Vittoria has today announced the launch of a new road tyre, the Corsa N.EXT, which swaps the existing cotton casing for nylon. It claims that in doing so, it offers competition-level performance while offering better puncture protection and increased grip.
In the conversation of what makes the best road bike tyres, cotton casings are usually considered king thanks to their ability to keep the weight low and offer supple ride quality. Vittoria's existing Corsa range uses a core-spun cotton casing, with a 320 TPI (threads per inch) construction, onto which the tread is subsequently glued into place.
The casing is what makes up the bulk of the tyre's construction, it wraps around each bead (the part that you have to fight to push onto the rim of your wheel) and creates the U shape of the tyre. The higher the thread count per inch, the smaller each thread will be, and this means it's more supple.
However, the problem is that such a high TPI count is often associated with reduced durability, and so the switch to nylon is accompanied by a reduction in this count, down to 100TPI. In addition, Vittoria has given the Corsa N.EXT a rubber compound made using Silica and Graphene, which it claims offers a nine per cent increase in rolling resistance, 32% more grip and 21% better puncture protection than a standard compound.
In a subtle dig at its competitors, Vittoria says this puts the Corsa N.EXT alongside the Continental GP5000 and the Schwalbe Pro One tyres at a 'competition' level, keeping the core-spun cotton Corsa tyres in the higher category of 'pro competition'.
The way the tyre has been constructed results in a three-layer fold of the nylon casing for increased puncture resistance. On top of this, a puncture protection belt runs through the centre strip of the tyre, and on top of this, the new graphene-silica compound completes the tyre. The tread follows the same straight line design found on the Corsa, meaning it foregoes the horizontal sipes found on the Corsa Control. These lines are wider at the centre and get closer together at each shoulder to aid with wet weather control and cornering grip.
Separately, Vittoria has printed each Vittoria Corsa N.EXT tyre with a QR code on the sidewall. Scanning this takes the user to a help centre where information surrounding tyre pressures and fitment guides can be found.
The Corsa N.EXT will be available in both tube-type and tubeless-ready clinchers, each of which in a choice of six sizes.
The narrowest, at 24mm wide, will weigh in at 190g in a tube-type construction and 260g in tubeless-ready form and is best suited to rims with an internal width of 17mm. The 26mm and 28mm widths are best paired with rims that have an internal width of 19mm, and weigh 10g or 15g extra per size jump for tube-type and tubeless versions respectively. The remaining sizes are 30, 32 and 34mm, and are best suited to 21mm rims, with the heaviest topping out at 240 and 340g for tube-type and tubeless respectively.
For widths of 28mm and up, the Corsa N.EXT is considered hookless compatible, but those narrower would need to be used with rims with hooked beads.
No matter their width, tube-type tyres will be priced at $74.99, while tubeless versions will be $10 more at $84.99.
So to go back to the original question of why: it would appear that rather than this being about finding marginal gains and the 'next' generation of an already-high-performance Corsa tyre, the N.EXT provides a stepping stone toward performance for competitive amateurs. Meaning it's an upgrade from the Rubino tyre range, without sacrificing too much of the durability and puncture protection they still hold in high regard.
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