Vredestein Fortezza Quattro Tricomp £27.49
Vredestein road tyres are invariably highly regarded by those who ride them, and get consistently favourable reviews by members of RCUK. Manufacture may have been moved from the Netherlands to the Far East, but the technology and quality standards on which the company’s reputation was built are still in evidence on current models. At the top of the Vredestein pile sits the Tricomp range, which comprises tubular and clincher tyres in a variety of weights, sizes and colours.
The Quattro variant is intended for year-round use, implying that it is suitable for and proof against the most severe conditions. Although comparable in weight with the standard Tricomp, it has an extra protective tread layer, labelled Full Contact Protection, that extends puncture protection from the tread centre right around to the shoulders and sidewalls.
The tread itself features a smooth centre band with diamond-patterned shoulders, while the carcass has Vredestein’s highly-rated 120tpi thread count two-ply construction and a folding bead. Maximum rated pressure is a high12 bar/168psi. The tyre is offered in 23c format and Anthracite colour only.
The tread really does extend a long way around the side of the tyre, helping to protect the thin sidewalls from stone cuts. The feel of the tyre out of the pack is flexible and supple with a thin tread suggesting a fine ride. Inflated to 95/100psi front rear, that’s exactly how it behaves, soaking up minor road imperfections without any appreciable ‘sogginess’. Whether it is worth inflating the tyre harder for regular riding is debatable; it simply rides a little harsher without feeling any faster, which is as might be expected.
For RCUK’s test, however, we took them on tour. An extra 10 psi in the back took the strain of two stuffed panniers, leaving the Quattros feeling as fast as ever. The ride included sections of rough-stuff, the pave of Paris-Roubaix and a super-fast Tarmac descent in torrential rain, offering plenty of opportunity to assess the tyre’s claimed attributes.
Of grip on wet or dry Tarmac, there is plenty. The tyre is fast and generally sure-footed, although the smooth centre band can lack a degree of directional control on greasy cobbles. A more consistent tread coverage might help here. That said, the front never threatened to lose grip and turn-in was always predicable. Ride comfort is excellent and impressed from the first few pedal strokes. After 400km of varied terrain, neither tyre had suffered so much as a cut. The front had a slow puncture, but on inspection there was no sign of penetration by thorn or flint, so we put it down to a slight pinch on the pave. A 23c section is arguably too narrow for the cobblestones of Roubaix, so no real quibble there.
Rolling resistance also appears excellent, with the bike rolling steadily away from its companions on any slope. Given the unscientific nature of the test this may not mean much, but they rolled as fast as they felt.
Apparently this tyre carried Robbie McEwen to the 2006 Tour de France green jersey win. Seems fair enough.