Vittoria Open Pavé - The Ultimate UK Tyre?
The Pavé was designed (as the name suggests) for the cobbles of Northern France and Belgium. Made to be grippier, more robust and more supple than other tyres; it was formed with the capability to deal with the onslaught of the Koppenberg and Roubaix. The Pavé fast became a favourite with Classics specialists, and its distinctive green sidewalls (it is now available in full black, too) shod many professionals' wheels again at the start of this year.
So, why would a tyre designed for the cobbled sectors of The Classics, be any use on UK roads?
The second reason ties in with the first... punctures. The dreaded "P" word is something that at best can dampen spirits on a good ride, and at worst (in the case of a sudden blow-out), could cause much more damage. UK roads are not as good as continental tarmac, I don't think anyone will argue against that; and with poor roads comes a greater chance of punctures. The Vittoria Open Pavé uses a Kevlar belt to help to keep potential offensive debris at bay, and its supple nature and reinforced sidewalls also mean that it is less likely to fall victim to pinch flats on sharp-edged potholes.
I started using the Pavé tyres after a winter tyre test, but they've now been fitted to the majority of my wheels, including my race wheels. A crash or puncture will almost certainly ruin a race; just as it will a training ride. So for me, the reduced risk, the added security and the peace of mind, are worth the slight drag and weight penalty compared to out-and-out race tyres like the Vittoria Open Corsa.
Tyres are a very personal choice. For me, the Vittoria Open Pavé holds top spot for feel, comfort and security. Perhaps we should let the continental teams keep their lightweight tyres for their smooth roads; for the more 'challenging' state of UK roads, perhaps the Classics tyres are more suitable?
The Vittoria Open Pavé is available from Wiggle (Link)