Back at the beginning of the year, I put a new set of tires on my bike — Vredestein Fortezza SEs. I wrote about the change from the Continental Gatorskins I had been riding, and promised an update once I had some miles on them. So here goes.
The update isn’t pegged to any specific mileage number or ride number, but rather, to my first flat on these tires. One of the things that has impressed me about the Vredesteins has been their puncture resistance. I’ve noticed that even with seven months’ use behind them, the tires have just a few miniscule cracks in the tread. Compared to some tires I’ve run in the past, these fill me with confidence, and I don’t even think about the possibility of a flat when I’m on a ride anymore.
Maybe that’s what contributed to my incident Sunday. I was leading a B ride with the club, and just a mile and a half from the start, I rolled over something. I think it was a twisted piece of metal, about six inches long. I was riding directly into the morning sun at the time, and didn’t see the thing until it was too late.
So I pulled over, and the group had to wait for the leader as I replaced the tube. The metal left a deep cut in the tread, but it’s less than a quarter-inch long. I had a chance to run my fingers around the tire to make sure there were no other problem areas, and I noted that the rest of it was still fairly cut-free.
After 2,015 miles on these tires, the verdict is in: I like them. I was a little concerned at the beginning, because they seemed to be a bargain brand for Performance Bike, where I bought them. Vredestein makes a Fortezza model, and the SE is supposed to be slightly heavier than that one. (SE stands for Special Edition, and I presume it is made specifically for Performance.) Vredestein is made in the Netherlands, and since that’s where my ancestors came from, that’s another (flimsy) reason I was attracted to them.
I took a look at the Vredestein website to see if the claims they make for the tire hold up.
Very low rolling resistance. True. I typically pump these up to 120 psi. The sidewall says they’ll take pressures from 115-160 psi — much more than the 100 pounds I was used to running in my old tires. The harder pressure does make the tires roll easier.
Outstanding ride quality. True. These things can transmit the feel of bad road surfaces up to the hands, but they also have a cushiony feel over bumps — evan at that high pressure. I hadn’t expected that soft sensation with these, and it was a pleasant surprise.
Protection layer. True. I know there’s a flat in every tire, and I found the flat in this one. But for routine riding around city, suburban, and rural roads, these have been the most trouble-free tires I’ve owned. And if I could have seen past the glare Sunday morning, they would still be flat free.
Vredestein says the Fortezza is a dry-weather tire. I have not had much occasion to ride it in the wet, especially with the extraordinary drought Texas is experiencing this year. The tires come only in 23mm widths, and I would have preferred the option to put on 25s, but because of the nice ride, it’s not that big a deal.
Vredestein makes a model called the Fortezza Tricomp which they claim is a four-season tire with good traction in both wet and dry conditions. When it’s time to replace these, I might look around for the Tricomps, although the difference in price might just be enough to send me back for another pair of SEs.
You were luckier with your Vredesteins than I was with mine! After a few hundred miles, one of mine separated between the black surface and the sidewall.
Great review Ray. Just checked the performance site and the price is about the same as the Gatorskin Ultra wire bead (cheaper when on sale like they are right now) which is what I’m running right now and happy with. I might try these the next time I need a new set.
Had a set for over a year and I agree with your assesment. However, they will not stop a wire from penatrating to the tube. First flat last Saturday.
Paul Pabian Sr. says
This post cam up as I was comparing looking for a comparison of the Gatorskins I have now vs. the Fortenezza SE’s I just purchased from Performance. I am putting them on as soon as I finish this response.
I am looking for less rolling resistance from the new tire. Hopefully, that will occur. Also, I have been reading about less tire pressure reducing the amount of rolling resistance. I have been trying various tire pressures to see if this is true. The jury is still out.
I had a similar incident of a flat within one week of putting on the Gatorskins. Rolled over a twisted piece of metal and said to the person next to me “I may pay dues for that later”. Sure enough about half an hour later I flat but the tire is split open. Luckily, the support truck had a spare on board. Stuff happens no matter what you ride on.
Performance gave me a 10% discount when I took the Gatorskin back and asked for a refund.
One this that has helped my concern over flats is I use a liner in the rear tire an old “Mr. Tuffy” I have had for years. I know it adds weight but with the time I might safe from fixing a flat I figure it is a trade off.
I rode a pair of these tires for almost three years and on the trainer, and then replaced them this spring when the rear tire finally started to square off a bit. The replacement tires (Hutchinsons) proceeded to give me flat after flat, a total of 8 this season, including a torn out sidewall. I threw them out and put my old Vredesteins back on and have not had any trouble since. These are bulletproof tires that instill nothing but confidence.
Great tire however Performance has dropped them from their site for 2012! I have voiced my dissatisfaction and hopefully y’all will too and they will start carrying them again.
Michael Erb says
I love the SE’s but can’t find them anymore. Fortunately last time I ordered them (from Performance I think) I ordered a few. But sure wish I could find them again. So sad as they were such a fine tire at an unbelievable low price.