Most people know Vittoria because of their road tires. They make some of the best in the business and have many world championships under their belts to back it up. Vittoria also makes great mountain bike tires but until this year they were branded as ‘Geax’. This year Vittoria completely revamped their mountain bike line. They brought the branding back home to the Vittoria label and introduced something very special.
What is Graphene?
Graphene is a newly discovered material consisting of particles of carbon. In its most extreme form it is 1 atom thick! Vittoria uses particles 2-8 atoms thick in the rubber compounds of many of their 2016 tires, both road and mountain, and also in their newly released wheels.
What are the benefits of Graphene you ask?
1. Enormous surface area: 1 gram = around 2,630 m2 (that’s meters squared) that can facilitate any chemical process
2. High mechanical resistance: approximately 200 times stronger than steel
3. High thermal conductibility: more than 2 times that of a diamond
4. Less density: is equal to half that of aluminium
5. High elasticity: equal to 6 times that of steel
6. High electrical conductibility, transparency, lightness, flexibility and mechanical resistance
This might seem like science class and not a tire review, so how does it perform when added to mountain bike tires?!
When added to rubber compounds graphene can cause the tire to have less rolling resistance along with more grip in wet conditions particularly because of the strengthened knobs which generally make a better tire. If graphene pans out the way Vittoria claims it does, this is a massive step forward in bicycle tire technology. Expect to see graphene not only in the bicycle industry but also trickling into all industries, especially electronics in the coming years.
So what about the Vittoria Mezcal?
The Mezcal is Vittoria’s XC race/off road Tri/Xterra tire. The 29 x 2.25 size is a great balance between fun, cushion, and efficiency for racing or fast trail riding. The tread looks promising in dry-to-tacky conditions but looks to have knobs too close to perform well on a proper wet and muddy day. The real weight of the Mezcal is 711g which is slightly heavier than claimed.
What makes a quality tire is one that not only performs well but also is durable enough to get you home. Over the next few weeks we look forward to seeing if Graphene is in fact a game changer!