The Vittoria Mezcal XC-Race G2.0 TLR is a versatile, smooth-rolling, dry-weather tyre that also performs better than expected in wet conditions. It offers confidence-inspiring handling on fast descents and climbs with excellent durability and comes in at a somewhat surprising price that undercuts many of its rivals. With so much on offer, it's a bona fide top choice among the best mountain bike tyres.
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Vittoria Mezcal XC-Race G2.0 TLR tyres – Technical details
The colour of the sidewall is one of the best ways to distinguish between different casing types offered. We have the XC Race model with a tan wall which is also the lightest one featuring a 120tpi nylon casing. The XC Trail version with the Anthracite (grey) sidewall also has a 120tpi casing but adds additional puncture protection to the sidewall and the area below the main tread. There is also a more wallet friendly version in all-black with wire bead.
TNT (Tube No Tube) tubeless compatibility and 4C construction of the Graphene 2.0 technology are shared by both the XC-Race and XC-Trail versions. These compounds are designed to perform differently in different locations with the softest at the edge of the tyre, where grip is required most and the firmest at the centre where durability and speed are more important.
The 29-inch XC Race is available in three widths; 2.1in, 2.25in and x 2.35in. The XC Trail version shares the same widths, but it is also available in 27.5-inch wheel size and one single 26 x 21in size for smaller wheels. Vittoria also produces gravel versions in 700 x 35mm and 44mm sizes.
The tyres were fitted to a set of Levati XC32 wheels with a 27mm internal rim width and when inflated they measured slightly larger than quoted at 2.32in or 59mm. This is not uncommon as most manufacturers test their tyres under ETRTO guidelines based on a rim with a 25mm internal width. So if you are using a wider internal rim, which is common today, then your tyres are likely to have a slightly wider actual width when inflated.
Fitting and inflating the Mezcals was very easy, I managed to mount the tyres without levers and inflated them with a standard floor pump.
On our scales, the Mezcals came in pretty close to their claimed weight of 690g at around 703g each.
Vittoria Mezcal XC-Race G2.0 TLR tyres – Performance
The first thing noticed was the low noise levels and, while this may not be the most important factor for everyone, I find that some tyres have a droning sound that gets annoying after a while. On paved and hard off-road terrain, the Mezcal rolled smoothly and quickly. In fact, I was able to ride in nearly every kind of weather on a wide mixture of conditions and terrain.
I ran the tyres with 18-20psi on the front, and 20-22psi on the rear to suit my 60kg weight throughout the test period, including all my usual riding locations of trail centre rocky tracks, open moorland and some muddier bridleways.
I also used Vittoria Air-Liner light inserts for the duration of the testing which, combined with the supple carcass of the Mezcal, boosts comfort and improves the feeling and feedback from the tyres in downhill and cornering situations. As the ground got rougher and more technical, the speed of the tyres continued to impress.
When used as a rear tyre, traction was good both uphill and downhill but needed to be weighted (this was achieved sitting down on the saddle) to prevent them from slipping and to provide enough grip for technical or looser climbs. On downhill sections, more reliance needs to be placed on the front tyre for braking.
The front tyre traction on slick and muddy ground can be limited, but this is to be expected given that it is intended for use in dry weather conditions – but, at least, the performance is on par with other race-oriented, dry weather tyres. On firmer trail centre-style rocky tracks, it coped well even when in wetter conditions. The combination of the tread shape, a supple carcass and tyre compound provides confidence to push harder downhill, and I set some PB times on frequently ridden trails.
Although the XC-Race version of the tyre doesn't offer as much puncture protection as the XC-Trail version, I didn't get a puncture while testing. I would be hesitant to use the Mezcal XC-Race in locations known for punctures and sharp rocks and the choice of carcass may depend on the terrain and surface, as well as rider weight and style
Vittoria Mezcal XC-Race G2.0 TLR tyres – Verdict
Weight is often a key factor for any rider after extra performance gains; especially racers, so the 703g Mezcal looks good when compared to other cross-country tyres we have tested. This includes the £65 Pirelli Scorpion XC M (734g) and £62 Michelin Jet XC2 (720g).
The Mezcal XC-Race version also retails for £55, which is less than many XC tyres aimed toward cross-country racing. Other brands are all at higher prices, including Schwalbe Racing Ralph (Super Race, Addix) at £67, Maxxis Ikon (3C EXO TR) £65 and Continental Race King ProTechtion £68.
The Mezcal has been superb to ride and the speed and grip it provides under the right conditions have pushed it to the top of my list of favourite cross-country race tyres. As a front tyre, I would switch to one with a more aggressive tread pattern for wetter circumstances but, as a rear tyre, it can work in almost all weather conditions. The Mezcal is impressive and deserves to be at the top of the list if you're searching for a quick cross-country tyre.
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