Vittoria’s Terreno Pro T60 gravel tyre proves that sustainability doesn’t mean sacrificing performance

Italian brand’s as yet unreleased gravel tyre will be made from 92% recycled and renewable materials, but promises to pack in plenty of performance too

Clock18:30, Saturday 23rd March 2024
Vittoria's new Terreno Pro T60 gravel tyre will be released later this year

© GCN

Vittoria's new Terreno Pro T60 gravel tyre will be released later this year

There are changes brewing in the cycling industry as brands show a greater awareness and willingness to adopt sustainable practices, a new approach that Vittoria has arguably embraced more than any other. The Italian brand unveiled its carbon neutral factory at the end of 2023 and it has now followed that up with its new Terreno Pro T60 gravel tyre, which could genuinely prove to be a watershed product for the cycling industry.

Those are strong words for a tyre that hasn’t actually officially been released yet – we were told to expect a June release with three versions of the tyre in the offing – but it was on full display at the recent Taipei Cycle Show where it won the Green Prize award, and we were able to learn a little more about the product.

Winning a prize before it has even been released is good going, but what will inevitably grab the headlines is the tyre’s construction from 92% renewable and recycled materials. Doing this provided multiple obstacles and, according to CEO Stijn Vriends, Vittoria stripped things back to the basics by laying out the materials it usually uses, before going through and swapping in more sustainable alternatives. The results are a tyre that is made from organic cotton instead of nylon, with soybean oil swapped in for regular oil, and regular silica substituted for rice husk ash silica. Nylon was still needed to reinforce the tyres Vittoria turned to recycled nylon from fish nets.

Interestingly, Vriends also told us that many of these materials were originally sourced from supermarkets, highlighting some of the barriers that still stand in the way when creating more sustainable products.

This sustainability doesn’t simply hinge on the final product either, something that the cycling industry has been guilty of hiding behind in the past, but the full production process. Vittoria is currently one of the leading lights for this rounded approach to sustainability and the new tyre is produced in its carbon neutral factory, which was unveiled at the end of 2023. Using the new factory cuts the emissions produced when manufacturing the tyre by 80%, Vittoria said in Taipei.

It’s all looking very good for the Terreno Pro T60 then, but there’s still one elephant in the room: performance. Cycling is performance driven and sustainable products have struggled to fulfil this important criteria, but that’s not the case for the Terreno Pro T60 – quite the opposite. Vittoria says that, compared to a gravel tyre crafted with standard materials, the Pro T60 offers 10% better grip, rolling performance and comfort, plus a massive 34% added puncture resistance on the sidewalls. Sustainability and performance technology often haven’t gone hand-in-hand, but Vittoria has found a way to marry them together, and that could be important for the future of sustainable products in the industry.

Vriends’ dream, he told us, would be for Wout van Aert or Mathieu van der Poel to win the Gravel World Championships using the tyre, for its obvious publicity. Not because he wanted the spotlight on Vittoria specifically, although we’re sure that will be welcomed too, but more to highlight the viability of a high-performing sustainable product.

There are limitations to using natural products, though. For a start, they can only be substituted for certain materials. It may not be suitable for every discipline either, with specific doubts about downhill mountain biking, mainly because the Terreno Pro T60 is supple. Supple equals performance on the road and in the less demanding cross-country mountain biking discipline – both of which could be future Vittoria targets for sustainable tyres, according to Vriends – but it may not supply the robustness required for the heavier impacts dished out on downhill runs.

Either way, the Terreno Pro T60 provides a shining example of how the cycling industry can find sustainable solutions without sacrificing performance.

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