What is it
The Vittoria Gato is a cross-country tire designed to offer grip and confidence in a wide variety of riding conditions. This tire features “circumferential channels” which are designed to allow the tire to float on wet roots, while efficiently clearing dirt and debris. So how does this fast roller stack up in the real world? Read on and find out.
- Forward thinking tread design
- Rolls quickly on soft and mid-pack terrain
- Outstanding grip performance in adverse conditions
- TNT casing supple and resilient to cuts
- 760 grams a bit heavy for XC tire
- Only offered in 2.20 width
Cross-country race treads are no longer chevrons cut into a million pieces and wrapped around 120 tpi casing with paper-thin rubber. Indeed, XC race tires have evolved and become far more capable. Vittoria is one of the companies pushing the boundaries and their Vittoria Gato is a prime example.
Vittoria relies on technology that can perform in a multitude of conditions, including its 4C Compound and Graphene, which offer versatility. The 4C compound found in the Vittoria Gato allows for separate base and surface compounds in both the center and side areas of the tread, resulting in enhanced grip and low rolling resistance.
Graphene, on the other hand, interacts with the tire’s rubber by filling the space in between the molecules. In practice, Graphene works like a magnet, its particles are so small that it can fill the holes that separate rubber molecules making them more uniform and closer to one another. In this way, the overall structure of the rubber is strengthened by the presence of Graphene, delivering improved ride quality.
The 2.20 width of the Vittoria Gato is slim compared to most modern XC tires. The tread has a slight chevron shape with densely packed, 3mm knobs arranged along a round profile. The Vittoria Gato also features what the company calls “circumferential channels” which aim to allow the tire to clear mud and debris more quickly. And each knob on the Vittoria Gato is generously siped, improving flex and grip on wet rocks and roots.
Though most riders tend to avoid wet and sloppy trails, sometimes those are the conditions we’re gifted on race day. If you ride on the East Coast, you’re all but guaranteed to run into a wet or damp feature on the race course. The Vittoria Gato offers a performance mix that racer’s will love, speed when you’re on hard packed trail and plenty of grip when off camber roots show up.
Though the idea of a “wet conditions” race tire is nothing new, the Vittoria Gato offers much more than slop steering. The grip and control on technical courses is hard to match. And though the 2.20 width is slim, when mounted on a Bontrager XXX Kovee wheel with 29mm internal rim width, they provide an excellent footprint.
The TNT casing is robust but conforms around small roots, giving an exceptional ride quality. And the “Circumferential channels” are all they are cracked up to be, as I cleaned a section of damp roots that were unpassable on previous attempts. The channels cut into the terrain, making sprinting up loose, steep climbs less of a battle. The round profile of the Vittoria Gato is predictable and even in cornering transitions. I noticed the siping on a wet log ride most, approaching on purpose with too much speed the Gato allowed me some stopping traction and never slid out.
Bottom line, the Vittoria Gato works well as both a front or rear tire, though I enjoyed the 2.25 Vittoria Barzo on the front and the Gato rear on wet but not all out soaked days. The Gato is an excellent option for wet and damp racing when grip and confidence is needed. Low rolling resistance and maximum grip in wet conditions make this a go-to tire choice for both training and racing.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
More info: www.vittoria.com