Pirelli Cinturato Gravel Hard Vs Mixed Terrain Tyres

Pirelli Cinturato Gravel Hard Vs Mixed Terrain Tyres

Are you trying to choose between the Pirelli Cinturato Mixed and Hard Terrain options? We've ridden thousands of kilometres on both and have put together a guide to help you.
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The Pirelli Cinturato Gravel tyre range has landed at Acium, and we’re damn excited about that. Simply put, these tyres are superb. We’re stocking them because we wanted to ride on them. The two patterns each cover a different end of the gravel riding spectrum. I’ve piled up thousands of kilometres on both options over the last couple of years, so I wanted to cover the similarities and differences between the two.


Here’s the lowdown for those who want the basics

Mixed Terrain:

  • Strengths:
    • Fantastic all-rounder with plenty of grip and decent rolling speed.
    • Long wear life and good puncture resistance.
    • Easy tubeless setup.
  • Weaknesses:
    • A stiff sidewall can make for a bumpy ride at narrow widths or high pressures.
Hard Terrain:
  • Strengths:
    • One of the fastest gravel tyres that aren’t just a wide slick.
    • Reasonable grip, considering the low tread profile.
    • Solid wear life compared to other speed-oriented tyres.
    • Easy tubeless setup.
  • Weaknesses:
    • Can puncture between the tread blocks.
    • Same stiff sidewall as the Mixed Terrain.


Ok, let’s get you up to speed on the Cinturato Gravel range.

There are two compounds to choose from:

  • Hard Terrain for your low-grip-high speed flavour of gravel
  • Mixed Terrain for your high-grip-lower speed flavour of gravel.


  • 650b x 45 mm & 50 mm
  • 700c x 35 mm, 40 mm, 45 mm, 50 mm

Fashion-conscious graveleurs choose between a classic all-black colouring and a lovely deep brown to suit their whip.


There are a couple of commonalities before I talk about differences.

First, all three sets I’ve tested were a breeze to set up and maintain tubeless. They were easy enough to seat with a standard floor pump and needed no maintenance apart from the occasional top-up of sealant. Individual experiences will always vary with tubeless but these have been excellent for me.

Pirelli tyres with Ciclovation sealant

Wear life is very good within their respective categories. The Mixed Terrain is excellent, with ample tread depth and a reasonably hard-wearing compound meaning my first set lived far longer than what I’d typically expect from a gravel tyre. The Hard Terrain will wear out faster than the Mixed Terrain but has outlasted comparable speed-oriented tyres from other brands.


The Hard Terrain tyre is an absolute gravel rocket. It feels fast and puts a big dopey grin on your face. Those wanting a true mixed terrain setup that gives generous performance on sealed and unsealed surfaces are well serviced. Anecdotally, they’re among the fastest gravel tyres I’ve ridden and rank highly in Bicycle Rolling Resistance tests.

Things aren’t as speedy for the Mixed Terrain though, as you’d expect with that tread pattern. On tarmac they’re perfectly adequate thanks to the pseudo-slick centre rolling well enough. They get comparatively faster as the terrain gets worse. Grip translates into speed as you more confidently ride through terrain the Hards don’t handle as well.


The Mixed Terrain tyre is one of the best all-rounders in the gravel tyre market. They recognise what MTB tyres have known for years: you can't have grip without tread gaps. They suit my personal preference towards more grip. I’ve never felt too much grip negatively affected my gravel riding but I’ve sure been alarmed by a lack of it!

The Hard Terrain’s grip falls into the “not bad considering the tread pattern” category. Gravel tyres are maturing so quickly that fast tyres can be grippy and grippy tyres can be fast. The Hard Terrain has plenty of road holding for most of your hard-packed gravel and will perform ok on more gnarly trails and fire roads in the dry. Mud and generally wet conditions will overwhelm the tyres though and I wouldn’t recommend them for the soggy months of the year if you regularly ride through slop. That’s where the Mixed Terrain become the better option.


Sure, we are trying to sell Pirelli tyres but we also want to be honest about what you can expect.

The Cinturato Gravel tyre range has a firm ride. The easy tubeless setup and management is largely due to a stiff and beefy sidewall. As a result, the tyres ride a bit stiffer than other tyres in the same widths. Balancing out tyre pressures can be a little tricky as you want to find the intersection of comfort but avoid the tyre sidewall squishing too much.

The Hard Terrain tyre, in my testing, is more likely to puncture than the Mixed Terrain. The gaps between tread blocks are less resilient to ingress so things can punch through in those small gaps. Some users echoed this experience on my YouTube review, but plenty of others haven’t. Individual experiences will always vary when it comes to punctures.


We hope this article has helped you figure out which tyre is best for you. Go to our Pirelli Gravel Tyre range to grab yourself a set.

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