XC Race Tire Thread

This discussion is a carryover from the 2020 XC Race Tire Thread.

I’m not sure about you guys, but I’m looking forward to racing this year. What is everyone planning to run when it comes to tires and inserts?

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  • Front tire: Racing Ray 2.35
  • Rear tire: Racing Ralph 2.35
  • Inserts: Pepi’s 29 S (the yellow color)

I was previously on the Barzo/Mezcal train and I slightly prefer this setup after doing testing.


Schwalbe Rocket Ron for most XC races (Michigan). I’ve tried the Ray/Ralph combo and Mezcal’s and prefer the Ron’s. Great combo of fast rolling and grip.

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I’m still running 2.35 Racing Ray and Racing Ralph combo and can’t really see anything better. I wish they’d do the tan wall in 2.35 but it might not even look great on my bike.

I’m intrigued by the Vittoria Barzo and Mezcal in 2.6 as a trail tyre (and the 2.35) but haven’t tried them yet.

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What PSI ish do you run?

On my hardtail I ran 18F 20R. Not sure on the new bike. Around 68-69kg.


Right now I have a 2.3 Specialized Ground Control on the front and a 2.3 Fast Trak on the rear for the wet weather. When it dries up some I’ll probably go with the 2.3 Fast Trak on the front and a 2.3 Renegade on the rear.


I have a set of 2.4 aspens on the shelf waiting for an event worthy of them

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I’m using a Barzo 2.35 F and Mezcal 2.25 R this winter/spring. I’ll throw a Mezcal 2.25 up front once the weather warms and trails dry out. I notice a significant speed difference with the Mezcal vs. Barzo in the front.

I started with an Ardent Race F and Ikon R, and I like the Vittoria much more. Both in data and in feel.


I dropped the pressure way down on my Barzo/Mezcal combo with CushCores in them. I was running 17/19 and I loved the grip and the overall feel a lot. I think they rolled ok but not fast. I’m going to run some S-Works Rene/Fast Trak for a while this spring without inserts and go back to 22-23+ PSI and see what I like better. I run 23/28 on my Enduro bike but got bit by the low PSI bug for XC and ran low PSI all of 2020. Not sure it helped or hurt, but would like to find out.

I did timed testing on a 15’ climb and subsequent descent. Lower PSI was faster both up and down, as well as more comfortable. Not massively so, but a few seconds or watts in favor on both ends.

It feels slower though, that is for sure.


I ran Bontrager XR3/XR2 last year with Pepi’s inserts at 17 (f) psi and 19 (r) psi and noticed more grip. I’m going to try Aspens at the same pressures for the first race of the season.

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2.4 Aspens on 35mm internal width rims. One of the best combos I’ve ever used.


Same here, for my 100mm bike. I also have a wheelset with 2.3 Minion SS/DHR2 for regular trail use.

On my heavier 120mm downcountry style bike I’m going with 2.4 Aspen / Rekon. I use this bike for epic DIY race stuff on the more difficult trails around me.

Hi Liam… you can get tan wall / transparent/ super race them from https://www.bike-discount.de/ I was thinking of getting a set plus the thunder burt for dry conditions.

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Thanks Jase! I did not know these were available at all! I don’t usually run anything without the SnakeSkin but it might be worthwhile to have some extra snazzy race day tyres.

Always faster to be rolling than fixing a flat though, haha.


I’m doing this with 2.25 (Do they have 2.35? Maybe a typo?) with the super ground for cape epic but I’ll try the super race for some NorCal stuff,

Also going turbolite (spelling?) inserts.


They have 2.35 in both Ray and Ralph


Ok, I’m confused. The way the tyres are all listed seems slightly different to when I looked early last year. I can’t work out which models (speed ground/performance etc) has the SnakeSkin.

Does anybody know which models are which? Does the Super Race have no protection?

It looks like all the tyres in the “Evolution” series have SnakeSkin as part of their Tubeless Easy tech.

So good news! 2.35 skin wall is a goer.