Vittoria Terreno Dry And Mix 40mm Tires: Checkpoint Part 2- by Guitar Ted
The Terreno Dry tire, (review update here), was a tire that met my expectations. It has a low center tread design which makes it fast, but the outer edge knobs give it stability and grip, to a degree. The Graphene part? Hmmm……. I wasn’t entirely convinced that it mattered. Would that transfer over to the Terreno Mix? In case you didn’t know, the Terreno series of tires consists of three models of which we have two on test here- the “Mix” and “Dry”. You can catch up on all the tech features here in our “Getting Rolling” post. This post will deal specifically with the Mix model.
Ride Performance: I must admit, I was very skeptical about the claims Vittoria made about Graphene and even more skeptical when I looked at the Terreno Mix’s tread design. The design looked more like an exercise in graphic design than a serious tread pattern for a mixed terrain tire. Arrows, circles, and “V”‘s? How would that work? Well, I put the tires on my trusty Black Mountain Cycles bike and gave them a whirl. And…….. At first, they seemed to roll okay.
I wasn’t feeling super impressed by the roll of this design, but then again, bigger tread blocks with no ramping generally don’t roll the greatest, and this tire was meant for off road more so than hard surfaces and pavement. The noise and rumble I felt reminded me of mtb tires. Okay, so this might not be such a bad tire, despite the goofy looking tread design. Then it happened.
I was beginning to climb a hill on a paved surface when I felt a bad vibration in the bike. Thinking that I probably had pulled the axle forward in the horizontal drop out of my Black Mountain Cycles bike, I stopped to investigate. This has happened on occasion with this bike when I forget to really clamp down the quick release skewer. The axle slips forward on the drive side. That allows the tire to contact the inner chain stay on the non-drive side and it really makes for a good vibration if the tire being used has a tread block sticking out like the Terreno Mix. Only one problem here, the wheel was dead straight.
So, I mashed the pedals again and the vibration was there. I also detected a higher rolling resistance. This could be replicated whenever I hit the pedals hard and especially on any climb on smoother surfaces. That vibration would then go away as soon as I relaxed on the power a bit. Perhaps the knobs were flexing under load? Well, that seems unlikely, given the shapes of these knobs, but perhaps this is happening to some degree. No, I think this is a trait of the Graphene infused rubber compound. This trait was certainly unwelcome on pavement, but what about gravel and dirt?
Well, on gravel the tire seemed to behave properly. The Graphene and/or knob flex wasn’t felt, but the unique layout of the tread knobs was causing a different feel. The tread blocks are arranged not unlike some of the GEAX mtb treads of old where there were little to no transition tread blocks. The tire has a “Mohawk” look to the tread as you see the tire spin. A big, protruding line down the center, then along either side there is nothing but the casing, and then some knobs sort of jutting off camber on the edges.
This odd arrangement, (for a gravel tire), allowed the Terreno Mix to be a bit more skittish in looser gravel. Otherwise I thought the tire rolled well enough, but perhaps a tic slower than the Terreno Dry. Then I hit the same Level B Maintenance road I used to test the Terreno Dry. Instead of trying to avoid the water and mud, I headed straight into it. The Terreno Mix tractored right through it. The grip was secure and the tread shed off the mud rather well, not unlike the Terreno Dry.
The deeper dirt and sand did not phase this tire either. I was pleasantly surprised wit how well the Terreno Mix stayed straight and was willing to dig in and propel me forward. I can see how the tread pattern might make for an excellent mud course tire in a cyclo cross race, that is if you can use a wider tire in your races.
This tire definitely has a “Jekyll and Hyde” thing going on. Pavement riding is not this tire’s forte but get it off hard surfaces and it starts to come into its own. If I had to ride a lot of pavement to get to the good stuff, I would shy away from the Terreno Mix. Take this tire off road. The looser and deeper the terrain gets, the better this tire performs. On typical gravel here it isn’t the fastest tire or the most stable tire I’ve ridden but it does just fine. I wouldn’t run out and get this tire if all I did was gravel, there are just too many other great tires now, the Terreno Dry included. However; if dirt, loose surfaces of any kind, or softer, muddier areas are a regular feature on your rides, then the Terreno Mix would be at the top of my list for a tire that digs and and pushes you onward.
So Far…..The Terreno Mix: 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. Paved climbs will result in a vibration with a sluggish feel with the Terreno Mix, but off road this tire begins to shine. Perhaps the Graphene infused rubber compound combined with the tread pattern causes the poor hard surfaces performance. The odd tread pattern does dig in on dirt, mud, and loose terrain to provide excellent traction though. Stay tuned for the “At The Finish” portion of this review where I will give my final verdict and I will also try to give an idea on wear, especially looking at the negative spaces between the tread blocks here with the Terreno Mix.
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.