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review

Vittoria Terreno Zero TLR G2.0 tyre 700x38

9
£44.99

VERDICT:

9
10
Hardy blacktop and hardpack gravel tyre that does all that and isn't afraid to steer onto proper off-road
Sturdy
Puncture resistance
Perform better off road than their looks suggest
Not the fastest on road
Weight: 
498g

The Vittoria Terreno Zero TLR G2.0 is a slick gravel tyre that's designed for road and smooth off-road duties but is capable of much more.

On the surface, the Terreno Zero is a large volume road or slick gravel tyre that is best suited to tarmac and finely graded off-road paths. But don't let appearances fool you, as it's more capable than that if you're willing to give it a go.

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The Terreno Zero is the slickest tyre in Vittoria's gravel range, with the Terreno Dry, Terreno Mix and Terreno Wet models offering increased tread patterns for more off-road and muddy conditions. All of them use a graphene compound in their rubber, something only Vittoria uses in its tyres, claiming that this revolutionary material allows for natural material barriers of rubber to be removed so there is no compromise between speed, grip, durability and puncture resistance.

The Terreno Zero also features a 120TPI construction with a reinforced casing; Vittoria admits that might add weight to the tyre but claims it improves strength, resistance and puncture protection. Real world experience would suggest all of this to be true.

2021 Vittoria Terreno Zero Tubeless Gravel Tyre

The 700x38 size is the only one in the Terreno Zero tubeless range that's available in both this TLR – Tubeless Ready – and TNT versions. All the other sizes – 700x32, 700x35 and 650x47 (which Stu reviewed last year) – are TNT only. TNT is Vittoriaspeak for Tube/No-Tube and features a nylon 120 TPI casing construction that improves strength, resistance and puncture protection and also adds a bit of weight. Experience with the TLR suggests this might not be strictly necessary, and the TLR is the one with the tan sidewall, which could be more important to you.

While you can put a tube in the Terreno Zero TLR, gravel tyres really do prefer to be set up tubeless if you want to get the best out of them for comfort, grip and puncture resilience.

Fitted without a tube, the tyres pumped up and sealed easily enough with no frantic thwapping, explosions or sticky mess, which is always a relief no matter how tubeless ready a manufacturer says a tyre is. They inflate true to size on the Kinesis CX Disc wheels they've been mounted on.

The tread pattern, such as it is, is inspired by Vittoria's top-of-the-range Corsa road tyre, with a wide grooved slick central tread and slightly angled hexagonal knobs on the sides. That side pattern is meant to minimise resistance in the rolling direction, yet provide dependable bite when loaded in the corners and under braking, but it appears to be more of a homage to the pattern formed by graphene atoms than anything else. The tyres are marked as directional which, given the paucity of tread, could be seen as optimistic.

2021 Vittoria Terreno Zero Tubeless Gravel Tyre Tread 1.jpg

On a road environment they're not the fastest tread-free gravel tyres around; not that they're necessarily slow, but they rumble along rather than skip lively compared with other slick gravel tyres, the thickness of the rubber of the centre tread the possible culprit here.

The plus side to this is that they're incredibly robust, so happily take crappy tarmac and potholes in their stride, romp over packed gravel paths and perform far better than you might expect on other rougher surfaces. I've been running them all winter over all kinds of terrain, from smooth blacktop, across gravel of all grades, along rocky off-road to really-shouldn't-be-here thick mud, and they're deceptively capable over all of these surfaces and are also showing very little signs of wear.

> Buyer’s Guide: 25 of the best go-anywhere gravel bike tyres 

During the test period they've suffered only one puncture and that was a small flint slash, something that's not uncommon around these parts. It refused to seal, was tubed to get home, and with an internal patch glued in, that tyre's been rolling fine since then. That's it. Given the abuse they've been put under they should have fared far worse for a slick road based tyre and been nicked and ripped to pieces.

I found tyre pressure to be quite crucial, with the sweet spot between feeling too firm and bottoming out on square edges quite defined. Although that might be down to the inappropriately pointy and rooty paths I took these tyres down, and if you're just running them on more level ground then this is much less of an issue.

Don't be put off by the lack of tread – I've been diverting well away from tarmac and taking these off road over terrain that would be more suited to a mountain bike and under all sorts of conditions, and the tyres have been stunningly ok considering their baldness. I do, though, have a history of mountain biking, cyclo-cross and taking skinny tyred bikes down unsuitable paths, sometimes deliberately, obsessing over tyre choice and then having to deal with tyre choices inappropriate to the surface, so I'm used to a bike bouncing and squirming about beneath me... your willingness to test these tyres' suitability off road may vary, but they're more versatile than their road and packed gravel designation would suggest.

2021 Vittoria Terreno Zero Tubeless Gravel Tyre Tread 2.jpg

They're even not impossible in thick mud as they can carve quite nicely through it, and there's the logic-bending theory that a tyre that doesn't have any tread doesn't have any tread that can clog with mud, which works, to an extent.

Given that they've been ridden for several months over and through some testing conditions that included brand new tarmac, floods, broken roads, rooty singletrack more suited to mountain bikes, snow, mud, wide rutted tracks, slurry and even some actual gravel, with their sturdy character they're standing up to the ill treatment amazingly well and far beyond expectations, which makes their price, which is in the ballpark for this sort of thing, a bit of a bargain.

Compared to the similarly tread-averse Maxxis Receptor, it's a heavier tyre but looks to be more adaptable and robust off-road (and the Maxxis is £50 at rrp); it squares up nicely against the £55 WTB Byway too, and could give the gravel favourite Panaracer GravelKing Semi Slick Plus TLC a good run for its money too, which is £49.99 at rrp.

Conclusion

The Vittoria Terreno Zero gravel tyre is genuinely surprising in how much it's capable of. It gobbles up tarmac and fine gravel, and if that's all you use your gravel bike for then its robust construction will see you good for miles, but if you like to explore and push the limits of what 'gravel' might be (and who even knows exactly what that is) then it's a significantly better tyre than it deserves to be on lumpier, bumpier and muddier off-road tracks.

Verdict

Hardy blacktop and hardpack gravel tyre that does all that and isn't afraid to steer onto proper off-road

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Vittoria Terreno Zero TLR G2.0 tyre 700x38

Size tested: 700 x 38

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Vittoria says it's created a type of tyre specially designed for gravel bikes: Terrain Zero. 'Terreno Zero has been designed treasuring the experience and technology of Vittoria cyclocross range Terreno - which encompasses Terreno Dry, Terreno Mix and Terreno Wet, models - but adapted in order to match gravel usage requirements. That said, Terreno Zero features a central tread pattern inspired to Vittoria top-of-the-range road tyre Corsa, and slightly angled hexagonal knobs on the sides. This particular tread design is aimed to attack paved and hard-pack gravel surfaces. The slick, central part of the tread ensures the supple feel and low rolling resistance you have come to expect. The trademark hexagonal 'scales' minimize resistance in the rolling direction, yet provide dependable bite when loaded in the corners, and under braking. When your road ride transitions from pavement to dirt, the Terreno Zero gravel tyres are your choice.'

As a gravel tyre designed for road and smooth gravel surfaces it's good, not as nippy on tarmac as some but its ability to tread further than its tread might suggest more than makes up for it.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Vittoria:

Terreno Zero tyre uses Vittoria Graphene compound. This revolutionary material allows for natural material barriers of rubber to be removed. This means that there is no longer the need for such compromises between speed, grip, durability and puncture resistance. Vittoria is the only tyre manufacturer applying Graphene to tyres compounds. While we've got the TLR one here the Terreno Zero gravel bike tyres is also available in a TNT version. Conceived as the top-of-the-line tubeless-ready clincher for Vittoria MTB tyres, TNT (short for Tube/No-Tube) is the obvious casing choice for racers who demand race day dependability. Terreno Zero TNT features a Nylon 120 TPI casing construction with supplementary reinforcements. Reinforced casing means ultimate puncture protection. Although the additional Nylon reinforcements add some weight to the tyre, it improves strength, resistance and puncture protection in way never seen before in any gravel bike tyre available in the market.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

A sturdy tyre that's stood up well to wilful inappropriate usage.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

A road and hardpacked off-road tyre that's better than you'd expect if you venture further into the rough.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

I've given the Terreno Zeros an absolute beating and they're showing little sign of wearing out.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
6/10

Not the lightest tyre, but you're compensated with unexpected ruggedness and durability.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
9/10

A larger volume tyre that takes the buzz and bump out of standard issue cratered UK tarmac and cruises along well-graded gravel.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Tyres just aren't cheap any more, are they? For its usability and wear rate the Terreno Zero seems to be working out good value though, and is £5-£10 less than some main rivals.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Designed as a predominantly road and light gravel tyre, they handled 'proper' off-road and muddy conditions far far better than expected too.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Hardiness and a refusal to be defined by their road and hardpacked gravel description.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

More steady than nippy on road.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The price compares well: the Maxxis Receptor is £5 more and lighter, but perhaps not as adaptable or robust off-road as the Vittorias, WTB's Byway is £55, while the gravel favourite Panaracer GravelKing Semi Slick Plus TLC is £49.99.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, far more capable than they probably deserve to be.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

As a tarmac and graded gravel tyre, the Vittoria Terreno Zero is easy rolling, dependable and long lasting, and it copes with more rugged terrain far better than its slick tread might suggest. I've spent a winter pushing it in terms of finding both terrain and traction limits and while there have been a few sideways and spinning out moments, it's performed way above its pay grade. It's exceptional.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 50  Height: 180cm  Weight: 73kg

I usually ride: It varies as to the season.  My best bike is: The one I\'m on at the time

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Fun

Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.

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