Vittoria Gato: “These things grab ahold of wet roots and rocks and don’t let go”
Pinkbike editor, Mike Levy has rigorously tested Vittoria’s Gato tire during monsoon and dry weather conditions and rated it excellently.
The Gato is said to be designed to excel as a wet conditions cross-country tire, which is a pretty specific thing to be good at if you ask me, so I ended up using them for everything from rides during monsoons to the few dry winter days that we've had so far this year.
"What makes the Gato a wet conditions tire? The most noticeable difference between it and most other rubber is the tire's immense amount of siping that has been done to every single lug.
This should allow the lugs to flex and conform to whatever they roll over better than if they were un-cut, and it's a way to trick a tire into feeling like it's built with a softer, slower rebounding compound than it actually is. Speaking of compounds, the standard Gato tested here features Vittoria's single Isogrip compound rather than the more complicated 4C (four compound) makeup of the TNT version."
"These things grab ahold of wet roots and rocks and don't let go"
The verdict: “I felt nearly unstoppable when faced with wet, technical pitches that I’d be scared to walk up or down. The power of siping? It sure looks to be that way. Whatever it is, these things grab ahold of wet roots and rocks and don’t let go.”
Levy continued to state that “it’s when things are soaked the Gatos come into their own, with a surefootedness over wet dirt, roots, rocks, and any other surface that is almost unbelievable if you’re used to only trusting much wider, more aggressive tires.”
It feels like it hasn't stopped raining or snowing for a few years now, which is dreary, but also the ideal conditions to test Vittoria's wet-conditions cross-country tire. In that sort of weather, it took all of maybe ten minutes to realize that there's something to the Gato, with the rear tire finding grip over climbs layered with tangles of shiny, wet roots that repeatedly stopped other riders in their tracks, including those using much wider and more aggressive rubber at lower pressures than what I was running. With the rear tire at 22 psi (and the front at 20 psi), I felt nearly unstoppable when faced with wet, technical pitches that I'd be scared to walk up or down. The power of siping? It sure looks to be that way.
"Vittoria says that they're a 'fast rolling wet conditions XC race tire,' but I'd happily keep them on my bike throughout the year, wet or not. This makes them a great choice for a rider who lives somewhere with a proper rainy season but doesn't want to be swapping tires out for the conditions."