The following is an opinion (or review) of my first-hand experiences riding Vittoria’s Zaffiro Pro Slick Tires.
Keep in mind, that the review takes into account, the bike, the terrain and the rider/riding style.
Back in early May I had made the swap from Continental Ultra Sport tires to the 700×25 Vittoria Pro Slick folding tyres. The Conti’s are a 23mm width and I wanted to run 25mm’s on the 23mm wide wheels I have on the R-002. After some searching, I found an incredible deal on the Pro Slicks for 15 bucks a piece on nashbar.com. Being that they were Vittoria’s, I figured it was worth a try and a bargain price at that mates!
Testing the Pro Slicks:
It’s early days yet, with now about 340 miles on the Zaffiro Pro Slick tires but so far,the overall feeling is good. I still don’t know about the long-term tyre life, but I suppose I will find out over the coming months and miles.
The Pro Slick is not a true slick, but an intermediate type tyre, with narrow strips of tread surface left and right of the slick center. The tires are billed as trainers, which means they are slighter heavier than pure racing slicks and should have a bit more durability. One of the pluses is that Vittoria states their Pro Slick utilizes the same rubber compound as the more expensive Rubino Pro.
The Conti Ultra Sports I was previously running have a slightly less aggressive profile, when compared to the Pro Slicks and subsequently, stability under heavy braking is not quite as solid as the Ultra Sports. I have locked the rear up three times on the road, while braking very heavily, down from fast descents. Something which had never happened while rolling on the Ultra Sports. One particular incident was on this section in the photo below, hauling down from nearly 40 mph, then 30, to zero in 0.2 of mile before entering Route 202, a very busy highway here in Morris County NJ.
When I first installed the Pro Slicks, I did mention that the profile was slightly taller, at about 1/16″ compared to the Conti’s. Now, that doesn’t seem very much at all, but under really hard braking, at speed, it is proving to be somewhat of a weakness in the construction of the Vittoria Pro Slicks. It is not something so disconcerting to me, but it is an issue none-the-less. Knowing this shortfall with the tires, means I will need to ride around the problem and recall the limits whenever I am in a hard braking situation.
On the road, the Pro Slicks feel slightly more pliable than the Ultra Sports. I would love to see a durometer reading of both brands. As far as grip goes, bite into corner entry and out of corner exit is mostly consistent and predictable. Edge grip seems to be fairly good as well. Although I have felt the rear move around ever so slight during very hard and fast cornering on a couple of occasions. Here is one example in the photo below;
Droping down into a fast sweeper, I could feel the rear get a bit unsettled as I was driving (pedaling) hard into the tight left-hander. Entering at 41 mph and accelerating through the corner up to 46 mph. While that bit of pavement is not smooth as glass, it is not ripped up either. The slight movement from the rear indicated a momentary slip of the tire, but nothing too severe. For this particular test, I had about 100 psi in the rear and about 96 psi up front.
Since mounting them up on the Ekay Carbon Fibre wheels, I have to date, ridden them on seven occasions in all types of weather and road conditions. From cool and damp, to very warm temps and even in a downpour. On dirt and gravel, torn up macadam and smooth paved roads. My verdict is that the Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Slicks are a solid road bike tyre, especially for the cost. They roll well, have a decent amount of grip and seem to handle all the varying conditions thrown at them so far.
Although, they are decent, solid tyres, the Continental Ultrasports feel just a bit better overall. Having more a predictable feel when leaned over and under hard braking.
My hope is to get at least a thousand miles out of this set of Vittoria’s and if I do so without any issues, I will probably purchase an additional set.
Technical Specs per Vittoria:
- Bead: kevlar
- TPI : 60
- Type: clincher
- Weight: 250g