Vittoria Martello Tires Review: Tires This Heavy Shouldn’t Be This Fast

Vittoria Bike Tire Rugged TreadVittoria Bike Tire Test Photo Dann Albright | Mountain Weekly News

There’s no way this tire should be as fast as it is. At 1,100 grams and featuring massive side blocks, you’d expect the Vittoria Martello to be a beast of a tire that’s only at home on descents. But you’d be wrong. This 2.6″ tire rolls quick.

Vittoria Tires Sizes

The Vittoria Martello comes in two flavors: the Enduro & eMTB version and the Trail version. We tested the 29 x 2.6 trail version, which tips the scales at 1,100 grams — not exactly svelte. The enduro-casing tire comes in at 1,380 grams, though has significantly more flat protection.

For comparison, I was riding Continental’s Der Baron before the Martellos, and its 2.4″ width weighs 980 grams.

Here are the sizes you can choose from with the Martello:

  • 27.5 x 2.35
  • 27.5 x 2.6
  • 27.5 x 2.8
  • 29 x 2.35
  • 29 x 2.6

All sizes are available in both Enduro & eMTB and Trail versions.

Are the weights and widths accurate?

When I received these tires, I threw them on the scale, and they came in at 1,103 and 1,111 grams. Very close to the 1,100 listed.

Width-wise, the Martellos are narrow. The 2.6″ that I tested was about the same size as the 2.4″ Continental that I had on my bike before. So if you’re looking for a super-high-volume tire to smooth out your ride, this probably isn’t the tire for you.

Tread Pattern and Rubber Compounds

The Martello uses two sets of moto-style blocks: a repeating pattern of five square blocks in the middle of the tire and rows of alternating larger side knobs. Each block has at least two sipes for added grip.

You can expect lots of cornering grip with those massive knobs, and both pedaling and braking traction get a boost from the center blocks.

The rubber used is Vittoria’s four-compound mix, with softer rubber layered over a harder base in the center and side tread:

Vittoria also uses graphene in their tires, which they claim has a positive effect on “all positive performance metrics.”

While graphene sounds like a marketing gimmick, the performance of this tire has me convinced that Vittoria might be on to something.

Trail Performance

So how does the Martello ride? In one word, fast. I don’t know if it’s the tread pattern, the four-compound rubber mix, the graphene, or a combination of all three. But it doesn’t seem fair that an 1,100-gram tire can feel this sprightly.

Here’s an example. My last set of enduro-level tires didn’t pick up speed on the flats. They’d accelerate for a while, then get bogged down. I could feel the resistance in the kitty litter sand we have on the Front Range.

The Martellos aren’t like that. They pick up speed more like a downcountry tire. They roll much faster than I expected for a trail or enduro tire with this level of grip.

Vittoria Martello trail tire

Vittoria Martello Closeup Tread | Photo Dann Albright Mountain Weekly News

Of course, you’re going to feel the 1,100-gram weight when you’re climbing. The Martellos climb nicely because of their fast roll and sticky tread, but they’re still heavy. I’d put them more in the “enduro” category than the “trail” category, even though I’ve been riding the Trail version.

The Martellos kept better grip on some of the steep, loose climbs that gave the Der Baron/Der Kaiser combo trouble, though they did suffer a bit in the one patch of mud I found during testing.

What about descending?

When I pointed my bike downhill, the Martellos didn’t let me down. I only felt the front tire begin to slide a bit when I wasn’t weighting it enough (something you have to adjust for when going faster than expected on a burly tire). When properly weighted, though, the Martellos inspired confidence in fast, flat corners.

While Vittoria included some solid puncture protection in the Trail casing, I don’t have enough rides to weigh in on that. I’ll try to post an update once I’ve put in more miles on the Martellos.

Until then, though, there’s not much lacking in the descending department. They roll up to speed quickly, hold a line through corners, and damp rock gardens reasonably well, likely due to their weightiness. They handled some serious Front Range rock bashing with no complaints.

Overall Impression

If it wasn’t for the weight, I’d recommend the Vittoria Martello Tires ($69.99) to just about every trail rider. But 1,100 grams is no joke. If it stays puncture-free for a while, I’ll reconsider that statement and just recommend it to everyone. It really feels that good and it has quickly become one of my favorite tires.

I believe in prioritizing things other than weight — things like traction, predictability, and durability. If the Martellos don’t let me down on the puncture front, they may be one of the best tires available for the loose-over-hard, sandy, lots-of-small-rocks, lots-of-big-rocks-too kind of riding we have in the Front Range.

And while I enjoyed having a Martello mounted both front and back, replacing the rear with an Agarro 2.6 seems like the best decision. You save 130 grams and get a tighter-spaced, faster-rolling tread. If I get to test that combo, I’ll post an update.

Related Articles:

  1. Town and Country Continental Tire Review
  2. Trailside Tire Repair Guide

About the Author

Dann Albright
Dann is a freelance journalist whose love of the mountains keeps him coming back to Colorado. A mountain biker, skier, runner, and hiker, he seeks to shed light on the issues that matter most to the people who live in and around the Rockies.

2 Comments on "Vittoria Martello Tires Review: Tires This Heavy Shouldn’t Be This Fast"

  1. Patrick Sinclair | September 29, 2021 at 10:31 AM | Reply

    Been running the Martello on my steel hardtail since they first came on the scene. The early ones were good but didnt last very long, then they added graphine or something and they got even better and last for ages. Had one on the front too for a while but in the winter I wanted something a bit better in the uk mud so fitted a Motta. Now run that combo all year around as I can’t be bothered with changing tyres all the time and they work great, everywhere all the time

  2. Joseph E Zaukas | June 22, 2021 at 5:26 AM | Reply

    I just got a new bike, an Emminent Onset 1 that came equipped with the Martellos. Having just retired my Canondale V500, I have made a big jump in tech improvements. The first thing I noticed, besides the improved suspension, was the cornering and climbing traction. These tires are a game changer. I’m a trail rider who rides aggressively. I’m am finding new limits on how low I can into corners at faster speeds. Can’t say enough about how your equipment can boost your skill level, although some adjustment time is needed. Still getting used to the bigger bike, 29er is a different animal than the old 26.

Leave a comment