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At Sea Otter last week I got my first look at Vittoria’s Gato, cross-country (XC) tire. On paper, the Gato seems like a pretty standard XC tire: it’s (just) 2.2 inches wide, weighs 760g, and features a supple, 120tpi sidewall. And in person, the tire looks to be fast rolling, with regular and densely-packed, medium-length knobs arrayed along a round profile.

What makes the Gato a mud-tire, however, is the fact that the tire features “circumferential channels” which are said to allow the tire to clear mud and debris quickly and efficiently. The knobs on the Gata are also “siped,” meaning each one has small slits at the surface that allows the knob to flex and grip rocks and roots.

Most mountain bikers avoid riding trails in the rain, and for good reason. I believe I heard someone refer to this tire as “wet conditions compatible,” but the fact is this is designed to be a race tire rather than simply a solution for riding wet trails comfortably.

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Beyond the tread and casing design, Vittoria uses their proprietary four compound (4C) construction enhanced with Graphene. Vittoria is unique among tire companies in their use of Graphene as an additive, and its benefits for MTB tires are still largely unknown. According to the University of Manchester, Graphene is “200 times stronger than steel, but it is incredibly flexible” and is “ultra-light yet immensely tough.” Vittoria is seeing benefits from using Graphene mixed with the resin in their carbon-fiber rims, so it’s possible they may be onto something by using it with tires as well.

The Vittoria Gato is offered in 27.5- and 29-inch diameters and retails for $65 USD.

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