Vittoria Randonneur Double Shielded City Tires
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.