Vittoria Terreno Dry And Mix 40mm Tires: Getting Rolling- by Guitar Ted
Tires for the gravel rider have been proliferating at a mind boggling pace the last few years. It is hard to keep track of all the options out there. That said, one glaring absentee from the mix of available gravel treads was Vittoria. The brand, who absorbed the off road oriented GEAX brand it created a few years ago, did not expand into the gravel market until earlier this year with the Terreno series of tires. This tire series includes the “Mix”, the “Dry”, and the “Wet” tread designs, all based upon a “TNT” (Tube, No-Tube) bead design, The Mix and Dry tires have 40mm casings with the Wet design having a 38mm casing. Riding Gravel has received the Mix and Dry versions for test and review, so let’s take a closer look at these treads.
What It Is: Since my days of reviewing 29″er mountain bikes, I have been keenly aware of GEAX tires, which were always some of my favorite mountain bike tread designs. The brand was noted as being one of the first to embrace the standards pushed early on for tubeless tire technology, and it showed. GEAX mountain bike tires always had a high performing tubeless design. Now GEAX has been rolled in to the Vittoria brand, but the tubeless design, which Vittoria calls “TNT”, still exists and is used on the Terreno series of tires. My expectations are high for these tires. We will see if the results I experienced in the past transfer over to lower volume, skinnier tires.
The tread designs not only feature this proven tubeless design, but the new Graphene infused rubber compound, for which Vittoria has made some heady claims. Without taking up several paragraphs to explain this, please check out the following link where there are videos, links to external information, and Vittoria’s own explanations of why they pursued Graphene as a component in their tire manufacturing. (See Graphene) The long and the short of it is summed up here, from the linked page:
Effectively, the introduction of Graphene allows for natural material barriers of rubber to be removed, which means that there is no longer the need for compromises between speed, grip, durability and puncture resistance. All these features are now reaching their maximum possibilities.
The names for the models are pretty self explanatory. Terreno Dry is the tire choice you want for fast, dry conditions and features a unique tread design. Vittoria calls the unique center tread design “fish scales” and claims these are ramped. That’s hard to see, but obviously this should be a faster tread design in a straight line. Vittoria also claims good climbing and braking traction despite the minimalist tread in the center. The outer blockier knobs are siped and designed to bite in corners and off camber situations. Weight is claimed to be 490 grams per tire for a 40mm casing.
The Terreno Mix is a much different looking design with an array of arrow shaped blocks with a smattering of round knobs reminiscent of the old Onza Porcupine. (Old mtb knowledge, younger readers need not fret over this comparison) Some of the knobs are arranged in a center ridge. Vittoria claims this makes for a fast rolling tire. The intermediate knobs are sparsely positioned for better loose terrain performance. The outer diamond shaped ridges are a continuous run, but this is more of a decorative treatment as that feature falls so far around the side of the casing as to be a non-factor in terms of traction. Very unusual tread design for sure here. Again, Vittoria claims a 40mm width with a target weight of 500 grams per tire.
The Vittoria site is frustratingly sparse on information for each model as far as casing construction is concerned, so things like TPI and compound information is tough to ferret out. The Graphene component is said to help in the reduction of punctures though.
Tubeless Performance: Setting up the Terreno tires on two different wheel sets was a lesson in how different rims and tires can be and how this affects the mounting procedure. The Terreno Dry tires went on the HED Ardennes+ wheels I have used now for several years. These rims are 25mm external width and are tubeless rated. The Terreno Dry tires went on with the aid of a tire lever, but weren’t what I would call difficult to mount. I did have to use an air compressor to set the bead against the rim well good enough to seal up. Otherwise there was no drama in setting up the Terreno Dry tires on these rims. The Terreno Mix tires went on the long standing Velocity A23 rims/wheels from Velocity that I have here. Those rims are as the name suggests, 23mm in outer width and are also tubeless rated. The Terreno Mix definitely was a difficult tire to mount, needing tire levers all the way to mount them. I aired up these with a poorly performing floor pump easily.
Vittoria (GEAX) mountain bike tires have always fit a bit snugger in my experience, and the TNT Terreno series seems to follow suit. This is good from the standpoint of tubeless performance, and should not cause trouble in the field. That said, I expect that any Terreno series tire to be a very difficult/impossible fit on a Stan’s rim, much like their Vittoria mtb counterparts are.
My weights for the tires are as follows: Terreno Mix: 520gm/510gm each, and the Terreno Dry at 520gm/490gm each. This is within typical manufacturing variances but still a bit disappointing from a weight standpoint. The width of these tires mounted at 40psi was as follows: Terreno Dry on HED Ardennes+- 41.4mm. The Terreno Mix on A23’s- 40.0mm. Spot on there, in my opinion.
First Impressions: The Vittoria Terreno series is at once conventional and out of the box in terms of design. Never was this brought home more than with the contrast between the two models on test here. The Terreno Mix is…..weird. The arrow shaped knobs struck me as being somewhat whimsical and non-technical. We will see how this actually works out on the gravel. The Terreno Dry, on the other hand, seems to be right in the pocket in terms of what fast, stable gravel tires would be designed to look like. The TNT bead is familiar and the fitting of these tires did not surprise me, but they are tighter initially than many other brands are to mount. The weights seem a tad heavy, but if the Graphene infused rubber stands up to Vittoria’s claims of lowered rolling resistance and supple, yet grippy and long lasting tread, then all may be forgiven on the weight side.
It is nice to see that a tire marketed as a 40mm tire stays true to size. I don’t mean to be one to complain about tire volume, but when a 40mm tire actually measures out to a 42mm or 43mm tire, that can cause clearance issues. If your rims are more traditional in terms of width, you’ll most likely find these to come out to be 40mm wide. A wider internal rim width will stretch these out past 40mm, but not radically so.
So Far….. The Terreno Mix and Dry tires are very different in tread design, but very similar in technical areas like bead design and casing construction. The familiar TNT bead design works well, but some rims may not agree with the tighter fit TNT beads typically have. True to measure, the 40mm tires are a bit heavier than many in this class. There are some questions to answer yet here. Does Graphene infused rubber really do anything? Does the weird Terreno Mix tread actually work on gravel and dirt? These questions and more will be addressed in the “Checkpoint” article to come soon…..
Note: Vittoria sent over the Terreno Mix and Dry tires for test and review at no charge to Riding Gravel. We are not being paid nor bribed for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.