Tire specialists Vittoria are venturing into a complete line of wheels. Introduced at Interbike, the 2015 line of wheels encompasses price points from $299 to $2399, and everywhere in between with some very unique ideas. They have implemented a host of new tech and materials such as using Graphene nanotechnology. Last fall they hinted at using this ultralight material, but it looks like they had bigger ideas. Just as Mavic went from wheels to wheel-tire systems to provide an integrated package, Vittoria went the other way and now promises improved fitment between tire and rim.
Known primarily as a tire maker of a full range of tires from commuter tires to high-end cotton tubulars, we spoke to them to find out what the line was all about…
Vittoria, also the maker of Geax tires, is often very modest about the technology and quality they put into their products. For instance, their 320 tpi cotton casing used in their highest end tires is arguably the finest in the industry, but not many people know it. Similarly with their new wheel line, they quietly introduced some impressive features that can greatly improve the ride experience.
“We are a tire company, the largest bicycle specific tire brand, and it was a natural evolution for us to look at wheels. We saw there was an opportunity there to grab some market share” said John McKone, Road Marketing for Vittoria North America. “We didn’t want to be this super high end wheel brand, we wanted to make an all-inclusive brand.”
The Qurano will lead as the flagship road wheels as carbon fiber tubulars. Available as the 46, 60 and 84, with the numbers denoting the depth of the rim in millimeters, you can choose which depth will best suit your needs. They’ll implement all three of their unique features and tech: SwitchIt freehub, Perfect Match tire fitment and Graphene Plus. Retail is $1899 to $2399 depending on depth, and include wheelbags.
The SwitchIt design that allows for tool-less removal of the entire freehub body. This benefits racers that want to switch cassette ratios often. Instead of having to switch cassettes on the body, simply mount each cassette to a new SwitchIt body, and completely switch the cassette without any tools.
Perfect Match is the result of Vittoria being a tire brand, and specializing in very high-end tubular tires. By now being able to make both the tire and the rim, they are able to insure that the mounting profile of each part is an exact match, leading to perfect fit.
Graphene Plus may be the most unique and leading innovation for Vittoria. Graphene is a single-layer, pure-carbon matrix that is only one atom thick. Only first isolated in 2004, and winning a Nobel Prize in 2010, the material is truly on the cutting edge of using nanotechnology in composites. According to McKone, it can add 15% in stiffness and 15% in strength to the carbon fiber material they use to construct the rim. The matrix also has great conductivity, aiding in heat transfer across the entire rim, which can greatly reduce temperature build up, especially at the brake tracks. Graphene is already at use in composites in a variety of other industries that use carbon fiber, but Vittoria is one of the very first to implement it into the cycling industry. Ellsworth’s new owner is another.
On the mountain side, the Race model is a 29er tubular utilizing Perfect Match and Graphene Plus, and weighing an impressive 1450g. The mountain bike wheels use a mountain-specific hub that gives up the SwitchIt freehub, but is completely switchable to all current axle types and uses Centerlock disc rotor mounting. McKone says that the name is indicative of the use, and a tubular mountain wheel is truly racing-specific. They will only make 200 sets of these wheels this year. Retail is $1999 and includes wheelbags.
Perhaps the entry-level offering is most telling about the brand’s intent. At this end, Vittoria’s offering is extremely impressive with the 1763g Session road clinchers starting at $299 including wheelbags. There are a lot of wheels available for $299, but being able to offer that price with a very competitive weight and a set of wheelbags is very impressive. On the mountain side, the Creed wheels are available in all three wheel sizes, are tubeless compatible, available for through-axles in the front, and include wheelbags for $374.99.
Every set of wheels that Vittoria will sell will be equipped with the IQR code system. Each wheel will be individually QR coded, and Vittoria will have a system for the owner to look up the initial QC of the wheel, as well as shops to keep a record of service of the wheel, so that the history of the wheel can follow it for life. Best of all, the wheels have a two year warranty, but when the original owner registers the wheelset with Vittoria, that warranty will be extended to 3 years.
To see the full line of wheels and all of their features, visit Vittoria’s wheel website.