The Vittoria Corsa N.EXT is the Italian brand’s first tyre with a casing made from nylon threads to receive the hallowed Corsa name.
Slotting in between the existing Corsa TLR G2.0 and Rubino Pro TLR, the Corsa N.EXT (£64.99) is a direct challenge to the dominance of brands such as Continental and Schwalbe – both of whom specialise in vulcanised nylon tyres.
However, it is nevertheless a strong contender with great ride feel, pain-free tubeless setup and confidence-inspiring grip.
Vittoria Corsa N.EXT specifications and details
While the more expensive Corsa range retains its Corespun cotton construction, the Corsa N.EXT reflects the wider trend towards vulcanised nylon tyres throughout the bicycle industry.
Traditional cotton tyre construction (where a rubber tread is glued to a cotton tyre casing) has some claimed performance benefits, but vulcanised nylon tyres are now almost completely dominant outside of the professional peloton (and even there things are changing rapidly).
Vittoria says the primary benefits of the move to a nylon casing are a reduction in cost and improved durability.
In terms of cost, the Corsa N.EXT TLR is £10 cheaper at RRP than a cotton Corsa TLR, saving you £20 per set.
I’ve always been very fond of cotton Vittoria Corsa tyres (especially the tan wall variants), for their blend of performance, grip and excellent ride quality, but it’s hard to ignore the that they have relatively delicate sidewalls.
In contrast, the sidewalls on the Corsa N.EXT feel significantly more robust.
Surprisingly, this added durability hasn’t come simply as a result of adding weight to the tyre.
Our set of 28-622 tyres (700 x 28c in old money) weighed 299g / 305g, for an average of 302.5g per tyre – around 10 to 15g lighter than the Corsa TLR tyres we reviewed in 2021.
That’s around 20g heavier than a Continental GP5000S TR, but even when doubled to account for two tyres, 40g here or there is likely only to trouble devout weight-weenies.
It doesn’t come at the expense of ride quality either.
Vittoria says the Corsa N.EXT retains the same smooth ride feel of the cotton Corsa range, and while it’s impossible to say definitively that goal has been achieved without riding the two blindfolded, back to back, the Corsa N.EXT does impress in this area (more on this later).
As with all of the best road bike tyres, a supple casing allows the tyre sidewalls to flex and absorb small bumps in the road – assuming you’ve got your tyre pressures right – reducing energy-sapping vibrations and rolling resistance, and improving grip (as more rubber stays in contact with the ground, more of the time).
Vittoria Corsa N.EXT installation and tubeless setup
I was able to mount the Corsa N.EXTs to a Hunt 54 Aerodynamicist Carbon Disc wheelset without resorting to tools, and was able to seat the beads with a standard track pump (removing the valve core and adding some soapy water to the rim worked wonders).
Though the Hunt rims are hooked, size 700 x 28c (28-622) Corsa N.EXT tyres are compatible with hookless rims up to a maximum inflation pressure of 72 PSI / 5 BAR.
You can expect them to measure true to size on 19mm internal-width rims, but on the Hunt rims – which measure 21mm internally – the Corsa N.EXTs plump up an extra millimetre to 29mm wide.
As with installing any tubeless tyre, a properly prepared rim and good technique go a long way, and your mileage may vary depending on what rims you’re using.
If you need a refresher on how to change a bike tyre, our in-depth guide has step by step instructions and a few handy hints in case you get stuck.
Getting the Corsa N.EXT off the rim was a little trickier because the tyre bead snaps very tightly into place on the bead shelf of the rim.
While this is great for a reliable tubeless setup, pushing the tyre bead back into the rim’s central channel required a fair amount of effort.
You might need strong thumbs if you get a puncture and need to put in a tube mid-ride (although I’d highly recommend trying a tubeless puncture repair kit first, if possible).
Once that was achieved, though, I was able to easily remove the tyres with a couple of tyre levers.
My current benchmark for road tubeless tyres is the Continental GP5000S TR.
Its balance of speed, grip, comfort and puncture resistance is, in my opinion, the best available for fast road riding.
My testing on rollers indicated the Vittoria Corsa N.EXT can’t match the GP5000S TR for outright speed, with a pair requiring, on average, 7.33 watts more power to ride at 45kph.
A similar pattern played out on the road too. However, as expected, the differences in the real world were smaller than on the rollers because the higher speed and small diameter of the rollers, which presses more deeply into the tyres than a real road, tend to exaggerate any differences in rolling resistance between tyres.
Doing timed laps of a local 0.77km loop, with a short descent and climb on either side, the GP5000S TRs averaged around 1.29 seconds faster per lap compared to the Vittoria Corsa N.EXT.
An average temperature increase of around 2 degrees between testing each tyre would have favoured the Continental tyres (I tested the Vittorias first, then the Continentals), because higher temperatures tend to reduce rolling resistance.
However, this is evened out slightly by noting my average normalised power for the hotter laps was also a little lower.
For both tests, the tyres were set up with latex inner tubes on the Hunt wheels mentioned earlier (inflated to 65 PSI / 4.5 BAR), on my Giant TCR Advanced Pro Disc 2.
While the pattern in the averages is fairly clear and matches what I saw indoors on the rollers, there is, admittedly, a fairly large margin for error with these outdoor tests.
As always, there are some uncontrolled variables that could potentially skew the data, such as the environmental conditions, the accuracy of my power meter and the inconsistencies between each run.
Going forward, I’d like to perform these types of tests in a more controlled environment, such as an outdoor velodrome (watch this space).
Comparative testing conclusions
In the grand scheme of things, a performance gap of around one second per kilometre could either be a lot or nothing to worry about, depending on your perspective.
If you don’t race, you’ll likely never notice it. If you do, then it could be significant.
Extrapolating even half a second per kilometre to a 16-kilometre / 10-mile time trial gives a potential performance differential of 8 seconds, which could easily be the difference between winning and losing.
Whether or not that matters to you, then, is likely to be determined by how much you value outright speed above all else.
Vittoria Corsa N.EXT grip and puncture protection
To be fair to Vittoria, this deficit in rolling resistance is something it has acknowledged exists in its launch materials.
It counters with claims the Corsa N.EXT surpasses the GP5000S TR in other areas, such as puncture resistance and wet grip, according to internal and external lab tests.
Unfortunately, these things are trickier to test outside of a lab.
I enjoy riding fast, but it’s fair to say I don’t routinely push the limits of tyre grip – even when racing. I’m a dedicated tester, but I’m not a crash test dummy.
On dry days (of which we’ve had plenty in recent weeks), the Corsa N.EXTs feel fast and grippy on the road, giving you great confidence to lean into corners.
Riding them back to back with the GP5000S TRs, it was practically impossible to pick the two apart for ride feel or grip, which is impressive given the GP5000S TR is my current favourite road bike tyre.
That the Vittorias are slightly heavier than the Continentals (by around 20g per tyre, on average) is perhaps where the claimed improved puncture protection comes from – if there’s more material to penetrate, then, all else being equal, it stands to reason a tyre should be more difficult to puncture.
It’s for this reason the best winter road bike tyres tend to use thicker and heavier casings and treads.
I’ve not had any punctures on either the Corsa N.EXT or GP5000S TRs so far (touch wood), but I likewise wouldn’t expect miracles.
While the Corsa N.EXT is beefier than its pricier cotton siblings, it’s still a relatively lightweight, performance-focused tyre, not a dedicated mile-muncher.
Vittoria Corsa N.EXT bottom line
The Vittoria Corsa N.EXT appears to not quite be able to match its toughest competitor for outpright pace, but we’re talking about only marginal differences.
Beyond that, the Corsa N.EXT impresses on practically all fronts, with excellent ride feel and grip, relatively easy setup and decent puncture protection.
Fashionistas (such as myself) will doubtless be disappointed there’s no option for transparent or tan sidewalls, but there’s otherwise a lot to like here.