To celebrate bringing the long-running Geax name under its parent brand, this autumn Vittoria released a trio of new mountain bike tyres. Having had good luck with both the Saguaro and AKA cross-country tyres and with a couple of big rides on the horizon, we asked if we couldn’t give one of the latest generation a go.
Built (in this configuration) on Geax’s tough, tubeless-ready AKA casing, the Barzo is billed as an “expert rider’s high-speed trail tire”- a flattering description that made it sound ideal for a 65mi day on Arizona’s loose, rocky, sandy, and muddy Black Canyon Trail. This early in the model year, only the 2.1 was available for 29ers -a 2.25 will be along shortly- their 630g (actual, 650g claimed) weight delighting my long-buried inner racer but giving my more recent trail-riding persona control and durability concerns.
Initial trials on local trails left two impressions: (1) The Barzos are fast for a tyre with honest-to-goodness knobs. (2) The Barzos’ cornering limits are higher than my own willingness to commit.
Come ride day, the Barzos proved themselves beyond any reasonable expectations. Thick, clay-like mud would pack on at lower speeds- but the narrower width meant that the wheels kept turning after fellow adventurers were walking- and once back up to speed even the stickiest stuff was flung clear. More surprisingly, the what looks like a narrow XC tyre was perfectly composed on the region’s loose, rocky descents. The sidewalls survived the abusive terrain without injury- truly impressive given the set’s light weight. A couple of thorn punctures between the knobs sealed quickly with the ffftp! of Stan’s going to work.
Overall: While recent trends would have us believe that the casings’ 2.05in measured width would lead to certain death, on one of the most challenging rides in recent memory the Barzos proved themselves to be fast, sturdy, and controllable tyres in the trail/marathon vein. With sidewalls and knobs still looking fresh and a 2.25 on the way it looks like Vittoria may have an all-around XC/trail winner on their hands.
Come spring, the Barzo will be available in 2.1 and 2.25in widths for 26in, 27.5, and 29er wheels.
|From:||Fisher Outdoor Leisure|
|Tested:||by Marc B for 150 miles|