Vittoria has been updating its mountain bike line with a number of new treads, sizes, and has started using rubber compounds with Graphine, which we have recently written about here. The previous brand name of Geax is gone and the mountain bike line overall looks very impressive with a lot of depth for a less known Italian/North American brand. We put the Vittoria Mezcal with Graphene through its paces and this is what we think.
Setup and initial Impressions of the Vittoria Mezcal
The Mezcals we received were the 29 x 2.2 TNT model or ‘Tubes no Tubes’ casing. It is basically a half-way between a true UST (Universal Standard Tubeless) tire and a normal tubed tire. I set these up as normal with a mix of Stans sealant and slime with no issue. They pump up easily and pop into place without hassle and the tire ran very straight, which is not common.
I ran the Vittoria Mezcal on Easton’s 27mm and 24mm inner wide rims which allowed me to lower the pressure compared to most XC rim combinations. Throughout the test, the weather was remarkable consistent, resulting in slightly moist, to powdery soil as the summer approaches British Columbia. This is the terrain the Mezcal was designed for but unfortunately we didn’t get any wet weather during testing.
Performance of the Vittoria Mezcal
There is no denying the grip of the new Graphene rubber Vittoria is now using. For a dedicated XC tire and tread, it has plenty of bite. I would say the Mezcal has noticeably more bite than a traditional XC tire. Would I say its a game changer? Not really. That being said, as previously mentioned we didn’t get a chance to ride it in wet conditions where I suspect the Graphine rubber shines. Also, I think this tire would be well suited as a 2.35.
Over the course of one month of solid riding, I found the durability of the tire to be far from ideal. Toward the end of the test I found the sidewalls starting to become thread bare and the rear tire to wear faster than expected. Maybe this is the price you pay for that extra bite mentioned earlier, but it confused me as one of the claims of Graphene is that it extends tire life.
The achilles heal of the Mezcal is its puncture protection. While riding this tire in a variety of terrain(rocky, smooth, XC race course, wilder enduro tracks on a variety of bikes) I found I punctured a lot more than with normal tires. Oddly enough I never cut a sidewall(which I find normally happens in these areas) but always on the top between the tread. I punctured so often I had to patch the tires simply to feel I got a legitimate test out of them. For this tire to shine, improvements need to be made here.
The Vittoria Mezcal shows a lot of promise. Graphine rubber is definitely an upgrade in grip and the tread pattern offered is fantastic for fast, fun, riding ideally on XC or marathon type courses. The Vittoria Mezcal sets up remarkable easy, and has a great feel to it on the bike.
Unfortunately I found the tire simply doesn’t have enough puncture protection. Toward the end of the test I simply didn’t trust it come race day. If these issues were resolved and the tire was offered in a 2.35 as well, then it would be a major competitor in the XC category
- Great tread
- Sets up easily
- Graphine works!
- Punctures way too easily
- Not offered in a 2.35(ish)
- Someone who rides light XC in a dry-moderate climate.