|It'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
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