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.
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.
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.
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.