Sunday, January 2, 2011

First Impressions: Vittoria Randonneur Pro 700x35c

I picked up my new tires last Tuesday and already put almost 200 km on them. Tueoo early for a comprehensive review, but not too early for some first impressions.

Sizing and weight

Dishonesty in tire sizing is a well-known phenomenon in the bike world. In order to be able their tires as especially light-weight manufacturers make them narrower than their designation implies, so your 700x28 c tire might be only 26 mm wide.1 This is definitely true for the Randonneurs. Their measured width on a 19.6 mm Mavic Open Pro rim  is only about 32 mm.

The tires' weight as measured on my kitchen scale is fortunately closer to the manufacturer's claim: 472 g vs. 460 g advertised.

Rubber and Tread

The rubber is definitely softer than my Michelin Krylions and also a bit softer than my Continental Gatorskins. Tread is rather minimal, as you can see in the picture.

Mounting the tires

The Randonneur Pro is a folding tire and was reasonable easy to mount. Folding tires tend to be a bit more difficult to mount than wire bead tires because they don't stay in place by themselves. The trick thus is to fix them on the rim in one spot with a zip tie. From there I could easily mount them with two tire levers.

Ride quality

I took the tires on a 130 km ride, mostly on the typical wintry salt-water-grime pavement, but also several miles of partly snowy, partly muddy gravel roads. For pressure I followed the Bicycling Quarterly guidelines, i.e. 60 psi in the front and 70 psi in the back. The tires had a surprising amount of traction and the ride quality was nice. The rolling resistance is hard to assess: The moving average on this ride was only 19 km/h, which is fairly slow for me. But if that's due to the tires is unclear. The dirt roads, the hills and my general lack of energy on that day probably contributed more than the tires. But I will keep an eye olin that.


So far I'm happy with the tires. I'm annoyed that they are narrower than advertised but since I'm riding mostly on snow-free asphalt roads it probably doesn't matter too much. The main question is how puncture proof the tires will be. Updated will follow.

1 The whole issue gets complicated because of the various tire sizing systems. I have a rough understanding of how they work, but I, for example, still don't understand why 622-35 is the same size as 700x37C, and I have no idea if said tires are 35 or 37 mm wide.


  1. I have the same tires, with about 2,000 miles on them. They are the only tires I've had on my ride, and the mileage took about 14 months. So far, no flats at all, and I ride in a new area under constant construction, so debris is a daily occurance. I am always riding over small rocks or other material. I can't speak for the speed, I average 17 mph or so over 12 mile rides on my Surly Crosscheck. For me, over 50, that seems fast. I'm very pleased with the tires and see essentially NO wear on them to date. Knock on wood.

    1. Thanks for the feedback. I'm still running the same tires at the moment and I should do a full review soon. Short version: After more than 7000km I'm still very happy with them -- no flats and a great ride.

  2. How about the rolling resistance of the tires on asphalt roads in summer conditions??

  3. I have a bit of a contradictory story, I have about 300-400 miles of city riding (lots of debris/glass/etc) and have already found 3 small (~1/2" - 2cm) tears, one of which picked up some glass and lead to a flat. I find that in order to get similar rolling resistance to my 28c gatorskins - not an entirely apples to apples compare - I need to run about 90psi, which feels a bit too high. That said they are moderately more comfortable and grippy than the gatorskins. If it werent for the small rips developing, I'd keep riding them, but the rate at which they fell apart was pretty staggering. Note, I am 230+lbs and ride with another 20lbs of gear constantly, so this may play into it. Its also possible that the build quality has changed since these comments were posted 7 years ago

    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Bummer about the tears. And yeah, I would imagine that the tires have changed -- for a while it seemed like Vittoria had rebranded the whole Randonneur line under the "Voyager" label, but looking at their website, it looks like they're back to Randonneur. The only Randonneur I'm still running at the moment is a Randonneur Hyper. I used it on the rear of our tandem, and I'm curious to see how it's going to hold up.