Tufo XC11 TR and XC12 TR Mountain Bike Tires Review

Tufo’s XC12 TR tubeless-ready tire was designed with XC and marathons in mind. Thanks to the VECTRANTM PUNCTURE BARRIER, the tire has excellent puncture protection especially at the most vulnerable part – the sidewalls. The tread pattern is designed for speed and excellent cornering in mixed conditions except for deep and sticky mud. Very good shock absorbance provided by this tire makes this model ideal for use on roots and bumpy terrain.

The tubeless-ready XC11 TR is an excellent all-purpose MTB tire. The tread pattern of the XC11 TR tire provides low rolling resistance, self-cleaning and good grip. It also comes with the VECTRANTM PUNCTURE BARRIER, the tire has excellent puncture protection under the tread and more importantly at the most vulnerable part – the sidewalls.

Suandi Rakim, one of Cycle Lab’s master fitters and skills instructors has been putting this combo through its paces on his Scott Spark. See what he had to say below.

First Impressions

I have fitted the XC11 on the front and the XC12 on the rear. The knobs seemed marginally shallower on the XC12 and the thread patterns looked much faster. Hence, I decided it would be best for the rear. My first impressions were that these were visually narrower than what I am used to [Ed: Maxxis Rekon Race 29×2.35]. And the Tufos are definitely more curved (or rounded) compared to the squarer tires I had. This definitely prevented me from fully committing to fast turns on my first ride.

First Ride

Like many new things that I test, the first place was the Cycle Lab Bike Park. Lots of tight turns with/without berms, short steep climbs, jumps/drops, and some small rock gardens. The first feelings were that the Tufos are definitely fast-rolling. I was easily rolling faster than my mates who had bikes of a similar standard. However, this was just rolling down a hill. I was a bit wary of going hard on the turns right away with it being narrower than my previous tires. After a few laps of my favorite trail, I soon found out that the XC11 was super-fast in turns. I think there are 2 reasons for this, the shape and size of the XC11. The rounded tire makes it smaller when you lean the bike (this allows you to make tighter turns). The tire becomes “smaller” when you make a turn like a curve on a Ski. The reason the Ski is curved is it allows you to turn just as fast you would be going straight. I think the XC11 has this same effect with it being a bit rounded. You do have to look further ahead to plan as the bike just wants to commit. The threads on the XC11 are also aggressive enough for when I made some small mistakes. I over-committed on a turn but the tire never lost its grip or composure. I was literally waiting for the front wheel to wash out but I made out of the turn. For this reason, I feel the XC11 is fantastic for the front when doing XC or Marathon rides.

The XC12 is also a tire that caught me off-guard. I never expect great grip from any tire that is described by its manufacturer as a fast-rolling tire. In other words, I was just expecting a tire that can follow nicely and slide around when I need it to. However, the XC12 is as grippy as the XC11. In my opinion, it is the size of the threads/knobs on the sides. They are slightly more aggressive than the middle ones and the shapes are spot-on. In the incident where I over-committed (mentioned in the paragraph above), the XC12 gripped as well as the front. She did not slide off as I was expecting it to. I could literally look further ahead and plan ahead. Which, in racing situations, surely helps to keep the stress down when you can trust your equipment.

Final Thoughts

I have taken the bike out with my Tufos to a few other places now with the Cradle Loop (off-road) being one of them. I am pleasantly surprised to see how I am enjoying narrower tires than what I am used to. I have always felt that I can enjoy my bike more with wider tires but with the Tufo 2.25 front and rear being Fast is just as fun. I am definitely keeping these on for my XC and Marathon events.

Thank you Positive Sports for allowing me to test the XC11 and XC12.