Italian tyre giant Vittoria might not be as well-known in the mountain biking world as Maxxis or Schwable, but offers a wide range of rubber to suit plenty of disciplines from road to cross-country, and electric bikes to commuters.
- Best mountain bike tyres | The best trail and enduro tyres
- Best mountain bike wheels | Trail, all-mountain and enduro wheels tested
Its latest tyre, the Mazza, is designed specifically for trail and enduro riding, and features a host of Vittoria’s own tyre tech that should let it roll to the head of the pack.
I took to the trails around the Tweed Valley in Scotland to test out the tyres and find out if graphene really is as good as claimed.
Vittoria Mazza 2.4 x 29in Graphene 2.0 4C tyre details
The Mazza is available in two casing types: a lighter Trail tyre, denoted by an anthracite-coloured sidewall, and a heavier, thicker Enduro and e-MTB tyre that’s all-black.
Both tyres have a 120 thread per inch (TPI) construction and use the same 4C Graphene 2.0 tread compound and tread pattern.
Vittoria Mazza graphene tyre compound
Vittoria says that the Graphene 2.0 compound contains the tyre’s magic and that it “interacts with the rubber by filling the space in between the rubber molecules”. This, it claims, leads to verified positive increases in a tyre’s overall performance.
The 2.0 version of graphene is claimed to go further than just improving the tyre as a whole, instead it can be “functionalised” to boost a specific area of performance, such as rolling speed, grip and puncture and wear resistance. In the Mazza’s case, Vittoria claims the Graphene 2.0 improves all of the tyre’s metrics.
This is done using a four-compound rubber, where four individual graphene compounds have been layered to tune the tyre’s feel.
Vittoria says the surface of the tread remains tacky, while the base has a stiffer compound, which should maintain tread block shape – and therefore how ‘sharp’ the tyre’s edge is – under high cornering and braking loads. Vittoria says this reduces rolling resistance and increases wear life, too.
Vittoria Mazza tyre tread pattern
There’s no denying the Mazza looks similar to Maxxis’ ever-popular Minion DHF. Imitation, in this instance, is for good reason, the Minion DHF has proven to perform impressively. There are differences between the two, though.
The Mazza’s centre blocks feature deep sipes along each tread block which, according to Vittoria, should help improve rolling speed while allowing the knobs to deform during cornering forces to provide cornering grip.
The larger centre blocks that form an alternating pattern with smaller ones have a stepped leading edge, which should serve to improve mechanical pedalling grip while not reducing rolling resistance significantly. This acts as a hybrid solution between a ramped block and a square-edge one.
The braking edges of the blocks are square and Vittoria says it’s left plenty of room for them to bite into the ground and clear mud when speed picks up.
The side knobs – that deal with cornering forces – are also heavily siped and shaped to produce an “asymmetrical tread flex”, which should make for predictable cornering. Like the centre blocks, there are two types of side block that alternate.
The larger, outer-most block has a deeper central sipe and two smaller ones either side, while the smaller blocks have three shallower sipes.
Vittoria says the 4C compound also helps to give a sticky inside edge – the one that digs in on turns – while retaining its shape thanks to stiffer rubber used elsewhere.
Vittoria Mazza 2.4 x 29in Graphene 2.0 4C tyre weights
The Mazza 2.4 x 29in Enduro and e-MTB casing tyre weighed 1,190g, while the Trail casing 2.4 x 29in tyre weighed 970g.
The Mazza 2.4 x 27.5in Enduro and e-MTB casing tyre weighed 1,140g and the Trail casing version of the 2.4 x 27.5in weighed 930g.
Where should the Vittoria Mazza excel?
Vittoria says the Mazza is a mixed-terrain tyre, performing best on hardpack, hard/icy and wet terrain – ranking 9/10 in Vittoria’s own scoring system.
While it should still be able to perform in mud and on loose ground, its performance isn’t claimed to be as high – getting a 7/10 on Vittoria’s performance ranking.
Vittoria Mazza 2.4 x 29in Graphene 2.0 4C tyre set up
I fitted the Vittoria Mazza tyres to two different bikes; a Marin Apline Trail 8 with DT Swiss’s new EX 1700 Spline 29in wheels with an internal width of 30mm, and my Yeti SB165 long-term test bike with Race Face Turbine R 27.5in wheels, also with a 30mm internal width.
I fitted the Trail casing Mazza to the front wheel and the Enduro and e-MTB casing tyre to the rear wheel. Both tyres on both bikes were inflated to pressures relevant to the conditions, ranging from 22psi up to 28psi.
The 2.4in Enduro and e-MTB casing tyre measured 59mm/2.32in on both the 27.5in and 29in wheels when inflated to 26psi, while the 2.4in Trail casing tyre measured 61mm/2.4in exactly on both wheel sizes when also inflated to 26psi.
Tubeless inflation was impressively easy on the Trail casing tyre with a high volume track pump, especially on brand-new rims. On wheels with a few dents or wider internal width rims – think 32mm plus – the Enduro and e-MTB casing tyre was harder to inflate than the Trail casing version, but after using a tubeless inflator it seated on the test rims fairly easily.
Across the two bikes, I amassed 784km of riding on the Mazzas.
Vittoria Mazza 2.4 x 29in Graphene 2.0 4C tyre ride impressions
I tested the Mazza tyres on a host of different terrain during the summer in Scotland’s Tweed Valley, ranging from sloppy, gloopy mud, greasy hardpack and rock slabs through to loam and dry and dusty ground with loose rocks over the top.
The Mazza’s rolling speed was impressive and the feeling of pace was especially pronounced on fireroad climbs and flatter trail centre sections rather than all-out technical descents. On the climbs, it meant I used less energy to maintain the same speeds compared to more draggy tyres such as Schwalbe’s Magic Mary.
Those high rolling speeds were welcome on the winches to the top, but certainly came at the detriment of braking and straight-line grip in certain conditions on the descents.
Once the trails were damp, especially if they were a hardpack mud and rock mix and had become greasy, the Mazzas struggled to maintain good cohesion levels with the trail surface.
Across cambers and over roots and rocks I was frequently taken by surprise when the Mazza stopped gripping with little warning, as the change from grip to slip happened in microseconds.
This meant lightning-fast reactions were required to keep the bike on the correct line and made descending at speed in these conditions hard work.
The low amounts of straight-line grip could also be felt on damp rooty or rocky climbs. When I hit a root or rock at an angle, the tyres would slip along rather than deforming and climbing over them.
Vee Tire Co’s Flow SNAP WCE tyre didn’t suffer from the same problems, gripping more consistently and predictably on damp descents and climbs, and on the same trails in the same conditions.
Braking grip over damp ground was also limited. The Mazza’s tread pattern and compound made them feel like they were gliding over the top of the terrain rather than biting into it and when applying the brakes, particularly the back one.
The tyre was reluctant to offer much meaningful braking bite unless it was worked very hard by being pushed into the ground.
It felt like the tyres were relying on the rubber’s compound for grip rather than any form of mechanical traction. In the dry, the tyre’s performance was totally different, though.
The combination of compound and tread pattern appeared to be hard enough and aggressive enough to bite into and cling onto dry ground. I found that high speeds were accompanied by confidence once I’d found dusty trails to ride.
Cornering girp – when it was dry at least – was also impressive and consistent, and I was able to predictably lean the bike over in the turns without the fear of them breaking traction until forced to do so. And once I had initiated a drift, controlling it was relatively simple.
In wetter conditions, whether that was over hardpack or through muddier sections, cornering grip wasn’t as good. I experienced quite a few instances of front-wheel understeer through flatter turns and the back wheel slipping up berms once the tyres were pushed hard.
Dry cornering grip was generated by the side knobs retaining their shape under load – as Vittoria claimed – and their shape provided a good edge to bite into the trail.
I also found the Mazzas had a fairly round profile even in 2.4in widths on 30mm rims, helping to increase the amount of lean I could achieve before I reached the limit of the tyre’s edge.
On softer ground – whether that was dry loam or damp dirt – they gripped well, biting into the trail’s surface with assertion, but it was always important to watch out for harder greasy sections where traction would drop significantly.
On the front, when being used on an enduro bike, the Trail carcass tyre survived plenty of punishment without ripping or tearing, even when subjected to very sharp shale-like rocks – beating Maxxis’ EXO+ casing for durability on the same trails.
Equally, the Enduro and e-MTB carcass, when fitted to the rear, shrugged off all the punishment I could throw at it, proving to be more reliable and puncture-resistant than Maxxis’ Double Down casing tyres.
Thanks to the carcass’s strength, I only managed to burp the tyres a handful of times, which impressed me. Generally, the tyre provided a stable and predictable feel when pushing hard through berms – as long as they were dry – without the wander and vagueness created by thinner sidewalls.
Durability has been good, although after 300km of riding the rear tyre’s knobs are starting to break away from the carcass on both test bikes. This level of durability is generally better than most other brands’ offerings on the market in the same sector.
Vittoria Mazza 2.4 x 29in Graphene 2.0 4C tyre bottom line
Had Vittoria claimed the Mazza was for dry conditions it would have been heading for a near-perfect score because it provided great, predictable grip with high rolling speeds to boot. Carcass strength and durability were impressive, too.
Unfortunately, it claims it should be a do-it-all tyre that grips in the wet as well as it does in other conditions. I just didn’t find this to be true, especially on damp hardpack mud and wetter roots and rocks. Traction levels unpredictably dropped off compared to other all-rounders which, at times, made for a hairy ride.
If you’re looking for a fast-rolling, dry weather tyre, the Mazza should be high up on your list of considerations, but don’t expect it to be as much of a generalist as Vittoria claims, and for the autumn and winter you’ll be looking for more suitable rubber.
|Price||EUR €62.95GBP £59.99USD $69.99|
|Weight||970g (2.4x29in) – 2.4x29in Trail casing|
|What we tested||Vittoria Mazza 2.4x29 Graphene 2.0 4C|
|Features||Graphene 2.0, 4C, tubeless ready|
|Sizes||2.4X27.5in, 2.6x27.5in, 2.4x29in, 2.6x29in|