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Vittoria Barzo tire review - the most complete XC tire available

With a proven compound that's rich in grip, feel and durability, you can't go wrong with the Vittoria Barzo

Vittoria Barzo xc tire
(Image: © Aaron Borrill)

Bike Perfect Verdict

The best XC tire in the segment bar none

Pros

  • +

    Predictable tread pattern

  • +

    Versatile across all trail conditions

  • +

    Relatively lightweight

  • +

    Easy to mount, easy to remove

  • +

    Fast in all the right areas

Cons

  • -

    Stock issues still a widespread problem

Our testing explained

For information on Bike Perfect's testing procedures and how our scoring system works, see our how we test page.

The Vittoria Barzo has a solid reputation among mountain bikers owing to attributes such as its reliability, speed and front-end assurance. While some pair it with a Mezcal at the rear, using it at both ends is the safest bet you can make - both as a racer and weekend rider. I've spent thousands of miles training and racing with this tire and have never been let down. In fact, the Vittoria Barzos were faultless when I raced the technically demanding Absa Cape Epic in 2016 and 2017.

The tread pattern is burlier than some of the other options in the best XC tire space but the Barzo still provides sterling straight-line speed. It's also got pretty decent clearing channels so can perform well regardless of the weather and terrain — even in muddy conditions. 

Vittoria Barzo xc tire

The 29-inch version comes in widths of 2.1, 2.25, 2.35 and 2.60in  (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Design

Like the Vittoria Mezcal, the Barzo is also available in three distinct sidewall colors: tan, plain black and anthracite. Some markets, such as South Africa, also get it with a special Cape Cobra compound for enhanced puncture protection. It gets Vittoria's proven 120tpi nylon casing and can be had in the choice of TLR, TNT (pictured here), and rigid bead casings, complete with Graphene 4C compound.

Tire widths are pretty comprehensive. The 29-inch version comes in widths of 2.1, 2.25, 2.35 and 2.60in, and Vittoria still caters to those who ride 26- and 27.5-inch wheels. Designed for ‘technical XC’ the Barzo features a center tread with an alternating ridge design and progressive sipe angles to help bolster traction, while moto-style lugs comprise the shoulder section in a v-formation for cornering grip. 

With a relatively open tread pattern, it clears mud with aplomb but it's still a low-profile tire, and you'll quickly find the limits of adhesion in dry and dusty terrain - conditions where the tire is most at home.

Vittoria Barzo xc tire

With a relatively open tread pattern, it clears mud with aplomb (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Performance

The beauty of the Barzo's compound and tread pattern is its ability to excel in almost all conditions. For a fully lugged tire, it rolls with the eagerness of a semi-slick, while still providing braking and cornering traction. It's also got pretty decent clearing channels so it's exceptional in muddy conditions, too, but it's in dry and loose conditions – hardpack trails in particular – where it really excels. 

The evenly spread, siped tread does a sterling job in keeping you upright and allowing you to push harder through corners. Grip levels are predictable so there are never any trust issues with the front end, and the tread pattern also makes for a great companion at the rear.

The bonus with this particular tire comes in the form of exceptional sidewall protection. I'm yet to puncture using a Barzo and have probably done upwards of 6,000 miles in various guises – impressive for a 700g tire.

Vittoria Barzo xc tire

Some markets, such as South Africa, also get it with a special Cape Cobra compound for enhanced puncture protection (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Verdict

The Vittoria Barzo is the most complete XC tire on the market. It's fast, grippy, and reliable and is very resistant to wear, meaning it will last you ages. As far as protection goes, the 120tpi nylon casing is supple but strong enough to ensure the sidewalls are well looked after, which provides the peace of mind satisfaction all mountain bikers crave. While there are lighter, perhaps somewhat livelier options available, the Vittoria Barzo is exceptional in all conditions and the only tire I trust based on the thousands of trouble-free miles I've spent using them.

Tech Specs: Vittoria Barzo 2.25

  • Price: $76.99 / £63.49 / €60
  • Wheel size (inches): 26-, 27.5-, 29-inch
  • Compound: Graphene enhanced 4C compound
  • Carcass: TNT 120tpi (Cape Cobra)
  • Dimensions: 2.1, 2.25, 2.35, 2.60in
  • Weight: 700g (TLR 29 x 2.25 tested) 
Aaron Borrill
Aaron Borrill

Aaron is Bike Perfect's former tech editor and also the former gear editor of Bicycling magazine. He's tested thousands of bicycles all over the world. A competitive racer and Stravaholic, he’s twice ridden the Cape Epic, raced nearly every MTB stage race in South Africa and completed the Haute Route Alps. Recently, Aaron has also taken up Zwift racing and competes at the highest level of eRacing, the ZRL Premier Division.


Rides: Trek Procaliber 9.9 MTB 

Height: 175cm

Weight: 61.5kg