Aerocoach reveals new rolling resistance data (including for track tyres this time)

The latest results reveal the fastest road and track tyres and how they compare.

British brand Aerocoach has updated its road tyre rolling resistance test results and published data on track tyres for the first time. It follows Vittoria’s recent launch of the new Corsa Pro and a growing trend of track riders turning to clincher and tubeless setups for the first time.

Aerocoach developed its rolling resistance testing to evaluate the performance of popular time trial tyres and regularly updates its page as it adds to its test sample. The most recent update includes Vittoria’s new Corsa Pro TLR, in both 24 and 26 mm widths, plus the Vittoria Corsa Next TLR. These latest results give us the first indication of how the new Vittoria stacks up against the most popular performance road tyres, including the previous-generation Corsas and the Continental GP 5000 S TR.

Bated breath

The good news for Vittoria is the new 26 mm Corsa Pro tyres are apparently more than 12 watts faster per pair at 45 km/h than the previous-generation Corsa G+ 2.0. In good news for Vittoria fans, the Aerocoach tests suggest the new Corsa Pro TLR 26 mm is faster than the 25 mm Continental GP 5000 S TR. But, in good news for everyone, especially GP 5000 S TR fans, the Corsa Pros are only 0.1 watts faster.

At 0.002612 Coefficient of Rolling Resistance (CRR) for the Vittoria and 0.002622 for the Conti, the differences here are minuscule and can perhaps be attributed to differences in width, with the Vittorias ever so slightly wider. This is a theory seemingly backed up by Aerocoach’s results, which suggest that the 24 mm Corsa is over a watt slower than its 26 mm sibling.

The new Vittorias and Conti’s GP 5000 S TR range are immensely popular in the pro peloton and amateur ranks. As such, the almost-identical rolling resistance performance will come as a relief to many sponsored riders and paying customers alike, even though both are well beaten in purely CRR terms by many time trial-specific tyres.

Interestingly, Conti and Vitorria’s more road-specific options are also improved upon by Specialized’s Turbo Cotton C 24 mm, which tests almost 2 watts faster. Specialized itself has been in tyre news of late with Escape Collective uncovering what appears to be new Turbo wet weather-specific tyres at the Giro d’Italia.

Aerocoach conducts its rolling resistance tests on indoor rollers with validation on an outdoor track. The tests measure power, speed, total system weight, and atmospheric conditions across all tyres, and over several days. All tyres are fitted to the same tubeless-compatible aluminium rim (external width 24.7 mm, internal width 19.6 mm) with pressure standardised at 90 psi. However, Aerocoach does acknowledge different pressures may prove optimal for riding outdoors depending on specific setups and surface conditions.

The testers then use the results to calculate the CRR and translate this to the power required to overcome rolling resistance at 45 km/h for a pair of wheels on a ‘normal road’. A lower rolling resistance number means a faster tyre. That said, additional factors, such as grip and puncture protection, are arguably just as important in many real-world scenarios.

One word of warning: while Aerocoach uses 23-26 mm tyres for all its testing, unfortunately we cannot simply extrapolate the results to wider variants of the same tyre. As Dr Xavier Disley of Aerocoach explains, “some manufacturers make a bigger casing and use the same size tread,” which will affect how rolling resistance differs between tyres as the width increases.

Track tubs

As wider and tubeless tyres have taken over on the road, narrower tubulars have mostly remained the tyre of choice on smooth velodrome boards. That said, riders have raced clinchers to team pursuit and hour record success in recent years.

Judging by these results, the fastest tubular tyres are still faster than the fastest clinchers and tubeless tyres. That said, Aerocoach has not yet aero tested the best track tubulars against the fastest clinchers. It’s this combination of aero and rolling resistance drag that will ultimately determine the fastest track setup.

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