Vittoria Terreno XC 2.1″ Tires: Checkpoint

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.

Detail of the Terreno XC

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.

Image of bicycle against a gate
The Terreno XC managed gravel travel quite nicely

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.

Detail shot of tread on the Terreno XC tire
That lower tread in the mid-section of the Terreno XC is key to its fast roll.

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.

Detail on the Terreno XC tire

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.


Author: Guitar Ted

Guitar Ted hails from Iowa. Home of over 70,000 miles of gravel and back roads. An inaugural member of the Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame and Co-creator of Trans Iowa in late 2004- Guitar Ted has been at the forefront of the growth of gravel events and riding since then. Creator of Gravel Grinder News in 2008, he produced the premier calendar of gravel and back road events. GT joined forces with Riding Gravel in late 2014.

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8 thoughts on “Vittoria Terreno XC 2.1″ Tires: Checkpoint

  1. Do you have a favorite 2.1ish tire that can do a lot of different things? I’m in the PNW, so the moment I leave gravel or pavement, the tame trails are pretty slick. I have a SS with Thunder Burts and I am happy with them, but you have reviewed far more tires than I’ll ever ride.

    1. @Paul Strong – It’s hard to ignore the Nano from WTB. There was a tire from Michelin, in the Wildgripper Series i used to like a lot. They don’t make it anymore though. Honestly, I’ve been out of the MTB scene, as far as paying a lot of attention to it, since 2014. I’m not really the guy to ask about current tires in that genre.

      Thanks for asking though.

      1. Thanks for taking the time to respond. I remember you on mtbr, but I stopped using the site about 2014. I enjoy this site as it is very informative for my biking when I can’t mountain bike.

  2. How do you think this tire would fare for loaded bikepacking on the Tour Divide? I currently am rolling Vittoria Mezcals on my dropbar hardtail Ibis backpacking rig, and I think they’re pretty good. On my gravel bike I run the Terreno Dry 40mm and absolutely love them. These just may be the ticket.

    1. @Trey Harrison – While I have never run the Tour Divide course, I know many who have. Listening to their stories, I would probably stick to the Mezcal. It rolls really well, and it has better grip in higher speed, loose conditions than a Terreno XC would have. As I understand it, there are places on the TD route that will put a tire and grip level to the test. Having a misstep can be fatal. Literally.

      One good friend I know almost went straight off a turn into a 300+ foot drop, only *just* missing going over the edge by a mere inch or two. His front wheel was hanging off the edge when he came to a skidding stop!

      Stories like that and others I have heard would put me on a grippier tire than a Terreno XC. You could use any tire, but you may as well have one on the wheel that makes the ride easier- and safer!

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