Vittoria has finally introduced a high grip Enduro Racing tire that is tenacious enough to mix it up with the tires that dominate Enduro and All Mountain tires available today. And given Vittoria's 4-compound rubber technology and the use of Graphene, this is news worth taking note of.
We've been using the tire for the last three months and are extremely pleased to report that we agree with the tire designer, Ken Avery and the athletes that extoll its virtues in the video above. When the going gets loose, the Mazza hangs on with conviction.
The grip is outstanding and it's very easy to start riding confidently with it and push with every ride. It is a design that is easy to trust right away as it feels like the familiar Minion and Schwalbe Magic Mary as one corners and leans the bike. But as we got used to it and as the local trails degraded from hero status to unpredictable, we were able to experience and learn about the depth of its grip.
It is progressive as it has a very good initial bite but as you approach the limits of grip, it has a lot of support with no dead spots and no wallow or wobble when leaned over. We love the Martello from Vittoria but this has a higher and more supportive side shoulder that is confidence-inspiring and easier to trust at the limit.
In very loose, even powdery conditions, this is the tire to have front and rear. It can be mated with a Vittoria Martello tire in the rear as well if you want a more playful but still predictable rear end.
Starting with a defined center tread, the Mazza uses deep siping in the direction of rotation, allowing the tire to roll fast while still opposing drift, especially in off-camber terrain where a tire is truly tested. Directional, progressive siping is a trademark of Vittoria as they use different, progressive spies (cuts in the tread block) to tune the handling qualities of the tire. The stepped leading edge knob on alternate middle knobs rolls like a ramp on higher speeds, but digs in on climbs, making Mazza a good choice for both front and rear use. It is quite a godsend to be able to use a tire for front and rear duties with little compromise. It is a very open design, making it competent in loose, gravel terrain as well as muddy, knob-clogging conditions.
The inside edge of the knobs features a gummy inside effective feel for grip, but it stiffens up as the knob is pushed hard. The sipes seem to cradle the rider with intense grip that transitions to good support at the limit. Simply put, bigger sipes flex more than smaller sipes. This unique siping pattern creates asymmetrical tread flex and translates into a predictable, confident, and communicative feel at the limit of cornering. This makes the tire not only grippy but easy to trust and progress with as well.
Mazza's generous tread depth claws into a range of terrain and is stabilized with Vittoria's proprietary 4C compound layering process. Four separate Graphene rubber compounds are layered, allowing the surface of the tread to remain tacky, while the base remains planted. This ensures each effective edge is kept in place under high cornering and braking loads, leading to reduced rolling resistance, and increased wear life.
Graphene may sound like just another hot buzzword but it in our experience it delivers the difficult balance of high grip and tread longevity in one tire.
Other Key Qualities
The Minion is a good cornering tire, no doubt but in the other key qualities are where there is a bit of opportunity for improvement. Specifically, flat protection, durability, and rolling resistance. Great cornering tires are essential but have you been frustrated trying to climb them? Or tires that continuously flat with impact (with tubeless) or debris going through the casing?
First off, flat protection is a core strength of Vittoria as they seem to understand casings very well. And really quite important to us is the flat protection in the lighter, Trail casing as too many companies seem to neglect this on the 'lighter' versions of their tire. We didn't flat on the Mazza in hundreds of miles of testing and more than a thousand miles on the similarly protected Martello tire.
This tire rolls and brakes well. Given that it's an aggressive descending tire, rolling resistance seems to be quite manageable, even on long rides. Braking is excellent and predictable, quite similar to the Minion DHR and better than the DHF.
And finally, isn't it a little frustrating to see your nice, expensive tire reached after a couple of hundred miles? Premium tires cost the same as car tires at around $70 but instead of lasting 30,000 miles, some last about 300. This Mazza lasts quite a long time, with similar wear to the new Magic Mary tires with their latest Addix tire compounds. The knobs are deep and they are well supported with Graphene and four different rubber compound layers.
As important as cornering prowess is, the other qualities are where the Mazza excels as it has one of the most incredible rubber quality and R&D available in bicycle tire construction today. Sizing is true to form too as it feels just right and beefy on the 2.6 size.
Mazza is available in both Trail and Enduro casings, and in the following sizes:
If you're a fan of the Vittoria line of tires, you know about their technology and construction as proven in the highest levels of competition and cross-country. And if you've been longing for an aggressive, high-grip tire from Vittoria, we think you'll be very pleased with the Mazza.
Rating: 5 out of 5
More info: www.vittoria.com