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Vittoria embraces future materials technology by enhancing latest road tyres with graphene

Tyre manufacturer Vittoria has embraced the latest materials technology, incorporating graphene - a thin sheet of carbon just one atom thick and which is the strongest material in the world - into its latest range of 2016 tyres.

There are nine tyres featuring graphene in the company's road range. They include the Corsa Speed in a tubeless or tubular version at the top, a Corsa in clincher or tubular in the middle, and five Rubino clincher tyres at the more affordable end. We’ve just received the new Corsa clincher tyre for testing. It's a 23mm tyre, but 25 and 28mm are available too.

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The magic is in the rubber. Vittoria has worked with Directa Plus, an Italian manufacturer of graphene, to develop its line of new tyres, which the company boldly claims means it is now “an innovative leader in the cycling world”.

But hang on a minute, what is this graphene stuff? In Vittoria’s own words, it’s a “revolutionary material in the form of a very thin, nearly transparent sheet of pure carbon.”

Graphene is a form of carbon fibre that is the thinnest and strongest material yet known to man. It’s harder than a diamond, 300,000 times stronger than steel and extremely light. And it’s just one atom thick. Vittoria uses graphene called G+, which is two to eight atoms thin.

But what are the benefits for cycling tyres you ask? Vittoria claims it offers more grip in the wet, more puncture resistance, better durability and lower rolling resistance, as much as 19% in the Corsa, and up to 40% in the more expensive Corsa Speed. Sounds like all of the things you want in a tyre.

It was discovered in 2003 by Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov - they won the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery.

“It's the thinnest possible material you can imagine. It also has the largest surface-to-weight ratio: with one gram of graphene you can cover several football pitches... it's also the strongest material ever measured; it's the stiffest material we know; it's the most stretchable crystal. That's not the full list of superlatives, but it's pretty impressive,” said Andre Geim in an interview with Nature magazine.

Here's a good video explaining what graphene is:

The Corsa is constructed with a cotton carcass and uses four compounds of rubber in the tread, to provide the best balance of speed, grip, durability and puncture protection. The sidewalls are Kevlar reinforced with Corespun 320 TPI technology.

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It’s an open tubular tyre, which means it is made with the same process used to produce a tubular tyre, but isn’t obviously sewn around an inner tube. That also means the tyre is handmade too. We’re waiting for UK prices and availability to be confirmed.

On the scales the tyre weighs 240g, not super light for a racing tyre but a good weight for an all-round tyre which the Corsa is. I’m going to fit the tyres to some wheels and test them over the coming weeks, and I’ll let you know how I get on.

Other tyres in the new graphene enhanced range includes the top-of-the-range Corsa Speed, a 205g tubeless-ready racing tyre set to run the new Schwalbe One Pro pretty close. There’s also a range of more affordable Rubino tyres as well.

Bicycle Retailer reports that last year the total market for graphene in all industries last year was $9 million, but its potential is considered enormous. Is this just the start of the graphene era? Could be see many more products enhanced with graphene in the near future. Could bicycle frames and forks be next to get the graphene treatment? Time will tell

More at www.vittoria.com/tire/corsa-open/

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

15 comments

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RobD [407 posts] 1 year ago
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A little bit dubious as to what the graphene is supposed to contribute to the performance of the tyre? It sounds a little like some of the helmet manufacturers who've stated that they're using it but not what it's for, yes it's light and strong, but only in certain uses, and yes it's a great conductor (obviously not useful in a tyre) but only when connected correctly.
Hopefully it's more than just a marketing ploy and they're actually getting the materials science right to make the most of it.

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Broady. [88 posts] 1 year ago
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I love my Corsas but they're not durable in the slightest. I appreciate they're a race tyre but after 500 miles mine are shredded. If this makes them more durable to nicks / slices then I'm all for it. Damn them for being so good looking in gumwall.

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cat1commuter [1422 posts] 1 year ago
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Quote:

Vittoria uses graphene called G+, which is two to eight atoms thin.

Does that count as graphene? Surely that's just thin bits of graphite? The peculiar properties of graphene depend on it being a single layer of atoms.

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steviemarco [228 posts] 1 year ago
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I love Vittoria tyres so will be adding these to basket when they're available.

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bobby_brains [10 posts] 1 year ago
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I work in materials science and can without a shadow of a doubt say that the addition of their idea of what graphene is will be of no benefit what-so-ever.

Total marketing crap.

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cat1commuter [1422 posts] 1 year ago
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bobby_brains wrote:

I work in materials science and can without a shadow of a doubt say that the addition of their idea of what graphene is will be of no benefit what-so-ever.

Total marketing crap.

I think other manufacturers, such as Michelin, have had success improving durability of their tyres using carbon, in the form of soot, as an additive to the rubber. So these tyres may be good, but it will have nothing to do with graphene.

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hectorhtaylor [68 posts] 1 year ago
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I went to a Manchester University science fair a couple of years ago and made graphene. Yep.
Take one piece of Sellotape and drop a minute piece of graphite onto the sticky side. Fold over the sticky side then rapidly (or it becomes boring) unstick and stick the Sellotape to and from itself until you are left with a smudge similar to that created on paper when you use a crap pencil eraser. Voila, graphene.
Now imagine it as a tyre saver.

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fukawitribe [1923 posts] 1 year ago
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bobby_brains wrote:

I work in materials science and can without a shadow of a doubt say that the addition of their idea of what graphene is will be of no benefit what-so-ever.

Total marketing crap.

I work in materials science and can without a shadow of a doubt say that the addition of their idea of what graphene is to iron will be of no benefit what-so-ever.

Total marketing crap.

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Al__S [1196 posts] 1 year ago
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I can back up the other material scientists- utter marketing wibble. Nothing more than an expensive carbon black!

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Simon Walker [61 posts] 1 year ago
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Not falling for this science fiction.  35

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hampstead_bandit [614 posts] 1 year ago
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Not falling for this science friction  3

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fukawitribe [1923 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Gents - whilst I support anyone putting forward their opinion, and find the constant hype around graphene, bucky balls and carbon nano-tubes irritating, there comes a point when you have to look at the reality of what you believe to be true. Whilst the thermal and electrical properties of graphene fillers are fairly irrelevant to polymers used in bicycle tyres - the physical ones are not and can be significant.

A quick search of the literature regarding polymer fillers in general, and graphitic fillers in particular, should be enough to show that we can 't just say it's "science fiction" or "marketing crap" but instead that there may be measurable benefits in such properties as mechanical strength, impact resistance, abrasion resistance and anti-ageing over other fillers / un-treated polymers. Of course the marketing guys are going to be all over it like honey, but there is some science potentially going on too.

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Timmee [12 posts] 1 year ago
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I'll hang on until there's uninversal agreement that tyres made with this stuff are significantly more resistant to punctures than the best existing tyre (or the same for much less weight) . Until then, the mere inclusion of the magic science word 'graphene' is just hype.

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fukawitribe [1923 posts] 1 year ago
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Timmee wrote:

I'll hang on until there's uninversal agreement that tyres made with this stuff are significantly more resistant to punctures than the best existing tyre (or the same for much less weight) . Until then, the mere inclusion of the magic science word 'graphene' is just hype.

Puncture resistance is not their raison d'être - why don't you wait until there are a few decent reviews of them to see whether they're any good ? There are some potential (and very real) benefits that might arise from using graphene as a filler, whether they are realised and/or actually lead to any noticeable benefits in bike tyres is a completely different question..

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DaSy [741 posts] 3 weeks ago
1 like

If this magic dust is the reason they stopped making the Open Pave, I am all in favour of it being removed from the world altogether!

I am prepared to mug old people if I thought they may have some old-stock Open Paves in their wheelie-bags!