When it comes to the most aggressive tires on the market, those aimed at downhillers, all-mountain types, and enduro racers, there are currently only three, maybe four, options that are widely accepted. And it's probably fair to say that the Vittoria name isn't currently on that rather short list, but they're aiming to be a contender in the 'big meat' category with their new $69 USD Mota tire. ''The muddiest DH course conditions possible have inspired the Mota DH tire,'' the description says on Vittoria's website, although it's pretty common these days to see a tire with tall, widely spaced lugs like the Mota be used for all sorts of conditions and terrain.
Vittoria Mota Details
• Intended use: downhill / all-mountain
• Designed for soft conditions
• Sizes: 26'' x 2.5'', 27.5'' x 2.5'', 27.5'' x 2.35'', 29'' x 2.35''
• All-mountain and downhill casing options
• APF bead insert protection
• 4C G+ compound
• Weight: 813-grams (29 x 2.35'')
• MSRP: $69 USD
The Mota is available in four versions and two different casings to suit riders' needs, one of them being a 26'' x 2.5'' model (yes, you read that correctly) with Vittoria's dual-ply rTNT DH casing that weighs a hefty 1,400-grams. The 27.5'' x 2.5'' version with the same casing is 40-grams heavier, and both sport a rigid bead, APF inserts, and 4C G+ compound makeup.
If you don't quite need that kinda of burliness, there are the 27.5'' x 2.35'' and 29'' x 2.35'' options that feature a lighter duty all-mountain casing, are tubeless ready, have the APF insert, sidewall protection, and the same 4C G+ compound. The weight of the 29'' x 2.35'' Mota is a respectable (for its intended use) 813-grams, and all four tires retail for the same $69 USD.
Vittoria has put a lot of their know-how into the Mota, as evidenced by the lineup of acronyms on the tire's sidewall. Here's what they all mean.
4C G+ Compound - This one's easy to figure out. Vittoria uses four different rubber compounds in the Mota's construction, which is one more than some other brands tout. If three is good, four must be better, right? Probably. This lets Vittoria put different rubber makeups to use for the base layer, surface, center portion, and side lugs. Stiffer side lugs with a softer durometer top layer can provide grip and support in the corners, while a softer base compound combined with a more durable top layer in the center of the tire can improve braking traction without harming durability.
G+Isotech - Vittoria is also using Graphene in their rubber mixture, which is an extremely thin sheet of carbon that the company claims helps to improve rolling speed and grip while decreasing the likelihood that knobs will fold and tear.
TNT - This one stands for ''Tube/No-Tube'' which, as you can probably guess, means that the Mota's casing is ready for sealant if you want, or you can run tubes if that's what you're into. That said, pretty much any tire can be run tubeless these days, regardless of if its casing has been designed for it. The Mota features Vittoria's mid-weight casing that's lighter than the downhill version but still employs their APF (anti-pinch-flat) insert just above the bead.
Who remembers the days when installing a set of tubeless tires required counseling and a group hug afterward? Rim and tire design have, thankfully, largely made that pain a thing of the past, and it was no different with the Motas. I installed them on a set of DT Swiss' aluminum XM 1501 Spline wheels (30mm internal width), using a Bontrager Flash Charger floor pump and Stan's sealant, and it was a painless task where I didn't even need to scream at the tires and wheels to seat. They both mounted up instantly and sealed around the bead in mere seconds. With its sturdy mid-weight casing, I could run pressures as low as 16 psi for slow, technical trails, especially when it was raining. More often than not, though, I went with 19 psi up front and 21 psi for the rear tire. I'm just under 160lbs and found that any higher than 24 psi made the tires feel a bit too stiff and unforgiving.
The 30mm internal rim width is probably close to the limit of most 2.35'' tires, but the relatively round cross-section and high volume casing of the Mota seemed to perform just fine, without the rim's width making the tire too square. I probably don't need to tell you what model of tire the Mota resembles (hint: it rhymes with Schmagic Schmary), but does that mean that it also performs the same? In some ways, yes, but not in others.
Rolling speed is about what you'd expect for a tire like the Mota; not great but it is what it is. You don't run a tire like this if how quickly you can coast is your main concern. You probably also don't run a tire like this if climbing is your thing, but the Mota does provide bucket loads of drive, especially if you're on dirt instead of roots and rocks. The tall and widely spaced lugs don't like rock all that much, especially if said rock is shiny with water, but climbing traction isn't really what the Mota is all about, so let's move on.
What this tire is all about, however, is delivering traction. All of it. And it does that in a lot of scenarios, especially when the dirt is soft enough for the Mota's tall lugs to grab ahold of the earth. The grip is immense and, just as important, it's also very predictable. You can lean as far as you dare and the Mota will hold, and as a front tire I never once felt it push across the ground and get skittery, even when it was dusty and loose enough that riding behind a buddy felt like being in the middle of a sandstorm. Braking traction is anchor-like, and the rear tire didn't toss up any surprises, even when braking hard while leaned over.
I think I was most impressed with how well rounded the Mota feels which, given the tall and widely spaced lugs, came as a surprise to me. Usually, a tire like this is a revelation when conditions are right, but the enemy is often hard-packed ground that sees the lugs fold over, or wet roots and wood that ask for more rubber contact. But the Mota was also impressive on those settings, likely due to the rubber compound and copious siping. Zero flats, zero burping, zero cuts, and also zero issues when it comes to how fast they wear to boot.