Urban Velo

Vittoria Randonneur Double Shielded City Tires

vittoria_rand Prior to inflation, I knew that it would take a serious pothole to give the Vittoria Randonneur a pinch flat. They appeared, and even felt pumped up before any air went in, thanks to the nail-proof hard casing. Even though they are built with a steel bead, I struggled getting them onto the rim, having to resort to the dreaded tire levers. That was in part due to trying to stuff a 28-32c tube into the double shielded, 28c casing that provides much less room than normal tires of the same width.

I was a bit worried that the low 85 psi rating, 500g weight, and the thick casing would make them feel sluggish, but they seem to compliment each other providing a reasonably low rolling resistance. I was especially glad to find out that the extra-hard tread didn’t compromise the friction or stickiness of the ride. Even in the slushy conditions that tend to happen in this part of the country, the tread gripped the road and ice confidently.

My daily commute involves crossing the huge Birmingham Bridge. On the weekends, the bridge turns into a half-mile, lawless stretch of road that becomes a portal to a neighborhood where the locals say has most bars per square mile than anywhere east of the Mississippi. Needless to say, this bridge regularly gets pummeled with empty bottles after college kids chug one more beer on the drive home. Pretty much every crossing leaves me wondering if I’ll make it to the other side without a flat, but I can now rest assured that I can cross without my number being pulled.

Overall, these now top my list of commuter tires, and the reflective sidewall added a nice touch to seal the deal. If you manage to get them on without puncturing the tube with a tire lever, there’s a good chance that the only time you’ll need to remove these tires is when they’re threadbare or you have a valve malfunction. For those that will be carrying heavier loads, say for touring, wider sizes (32c, 35c, 40c, and 48c) are available, and recommended due to the lower 85psi rating. The steal bead would make it difficult to carry a spare on a long tour, but with this kind of protection, you may not need one anyway. Available for about $30 each, with similar tires available at price points both above and below depending on their bead and flat protection.

27 Comments

  1. geoffMarch 24, 2009 at 11:39 am

    I’m with you on these. they’re awesome, but until i figured it out, i went through three tubes to get them on! ridiculous!

  2. PaulMarch 24, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    I’ve been using these tires for about a year, roughly 3K miles, and have had ZERO flats. Seattle’s streets aren’t exactly in the best shape and one tends to encounter a fair amount of metal debris and broken glass, all of which I’ve ridden through with these. Other than the reflective sidewall being basically black now, despite many cleanings, these tires look pretty much brand new. Great commuting tires.

    And they are a total pain to get on your rims the first time. I fought with the first one for an hour and a half before resorting to tire levers.

    They are, however, heavy. I’m probably going to swap out for a pair of racing tires soon, and then put these back on at the beginning of next winter.

  3. LenMarch 24, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    I have these on my Raleigh single speed and they are great urban tires.

  4. DolanMarch 24, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Although they’re expensive, you might also want to try out some Schwalbe Marathon Supremes. I’ve had very good luck with them — the Vectran does its job well.

  5. jodyMarch 25, 2009 at 10:24 am

    i am getting these in white soon…thanks for the heads up about getting them on the rim, i may try a little soap and water to help them on…i can’t wait to roll on these

    cheers

  6. reverend dickMarch 25, 2009 at 11:52 am

    “an hour and a half”

    That’s a very long time. Was that straight effort, or were there breaks?

  7. jodyMarch 26, 2009 at 8:06 am

    i didn’t really have a hard time getting them on…they did require a little muscle to get the last bit on but no levers were needed…they are heavy tires but it seems worth it if i don’t have to deal with flats very often

  8. TomMarch 29, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    These rock. They never flat, well one in 3 years on 3 sets of tyres. They are hard to get on but use I use the metal inners, SOMA tyre levers. They crank anything on to a rim.

  9. GilApril 22, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Heavy,and can be hard to mount,but I’ve got these on three of my current bikes,and have used them in the past,and they some of the best urban tires out there. Zero flats in 4 1/2 yrs around DC. Reflective sidewalls are a nice plus. The thick Pedros tire levers make mounting them not so bad,and I recently aquired a Kool Stop Bead Jack that makes mounting difficult tires almost fun. These tires also come in Pro models which have folding beads for less weight. I’ve got a set of 32′s and they weren’t as bad to mount as the wire beads.

  10. AmosDecember 11, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    I bought these tires last month based on your review of them and I have to say, they are awesome! No flats (I was averaging one per week before I replaced) and they have been handling the ice and rain very nicely so far. Great pick!

  11. Raleigh Rush Hour Flatbar - On Test at Urban VeloJanuary 25, 2010 at 9:11 am

    [...] baby blue Weinmann DP18 deep section rims. They’re definitely accentuated by the white Vittoria Randoneur tires. The wheels are completed with 14g stainless spokes, alloy nipples and unmarked, polished-aluminum, [...]

  12. OllieFebruary 7, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Worst tyre I’ve ever had , I ride a fixed gear bike, I know ther not the kindest to tyres but I bought one of these three days ago and it’s already through to the bottom layer

  13. TylerMarch 16, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Just bought a set of the 26×1.5″ tires. For sure the hardest i have dealt with to get on. I had to resort to one tire lever and some soap. Just took a little spin around the block on them and they seem great so far.

  14. Bill BrillApril 18, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    I absolutely love these tires! They roll smoothly, corner well and no flats so far (appx. 1200 New York City miles), although the reflective material has pretty much worn of (no surprise there and no big deal). I use these on a touring/commuting bike and ride daily. I like to keep the pressure at 90 psi. Seems to work fine. I can’t say I had the same difficulty installing them on the rims as the gent in the first post, though. I simply use a 700/23 tube for the 700/28 tire, bring em indoors where its warm so they flex and stretch more, and of course used a tire lever….I paid 35 bucks each, which, so far, has been well worth it. I can see how these might not be the best for the back wheel of a fixed gear though….Anyway, that’s my 2 cents.

  15. ridesoftOctober 23, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    use Park Tool tire levers – five bucks – buy two sets – small and fit into ur underseat bag – I have a Bianchi CV55 commuter 9spd, over 12,000 miles – i just bought my third set of Radonneurs.

  16. WayneApril 25, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    I just got a set of these in the Pro (folding) version in 32. They replaced the Conti Speed Kings in 35 on my new Kona Jake. I’ve only taken them for a couple short shakedown rides so far, but I really like them. Max inflation on the 32s is only 75 psi, but they really do feel great. Fast enough, smooth enough, sticky enough, and if what I’ve read about their puncture protection is true, I don’t think I’ll have any complaints. Thanks for the review.

  17. David TApril 25, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    HOLY CRAP these are the hardest tires ever to get onto the rim. After two nights of struggles I finally got them on, and they managed to hold pressure but I wouldn’t be surprised to find them flat in the morning.

  18. WayneMay 16, 2011 at 1:36 am

    UPDATE: I’ve ridden these a few times now, and I really like them. They are really great riding tires, and seem plenty fast too. Still too early to know about flat protection, I suppose, but so far so good.

    As for the difficulty of mounting, I have the PRO version (folding bead). I don’t know if that makes them easier or harder, but they were pretty hard to mount. I did find that the Crank Brothers tool (not sure what it’s called), combined with one tire lever, makes it much easier, and not bad at all, once I figured that out. That will be my method of mounting any tires that require levers in the future.

    Pretty great tires so far for $30 each, I think.

  19. KristinaAugust 14, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    I have had 3 flat tyres in 3 weeks! Totally over it so I decided to purchase the Randonneur for my new (3month old) Merida bike. I had the bike shop put them on for me and I watched them (they didn’t have a problem fitted in less than 10 mins) so they are experts! Went for a ride last Saturday they do feel different but good! I hope I have no more flats but guy I paid a lot more than you did $56.00 for one tyre or $100.00 for two and $12.50 each to fit. If it saved me one and a half hours of frustration I think it may have been worth the $$$.

  20. PatrickDecember 30, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    I have these tyres fitted on my Cell bikes flat bar alfine hubbed road bike, I have a 28mm on the front and a 32mm on the back. Here in Aus the roads can be pretty rough, it’s a big country with a small population and not much in the government purse for road maintenance. I use these tyres on all surfaces, bitumen, potholed dirt, fireroad, even a bit of singletrack! They are tough as nails! They also provide a comfortable ride, and i’ve only got a few punctures. They are also very long wearing. I love these tyres and will definitley purchase another set.

  21. Dave WJanuary 27, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Like the reviews about durability. I hate flats!!! I was quite concern about the comments of being hard to mound. Well, I got my 700×35 tires and much to my surprise no tire levers were needed, yes I was able to mount them by hand. This was with thorn resistant tubes! I found the mounting about average compared to other tires, but they are a little more stiff, so one does need to check to make sure the tire remains properly seated as you mount the tire. I have not had a chance to test the durability.

  22. Show and Tell Friday- Matt’s Belt Drive Sycip « Swrve's BlogFebruary 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    [...] a bit so it’s great for runs to the store or post office. If you’ve never tried them, Vittoria Randonnuer tires are quite possibly the ultimate tire for city riding. Lastly, the stem is a basic Titec that Jeremy [...]

  23. Pete KJune 8, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    No problems mounting my new 700 x 35 VR Cross tires. Same as most other tires I have used on my touring bike. Paid $35 at REI.

  24. ScarpoJune 22, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Love these tires. I run them on a fixed gear of 82 gear inches, and these when inflated to 90 psi are very very fast. They are very sticky and grip fantastically, so I wouldn’t recommend them for skidding, but I don’t do that anyway so it works well for me. I have the 28mm wire bead model, and I find them squishy enough for city streets, but fast enough to hammer with the carbon guys. broke a bunch of cheap levers getting them on, but Pedro’s do the trick. Tight tires align themselves flawlessly on good rims, though, so it was totally worth the sweat.

  25. VinhAugust 30, 2012 at 12:08 am

    This tire came with my bike and I’ve ridden it daily for my school commute. After less than 2 months I’ve already gotten a flat…

  26. TommyApril 25, 2013 at 1:35 am

    Lots of great reviews but I haven’t been so lucky. Been running a white set and have had at least 2 flats in the last few months. Last one was a small rock that cut the tire. Not overly impressed with these

  27. becca.bookSeptember 18, 2013 at 11:32 am

    I love ***love*** love these tires. I bought a pair for my 3600 mile bike tour across europe this spring and didnt get a single flat riding on logging roads, city streets, gravel trails etc etc carrying a shit ton of weight until I got to Albania… then all bets were off. I have to get a new wheel set now (grrrr I hate cattle gaurds. Taco’d my wheel 120 miles outside of my destination after 3 months of touring :( ) so I’m buying a new pair of these tires, hoping they will take me on as many adventures as the last pair!!

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