What do riders mean by a good tyre? It rolls smoothly and quickly, rides comfortably, grips and handles well, and resists punctures. Every cyclist, from élite professional to ecominded commuter, can agree on these qualities.
These qualities depend almost entirely on how well the tire’s casing is made. And the most important factor here is the quality of the fabric used to make the casing. The fabric may be made of nylon, Corespun, aramid fiber, polycotton, or a mixture of these. The finer the threads, the denser the weave.
We express this as TPI – threads per inch. The greater the TPI number, the higher the quality of the tire. Why is this?
The casing is more flexible, so more of the tire’s surface is in contact with the Tarmac, giving better grip.
Fabric with a higher TPI count is thinner and more flexible, so the tire’s casing conforms closer to the surface the tire is being ridden on, with less shock and smoother rolling.
High TPI count means lower rolling resistance. Most of a tire’s rolling resistance is caused by the rubber deforming. Because there is less rubber, tires with a higher TPI count convert more of the rider’s energy into forward motion.
Vittoria tires are classed by their TPI. Nylon casings range from 26 to 220 TPI. Cotton and Corespun casings range from 220 to 320 TPI. (See in the diagram how the TPI count maps against our range.)
The 320 TPI of our top Evo models is the highest thread count currently available in a bicycle tire. These are the tires sought out by riders who must have the very best.
The different textile structures, making the casing’s soul: the more dense the net is, the more flexible the casing.
There’s no mystery about tubulars. The inner tube is fully enclosed by the casing, which is secured to the wheelrim by glue. By contrast, a clincher is open – the bead at the opening hooks on to the inside of the wheelrim to secure the casing.
Technically, a tubular is a toroidal form – think of it as a very skinny donut. The outer surface carries the tread, which may be attached to the casing by vulcanising – a mechanical process– or glued by hand. Hand-gluing avoids the high temperature of vulcanising and, though expensive, is preferred for top-quality work.
The tubular is completely round in section – we say it has a constant casing radius. This gives it two big advantages over the clincher.
The familiar pneumatic tyre consists of three parts: casing, tread, and bead (plus, usually, an inner tube). Casing is made of a fabric coated with rubber. Nylon is the fabric most commonly used. The number of threads per inch (TPI) gives an idea of how finely woven the fabric is, and how the supple the casing is. The casing fabric of Vittoria’s top tyres is a mixture of polycotton and aramid fiber exclusive to Vittoria.
Tread provides the contact with the road surface. A high-performance tread compound is a mix of rubber, silica (SiO2), carbon black, and other proprietary ingredients. For extra performance, Vittoria’s top tyres utilize a compound with an admixture of finely-chopped Kevlar® fibers. Tread pattern depends on the tyre’s intended use: from slick for dry, smooth surfaces, to grooved for wet, rough ones.
TPI stands for Threads Per Inch (2.54 cm) referring to a one inch length of casing. The casing is the heart of the tire or tubular and is made of Rubber + Threads (Nylon, Cotton, Kevlar, Corespun…). TPI is calculated by counting the number of threads contained in one inch (2.54 cm) length of casing.
Tire sidewalls carry on the following informations: maximun and minimum pressure (always check rim max pressure which is not rarely less than tire’s max), country of origin, sizes of the tire in French form (700×23) and ETRTO form (23-622).
ETRTO means European Tire and Rim Technical Organization and is the tire and rim standard. An ETRTO size of 37-622 means 37mm tire width and 622mm tire bead inner diameter.
The primary purpose of the ETRTO is to give an unequivocal match of rim and tire mounting compatibility.
Pit Stop road racing is an “inflate and repair” cartridge latex based, ideal for either tubulars and clinchers and tubeless tires systems. The universal head is compatible with Presta, Schrader and Regina valves so it is able to inflate almost every standard of the market.
The Liquid latex contained in the can is injected in the tube (both tubulars or clinchers) as a foam, filling the tube and repairing holes up to 1mm. It turns back to liquid after a couple of minutes, especially if riding immediately after the injection. In liquid form it will keep on protecting against possible punctures and the typical pressure loss of latex tubes which are commonly used on high-end tubulars.
The mixture between latex and CO2 contained in the cartridge is optimized to inflates a 21-28″ tubular up to 6 bars, far enough to get home or finish the race.
Latex density is a compromise between an easy erogation (it needs to enter inside the valve) and repairing strength.
A few key points to remind:
- The repair is definitive, you don’t have to change the tube or the tubular.
- You can use the Pit Stop before having a flat as a preventive.
- The Pit Stop seals the porosities of the latex inner tubes resulting in reduced typical air loss of latex inner tubes.
- It offers a minimum of 3 months prevention after injected.
- Inflation pressure can be normally fine tuned with a floor pump after Pit Stop has been injected.
While we do not have a factory outlet, you can find Vittoria products in quality bike shops all over the world! Please refer to our Dealer Locator to find the nearest shop that carries our products.
The most accurate method to measure the real tire outer circumpherence is by measurin it on the ground: jump on your bike, take the valve as reference and make a mark on the ground, do a complete rotation of the wheel moving forward in a perfect straight trajectory and mark down the valve again. Measure the distance between the two marks and that is the real circumpherence.
Any other way to measure it doe not take into account the lowering given by rider’s weight (which effectively decrease wheel radius on the contact point with the ground) and the different shapes given by each rim width. Different rims and different pressures do result in different circumpherences in fact.
The higher is the TPI number, the more flexible and thinner is the casing with less rubber on the same area. Asphalt roughness’s create vibrations and frictions by contact with the tire surface. These micro or macro impacts can be absorbed or transferred by the tire.
It is here that flexibility comes to play: a flexible casing does absorb vibrations by deforming around the irregularities of the road. On the other end a rigid casing transfers the hits to the whole system (rim, spikes, hub, fork, frame…) resulting into vibrations and friction: the given result is a tire with more rolling resistance, less comfort and less grip due to less contact surface with the ground given by lack of deformability.
That means a flexible casing gives:
- MORE SPEED
- MORE CONFORT
- MORE GRIP
Casing material itself heavily influences flexibility and so tire performances: Corespun, which is cotton made and so a bit more delicate, grants more stretchiness and flexibility than Nylon. Vittoria TPI and materials range from:
- 26 to 220 for Nylon casings.
- 220 to 320 for Cotton and Polycotton casings.
320 TPI is a record which Vittoria has achieved thanks to the constant efforts of its Research and Development team, and trough severe testing in racing.
This is the ultimate guarantee of outstanding performance and reliability.
Flexibility. Here it comes the superior performance of a tubular, that with a smoother base structure, without any mechanical link between rim and carcass and a tire surface that is perfectly round, can ensure even more flexibility and shock absorbtion than any other tire, of any level.
Latex is a more flexible material than butyl: it extends 7 times more than its original length, butyl only 1,5. This means more flexibility that guarantees more speed and comfort, as explained for the casing, and more puncture protection: the latex layer deforms itself around the external body that penetrates instead of pierce.
The only disadvantage for latex inner tubes lies in poor air retention: latex is more porous and the air leaks. The higher the pressure, the faster the air leaks.
For this reason a tire with a latex tube must be adjusted for inflation pressure before every ride.
Not always narrow means faster, it is true that “narrow is fast” but only if we consider particular conditions of use: perfect slick surface and no vibrations. This situation is not “real” road condition that we find when riding (only best indoor tracks have a perfect surface).
So if we consider the real conditions, we have to consider many factors and the most important is flexibility: first of all casing flexibility, second compound flexibility and than all other tire components flexibility (like puncture resistance).
It is impossible to make a general recommendation on inflation pressure for a specific bike and rider, the right inflation pressure depends on too many variables.
Frame and wheel material, construction and stiffness of these, weight distribution, asphalt surface, width and material of tires and tubes, weather and temperature, and not least riding style are the most important variables to find which is the right inflation pressure. In this view the following chart is only a starting point to find the proper pressure and it has not to be seen as rigid rule.
For wet or rough roads, decrease by 0.5 bar (7.5 psi). For tubular tires, increase by 0.5 bar (7.5 psi). Minimum indicated pressures can be lowered only in the cases mentioned in the above chart.
The best way to fine tune ideal tire pressures is field testing a variety of different pressures. One method is to use a short criterium style circuit, preferable with a variety of corners. Start with the suggested pressure and ride a lap. Each following lap, lower the pressure by 5psi until you feel the tires start to “wallow” or move a bit. This is your lowest pressure point. Return to the above table pressures and raise 5psi each lap until the tires start to bounce and skip/move across the surface. This is your max pressure. Decrease by 5 psi from here until you feel you have the best pressure for the conditions.
Keep a tire pressure log, including road surface, technicality of the course,weather conditions, tire type, brand, and TPI. Finally, the bike you used and your weight on that day. Over time, this log will become a valuable tool for referencing tire pressures and road conditions in order to optimize your performance when on race day.
The durability of a tire/tubular depends from a lot of different factors: the type of tire, the riding style, bicycle and compontent materials, road surface, the inflation pressure, and more. It is really difficult to fix a precise number of kilometers. There are two main criteria however that influence a lot tire wearing: the higher the pressure, the faster it wears out, and the range of the tire, the higher are the performances, the less the tire will last.
You can evaluate the tire wear checking its profile: when there is a notable discontinuity (like a step, or edge) between central tread (wearing when you ride on straight) and side tread (wearing in corners) that you can feel when starting to lean for a turn. This is the time to change your tire. It’s also suggested to change the tire in any case the carcass is exposed.
Mounting direction is shown by a little arrow engraved onto tire sidewall. In the case it is not visible for any reason, do follow the tread pattern design: if it design an arrow, that has to run forward, otherwise if the tread pattern itself is specular the tire can be mounted either way.
Servicing and Maintenaince
Before you start
Make sure the wheelrim is the proper size for tubular. Use only Mastik or other specifically designated tubular rim cement.
Gluing and mounting
1 Lightly abrade the rim base to provide a key for the cement, clean with gentle solvent, and leave to dry. (Carbon rims: follow manufacturer’s instructions, or just clean with soapy water.)
2 Clean the base tape of the tubular with just soapy water and a gentle cleaner (no solvent) and let dry.
3 Spread a thin layer of Mastik over the rim, and over the base tape.
4 After 5–10 minutes, apply a second coat of Mastik to the rim only.
5 Leave to dry for 3–5 minutes.
6 Mount the tubular on the rim, inflate slightly, and center it.
7 Inflate the tubular to working pressure. Mastik reaches its full strength after about 24 hours.
8 Before each ride, check pressure and inflate tubular to the pressure indicated on the sidewall.
Important note: Inspect frequently for cuts in the casing, and to assure that the base tape is completely attached to the tubular end and free of cuts or fraying. Do not use the tubular if the base tape is fraying or separating from the casing or rim.
Keep tubulars in a dry place and, importantly, out of the light. After riding, remove debris such as metal, glass, flints, or anything stuck in the tread. Clean with water and mild soap such as
washing-up liquid – avoid products containing hydrocarbons, dilutants, or corrosive substances.
When not in use, tubulars should be kept inflated to 5–6 bar (70–90 psi) and suspended (to avoid causing ‘flat spots’).
Our top range tubulars utilize a new type of unique valve with a fully removable valve stem, red anodized.
The entire valve (shaft and core) is removable at the base and it allows for a lighter, more air tight extended valves (available 36-42-60-80-110mm) and more balanced wheel spin.
Warning! Screw the valve by hand and with the appropriate plastic tool! Over tightening it would cause damage at the base o-ring, resulting in heavy air leaks.
The rim nut is there to avoid the valve stem to create noise when the wheel spins and when the low pressure would make the valve to fall inside the rim cavity when attaching the pump connector.Warning! The rim nut must only be tightened by hand. Never tighten the rim nut with pliers, as this can lead to tube damage.
The inflation pressure should be checked and adjusted on a regular basis. Even the best inner tubes constantly lose pressure as, contrary to car tires, pressures in bicycle tires are much higher and wall thickness much thinner. A pressure loss of 1 bar per month can be considered as normal for butyl tubes, while latex tubes can decrease their pressure even of 1,5 bar every 8 hours (4,5 bars in 24h) and checking and adjusting the inflation pressure before every ride has to become an habit.
Warning! Pressure loss will be much faster with starting high inflation pressures and much slower with low inflation pressures. Use a pressure gauge to monitor the inflation pressure and always verify with the TPI casing.
We recommend to use a Pit Stop Road Racing cartridge or a liquid latex to be injected into the valve core with a syringe after removing the core itself. It seals the typical porosity of the latex walls, preventing annoying inflation pressure loss and adding the puncture prevention feature that the liquid latex uses to guarantee.
The universal head is compatible with Presta and Schrader valves so it is able to inflate almost every standard of the market.
The Pit Stop road racing cartridge needs to be used with the tubular/clincher completely deflated to let the latex get in.
You need to inject it keeping the cartridge perpendicularly to the valve, positioning it at the top fully open and cleaned from any debris or dirt. Push the adapter onto the valve with strength and keep it for about 50″ until the cartridge sounds empty. The latex rumor while getting in is pretty recognizable so you can easily realize when it is finished.
Warning! The cartridge gets cold during the injection and it could be fastidious to hold, it’s always better to wear your riding gloves to hold the can.
Check the inflation pressure and re-check it after a couple of days and if necessary add some more pressure with a normal pump.
On the side of the cartridge there are few graphics instruction to help it out.
The properties of our high quality rubber last for even 10 year if the tire is properly stored. In order to do that, keep tires on a dry place without too much temperature and humidity variance and, of much importance, away from sunlight and any UV ray light as Neon lamps and some others.
The presence of little splits and cuts on the tire surface even if not used means that the rubber has not been well stored. The outer surface could become eventually coated of a thin white layer of vax: remove it before using the tire in order to prevent poor grip on the first pedal strokes. Tires are well stored when slightly inflated or anyhow in a good shape if not mounted, avoiding too much deformation or foldings.
Before you start
Make sure the wheel rim is the right size for the tyre and the inner tube before fitting. Ask your authorized Vittoria dealer if you are not sure.
Mounting the tyre
1 Fit a good-quality rim tape of the right size, that completely covers the spoke holes. Ask your dealer if you’re not sure!
2 Fit one bead of the tyre on to the rim. Inflate the inner tube just enough so it is round, and fit the valve of the tube through the hole in the rim. Starting from the valve, push the tube gently up into the tyre.
3 Starting from opposite the valve, push the other bead on to the rim with your thumbs. Work around the rim in both directions with your thumbs, pushing the bead over the rim. Finish from both sides of the valve, deflating the tube when it gets hard to push more of the tyre on to the rim. Using this method, you can often install the tyre without tools.
4 If the last bit of bead won’t snap into place, deflate the tyre a bit more, push both beads down into the well of the rim all the way round the tyre, and try again. If this still doesn’t work, you may have to use tyre levers to lever the bead on. Take great care not to pinch the tube.
5 Make sure the tube is not trapped between rim and tyre, and the valve is straight. Slightly inflate tyre (1 bar/15 psi), and reseat the valve stem by pushing up on the valve. Rotate wheel to
check the tyre is seated correctly and runs true. If it’s not, work the beads firmly down into the well of the rim by hand.
6 Inflate the tyre to the indicated pressure, ideally using a pressure gauge.
Keep tyres in a dry place, and (very important) out of the light. After riding, remove debris such as metal, glass, flints, or anything stuck in the tread. Clean tyres with soapy water. Even if the bike is not in use, keep the tyres slightly inflated. Turn the wheels from time to time to avoid ‘flat spots’ developing in the tyres.