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On test: Dedatre RS Corsa tyres, October 15, 2005
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Dedatre tyres have made a substantial impact in the pro peloton this year as they've carried Alessandro Petacchi to numerous victories. John Kenny took the light and quick RS Corsa 'open tubular' for a spin and came back impressed.
Dedatre is the new tyre division of Deda, an Italian company that appears to be expanding its operations at an exponential rate. It seems like such a short time ago that Deda's Dedacciai tubing became a viable, almost boutique, alternative to Columbus and Reynolds.
Deda's tyres have gained immediate respectability in the marketplace through the sponsorship of the Fassa Bortolo and Illes Balears teams. Fasso Bortolo's Alessandro Petacchi has won at least 19 races on the tyres this year, including five stages of the Vuelta and four of the Giro.
The RS Corsa is the top-of-the-line 'open tubular' from Dedatre, meaning that the tyre uses the same lightweight 300tpi casing as Deda's Olimpico tubular but has a bead to keep the tyre on a clincher rim.
Tubular tyres are generally considered to be more comfortable and lighter (taking into account the lighter rim) than clinchers and can run flat with some safety for short periods. Unfortunately, they present considerably more hassle to mount. In the absence of a good team mechanic to do the painstaking gluing, open tubulars provide an excellent alternative as they provide most of the benefits of their more expensive and labour-intensive cousins, yet one puncture does not ring the death knell for the tyre.
At just 195 grams with a file centre tread and herringbone sides, the RS Corsas look and feel like an old-style track silk. The thin tread has been laid with speed rather than durability in mind.
The wafer-thin profile of the tyres did not inspire me with a great deal of confidence, as the road surfaces used in my training regime could be kindly described as 'challenging'. The Corsas look and feel like the sort of tyres that should be reserved for racing, but after 1500 kilometres training and racing on mostly rough roads there was only one puncture to report, caused by a sliver of glass that worked its way through the lining. The dense but fine structure of the high-thread-count carcass seemed to help limit punctures and cuts.
Combined with Deda's Camera latex inner tubes, the tyres sing along on dry, smooth roads. With nine bars of pressure the tyres feel extremely fast and responsive. I felt like the tyres were definitely saving me a few Watts, especially when sprinting out of the saddle where drag is most noticeable.
I would normally be reluctant to use fast tyres like these on wet and rough roads, but in the interests of science I rode them in all conditions. They performed above my expectations in bad conditions. They resisted pinch flat punctures (despite hitting some potholes with force) and the grip in the wet was excellent.
The exposure to wet conditions during the month-long test period was far more frequent than I would have liked. I began to think that the tyres were jinxed, such was there apparent propensity to act as drought-breakers.
The canvas-look walls of the test tyres have an agreeable retro look about them, but the sidewalls were painful to clean after riding in the rain. The optional black sidewalls would be better choice for those concerned with grime.
These aren';t tyres you'd chose for comfort; they're definitely built for speed and they do not compromise this goal for comfort or durability. Pump them up hard and you can feel the road, but that's the point.
The Corsa RS is a clincher tyre that comes as close as possible to the ride quality of a tubular. The quality of the construction is first-rate and they feel extremely quick with good communication with the road. Their excellent grip in the wet is a bonus.
Typical retail price: $US65