|Well loved Shimano R500 wheels and Vittoria Open Pave CG's. Pretty much indestructible.|
Enter the Vittoria Open Pave CG. The kind folk at Abbotsford Cycles sent me of the 25mm wide model of these these tyres to test. They are the clincher version of a distinctive green-banded tubular tyre popular with the pros on rides like the Paris-Roubaix. They're a nice, light folding tyre - sub 300g - and they look the part right out of the box. They were easy to fit and the light file tread reminded me of the Vittoria racing tubulars I used to use in days of old. The sidewall and tread appear to be smartly a single piece of rubber, eliminating a weak spot I found a fatal flaw on the Challenge Griffos.
|By Tasmanian standards, this is a very very nice gravel road.|
I have been running the Open Pave's for a couple of weeks now in all conditions and I have to say I'm most impressed. On the tarmac, they are smooth and fast and responsive like a good light high pressure road tyre. They roll along with a pleasant hum, their grip is impressive - inspiring confidence in the wet. But they also handle dirt road astoundingly well. I've given these tyres an absolute pounding on the sub-standard roads around home. Even my venerable Gatorskins develop cuts and small holes over time and repeated gravel runs, but there's not yet a mark on the Open Pave's.
In general, only a madman rolls down bumpy dirt roads with 100psi in their tyres as it's generally a recipe for shaking the fillings out of your teeth. The Open Paves have a suppleness to them that - while it certainly doesn't made the ride plush - certainly smooths out the bumps and reduces the road buzz far better than anything else of the same width.
I note the Open Paves' are available in a 27mm tyre as well, which would probably be more to my liking for the sorts of conditions I ride in regularly where the road changes from tarmac to gravel and back every ten kilometres or so on some of the quieter routes I prefer. I'm going to use them in the 360km Oppy ride coming up in a couple of weeks in preference to the red Rubino Pros I usually ride on long road events.
A few of the online reviews I've read have suggested the Open Paves are a good commuter or winter tyre, but I think this is selling them well short. This is a tyre perfect for spirited road riding in all conditions. They're an ideal tyre for Audax cycling, combining the elusive mix of fast-rolling, toughness, suppleness and strength. I'll keep riding these to see how well they last but at this early stage I like them so much that when they wear out, I'm definitely buying another set.
|Yes, I have tested lots of different tyres!|