So you like the look of the new Vittoria Mazza enduro mountain bike tire, but unsure whether or not it’s worth the £60 price tag? Fear not, we have a full evaluation here with a long-term review straight out of the Tweed Valley, Scotland. I’ve been running this tire on my Cannondale Jekyll enduro bike for the last three months; initially as a rear tire and more recently as a front tire. Here’s how it goes in the wet!
Feature Image by David Cheskin
Review: Vittoria Mazza
For the low-down on the tread pattern, 4C Compound with added Graphene 2.0, claimed weights and pricing, check out our tech breakdown of the Vittoria Mazza. Here we discuss the merits and pitfalls of the 29″ x 2.4″ enduro casing Mazza, fitted to a set of Crankbrothers Synthesis Alloy Wheels.
Sticking with what I know, I ran the Vittoria Mazza at 18 PSI up front, and 20 PSI on the rear. Transitioning from Vee Tire’s low-rebound TOP 40 compound to Vittoria’s relatively hard higher-rebound 4C Compound, I had two initial observations:
- The Vittoria Mazza tire rolls fast
- Those pressures were too high
The 4C Compound isn’t one compound, it’s four. The compounds are laid up in such a way that the harder ones form the base of the tread, to make the tire hard-wearing, while the softer ones sit on top for grip. On the whole however, we find the 4C compound relatively hard (simple knob twist test). We accredit the tire’s low rolling resistance to this feature.
The Mazza made light work of technical climbs on slippery wet dirt, biting the terrain consistently and predictably. The 2.4″ wide tire worked well as a rear tire, cutting through the gloop.
With 18 PSI (1.3 bar) in the front tire, I had an unsettling pin-ball riding experience through rougher sections of trail. The Mazza was unforgiving when my line choice wasn’t quite as precise as it could be, pinging me off line when I would (rather unskillfully) catch the front tire on the edge of a hard dirt rut. It was time to drop the pressure.
The enduro casing version of the Mazza has a fairly stiff side wall. That’s why, at 60 kg, I wasn’t afraid to drop the pressure in the front tire to as low as 15 PSI. As you might imagine, the more compliant tire was a lot more forgiving. I benefited from the lower pressure on technical climbs as well as descents, finding the former noticeably less taxing.
Pointing downhill, the Vittoria Mazza performed. I was pleasantly surprised by the traction I found through less supportive turns. Tipping the bike over onto the side knobs, I got a very confident predictable feel through the front end, encouraging ever more commitment. That predictability is testament to a lack of wallowing side knobs. The sipes are enough to allow the knobs a little lateral flex, but not enough to let them fold completely when pushed hard.
The tire tracked remarkably well through rough and rocky, choppy sections of trail – the type of terrain it is optimised for. Grip over wet rock was good, though anything remotely like hesitancy (never mind actual braking) on wet roots usually ended in minor drama with a little sideways action. Mud clearance was good, however; this tire was happy in the slop.
Despite the abovementioned good ride characteristics, unsurprisingly at 15 PSI we did note that on fast flat-out rough sections of track, the Vittoria Mazza tire burped air periodically. Toward the end of this review period we did notice the appearance of side wall threads, characteristic of running a tire below its recommended pressure range (20-40 PSI in this case).
We’re very happy to recommend the Vittoria Mazza to riders who enjoy the responsiveness of a high-rebound hard compound mountain bike tire. It offers low rolling-resistance and bites muddy terrain very well, thus is a decent option for a rear tire in winter.
For those riders who prefer the low-rebound vibration-damping characteristics of a soft compound, the 4C compound on the Vittoria Mazza may not be your cup of tea. You may find it tricky to find the right pressure that offers sufficient grip without the risk of burping the tire off the rim through rougher sections of trail.
While Vittoria’s 4C Compound is a quality fast-rolling hard-wearing rubber compound, it is the only compound they offer. A softer, tackier, lower rebound compound would be a welcome addition to their line-up, allowing the brand to really take on the big names in mountain bike tires.