One of my favorite past times these days is listening to everyone worry about the right tires and tire pressure for the Barry Roubaix. With that in mind, I took a picture of our current inventory and will share a little information about each.
Bottom left is a Vittoria XN. This is a very fast “file tread” tire. If the dirt roads are hard-packed and dry or your bike handling is top-notch, these would be great. Conditions seem a bit damp and messy for the XN to be the perfect tire for this year’s race. That said, a lot can change in 10 days.
Middle left is the Vittoria XG, which is a terrific all-around tire. New this year is the tubeless-ready TNT model, with which some of our customers have had great success. It’s also the reason we put the little bottle of Stan’s on the box. The XG rolls very quickly and has a good amount of grip.
Top left is a Vittoria XM, which is a high-traction mud tire. You’ll give up a little bit of rolling resistance to the other guys, but you’ll have terrific grip. This might be a good choice if it keeps raining, but… I’d probably go with something a tad less aggressive if I had a garage full of tires from which to choose. (Also: I could be way wrong.)
To the right is a Schwalbe Rocket Ron. This is a very light, fast rolling tire with a good amount of traction. The Rocket Ron is just a tad wider than the VIttorias, but not really enough to write home about.
The tire we stock that’s missing from this picture is the Michelin Mud2, which is a very high traction tire similar to the XM. Listed as a mere 700×30, the Mud2 seems and performs wider. It’s a fantastic tire, but not as fast as the Rocket Ron or the XG.
What do I recommend? For this race, probably the XG or the Rocket Ron unless it’s really soupy, in which case I’d look at the Mud or the XM. That said: you don’t need new tires to have a good time at the race. Yes, many of us like to race with our friends and frenimies, and maybe special tires might give us an advantage maybe real and maybe mental and maybe both. And maybe that’s part of the fun.