Vittoria Open Corsa SC and Veloflex Masters Compared

My earlier mini-post on Veloflex tyres ended up drawing a surprising amount of traffic to this blog. In fact the most common search term that leads people here is ‘Veloflex Master 25.’ After six months of riding on those tyres they’re well past due for a change and I’m switching to Vittoria Open Corsa SC tyres. I just know someone out there will google for a comparison of the two, so let me offer my initial reactions.

Firstly a summary of the Veloflex Masters after six months use. I did 7000km in that time. Whilst I only ran the Veloflex Masters on my race wheels, I know I use those wheels more than I should, so let’s guess I did about 3500 kilometres on them. They were beginning to get pretty cut up, especially the back tyre which finally sustained a puncture yesterday, during a race.

This is the cut which cost me any place in the race. Also the first and only puncture using these tyres.

This is the cut which cost me any place in the race. Also the first and only puncture using these tyres.

Ironically it was my intention to change the tyres after the race – I knew I was pushing my luck.

The front tyre, though also a bit cut up, looked a lot better despite the distance:

Front Veloflex Master Tyre after 3000+ kms

Front Veloflex Master Tyre after 3000+ kms

This wear seems about right to me for the distance, and my relatively light weight might have increased my mileage over the average rider. They’re supple race tyres and not meant to last ages. You should really change them over sooner than me, but I’m a cheapskate.

As for the rest of my experience on the Veloflex, well, I really liked them. I felt confident cornering with them and they seemed to roll pretty quick. These are vague descriptions but like most reviewers if I told you something more precise without a really scientific method of analysis I’d probably be making it up. They’re good race tyres and they look cool. I crashed once in the time I was using them and it had nothing to do with the tyres.

Switching to the Vittoria SC’s, the first thing I found is that they were a pain in the neck to get on. Fulcrum wheels are known to require a bit of effort in mounting, as are Corsa tyres, so it’s probably no big surprise that the combination blistered my fingers.

sc_(3)

My tube change on the course yesterday, with the Veloflex, took an embarrassingly long amount of time, mostly through a bit of panicked disorientation as I felt the need to rush and consequently stumbled. But the change over to the SCs in the relaxed comfort of my lounge room took even longer.

I’ve since read that the trick is to keep the first bead in the centre of the rim as you try to push the last bit of the other bead over, and this gives you the slack you need. But I sure hope I don’t need to do this during a race. The fear of that has got me looking into latex sealant sprays, like Vittoria Pitstop, which supposedly works better on tubulars anyway. I guess the moral is: don’t let your tyres get as worn down as I did.

The next thing I noticed is the gumwall has a really vibrant hue. It’s not as natural a rubber colour as the gumwalls on the Veloflex Masters:

sc_(4)

I’m not sure how much I like this. It looks a bit ostentatious to me, though yellow and black are generally a good combination:

sc_(5)

For contrast here’s a shot of the Veloflex Masters on their first ride:

At Smiths Gully

At Smiths Gully

I hope after a little while the intensity of gumwall’s colour becomes subdued.

For what it’s worth here’s a comparison of the tread, holding the Veloflex Master unmounted against a newly mounted Vittoria SC.

Tread pattern: unmounted Veloflex Masters (L) Vittoria Open Corsa SC (R)

Tread pattern: unmounted Veloflex Masters (L) Vittoria Open Corsa SC (R)

The Veloflex pattern is actually almost identical to the Corsa CX tread. The CX and SC variants of the Corsa tyre use a different rubber compound with the Isogrip compound of the SC supposedly providing better grip in marginal conditions. Both tyres here are 25mm though the SCs seem slightly wider, maybe just under a millimetre, or maybe I’m imagining it.

I forgot to weigh the tyres before mounting them but the bike weight is the same afterwards. Both types are cotton 320 TPI, around 200-220 grams.

So this post is essentially an aesthetic comparison, and I’m yet to hit the road with the SCs, but I’ll make a bold prediction: They’ll roll nicely, corner OK and get cut up after several thousand kilometres. If there’s something drastically noticeable in their handling I’ll come back and add an addendum to this post …

Ok, I know this kind of writing isn’t for everyone and I’m reminded of reading the Secret Diary of Adrian Mole as a child:

‘Neil has just gone off in a sulk … I tried to point out to him that one thousand five hundred words on bicycle spokes was pure self-indulgence …’

But like I said, someone out there will want the comparison!

UPDATE:

After riding on the Vittoria SCs for most of 2015 I thought I’d switch back to Veloflex for a change. They really are a beautiful feeling tyre – they have a certain je ne sais quoi (just to be scientific about it!). But now they put the label on the NON DRIVE SIDE!! Eeek! I figured it was better not to run the tyres against the intended tread pattern, though it probably makes little difference. But this means of course every cyclist is snickering at me and thinking, ‘that guy doesn’t know how to put tyres on.’ Well it feels like that! What the deal Veloflex? :)

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Vittoria Open Corsa SC and Veloflex Masters Compared

  1. Reblogged this on Velo Finds and commented:
    We just got Open Corsas for one of our bikes—paid a pretty penny, too (all in the name of supporting one’s LBS, right?). Given the finicky nature of race tires, we hope they hold up to the abuse of NYC street use. Fingers crossed.

  2. I have been riding on the Vittoria Open Corsas CXIII 23mm for the last 3500 miles (gone through 2 sets) – I love the way they roll and respond. When you use latex tubes, they feel pretty light.

    I just ordered two Veloflex Corsa 25mm to compare – I am sure the 25mm width is going to make more of a difference than anything else.

    One thing to note – the Veloflex are reportedly still made in Italy, while Vittoria has manufacturing in Thailand and Taiwan.

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