 miles of riding. The tires broke in and began to offer a significant amount of grip and road feel. We were able to rail the same corners with the same PSI that we felt unsure on at first.

We have run through a fair amount of road debris and have not had any issues. A few nicks have grown in the tread but nothing out of the ordinary for us. We’ll likely ride these until they fail but as it stands we’d easily pick these over a pair of Continentals GP 5000s.

There are currently six sizes available from 700×24-34mm, for the foldable and TLR models. However, it’s worth noting only TLR 700×28-34mm tires are hookless compatible. The TLR model retails for $85 with the standard clincher going for $75.

Look for a longer review in an upcoming issue of Road Bike Action Magazine and a full review after a few more months of riding on our website.

Wear with about 500 miles of mean Los Angeles roads.

PROS

Grippy

Improved durability and reliability

Easy hookless set up

CONS

Varied experiences mounting and removing on hooked rims

Tubeless TLR is expensive but on par with competition

STATS

Sizes: 700×24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34

Weight: 297 grams (700×28 Tubeless TLR)

Price: $85

www.vittoria.com

The more we rode during the first few hundred miles, the more the tires wore in and the overall ride quality improved. While there’ll likely be a point this balances out and the tires begin to degrade, we have yet to reach it.

 

The results of a 30-minute struggle to remove the Corsas.

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