Vredestein Fortezza Senso Xtreme Weather tyres - review - Road Cycling UK

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Vredestein Fortezza Senso Xtreme Weather tyres – review

Grippy, durable, puncture-resistant training tyres which don't sacrifice too much in the way of speed

Winter tyres are built for durability, not speed – or are they? Are all winter tyres designed the same? The Vredestein Fortezza Senso Xtreme Weather tyres strike the balance between beating a blowout without sacrificing too much speed.

This review came about a conversation with a well-known British pro at a race at the end of last season. He’d switched his sponsor’s tyres and shod his wheels with a set of these Vredestein Fortezza Senso Xtreme Weather clinchers. His reasoning was the best way to be in with a shout of winning the race – which didn’t have the luxury of neutral service – was to still be in it at the end. A good point.

At the finish line, with both tyres still fully inflated, he went on to say that he’d been riding them all season, even during the summer. There aren’t too many tyres that are this puncture proof that anyone would seriously consider using in a race. We thought it time we gave them the once over.

The Vredestein Fortezza Senso Xtreme Weather tyres offer a superb balance of speed, grip, puncture protection and durability

Popping them on at the start of the winter, we were dubious, but we’re now halfway through the wet and cold weather, and still (touch wood) puncture-free.

Vredestein is a Dutch company renowned for producing hardcore tyres. Its sales are largely biased toward snowy countries, hence why it seems to have a handle on the more aggressive conditions cyclists suffer over the winter.

For the 120tpi Fortezza Senso Xtreme Weather, Vredestein has used a new compound dubbed XWS. This latest version of Vredestein’s all-weather compound has been tweaked to apparently boost durability and offer more puncture protection than before, as well as improving grip.

All in all, Vredestein have used a blend of three compounds, including specific formulas on the shoulders and centre of the tyre to provide plenty of grip on the wet, muddy roads but without having an overly negative effect on rolling resistance, as is often the case with hardy winter boots.

Grip is excellent in both the dry and wet, and the soft compound on the sidewalls is very reassuring – it’s tyres like these that give a rider ideas going into a fast corner. With rain also comes punctures. Flints lurk is the gutter, and with excess rain, the gutter gets flooded and the sharp stuff ends up strewn across the road. A puncture protection layer stretches across the whole tyre to provide excellent protection from flats and they’ve withstood all the punishment thrown at them so far.

The tech continues with Vredestein’s Curve Control System. The tread and sidewalls of the tyre are designed to wear at different rates to help it keep its round shape for longer. We’ve been using the Vredestein Fortezza Senso tyres for two months and they still look remarkably fresh, showing very little evidence of the harsh winter miles that have gone beneath them.

Vredestein offer the tyres in three widths, with 23mm and 28mm options as well as the 25mm version tested

On the flip side, the tyres are a bit heavy. The 25mm version tested (23mm and 28mm options are also available) weighs in at 280g, which is fairly hefty when put against the ever-popular Continental Grand Prix 4 Season at 230g. That didn’t seem to have too much of a negative effect, however, and they still roll well, without feeling like you’re sacrificing much in the way of speed to question the merit of the extra grip and puncture protection offered for training. It’s an excellent combination and, all things considered, these really are very good training tyres.

Conclusion

They Vredestein Fortezza Senso Xtreme Weather tyres aren’t as quick as a lightweight summer tyre, but you wouldn’t expect them to be. Instead, they offer superb protection against the perils of winter riding, with generous amounts of grip and solid puncture protection. And anyway, who wants to be stuck at the side of the road in the cold and wet with numb fingers trying to change a tube?

Pros

– Grippy compound
– Don’t sacrifice too much speed
– Hardcore tyres for hardcore conditions

Cons

– On the heavy side

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