Where down-country falls between traditional cross-country racing and trail riding is debatable. However, there does seem to be a need for more high-volume, fast-rolling tires that are more durable than conventional cross-country tires. That’s the gap Vittoria is trying to fill with the Syerra. This new tire seeks to balance speed, traction, and durability. After five months of testing, we’re ready to share our impressions on where the Syerra shines and where it falls short.

  • Great balance of characteristics for aggressive cross-country riding
  • Excellent grip on hardpack and loose-over-hardpacked conditions
  • Fast-rolling
  • Durable casing
  • Only available in one wheel size and width
  • Lacks grip in wet conditions
  • Gaudy graphics
Vittoria Syerra Down-Country Tire Details
Unlike many of Vittoria’s cross-country tires, which feature supple 120TPI casings, the Syerra uses a more durable 60TPI casing found on many trail tires, as well as anti-flat inserts in the sidewalls.

Thread count has its trade-offs. High TPI (threads per inch) tires are generally lighter with a more flexible casing that can deform around the trail to offer lower rolling resistance, but they are also more fragile and prone to punctures, pinch flats, and sidewall tears. Lower TPI tires may not be as light and supple, but generally speaking, they're more durable (more rubber and less thread). The Syerra is designed for aggressive riding and places a premium on durability. According to Ken Avery, Vittoria's senior vice president of product development and the designer of the Syerra, the reinforced 60TPI casing allows riders to maximize traction by running low pressures with a low risk of pinch flatting the tire.
The Syerra’s tread pattern borrows the edge knobs from the Aggaro trail tire with a new fast-rolling center tread design. Like Vittoria's other mountain bike tires, the Syerra uses the company’s 4C rubber compounds with Graphene. Intitially, Vittoria stated the weight of the Syerra was 830 grams but bumped it up slightly to 850 grams for the production tires. Our test tires weighed just over the claimed weight but within the range of variability. Currently, the Syerra is only available in a 29x2.4-inch size.

Actual Width: 62mm (2.44-inches) measured on 30mm internal rims
Actual Weights: 853g and 858g for my pair of test tires
Price: $79.99 per tire

Vittoria Syerra Reviews
Francis and I each spent a considerable amount of time testing two pairs Syerra tires. We live and ride in very different terrain. Francis is blessed with loamy trails with plentiful grip, while I often find myself skittering across kitty litter over hardpack. We also tested these tires on two bikes that sit at opposite ends of the Syerra’s range of use—traditional cross-country and short-travel trail.

Francis’ Ride Impressions
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The Syerra expanded the capabilities of the Santa Cruz Blur.
Test bike: 2022 Blur XC - Syerra tires mounted front and rear
Test location: Santa Cruz and San Jose, California
Tire pressure: 17psi front / 19psi rear - 150lb rider

Tires are often the big compromise between climbing speed/rolling resistance and grip/cornering and the Syerra plays well in this arena. Instead of being a point on the balance scale between the two ends, the Syerra paints a wider swath, taking a bigger bite of both rolling and cornering attributes.
It looks like a cross-country tire but it's got the size, casing, and foundation of a more capable trail tire. In the cross-country arena, it rolls well and it's quiet. That five-mile paved traverse to the trailhead is manageable with good rolling, quiet performance even on steep road grades.

Climbing traction and braking are impressive. It seemed to claw its way up much better than the typical XC tire on loose dirt, rooty and rocky climbs. Descending was where this tire really showcased its range, delivering fast, confidence-inspiring runs. Braking was on point and cornering that loose off-camber segments were performed with few surprises. It really showcased the capabilities of the Blur XC as the tire was far from being the weak link in my bike setup

The tire was most comfortable in the rear and I can see it paired with a burlier front tire for more aggressive terrain. On the wishlist are wider sizes and more casing options to further expand the sweet spot of this tire.

Josh’s Ride Impressions
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Despite low pressures and rocky terrain, my test tires are still going strong│Photo by Robbie Jackson

Test bike: 2020 Ibis Ripley w/140mm fork - Syerra tires mounted front and rear
Test locations: Snowshoe, West Virginia, for initial testing, Fort Collins, Colorado, for long-term testing
Tire pressure: 18psi front / 20psi rear - 155lb rider

As shown in the Syerra tech video, my initial testing was done on a Blur LT, but I transitioned to my Ibis Ripley for long-term testing. The Ripley is a competent short-travel trail bike and it is possible to push beyond the limits of the Syerra, especially as a front tire. Having said that, once I stopped trying to stuff the front tire into corners like I was riding a Mazza or a DHF, I came to appreciate how well this tire balances low rolling resistance with traction. The rounded profile and intermediate knobs make it easy to lean through turns without wondering when the edge knobs will bite. It likes to be finessed through corners, and on the occasions when I exceeded the Syerra’s edge grip, it broke traction in a predictable manner that made it easy to regain control. As a rear tire, the Syerra rolls fast and scurries up loose, rocky, and sandy terrain with ease.
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The Syerra has a rounder profile than most trail and enduro tires and that's not a bad thing.
The one area where the Syerra didn’t shine was wet weather performance in muddy/greasy conditions. The small knobs don’t pack up with dirt, but they also don’t dig in and provide much grip. I found myself spinning out when trying to power up wet and mud-covered roots. The same can be said for similar aggressive XC tires. If wet and muddy conditions are your norm, consider a tire with larger, widely-spaced knobs that trade rolling resistance for extra grip.

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There's enough of a gap between the intermediate and edge knobs to get a good bite when cornering.

As a front and rear combination, the Syerra is an excellent choice for riders looking for a dependable set-and-forget tire. Since last fall, I’ve logged more than 400-miles on my test pair, and they’re still going strong. I would choose the Syerra over similar aggressive cross-country tires such as the Bontrager XR3, Schwalbe Wicked Will, and Maxxis Rekon based on its all-around performance. In my experience, the Syerra rolls faster than the XR3, is more durable than the Wicked Will, and corners with more confidence than the Rekon.

One aspect of the Syerra I have not experimented with yet, but find intriguing, is how it can work as a front tire paired with a faster-rolling rear tire for traditional cross-country racing, or as a rear tire with a knobbier front tire for aggressive trail riding in dry conditions. In my opinion, the ability to straddle both arenas is the Syerra’s strong suit, and that’s what makes it a down-country tire.

Vittoria Syerra Verdict
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We're not wild about the red hot patches
Let’s get what we don’t like about the Syerra out of the way first. It’s not the best wet-condition tire, but that can be said about its direct competitors, too. The bright red Vittoria hot patches aren’t the most aesthetically appealing choice. (They really are hot patches, I guess.) Last on the list of gripes is the lack of options.

It’s not easy to bring new products to market at the moment, and Vittoria hit the sweet spot with this well-rounded 29x2.4-inch tire. Still, we’d like to see a higher-volume 29x2.6-inch option and a lighter 29x2.2-inch version geared toward cross-country racing. While we’re making a wish list, maybe some love for 27.5-inch wheels, too. We want these additional tire options because the Syerra’s tread pattern, rubber compound, and casing work incredibly well across a wide range of conditions.
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Call it what you want, but the Syerra is great go-fast tire for short-travel bikes.
Is the Syerra an aggressive cross-country tire, a down-country tire, or a trail tire? I’m not sure how much this distinction matters, since these terms are ambiguous and often interchangable. So let’s break it down by bike type: if you ride a mountain bike with 100 to 130mm of travel and want a high-volume tire that has excellent grip, rolls with haste, and can take a beating, Vittoria’s Syerra delivers on all counts.