Vittoria Randonneur Trail are the closest I’ve come to genuinely competent dual-use tyres, capable of slicing through the singletrack and frolicking in the forests without being overly ponderous over asphalt. Perfect for off the beaten track expedition touring, the 700c siblings (35 and 38mm) lend themselves to cross bikes doubling as winter trainers/playthings. However, 1800g (pr) is quite considerable-especially in terms of rotating weight so urban terrorists and bikes on calorie-controlled diets should look elsewhere.
The technical composition is a curious blend of old and new. Fancy marketing aside, puncture protection is courtesy of the traditional Kevlar belt and thicker casing to keep the dreaded hiss firmly at bay. Nothing is indestructible, hitting that nine-inch nail with your name on it will result in a traumatic flat but deliberately riding through thorns, tacks, shards of glass and other irritants on waterlogged roads failed to make any impression.
The Aramid 3D compound incorporating aqua shield technology channels water very proficiently, improving traction on and sans asphalt. Inspection covers, over banding and other hazards that usually have the senses screaming with alarm can be attacked with reckless abandon. They’ve inspired confidence hurtling fully laden along hairpin descents yet remain sharp enough when taking evasive action around opening car doors, errant pedestrians and other urban upsets too. Reflective sidewalls and dynamo track are excellent details providing greater security when negotiating roundabouts or emerging from side-roads.
Far from the madding crowd, they’re surprisingly good fun off-road, the knobbly tread shedding mud better than expected, skipping sure-footedly over tree roots and delivering a fair turn of speed to boot. There will always be some compromise and the lower pressure range means greater rolling resistance. Gentle over inflation by ten psi reaped notable improvement and it’s worth remembering these are the mtb size, the 700c versions are not only lighter but narrower profile and higher pressures suggests they’ll roll notably faster.
Great go-anywhere touring rubber but some will baulk at the weight penalty
road.cc test report
Make and model: Vittoria Randonneur Trail tyre
Size tested: 26x1.75
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Randonneur Trail is an ultra dependable, mile eating go anywhere tyre capable of entertaining everything from sweeping singletrack, unmade roads through to the concrete jungle.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
26x1.75 (tested) Aqua flow water channeling tread/ aramid 3d compound, puncture resistant belting, scotchlite reflective sidewalls, dynamo track, 35-65psi pressure range.
Despite the pronounced tread, cornering is extremely sure-footed on asphalt with none of the squirming associated with traditional knobblies despite varying levels of provocation in both wet and dry weather.
895g each (26x1.75) c. 600g for the 700c sizes.
Good enough for best bike, cheap enough for hacks.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Randonneur have been an excellent tyre for town and trail so long as you're willing to accept a slight trade off between durability and rolling resistance on asphalt. However, they are markedly better than most and can genuinely cope off-road too which is great for those of us who love to stray beyond the beaten track as well as needing protection from poorly surfaced roads. Puncture resistance is excellent-even riding through broken bottles, thorns and other sharps. Dynamo track and scotchlite reflectives are real plusses-especially given the asking price.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Genuine moderate off-road capability, great detailing, stout construction and excellent handling/town manners.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Only the weight.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 36 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)