With the majority of cyclo-cross bikes these days seemingly going nowhere near the race course it's a surprise that anyone makes a 'cross tyre that's designed for anything other than the hardships of debris-riddled bike lanes and genteel bridleways, but thankfully Vittoria realise that there are still a few misguided idiots that use their cyclo-cross bikes for their intended purpose of an hour of painful mud of a Sunday morning and so produce a tyre for them. Hooray.
In these times of ultra-bald tyres in rainbow colours it’s a rare thing to see a straight black tyre, like the Vittoria Diamante Pro Tech, with a file tread on the edges and a smooth central strip, it’s gives an almost old-fashioned warm fuzzy glow of nostalgic reassurance. Though there’s nothing archaic about these tyres as they’re full of modern technology and zeitgeist buzzwords.
Vittoria's Open Pave EVO CGs ride like tubulars with the convenience of a wire on and should satisfy the most demanding of four seasons racers thanks to ultra high density 320 tpi casing, puncture resistant Kevlar belt and very modest weight. However, ours initially demanded the mighty “Speed Lever” to persuade the ultra supple casings aboard a common or garden Mavic wheelset so resist the desire to mount them in the heat of competition unless you have a finely honed knack for seating stubborn tyres in seconds.
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.