Still Made In Italy – Thank God!
The Veloflex guys are not your 50 year old classic Italian Bike part company, but don’t hold that against them, because it seems more and more “Classic Italian” companies are selling out and manufacturing in the far east (or the near east, or the Eastern Block or just about everywhere but Italy…). I guess they feel that if they speak enough Italian and toss around enough red, white and green in their ads, we won’t notice that “Italian company” and Italian Craftsmanship don’t always go hand in hand.
Simply put, Veloflex are making the products that you might think you are getting from other people (based on their heritage and tradition), but no longer are. As a matter of fact, it was a couple of these companies taking their production to the east that opened the door for Veloflex to fill the void. And I am glad they did…
The tires on test – Veloflex Paves – feature a tread pattern that seems somewhat familiar. It’s a lot like the tires I used to buy from Vittoria. Veloflex make the tread using an all natural rubber compound and it is backed by a separate layer of Kevlar.
Something else that looks super sweet in its natural tan tone is the all Cotton 300 TPI casing on the Pave. I love the look of it, and with the dense casing and Kevlar protection strip it is fairly durable as well.
On To The Road
All the looks BS aside, these are just super sweet tires. I ran them on the new American Classics 350’s and the wheel set that I give the most use to (AmClassic 420’s), because I wanted to try them on something I had a feeling for.
They are a 22mm profile, and inflate to 115 PSI. That is a little lighter in air pressure than I like (running high pressure tubulars frequently) but they didn’t feel slow or sludgy, they just felt smooth. I am sure the lighter pressure and that great cotton casing made them more comfortable, but they didn’t feel at all slow. At 180 grams these are light and that helps when you are accelerating and once up to speed, they feel stable.
The tread grips well. I don’t usually have much of a grip issue, but certainly didn’t feel any wash out zipping round the normal test route, and there are some pretty good down hill curves that had a little moisture on them from the last few days. I can make my other tires swish a little, but these just tracked very well. Again, the lower pressure may play a part in their grip, but “again-again” these were not sloppy. I didn’t notice any more deflection (the part where your tire spreads out a little under your rim where it meets the road) looking down at my tires as I rode.
I guess it’s just one of those weird things that happen when you take superb materials and hand make a great tire… Use the right stuff and take your time and you come up with something that gives you a comfort boost without robbing you of any noticeable speed. What ever the case is, I love these things. The fact that they also come in a rainbow of colors is just a bonus.
They run $39.95 for Pave’s and $44.95 for the Blacks, which isn’t exactly expensive next to the other guys high end stuff.
You can get more info at the VeloFlex website: www.veloflex.it
Where To Get ‘Em
Hit up the guys at Wise Cyclebuys www.wisecyclebuys.com for a pair at your next tire change. They’ll throw in shipping when you spend 100 bucks, so with tubes and strips, you should get em shipped free (and save the tax if you’re not in the same state!).