By : Julio Dot Com
Way back in February at QBP’s leviathan of a winter trade show known as FrostBike, Vittoria unveiled the Bomboloni, a 29×3.0 tire. They were kind enough to send a pair over to the Fat-Bike.com World HQ for some testing. I gave it a quick first look here and I now stand before you ready to give you my impressions after I’ve put some miles on them.
I’ve now ridden the tires across a broad range of trail types and conditions and I continued to be impressed. Very Impressed. These tires are fast! Rolling resistance is low due to the lowish center tread profile and with well-placed, taller side knobs, cornering is confidence inspiring. These tires loved to be leaned into corners hard. Even when things get a little greasy, I found the Bomboloni to perform well. The edge knobs are tall enough to provide pretty good grip even when packed up and for a XC oriented tire, they shed mud fairly well.
I’ve used the tires across a range of PSIs and for my weight (185lbs) and riding style, I’ve found the sweet spot to be 10 front/11 rear. This allows for some squish from the 29+ foot print but still keeps the sidewalls from giving too much while cornering. Any lower and I found myself bottoming out a bit too much for my liking. Any higher and I started to loose the supple ride but it did make the tire even faster.
Tire wear has been minimal with all knobs still intact and the sipping still looks good. The TNT sidewalls have also held up great. There are no cuts or threads starting to show. I even gave them a beating on a newly cut local trail that was still covered in fresh cut stumps of varying sizes and these tires took it all in stride despite the massive number of sidewall blows they took.
Previously, I mentioned the ease with which these tires set up tubeless. I’m happy to say that they have continued to perform well. Since initial set up, they have not leaked, burped, or wept. They have been set it and forget it, which is really what you want from a tubeless setup.
So how do they compare to other 29+ tires out there? I’ve got time on two other Plus tires — the Surly Knard and the Bontrager Chupacabra.
From day one, I’ve never been a fan of the Knard in anything but dry conditions and really don’t think it makes a good front tire due to poor cornering abilities (and poor edge knob placement). To put it simply, the Bomboloni tops it in every way. They roll faster, corner more aggressively, shed mud better, and have outstanding grip in every condition I threw at them. Then there’s ease of tubeless set up and the beefy sidewalls. Its not even close, the Bomboloni is a much better tire.
Now that brings me to the Bontrager Chupacabra. These are two very similar tires. In fact, based on a quick glance, the Bomboloni and Chupacabra look almost the same (see below pic). However, there are a few key differences — The casing on the Chupacabra is marginally wider (15mm). This gives the Chupacabra slightly more volume. However, the bigger difference between the two tires is that the Bomboloni is heavier by about 100g/tire. This weight comes from an extra rows of knobs. The Bomboloni has six rows of smaller knobs between the center and edge knobs versus four on the Chupacabra. Do these extra knobs make a big difference? A little. I would give the Bomboloni a slight edge in the cornering department (they also have slightly taller/bigger edge knobs to help in this area). They both roll the virtually same – fast. Ride quality between the two (at the same PSI) seemed to be about the same as well. They shed mud about equally (fairly well). Both also set up tubeless extremely well with the Bomboloni having slightly beefier sidewalls. In a blind test, I don’t know if I could pick the winner. Overall, I’d be more than happy riding either one of these tires.
In the end, I really think Vittoria has come through with a great addition to the 29+ tire market. The Bomboloni works well in a variety of conditions. They’re a fast rolling tire that corners well, has durable sidewalls, and easy tubeless set up. I give them the ultimate 5 Gnome rating.
For more info on the Vittoria Bomboloni – www.vittoria.com