Vittoria Terreno XC 2.1″ Tires: Checkpoint – by Guitar Ted
The Terreno XC 2.1″ tires are part of our look at tires a bit outside the realm of what is considered ‘normal’ for gravel tires, but might make for a good choice for those with mountain bikes, or bikes like the venerable Salsa Cycles Fargo, and its ilk. Last time I left off on this review of the Terreno XC, I mentioned that I was going to get out on gravel and see how they fared. Now after 200+ miles, I think I can give a fair assessment on the Terreno XC in that theater of use.
Updates: Before I get into that, I need to update you on the current width of the tire and a change I made in air pressures. Last time in my report, I mentioned that the Terreno XC was not quite true to claimed size, and after all these miles, it now measures up at 54mm, maybe just a tic over that, so in US terms 2.126″. That means that they did stretch, as I surmised that they would.
Now, as far as air pressures, I lowered down to sub-30psi, using around 28psi to get, what is for me, a good balance of tire ‘squat’, or drop as some refer to it as, and still retain excellent rolling characteristics. This is far below the 40psi I started with. I always point out that this information is rider specific and that anyone using these tires will have to arrive at their own, personalized pressures that work for their riding style and terrain. That said, I would recommend going lower than you might think.
Ride Performance: With the aforementioned lowered pressures the Terreno XC became a gravel tamer par excellence. The profile of this tire, which is a low, peaked one, allows the Terreno XC to ride and conform right over crushed stones, making for a really smooth, controlled ride. To be fair, the Hutchinson Kraken being reviewed does a similar thing, but what the Terreno XC brings that the Hutchinson tire does not have is a very fast roll on harder surfaces.
Where the road bed becomes free of chunky gravel, or if it turns into dry, compacted earth, this tire just flies along unhindered by tread blocks like the Kraken has. Obviously, this Terreno is head and shoulders above the Kraken in terms of pavement riding as well. So, the Kraken is maybe better at gravel to Trail/single track, while the Terreno XC tends to be the tire that takes you from the pavement to buff single track, but I would hesitate to take this tire into terrain which was more demanding than that. Not that you couldn’t, but there isn’t much braking or steep climbing traction with the Terreno XC for what I would term as ‘real mountain biking’.
Cornering traction is a bit of a different story, however, as the Terreno XC does have nice tread blocks for that and therefore cuts a corner pretty well if you lean the bike over enough to engage those knobs. I found that the Tereno XC sticks a line on dirt, but, of course, don’t plan on the same feeling over loose, coarse gravel! Caution in the marbles is your best bet there no matter the tire mounted.
So Far….. The Vittoria Terreno XC is a fast rolling tire which has enough suppleness to tame coarse gravel and still rolls well on harder surfaces. It’s not a ‘trail MTB’ tire, by any stretch, but sections of buff, smooth single track shouldn’t be an issue with the Terreno XC. I loved the way it rolls over deeper, loose crushed rock giving me more control and less time having to try to correct the front wheel’s travel path. These tires stabilize the bike better than some others of this size I’ve tried in the past including tires from Schwalbe and Teravail.
Stay tuned for the final verdict which will be rendered in my “At The Finish” post coming in about a month.
NOTE: These tires were purchased by Riding Gravel and we are not being paid, nor bribed for this review. In fact, Vittoria Tires doesn’t even know we are doing this review. We always strive to give our honest thoughts and views throughout.