Vittoria Mezcal Review

A gem of a tire in between the Peyote and Barzo of Vittoria

News Pro Reviews

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.

Mtbr’s Take

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.
Bottom Line:

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 5 Flamin' Chili Peppers
Price: $64.99

For more info

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.

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  • AbundanceNW says:

    The tire sidewall information says that it is rated for a minimum pressure of 29 psi. This seems really high and somewhat concerning to run lower pressures. What was the lowest pressure that you ran on these tires?

    • Jordan Villella says:

      Much lower – I’ve raced mine at 19 psi with zero issues – the sidewall is robust enough in the corners to not fold.

    • owen says:

      thats pretty common, i think one of my tyres says minimum 35psi, no way im going to run them that high, usually 23psi

    • Guillaume says:

      The Barzos (which I use front and rear) are the same or so. I asked the shop and he said that’s because if you run a lower pressure and compress the tire enough to crush your expensive rim Vittoria doesn’t want to be responsible for the damage. I typically run mine around 24-25 PSI, I prefer them a little firm.

  • Matt S says:

    That width is pretty crazy for a 2.25. Did they seem pretty squared off or was cornering predictable on the i30 rims? Considering buying a pair for my i29s now.

    • Francis Cebedo says:

      It was very predictable. The side knobs don’t stick out beyond the casing on this i30 rim. But it rides fine for Trail Riding even.

  • Marty A says:

    I really liked the Mezcal when I was running it last year on my Les. Fast rolling and pretty decent grip. Glad to see the reviewer had a similar experience. I kind of like the Barzo better now…especially in the front…but I would not hesitate to put a Mezcal on it again.

  • john L says:

    I have the 2.25 in the rear, good traction & very durable. What do you think of these as a XC front tire?.


  • James says:

    I’ve had Mezcals on my Kona Splice for several years now (29″, 2.1s and 2.25s). I’m mainly a commuter, so I usually ride bike lanes and paths, and these tires are the best I’ve ever ridden.

    I currently live in a high mountain desert, so I see a little bit of everything in riding conditions. These tires perform exceptionally well in the dry, accelerating well from a red light to leaning into a high-speed turn. I don’t get much experience in the wet (this is a desert after all) but I’ve spent considerable time in snow/ice, which is where this tire impresses me the most.

    Before I upgraded to the Mezcal G+ model I hated riding in the winter. Always felt like my back end was going to kick out from underneath me. That is no longer an issue. I have had several instances where my back end slipped on a sheet of ice only for the tire to catch some additional traction for very little drama. I now feel planted and confident while riding in the winter. Grip, regardless of the riding conditions, is no longer a worry.

    I did have some puncture issues with this tire before I went to a tubeless setup, since then I’ve yet to have a flat. One puncture issue required me to replace a tire (ran over a 3″ screw that tore a 1″ hole in my back tire) but I chalk that up to the perils of the bike lane. I will say that the tubeless setup requires me to be more vigilant on checking my tire pressures.

    As for durability, I’m on my second set of G+ Mezcals (my bike came stock with Maxxis Mezcals). The stock set (non G+) lasted about 2k miles before I started seeing a rash of (tubed) flats. All told I’ve ridden about 15k miles on Mezcals, with my flats going way down upon moving to the G+ and away entirely with the move to tubeless. My current set has rolled together for about 1k miles (the older tire has about 500 more miles on it) and I can’t tell the difference between them (they both looked slightly used but essentially new).

    I’m bummed about the G+ 2.0 release, I really want to check out the improvements but have no need to replace right now. The 1.0 version tires are perfect in my eyes, delivering a compelling balance of grip, durability and puncture resistance.

  • Steve Bartlett says:

    Geek question 🙂 What colour are the sidewalls? The lighter ‘para’ colour, or normal tan?

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