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Teton Tested: Vittoria’s Fun Bomboloni Plus Tire

Talk about your mud flaps... GW photo.

Vittoria’s Bomboloni plus tires are light, fast rolling, and have a shallow, XC-like tread. Blending a few smart features makes this some pretty enlightened rubber to swap onto your semi-fat ride. A few models, like Niner's ROS Plus, come spec’d with it, but we got ours as an add-on.

Setup:

Notice the tight tread pattern. GW photo.

I put them on a really wide 40mm internal-width Atomik carbon rim, the Chubbie (yes, the wheel is called the Atomik Chubbie). I rode it mostly on a Specialized Stumpjumper 6fattie with 150mm travel in the front and 135mm in the rear.

The tire seated instantly on the hookless rim and was ready to rock.

It's important to get pressure on plus tires right down to the pound. For me, at 180lbs, that was about 13psi. I lent the whole setup to a 160lb friend of mine for cross reference, he ran it at 11.

So take your time with any new plus or fat tire and experiment a bit.

Specs:

The square knobs with siping (grooves) pointed in different directions. GW photo.

The Bomboloni has squared off knobs with some tight multi-directional siping. Its lugs are also ramped, for decreased rolling resistance.

When you first put them on your bike, they look like XC tires on steroids. Some folks feel plus tires should be super knobby because, well, grip is kind of the point of them, but the Bomboloni have bucked that thinking a bit.

Vittoria figures you get plenty of grip from width and low tire pressure, so they can trade a bit of rubber for weight. And the ramped knob design is pretty smart too.

The tire comes in at 905g, which is lighter than many burly 2.3 tires out there. It has a nice, supple 120tpi casing and a decently tall sidewall which provides good outer circumference and rollover similar to an average 29er tire.

The Ride:

The sidewall is nice and supple, adding some plush to the ride. GW photo.

The Bomboloni design retains some better plus tire features but adds back a few regular tire characteristics.

We’ve come to expect that while plus tires might not spin up so quick, they’ll grab forever.

Because of its 3.0 profile (not 2.8) and lower pressure the Bomboloni is really fast and grippy over rocks and straight climbing, but they feel positively zippy compared to many stock plus tires. Their weight savings and low rolling resistance make them spin up faster

The 120 tpi casing is supple, but there was no squirm in them, possibly from the extra sidewall support gained from the 40mm Atomik Chubbie.

The 40mm rims are good support. GW photo.

The most pronounced difference between the Bomboloni and most other plus tires is it actually breaks away, despite slightly higher cornering knobs, allowing predictable drifts when you lean it into faster corners.

You can scootch the back end around tight features and do little course-corrects that you couldn't do with a gorilla-glue plus tire.

Its knobs are evenly spaced, so there aren’t distinct zones like on Vittoria’s Morsa tire or the Maxxis High Roller. They feel very even side to side.

The Bottom Line

I think playfulness, lower weight and drifting make the Bomboloni a bit more fun than your average plus tire. I love the lightness and speed. It's like you got some of the weight tradeoff from the plus tires back. I appreciate being able to quickly accelerate into a bit of technical terrain.

If you’re looking for an absolute monster tractor tire for grabbing corners in deep loam, this might not be it. If you're going for fast, enduro type descending, maybe look into something with shorter sidewall and taller side knobs.

And if you love tires with distinct middle, transition and edge zones, this might feel a bit uniform side to side.

If you want some fast acceleration, that keeps plenty of grip with just a bit more playfulness than usual rubber, this tire is your jam.

From The Column: Teton Tested

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