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The top 6 best tubular road bike tires

In this article I’m going to give my list for the best tubular road bike tires.

In the industry there are a few well known brands who’ve been at the top of their game for many years, and their tires you can find on this list.

The tires vary with the intended use. I’ve added a number of Vittoria tires. The standard Corsa, and the Corsa Control and Corsa Speed, which are meant for harsher conditions and time trials respectively. You can find that decision with other items as well. So depending on your personal preference, allround, speed, endurance, you might opt for one over the other tire.

All are excellent choices. So here’s my list of the best tubular road bike tires.

Vittoria Corsa

Vittoria Corsa
Vittoria Corsa

The Vittoria Corsa G2.0 is a commendable evolution of its predecessor. It stands out with its fast, supple, and grippy performance, making it suitable for both racing and general riding. The improved wet weather grip and durability contribute to its overall appeal. While the tan sidewalls may stain, it’s a minor drawback considering the overall performance and value these tyres offer. Cyclists seeking a versatile and high-performing tyre at a reasonable price should seriously consider the Vittoria Corsa G2.0.

Cornering:
The Vittoria Corsa G2.0 tires excel in cornering, offering a refined and supple feel. The soft sidewalls and compound provide excellent traction, ensuring a planted and surefooted experience even in challenging conditions. Whether navigating tight corners in a race or descending unfamiliar mountain roads, I felt the tires demonstrated impressive cornering grip.

Pedal Traction:
The graphene-infused compound contributes to reduced rolling resistance, translating into efficient pedal traction. The tires maintain speed exceptionally well in a straight line, and the 320TPI core spun cotton casing enhances the overall feel, making them suitable for fast riding conditions. The supple nature of the tire ensures a responsive connection with the pedals.

Braking Traction:
Braking traction is notably improved, especially in wet conditions. The Corsa G2.0 performs admirably in both wet and dry weather, providing me with confidence-inspiring braking performance. The grip on offer adds a layer of safety, making them suitable for diverse riding conditions.

Rolling Resistance:
The Vittoria Corsa G2.0 boasts impressive stats in terms of rolling resistance, with claims of ‘40% reduced rolling resistance.’ The tires live up to these expectations, delivering a fast and efficient ride. While not as fast as the Corsa Speeds, they are more than suitable for high-speed riding, and the improved wear rate adds to the overall value.

Ease of Installation:
Mounting them as clinchers is a straightforward process, and their supple nature allows for easy installation without the need for levers. The simplicity of installation adds to the overall user experience, making these tires accessible to a wide range of cyclists. If you’ve done it before the tubular version is just as easy to install as well, especially when using tubular tape.

Pros and Cons

Vittoria Corsa Control

Vittoria Corsa Control
Vittoria Corsa Control

If you want a bit more puncture protection but still have Vittoria emblazoned on your sidewall, the Vittoria Corsa Control will suit your needs.

It’s obviously heavier than its other namesake, but with it comes extra protection. It has an extra tread inserted into the tire, which adds control and durability for less than optimal road conditions like cobblestones and rougher roads.

It’s also a perfect companion for those who don’t mind riding in wet conditions. So choose this tire over the normal Corsa if rough and wet is what you like.

The Vittoria Corsa Control is also the only tan-wall road bike tire on this list that comes as a tube. So if you have a very premium vintage road bike or a very premium set of modern-day wheels you can take advantage of everything tubes have to offer as well.

Expert Experience

Liam Cahill | Contributor – July 21, 2020

At 323g, this isn’t the lightest tubeless option out there, but it does come with the added casing reinforcement and thicker tread. If you compare these to summer race tyres then you will notice that the Corsa Control TLR feels a little slower, but I’ll trade that for the increased mileage and added protection against punctures.

If you’re after a set of fast and grippy tyres for wet weather, or you want a posh tubeless tyre for winter, this is a very good option. The plush ride, confidence in the rain, and robust compound make the Vittoria Corsa Control TLR G2.0 easy to recommend.

Pros and Cons

Vittoria Corsa Pro

Vittoria Corsa Pro
Vittoria Corsa Pro tread pattern

Improving upon the Vittoria Corsa, the Vittoria Corsa Pro aims to reduce rolling resistance by integrating the center tread into the casing.

The cotton casing is known for its supple ride, grip and handling. However this tire is so new I’ve been unable to find any rolling resistance numbers yet to be able to compare them with the standard Corsa and see if this tire holds up to its promise.

That would be a thing indeed for the Vittoria Corsa is a benchmark tire when it comes to rolling resistance, which makes this tire, both in its tubular and tubeless version, an exciting addition to the Italian’s lineup indeed.

Expert Experience

Simon von Bromley | Senior technical writer – August 30, 2023

Compared to my experience with previous-generation Corsa Speed TLR tyres, the Corsa Pro TLRs slipped on to a set of Hunt 54 Aerodynamicist Carbon Disc wheels with relative ease.

The combination of a traditional cotton casing and a seamlessly attached tread offers easy setup, fantastic ride feel and, in my opinion, looks brilliant too.

Disappointingly, though, it performed relatively poorly in our rolling resistance test. And while lab results don’t tell you everything about how a tyre performs in the real world, at this price it’s not unreasonable to expect top performance in all areas.

Pros and Cons

Continental Competition

Continental Competition
Continental Competition

The Continental Competition is a very different tire than the Grand Prix TT. More of an allround race tire, only the extremely narrow 19 mm get’s below the 200 grams at 195. Should you move up to either 22 or 25 mm the weight increases as well to 230 and 245 respectively, which is still very respectable for an all-round road bike tire.

With a TPI of 180 it does pack far more rubber making this tire far more durable. Furthermore it does have the same vectran breaker and just the tiniest of tread to maximize rolling resistance.

The Continental Competition is a tubular tire, which means that these tires may very well be lighter than the Grand Prix TT which needs tubes.

Pros and Cons

Continental Sprinter Gatorskin

Continental Sprinter Gatorskin
Continental Sprinter Gatorskin

If you’re looking for puncture protection that comes in a tubular package, the Continental Sprinter Gatorskin is your best bet.

It offers the same DuraSkin layer wrapped all around the tire as does the Continental Grand Prix 4-Season. Where it differs is both the breaker and the compound.

The Sprinter Gatorskin has a 3-layered 180 TPI all-weather casing and the SafetySystem breaker is made from kevlar reinforced nylon.

The tire is available in a black 22 or 25 mm width.

Expert Experience

Sorin Boriceanu | Professional Triathlete – May 24, 2013

I highly recommend the Sprinter Gatorskin tubulars for an everyday tyre, even for the occasional race. I would not recommend them for priority races as ITU Races. The thick construction and flat protection soak up too much energy better used in propelling you forward.

Pros and Cons

Pirelli P Zero Velo Tub

Pirelli P Zero Velo Tub
Pirelli P Zero Velo Tub tread pattern

Pirelli enters the market of tubular road bike tires with the P Zero Velo Tub.

They are some of the heaviest tubular road tires you can find, which is not necessarily a bad thing. This translates into comfort rather than additional puncture-protection.

You could argue it’s a new type of tubular tire coming only in 25 and 28mm width. We’ve seen a shift away from very skinny tires to wider, grippier versions that add comfort and confidence. The P Zero Velo Tub is such an example.

In general tubular tires aren’t the most puncture-resistant and this tire, apart from its multi layered 120 TPI plies, offers a single breaker. While I don’t suspect any snakebites on the average road, it does mean the tire is a little bit more delicate in the sidewalls.

Pros and Cons

Sources

Liam Cahill, Vittoria Corsa Fold G2.0 tyre, Road.cc, August 4, 2020
Liam Cahill, Vittoria Corsa Control TLR G2.0 tyre, Road.cc, July 21, 2020
Sorin Boriceanu, Continental Sprinter GatorSkin Tubular Tyre Review, Sorin Boriceanu, May 24, 2013
bio vanseijen

Johan van Seijen

Founder Restoration.bike

Johan van Seijen is the founder of restoration.bike. His cycling career has seen him at the starting line of classics such as the Amstel Gold Race and Liege Bastogne Liege. Realizing his racing capacity would fall short of what was needed he obtained a MS from the University of Amsterdam in engineering. His love for cycling changed into riding in an amateur capacity with his local cycling club TFC Weesp as a roadie and supporting MTB Noordwest as a mountain biker. He repairs, restores, and builds bicycles and shares his knowledge on YouTube, Facebook and this website. 

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