What is it
Vittoria is know for road tires and cross-country tires as they make some of the best performing tires in the world. In the XC line exists the Peyote, Mezcal, and Barzo, increasing in levels of grip. Thus the Mezcal sits right in the middle and can be used for front and rear applications.
The Mezcal has a lot of knobs and looks busy at first glance. But there is a method to the madness in the four rows of knobs on each side. Starting from the middle, there is a center knob to deliver minimal rolling resistance. But the center knobs have alternating wings to start delivering grip. Then there are two rows of transition knobs in staggered positions. And then finally, there is a set of staggered side knobs. Though nothing like an Enduro tire, the side knobs are well supported and have well-defined angles.
The result is a tire that rolls well, yet has good cornering grip. Abundant, strategic siping can be found to deliver directional traction.
And finally, what’s unique to the Mezcal is all the knobs are designed to deliver grip at different lean and steering angles. While many tires seem to have a dead spot as grip is passed from one set of knobs to the next, the Mezcal has none. Lean it and it is fluid and confidence-inspiring in grip. And as you steer slightly or steer sharply, a set of knobs is specifically positioned to have your back.
We put the tires on our Specialized Epic and used it throughout the unusually wet Norcal winter. Now the Epic has incredible tires, with the much improved Fast Trak and Ground Control Combo. The Fast Trak rolls well in the rear and the Ground Control up front delivers good grip.
We used the 2.25 29er Mezcals that weighed in at 688 grams each. Width was a healthy 61.5mm on a 30mm internal rim. Height of the tire is about 56mm so it is a big tire, given the weight.
At this point, we’ll mention that this new tire uses Graphene 2.0 technology and 4c compound. Graphene 2.0 is a material that almost defies physics as it claims to increase durability and puncture resistance while improving grip. 4c is the technology unique to Vittoria where they are able to use 4 different types of rubber in one tire tread. Thus they’re able to optimize grip, sidewall support and durability in one package.
- Optimal balance of great grip and rolling resistance
- light and big at 688 grams for 29×2.2.25
- 4c delivers 4 compounds in one tire
- Graphene 2.0 uses the highest level of material science to deliver grip and rolling resistance in the rubber itself
- the tread pattern is delivers consistent grip at different lean and steering angles.
- stunning skinwall look
- The tire is communicative and lets you know what it’s thinking
- $65 is a reasonable price for this level
- braking is just ok
- high-speed straight line directional stability is average
- can pack up with sticky mud
Our friends at GMBN toured the Vittoria facility in Thailand to explore the incredible tire building infrastructure.
- It’s available in 2.1, 2.25, 2.35, and 2.6.
- XC-Race casing is $64.99 MSRP.
These tires are crazy good. They blew away the Specialized tires in this Epic that they replaced. Riding 5 miles of asphalt to our local trail, was about the most painless experience we’ve had on this traverse. And then on the trail, grip and traction colluded together to achieve a good balance.
Our trail kept drying up and getting wet throughout winter and it was a delight to have a fast tire that had our back in the unpredictable conditions. The tire never wavered and it was confidence inspiring to ride aggressively. On very loose climbs and descents, it was not the grippiest. But the 2.25 tire on a 30mm rim allowed us to lower the pressure quite a bit to achieve what we wanted.
Overall, this tire delivered and is truly ready for the new blend of aggressive XC bikes coming into the market.
If I’m going into a 20 mile or 60 mile XC race blind, this would be my tire of choice. Or more realistically, if I was going to pedal all day with a bunch of fast guys in interesting terrain, I’ll pick the Mezcal.
Rating: 5 out of 5
For more info vittoria.com