VITTORIA MAZZA RACE TIRE REVIEW
Words by Michael Walker | Photos by Caitlin Wilkinson
Vittoria introduced the original Mazza tire back in 2020 which delivered a solid all round and aggressive tire package liked by many, but maybe didn’t quite offer the ultimate traction desired by racers and the most demanding riders. After a few years of action on the EWS circuit, the new Enduro Race variant of the Mazza carries across all the key features of the original tire with a tighter, more narrowed focus on performance for gravity orientated racing.
The Vittoria Mazza Enduro Race retains the same familiar directional tread pattern of the original Mazza; however it is constructed with the 1C Race rubber compound – a new ultra soft race optimised compound featuring both graphene and silica additives to boost grip and damping properties.
This Race compound is paired with a new race-specific 2-ply reinforced Nylon casing with 60TPI thread count, which is given an additional puncture resistant layer under the center tread, and a rubber Anti-Pinch Flat Insert down at the bead area to protect the rim and tire. Like all the Vittoria Race series tires, the main distinguishing difference visually from the standard Mazza is the bright red banner along the side wall.
The 29” tires on test tipped the scales at 1350 grams for the 2.4” and 1435 grams for the 2.6” which isn’t far off the claimed weights stated by Vittoria, but notably on the heavier side of things for a folding tire and not far off some DH rated offerings from other brands. The claimed widths of the tires however definitely run on the narrow side of said claims, especially with the 2.6” variant which measured at around 63.5 mm or 2.5” and the 2.4” coming in closer to 59.5mm or 2.35” at the widest part when fitted to a 30mm rim.
They currently retail for $89.99/£64.99 each for both the 29” and 27.5” variant, which in today’s market offers some very competitive performance for the money when compared to equivalent brands pricing.
I’ve been riding the Vittoria Mazza Enduro Race tires in the northeast of Scotland for the past few months through a wide range of trail types and weather conditions, and I’m yet to find conditions or a situation where they struggle to perform at least acceptably well.
The amount of traction on offer is fantastic and when ran up front the result is nothing short of confidence inspiring in most situations, which has given me more faith in my bike control than usual. It’s a similar story in the rear, with that familiar feeling of reliable traction coupled with predictable and controllable slip when you want it through berms and tighter sections of trail. Wet and dry off camber sections of trail are worry free and traction under braking is fantastic also.
Keeping in mind that these are still a folding tire, they do not have the most supportive sidewalls going and aren’t really suited to running sub-20 psi pressures without beginning to wallow or drag during the climb and descent. Generally, I found myself to be around the 22-24 psi mark in order to keep the side walls more supportive for my 70kg (155lbs) body weight. Due to this fact, I suspect most of traction is likely generated from the super soft compound tread and deep siping through the knobs themselves, which allows them to deform and bite meaning they don’t rely on side wall compliance to find traction as such.
Vittoria’s choice to rely on a soft, conformant compound for traction opposed to a super sticky compound, really helps to reduce drag and keep it to a minimum when pedalling. Compared to the likes of the ultra-tacky Michelin rubber, there’s a vast improvement in rolling speed on the Vittoria Mazza Race. The main negative in the ascending department however derives from the high weight of these tires, which is getting close to – if not fully in – the downhill realm when it comes to weight and doesn’t go unnoticed.
In terms of wear, both front and rear tires have significantly less wear than I would have anticipated from such a high performing tire, retaining most of it not all their original form after 300km of mixed terrain riding. This is quite impressive given the level of traction on offer, where other tires would be close to ready for replacement after miles on the punishing granite rock that makes up a significant portion of the testing terrain.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Having ran the Vittoria Mazza Race tires for a few months now, I can say I’m really delighted with the overall package and performance they have to offer, especially at this price point. My only major caveat is around the higher weight, however what is a few grams and peace of mind compared to risking a puncture? Despite that small moan, I’ll likely continue to run these until the knobs fall off!