Is the Vittoria Peyote tire the best for XC mountain bike racing?
Ride Distance: 15 miles
I pushed these tires to the limit on my Jamis Nemesis XC racing bike against my buddies Intense Tracer 275C.
The ride we chose was about as aggressive XC as it comes, and parts of the trail are beyond UCI level XC, only tackled by Enduro and DH bikes.
Nevertheless when I review a product I push it to the maximum.
The trail conditions were hard packed, but much of the trail was a bit sandy, or at least had loose sand over hard pack.
While the Vittoria Peyote tires might not have been the most perfect choice for such conditions here is my review:
I find the Vittoria Peyote tire works best as a front tire, but is still very capable in the rear when the terrain is truly hard packed. The Vittoria Peyote tire has a directional pattern lending itself to those riders that prefer a quicker steering tire upfront. It is reminiscent of the old Specialized Ground Control Tire, and their newer models that are bred off that older design.
It is very fast rolling and very confidence inspiring run in the front for XC. It did climb very well as rear tire, but the Vittora Peyotes’s greatest weakness in my opinion was in the turns where looser dirt was over the hard pack it takes greater finesse to keep it planted.
I found I had to stand the bike up more upright than I prefer, and be very gentle with my rear breaking to avoid the rear breaking away more than I wanted.
Of course some of you might be saying, ” the tire is for hardback”. If you are fortunate enough to always have the perfect hard pack with no looser dirt over the top, you win.
In Southern California in the heart of summer, we tend to get some looser, sandier condition over hard pack, with some spots being pure hard pack while other spots are deeper sand.
Understand you can ride within its limits in national races and run it in the rear still getting great results as long as you aren’t railing turns like a maniac.
When hard braking was applied to the rear, it slide more than I wanted. Perhaps running the tire in the opposite direction might have improved the ride with only a slight penalty to forward momentum.
Also if you plan on racing these, I would recommend running a fresh one in the rear for sure, and if you have the budget, the front as well.
Also I should mention that I ran my Vittora Peyote tires on clinchers rims with tubes. I aired them up on the harder side at 36psi to avoid flatting, but of course this reduces the traction patch. If you run these in tubeless mode at lower pressure this would obviously increase traction / handling, if flats and burps can be avoided on rougher terrain / small jumps.
The Intense Tracer 275C had Maxxis High Rollers with the rear being fairly worn out. The tracer’s tires were 2.3’s but I felt good running head to head on the 2.1 Peyote’s.
The rubber compound is very tacky and worked great over rocks and roots in dry conditions. This is a true race tire and the flipside is it wears out quickly on aggressive terrain. My tires wore even faster in the center knobs because I rode up 6 miles on pavement to the trailhead.
Running this tire on the street like I did will obviously wear them down very quickly. I think I can get a few more rides out of the rear wheel, and probably double that in the front.
We were achieving speeds on the downhill portions that are most likely faster than would be typical in most XC races.
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Ride Length 22 miles
Today’s ride at Pt. Mugu State park has trails on par with an XC mountain bike race.
My favorite parts of the ride were Overlook, a big climb on mostly fire road, to backbone a sketchy single track at speed.
I completely lopped out and missed the trailhead to back bone, but had a blast running down the other 3 riders I came with who passed my and started the trail run in front of me.
Even with the front tire at 85% wear and the rear at 65-70% wear I was able to climb very well, and descend fairly well.
No doubt on very fast single track, the front tire bites better than the rear on a hard tail. In a national level XC race I would have no problem running a Vittoria Peyote in the front. I would have to practice the actual racecourse and determine if it was my first choice in the rear.
My Rating for the Vittoria Peyote tire for XC Mountain Bike Racing (1-10):
Vittoria Peyote Tire – Front
Flats & Rolling Sections: 9
Technical Climbing: 9
Vittoria Peyote Tire- Rear (run the same direction as front tire)
Flats & Rolling Sections: 9
Technical Climbing: 8
Note – In real hard pack conditions, the rear might get a 7 for my riding style on a hard tail.
In my opinion you should run a set, one front and one rear to determine how your bike works with them, as they are high quality tires.
The Vittoria Peyote has the capabilities to win the day for you, and since each of us has a different bike, trails and riding styles, this is definitely a tire you will want to test out.
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