Vittoria Barzo Tire - Review

Jun 24, 2015
by Mike Levy  
Vittoria's Barzo tire is aimed squarely at those who are looking for something that's reasonably lightweight without being as flimsy as some of the race day-only options out there, as well as riders who know that a spindly cross-country tire isn't going to offer the traction they might need. That translates to a tire for ''technical XC terrain'' according to Vittoria's website, which is a reasonably accurate way to describe the Barzo. The tire's defining feature is its alternating but constant crown lugs that, according to Vittoria, allow it to roll quickly due to there being a constant contact point compared to a more open and spaced out pattern across the top that would act more like paddles. That thinking makes sense to me, and it's also one that plays out on the trail. The relatively open tread pattern is laid across a rounded casing, and all of the lugs sport a sipe that is claimed to be "lean dependent". My 652 gram test tires also use Vittoria's tubeless-ready TNT casing that's quite a bit more robust feeling than some of the toilet paper-esque casings of some featherweight tires out there, and it also means that you shouldn't need to use a load of sealant to set them up sans tubes. The tire reviewed here is the $54.99 USD, 29'' x 2.25'' Barzo with TNT casing, but there are also various widths in both 26'' and 27.5'' diameters to choose from. www.vittoria.com

Vittoria Barzo tire review test
The speedy Barzo offers plenty of traction in most situations, with its only weakness being loose conditions.
Vittoria Barzo tire review test
Maybe you don't need the big meat? The 2.25'' wide Barzo is a viable option for how a lot of us ride.


Pinkbike’s Take:
bigquotesIt's important to try and keep things relative, which means that the 652 gram Barzo can't really be compared to a higher volume, meatier tire that sacrifices weight and rolling resistance in the name of all-out traction and maximum reliability. But, compared to tires of the same ilk, which I'd say are of the aggressive cross-country variety, I found the 2.25'' wide Barzo to be pretty darn impressive. As a front tire, it offered plenty of cornering bite when leaned over on most terrain, and I'd say that it's more predictable than its speedy tread pattern had me expecting. The caveat comes when talking about loose, dusty dirt, which is when the tire tends to push a bit more than some of its competition.

I also ran a matching 2.25'' Barzo on the back of my bike, where it proved to be one of the quickest rolling fully lugged tires that I've ever used. It's much speedier than anything else, bar a true semi-slick, but offers quite a bit more upright braking traction than a smoother tire could ever hope to provide. I did find that it breaks away a bit sooner than expected when braking when leaned over, but it was more of a easy slide than a massive snap of traction going away. The opposite side of the lugs also provide a good amount of climbing bite, so long as things weren't on the excessively dry and loose side of the scale, which seemed to be the Barzo's only real kryptonite. Wet, muddy ground wasn't an issue, however, and the open tread pattern had no trouble clearing debris and finding traction when conditions were more akin to a fish tank than a mountain bike ride. I also don't have anything to complain about when it comes to reliability, and although I did manage to get the rear tire to burp a tiny amount of sealant a few times when running it in the low 20s, I'd argue that I was probably pushing things a bit when it comes to air pressure. No flats, no tears, and knob life looks to be good aside from some silly skidding on my part.

I'd say that the Barzo is best suited to someone who's looking for a lightweight tire that they can use day in and day out without worrying about reliability, although I'd woudn't recommend it if you spend a lot of time riding dry, loose trails. This is not a fragile cross-country option, even if its weight is close to that sort of thing, which makes it a good choice if you like to hit the odd rowdy trail between cross-country races on the weekends. - Mike Levy



63 Comments

  • + 71
 A new tire is released in a 26" size? What is this heresy? Kind of glad someone hasn't forgotten us who are still stubbornly on our 26" wheels.
  • + 33
 or too poor to get anything else
  • + 11
 @ ithomas
Or too sceptical about so called advantages of bigger wheels
  • - 6
flag solarplex (Jun 24, 2015 at 9:17) (Below Threshold)
 only real thing i like about my 29er is the bb height. before i got my fatbike my 98 moab was my backup and i would pedal smack the ground constantly with it. I guess its just knowing the trail and your bike, seemed like before i got a 29er i wouldnt pedal smack ever either.
  • + 9
 I just can't get Newtons third law out of my head when it comes to wheelsize,"For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction",i'm short so why would i want something larger that detracts from my riding style ? i just don't get bigger wheels,26 forever,i can't argue with physics!!
  • + 1
 26" jokes are getting tiresome.
  • + 3
 Oh man. the tire-compare tool on Vittoria.com is AWESOME.
  • + 2
 Vittoria makes phenomenal tires - definitely one of my favorites - I'll have to check this out on my next trail bike
  • + 32
 Seems like they also like conti's x-king
  • + 2
 they seem more like rocket ron tires to me
  • + 7
 x-king copy yeah
  • + 3
 Yep, which in my experience is not a good thing if you push hard in corners...
  • + 18
 I'm using a Barzo at the minute, and it's miles ahead of an X-King.
  • + 2
 I've had Rocket Rons and X-Kings and those are more like X-Kings than the Rons. I did like the X-King a lot as a rear tire, didn't have it long though as I drove a monster nail through the tread and sidewall.
  • + 1
 X-King- first what i'm thinking about
  • + 3
 X-King is worthless in wet, Rocket Ron all the way. The only thing you hear when you climb on roots with a dude on X-kings is dzzzzt followed by fuuuuuuuuuk! Even semi slick like Rapid Rob hooks on better.
  • + 1
 X-Kings do roll faster than Rocket Rons and are much more durable. It's just a trade off. I prefer the X-Kings for the durability and speed, yet more grip than Race Kings. I did like the Rocket Rons in grease though, but the Rocket Ron is terrible in the snow as a front tire. I'm running a Racing Ralph up front currently but haven't been too impressed with it and have been thinking about switching it out for an X-King.
  • + 2
 I forgot to add, while I find the RoRo to be a great XC tyre in WET, at least on the rear, it gets shredded into pieces when ridden faster in the dry. You don't want to do rear brake corrections in dry lose corners, knobs get torn out easily. Applies to all single ply EVO Schwalbies. Contis are more durable indeed. I often wonder how guys like Nico Lau keep their NNics rolling to the finish. I cringe "oh fk no I forgot!" everytime I ride in the dry on rocks or gravel and I slide for fun to get around some tight corner as I would normally do on Am bike. But grip wise I am disappointed with all Contis having knobs shorter than Trail King. Grip on wet rock slabs is horrible
  • + 1
 My experience with X-King is back last year when i had a Racing Ralph up front and a Race King (PureGrip) out back and racing on loose/dusty hardpack. RK was an unbalanced match to Ralph in that situation thus I was locking up the RK under braking a lot in the loose. I got an old/used/worn X-King (PureGrip) to test out back and was impressed as that thing is a step up from RK (and even the Ralph) and just clawed and hooked everywhere it seemed. Most of the time here it is dry, sometimes it gets tacky when it rains so I was more interested in the XK than the RRon. Since I put holes in that XK I have switched to a Spec Ground Control (locally available) on my trail rear wheel which has been almost as good (just slightly less grip). I roll that for now..... Also don't get me wrong, I still love Race Kings. They are meant to be fast rollers primarily. I still use them as my go anywhere (ie gravel, pavement, dirt) fast tire. I've been running a Bonti 29-1 Expert (now XR1 I think) in the rear for gravel this year due to local availability before i got my rear "trail" wheel for the GC in place of RK but it is not as durable (it's very worn already) or grippy as RK for sure. I had to learn how to get that squirrely 29-1 around a couple very greasy and loose race tracks this past spring where the RK would have been better.
  • + 4
 in person the lugs on the barzos are much bigger than xkings especially the side knobs. Xking wash out if pushed hard I have a set of barzo's on the shelf hoping to try out soon. The goma's are an amazing tire but heavy for day to day xc use.
  • + 1
 this looks exactly like the tire I've been looking for. I went through two x-kings looking for a fast rolling rear tire, but found the knobs to be a little too low profile. My main gripe was the side-knobs, which were lacking and didn't hook up well under hard cornering. This looks like it might address my issues. Worth a shot for sure.
  • + 1
 I think Conti would really benefit from going through a design review and improvement routine with X-King and Race King. Or maybe release a more aggressive version of the X-King, and improve the current design but keep it light and XCish etc.
  • + 1
 The thing that makes XKing brake and hook badly on climbs and at the same time provides little rolling resistance (just as with tyre in the article) is little back/forward spacing between center knobs. As to side knobs I think latest breed of Enduro tyres like Rock Razor or Slaughter is showing that you can have little rolling resistance and all the cornering grip in the world. Most contis have strangely narrow tread base. It makes them work great on narrow rims but suck ass on latest wide rims.
  • + 1
 Waki, what I've been wishing is for Conti to come out with an XKing with beefed up side knobs. I found their "crown tread" to be decent for me and my local trails. I'm still on 26 and on "narrow" i25 rims... my options wrt to the "new gen" low-profile, big sideknob tires is limited to the Rock Razor. And I find those small knobs too small, too tight, and too prone to wear to want to try them out. Also, my style of pedalling is to deliver lots of torque at low revs. I know people who can outride me on small block 8s in all conditions, but they're light weight xc whippets who use speed and momentum to get up and over tricky situations. These tires seem like they warrant a try at least.
  • + 1
 I'm with you on high torque on low revs! I see no other way to make tricky climbs where you need power on tap. Sure you can always downshift to harder gear after spinning fast but it ain't same thing. I am fortunate to have such muscle structure Big Grin
  • + 18
 "knob life looks to be good"....

True words...
  • + 4
 Using Vittoria Saguaros, just came off Nobby Nics and the Saguaros roll better, offer the same grip (on the dry trails I ride), are lighter, seal up tubeless easily and don't leak air, and feel more compliant. They are also cheaper, which is of unimportance because they are better than more expensive Nics. How about that, eh?
  • + 3
 Im running a Geax Gato (f) and a Vittoria Saguaro TNT (r) and I cant say enough good things about them. I was sold on maxxis for 5+ years (still love minions), but this is my new setup. Definitely look into Vittoria if you are looking for a new setup.
  • + 7
 26" - yeah!
  • + 3
 My 4X bike has been running Maxxis Crossmarks for quite a while now, I was actually looking for some tires with a slightly aggressive tread pattern for cornering. The Barzo looks like the one I need.
  • + 1
 Crossmarks are great, unless you want to turn or stop.
  • + 1
 Yeah I even wiped out a few times trying to corner some off camber sections in my local track. I tried running some 2.35 Minions on the bike and while it did corner better it rolled significantly slower in the flat sprinting sections. I was hoping to find an Ideal tire that can roll fast and corner well and my choices narrowed down to the Schlwabe Rock Razors or the Barzo.
  • + 1
 Ikons are awesome. I've had them on my XC bike for a while now, and I really can't find anything to complain about. The cornering lugs on the 2.35" version are pretty legit too.
  • + 2
 We started to stock these along side more schwalbe at Fulford cycles after the maxxis issue in the UK, and we have to say so far we have been pretty impressed by them. And for any of you roadies hiding in the comments, we are all switching to vittorias...
  • + 4
 What happened with maxxis in the UK?
  • + 3
 Maxxis is getting harder to find here as well. I hope they don't lose traction and blow out like Marzocchi.
  • + 1
 Boardlife69- I doubt that Maxxis will die out as a company, they have a large presence in the Car, offroad, atv, and MX world. For example, the spare tire that came in my car (Ford Mustang) is a Maxxis tire.
  • + 1
 Second nicknjegac, what's up in the UK?
  • + 1
 @nicknjegac and @GTscoob

Maxxis supply in the UK is on a preorder basis by container from Hong Kong. One Industries have dropped them so the big online retailers bought up all the remaining stock. It's caused a shortage of supply for everyone else, possibly lasting until September.
  • + 3
 Have it as my rear tire paired with the Goma's up front. great set up for our dry, loose, rocky trails. love the pair that ill be running them for while until I get curious again.
  • + 1
 This is the same setup I run, very very happy with it!
  • + 1
 Been riding GEAX/Vittoria tires for a number of years now and love them. Started out with a set of Saguaros on my steel ht and then went to a Gato(f)/Sag(r). Ran that combo until last year when I destroyed the Sag (3yrs of riding will do that) and went with the Goma 2.25. That was a great tire but really only lasted about 600 miles with the STICKY compound but still had some life left. I actually just got ride of my last set of tires (Goma/Sag) because the knobs were starting to tear off. Unfortunately I was not able to find a Goma 2.4" so went with something similar (On-One Chunky Monkey 2.4 Trail Extreme) and running an old backup tire (Purg Control) for the time being. Once the Purg dies I will throw on either the Goma 2.25 or possibly the Barzo.

Oh and excited to see the Morsa come out later this year... Looks to be between the Goma and the Sturdy (which I have as well and is GNARLY as hell!!!)..
  • + 1
 Check out the CST Patrol EPS 2.25. It's a Barzo clone and costs less than 1/2 the price of the Barzo. I've had both on my 29er, and the CST with its dual compound tread is better in every way. I killed my Rear Barzo in under 300 miles, which resulted in a nice hike-a-bike. If you can't get past the CST brand name, well that's on you, but for those of you who search it now, you'll thank me later.
  • + 2
 @Mike Levy - how is the volume on this thing? The 2.25 tire tested is the largest width. How does it compare to the more common Ardent 2.25? (feel free to add any other comparisons to the Ardent as a benchmark)
  • + 1
 I'm currently running the the Barzo 27.5 on the rear. I switched from a Maxxis Ardent. The Barzo is faster and lighter but not as grippy as the Ardent exo. The Barzo does do well in the mud but over slippery rocks and roots the Ardent does better. Lastly when I'm cornering with the Barzo with too low of pressure I get that squirmy folding sensation. I like technical singletracks and the Barzo just doesn't make the cut for me so I will be switching back to the Ardent.
  • + 3
 So GEAX is now also just branded as Vittoria?

I suppose having all the tyres under one name is good for the brand image...
  • + 2
 geax datura, exelent tyre. now they are under vittoria hope they keep that tyre even if they rename it
  • + 1
 I might be wrong but I thought geax was vittoria's mtb line, in which case I'm sure it'll be kept!
  • + 1
 ah perfect, fingers crossed, its taken me a while to find a tyre i can trust
  • + 2
 "I'd woudn't recommend it if you spend a lot of time riding dry, loose trails."
No-go for most of SoCal then.
  • + 1
 Recently bought a pair of 27.5" peyote. they are amazingly grippy for what otherwise looks like standard thread
  • + 1
 "It's important to try and keep things relative" please do PinkBike and related industry..!!
  • + 1
 did anything change aside from the name? Also I found ithe article a little ad-driven in that in wasn't mentioned once.
  • + 2
 Tread design looks very, very similar to Continental X-king.
  • + 1
 Yep, that's very much like an X-King...a tire I've ran before and liked a lot.
  • + 0
 This tire is actually awesome. Got mine at Western Bikeworks as soon as they came out.
  • + 1
 Inner rim width? Measured casing width? Knob width?
  • + 2
 This is a tire.
  • + 1
 29 wheels are a lie - they are just 700C anyway ;-)
  • + 1
 Review Bazooka?!?!
*sigh* no review bazooka
  • + 1
 So, not for Colorado then. Got it.
  • + 1
 Looks like a Trek Session. But no seriously, X-King knockoff
  • - 2
 woaw, another tire

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