Long Term Review: Vittoria Cross XG Pro TNT Tubeless Cyclocross Tires

Vittoria Cross XG Pro TNT tubeless cyclocross tire review and actual weights

While things are thankfully moving in the right direction, finding a tubeless-ready cyclocross tire for this season still requires a bit of searching. Fortunately, Vittoria makes two, the Cross XG Pro shown here, and the recently introduced Cross XL for muddier days.

I’ve been testing the Cross XG Pro for a few months of training and early season racing and have been really happy. Not only do they set up easy (once you get them on the rim!), they hold air and corner well. They’ve also held up to a good bit of pavement riding without showing undue wear.

Hop the barrier for tech details, actual weights and the full review…

Vittoria Cross XG Pro TNT tubeless cyclocross tire review and actual weights

My two tires came in at 365g and 375g. Not bad, and especially good when you don’t have to add the weight of a tube to it. And even better when you consider they come in lighter than their claimed weight of 390g…and lighter than their tubulars!

Vittoria Cross XG Pro TNT tubeless cyclocross tire review and actual weights

The tread pattern and depth make it an all rounder, designed to handle dry and wet conditions equally well.

This tire was first shown as a prototype back in 2011, so it’s one of the few tubeless ready ‘cross tires that’s been around for a while. Besides the sealant compatible casing, the bead was designed to firmly seat into most rims’ sidewalls. I mounted mine to Stan’s Arch 29er rims:

Vittoria Cross XG Pro TNT tubeless cyclocross tire review and actual weights

Well, after quite a bit of wrestling, anyway. They are a tight fit, to say the least. Whether you’re supposed to use tire levers or not, they were required here.

Vittoria Cross XG Pro TNT tubeless cyclocross tire review and actual weights

Once on the rim, the beads were sucked into the center channel. So, even though it was hard to get on, the benefit is a snug fit that made seating them with a floor pump pretty simple. I used Caffe Latex sealant and let it slosh around in it for a bit before trying to inflate, and they’ve held air ever since. I did get the usual slow reduction in air pressure, but it would easily hold a rideable pressure for a few days…it’s only when it sat for a week that it needed to be topped off.

Vittoria Cross XG Pro TNT tubeless cyclocross tire review and actual weights

I tested the 700×32, but they measured out to 34mm wide. They also offer a 700×34, so note frame clearance before opting for the wider size if you’re mounting to a wider rim.

RIDE REVIEW

We have some great training loops around Greensboro. Everything from deep grass to tall repetitive roots to loose peat gravel to rocky sections. Sometimes they’re wet, sometimes they’re dry. But with these tires, they’re always rideable. I haven’t had to run them in really nasty mud or snow yet, but for everything else they have proven solid.

I weigh about 188lbs kitted out, so I ended up running them around 40psi for races and around 60psi for whipping around town. They were usually set somewhere in between for training rides. I probably could have run them much lower for races – Vittoria says they’re good down to about 2.5bar (36psi). It’s not a worry of ripping them off the rim (they fit so tight!), it’s more a worry about dinging the rim.

One of our favorite training loops has some abrupt and steep grassy climbs. Even when damp, it was easy to maintain traction, and I have yet to do a race with any (rideable) section steeper than these hills. My last race of the review period was at Pisgah Brewing near Asheville, NC. The course had tons of 180º turns, many with increasing or decreasing radii. While some others were slipping out thanks to a little extra morning dew and mist, I was able to carve hard and make up just a tiny bit of time in the corners.

There are a lot of good cyclocross tires that grip and handle well. The bonus here is that you don’t have to worry about pinch flats, and I never once burped air over the many roots and rocks we ride. Oh, and they’re light. Win.

Vittoria.com

Comments

kevin - 10/23/13 - 5:22pm

If these measure 34, that means they are a no-go for UCI racing. I’m hoping the width of the arch rim is to blame, otherwise that is a major blunder.

karl - 10/23/13 - 5:46pm

tire width is greatly changed to the plus side when you use shallow bead (stans) and even more so for Stans MTB wheels. if you use Iron Cross wheels from Stans these will measure up a legal 33 mm. the pic has a 29er mtb wheel from stans which is way too wide to make any tire UCI legal for cross

Pancakes - 10/23/13 - 5:56pm

Mine are on some narrow old Eastons with tubes and they’re 32ish, so I’d blame the Arch. It is something to consider though, with all clinchers.

Hobbanero - 10/23/13 - 10:21pm

The 34mm versions are not tubeless compatible according to the Vittoria catalog. Bummer….I like bigger tires for the dry and bumpy race courses and fire roads in California. So far, I have found only the Specialized Captains in 34mm tubeless, and they are aggressive for most courses.

Jeb - 10/23/13 - 11:13pm

Great for all around riding but will never match tubulars for racing. What is with the aversion to tubulars anyway? I see people spend a lot of money and countless hours trying to get tubeless setups to work for racing (ultimately admitting failure) but complain that tubulars are too much work?

Anonymous - 10/23/13 - 11:20pm

Stan’s Raven tires are tubeless ready and come in 35 mm width for those looking for a wider CX tubeless tire. Using mine on Crest 29er rims. Pretty easy to mount as well… I’d only use them for dry conditions though.

adam - 10/23/13 - 11:48pm

Jeb, you get it.

Kevin, what racers racing in legit UCI races are actually riding tubeless and NOT tubulars?

If its any help, I rode the 32mm non tubeless version on deep v’s and mavic ksyriums and they actually only measured around 29mm.

Jon MacKinnon - 10/24/13 - 3:03am

Jeb I think for a lot of riders it’s finding one tyre that’s good in all conditions. With tubeless (and clinchers in general) you know that if it’s a thick muddy day you can fit a mud tyre, if it’s a fast day a file tread, with tubs unless you’ve got money to drop on multiple wheelsets then it’s always going to be a bit of a compromise on the days that aren’t your usual conditions. Then again I guess most riders who are serious about cross know that tubs are the way to go so take that into account.

Tommy Rodgers - 10/24/13 - 8:23am

@Jeb – speaking for myself, I find it difficult to spend the money on 2 high-end wheelsets for MTB racing – which is a 9-month season here in NC.

There is no way I’d spend multiple thousands of dollars on several wheelsets for CX, which is a 4 month season here, at most.

Tubeless allows for one wheelset and easy tire changes for prevailing conditions, without the mess, hassle, and expense (not to mention the fragility) of tubulars. And yes, I’ve raced both many times.

I’d guess many others have come to a similar conclusion. Hope to see more variety in tubeless tires and rims in the near future.

Pynchonite - 10/24/13 - 9:25am

I’m surprised that this set wore well on pavenent. I’ve had a set for about a month and there’s already very noticeable wear in the rear. The asterisk here is that my cross bike’s also my everyday bike, but they’re still wearing much fast than the Challenge Grifo’s that they’re replacing.

A Willi - 10/24/13 - 9:38am

@ Tommy – What high end tubeless wheelset are you running for cross? Cheap tubular builds can be light.

Tubulars may be fragile for training but the suppleness for racing is superb. Tufo and Clement make solid butyl sew-ups that you can put sealant into that are a more durable casing. I run challenge tubulars because of the feel.

I played around enough with a few tubeless setups and decided that sizes between tire bead/bead seat circumferences vary too much.

Dyno-mite! - 10/24/13 - 9:46am

The appeal of being able to switch clincher tires diminishes if the tires are that hard to mount.
And with a 36psi lower limit I think these sound great for ‘crossing around, but not racing.

Tommy Rodgers - 10/24/13 - 10:11am

@ A Willi – I stopped racing cross regularly a couple of seasons ago as I couldn’t race year-round (road, XC, endurance, plus CX) and improve from year to year. Difficult to base train with a job, family, and 2 CX races per weekend, driving upwards of 3 hours per weekend day to race ~ 1 hour (Cat 1).

I still do a few local CX races per year but on my MTB, sold the CX bike as I only used it to race, not train or ride for fun.

I used Velocity Major Tom tubular wheelsets (fairly affordable), carbon Reynolds tubular wheelsets, and several Stan’s tubeless wheelsets. I could run the lowest pressures with tubulars, but at pressures that low I dinged rims constantly and cornering was vague at best. Tubeless allowed low enough pressures for excellent traction, and the ability to own 1 wheelset for training and racing.

I think CX’s biggest issue is that of purposely requiring a bike (under UCI rules, anyway) that is at best ill-suited for the job at hand, but that’s another issue entirely.

Bigger, tubeless tires, disc brakes (already here) are steps in the right direction. I enjoy racing CX but can never get past the thought that it all would be more fun if it weren’t trying to keep everything in 1956.

BShow - 10/24/13 - 10:36am

Dyno – I’d rather have a hard time mounting the tire in my garage, then burping it or rolling it off the rim on a ride or in a race.

Adam – I’d much rather fit some tubless cross tires to my mtb wheels than outfit myslef with several tubular wheelsets.

It seems to me that tubless cross tires appeal much more to MTBers than the die hard crossers who swear by tubs. I agree that most of these racers would not be in the UCI fields. There are some, however, My wife and I included, that run tubless and still need to comply with the UCI rules. It seems to me that if I were designing two sizes of a tubeless CX tire, I would make one to comply with the rules and one that is for the riders that want a wider tire. I think making two sizes that dont comply with the rules will limit their potential users and could be a poor business decision.

filibuster cash - 10/24/13 - 11:45am

General observation: While a few of you may need to comply with the UCI, and good on you for having that level of dedication and skill, the vast majority of us do not. Also, I’d venture a guess that a great many people who own ‘cross setups use them for “‘crossing around”, myself certainly, and as such, have little worry being about a millimetre or two outside an arbitrary measurement (and a new-ish one, at that–it was 35 just a few years ago) from a governing body based in Europe and dominated by Euros. (Yes, I know Vittoria is European.) Pros are nearly all using tubulars, with good reason, and even many independently wealthy local-level racers are. For the rest of us, there are good all-rounder tyres like this, and if it measures 34mm rather than the listed 32 on a mountain rim, all the better. To my way of thinking, at least, I’m getting more than I paid for.

John Caletti - 10/24/13 - 12:37pm

I believe the Stan’s/NoTubes mt. bike rims have a different bead seat diameter than the “standard” and don’t take road tires correctly (too tight.) I would imagine if you can wrestle these tires onto that rim, a 700c road tubless or non NoTubes rim would be easier. And, as noted, these rims are quite wide and will wider the tire.

Tyler Benedict - 10/24/13 - 12:50pm

Pynchonite – That’s funny ’cause I had the Grifo’s on before these and they wore really fast. A couple of errant skids pretty much wiped huge sections bald and ruined them. This was on the white ones, so maybe those are a bit softer. It’s a bummer, too, because I loved those tires. Bummer they can’t be run tubeless, though. Challenge frowns upon that.

Brian Nystrom - 10/24/13 - 4:17pm

One tip for mounting tubeless tires – or any clincher. On the second bead, mount the section near the valve stem LAST. That allows the tire to drop deeper into the rim well on the opposite side than if you mount it at the valve first.

warthog - 10/24/13 - 6:04pm

@ Brian Nystrom, absolutely correct. It amazes me that more people don’t know this. The photo of the tire partially mounted clearly shows it being mounted incorrectly.

Ross - 10/24/13 - 7:46pm

@John Caletti is correct
Stan’s rims are all significantly larger than the standard ETRTO size. Mounting these tires on a certified road tubeless rim was very normal and they seated easily with a floor pump.

Slow Joe Crow - 10/25/13 - 1:48pm

How are these tires in mud? I’m still running Hutchinson Bulldogs but I’m going to need some tires next year, and I race in Portland. At the moment the short list for local use is Clement Crusade PDX or Hutchinson Toro(same tread as a Bulldog, but different rubber).

kevin - 10/25/13 - 2:48pm

@adam

The ratio of UCI racers on tubulars vs tubless is about the same as the ratio of viable tubular vs tubeless tire options. It’s a chicken/egg question.

Will - 10/31/13 - 10:20pm

The TNT XG on road tubeless wheels make for a great dry course, no slop wheel setup.

As far as slop, I’ve raced these in the greasy mud of the Mid-Atlantic, 27 psi, not a single burped bead. I weigh 180lbs. However, the casing of the TNT tire at this pressure just isn’t supple enough for grip in the corners as is a clincher at this pressure from another brand with the similar tread pattern. Lesson learned.

I’ll still run these during the winter for cx bike rides on the mtb trails. They’ve held air really well on the ALX-730 roadtubeless wheels. Be sure to use soap and water to securely set the bead.

The takeaway, selecting tires is like choosing the proper tool for the job.

Chrispy - 02/17/14 - 11:31pm

I don’t understand the relcutancy by some to tubeless tires? I race UCI cross, I also race MTB and Road at elite levels and have run tubulars for years. I agree that running very low pressues in tubulars in cx is prone to dinging the rim esp with a supple sidewall. Tubulars are great but they are an absolute pain in the ass compared to tubeless setups

Someone said more MTBer’s are pro tubeless. That’s becuase they know something you don’t…. and we’ve known it for several years. Tubeless works great when done properly

Someone made a comment about burping or rolling a tubeless tire… I’m not sure what cross races you’ve been to but 99 percent of the issues I’ve witnessed are rolled tubulars – unless someone is trying to convert a non-tubeless clincher to a tubeless rim or some ghetto method of tire set up .

I’ve found that I prefer tubeless setups on everything including road. I only hope we’ll see more tire selection becuase I think that’s about the only thing holding racers back from making a full switch

Here is what we need more of in CX:
Disc brakes – already here with hydro to follow (already happening)
lower BB drops in cx frames (look at the BB drops some of the pros are using in the US – 70mm and some are going more extreme
tubeless wheels and tires (need more tire selection)
1x drives – Sram is already on it. For the MTBers we already know the XX1 drivetrain is wicked awesome and with a clutched rear d, it will work perfectly in cx. Wolf tooth chainrings already work great in mud with regular rear ds for cx in 1x setups. I haven’t thrown a chain yet or had drive train problems in muddy races

The Vittoria xg’s are great to run as a tubeless setup. I’ve run the tubular version as well and they are okay but squirm under lower pressures. You guys don’t need to run 20psi in any cx tire. There is only so much contact patch in a dang cx tire. I’m not sure who started that trend or why?

john vile - 04/14/14 - 7:18am

been using these all winter, through mud, flint and all manner of goo. they have lasted well.
I’d say I’ve abused them for at least six months without even worrying about punctures.
Now they have started to show signs of wear Ive had two side wall tears is as many weeks (I am reckless though) stans couldn’t cope with either until I got back home but now their ok(ish).
tyres sit in some A23 rims, easy to mount, easy to squirt stans in from lifting the side.

I’d say the only problems I’ve had with these tyres could have been avoided If I didn’t ride so reckless.

P.S. I note from the side of the tyre your meant to run these at 60psi. I’ve been running them at 40 since I had them.

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