It has been a while since I reviewd something. This week my Vittoria Randonneur II will turn 1 (yay, Happy Birthday!), and just last week I reached 10’000kms with them. This timely combination deserves a review and some praise.
The reason why I bought them last year is simple: Taiwanese roads suck. Debries, potholes, broken glasses, nails…you name it, we got it. In July 2015, after a typhoon that caused some minor damage and left plenty of broken glasses and damaged traffic lights on most roads, I was experiencing three flat tires a week. It was a nightmare. I’ve made a bit of research regarding tough tires, and in the “good value” range the Randonneur were often mentioned, so I gave them a try.
The image that you’ve seen at the beginning of this post is worth a thousand words: that’s not how most tires look after 10’000kms on rough roads. They still have a lot of life in them, while most regular tires start to look worn out past the 5k mark.
Ok, durability is top notch, but how about puncture protection?
Amount of punctures in 10’000kms: 0. Nada. Nil. For the first time in years I feel comfortable leaving home for 40+kms ride without bringing a ton of extra stuff with me. I still carry a small pump and spare inner tube, but before the Randonneur came into my life I was forced to carry a spare tire with me as well. It happened to me twice in the past to suffer major cuts that completely ruined a tire, on my first occasion I had to push for 10+kms to get back home and ever since I started carrying a foldable tire with me.
That’s in the past, though. I’m sure my Randonnerus will eventually become worn out to be point of offering little protection and suffering a puncture, but they make me feel safe enough to ride that I’ve abandoned my old habit of swapping tires between summer and winter.
Let’s be clear, they weight a ton. Most people would take them out during warm months in order to enjoy a lighter ride. I now prefer the feeling of being absolutely puncture free, and I’ll not take them out of my Defy until they exhale their last breath.
Ride quality is good at 100psi. They start to feel very sluggish once they drop below 90psi, so I try to add some air every 2/3 days to make sure that they still feel responsive. I’ve used them under torrential rain and I’ve never had traction issue, they grip on concrete and never let go.
The worst thing about them is the installation. I’ve been changing tires since forever, and the Randonneur are the first set of clinchers that caused blisters in my fingers. I’m REALLY glad they’re so puncture proof, swapping them by the side of the road must be a near-death experience.
I bought them on Wiggle (love that website, amazing service!) and they’re marked as “city tires”. I definitely see the point of that definition, but they can easily be used for touring and training as well. So far they’re the best touring tires I’ve ever used. Comfortable ride + good grip + no punctures? Sign me in!
When I purchased them they were 40% off, though I think they may have reached even better discounts from time to time.
If you can’t tell already, I love these tires. My next Wiggle order will have a couple of them being added to the basket to keep as spares or install them on my second bike.
If you’re looking for a tough (indestructible? immortal? ETERNAL?) set of clincher tires, look no further.