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…
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!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.