Pirelli returned to road cycling just a few ago, going back to their heritage and using their knowledge and skills developed in the formula 1 environment to great effect. Now sponsoring UCI World teams at both road and mtb disciplines, their latest tyre range takeS things to a whole new level, so where better to test them than the badlands of North Yorkshire.
The two new road tubeless tyre offerings are designed for both training and racing, coming in the guises of the P Zero Race TLR and P Zero Race TLR SL. And, keeping themselves at the forefront of technology, Pirelli say that both ranges are designed in accordance with the latest ETRTO standards and are compatible with hookless rims, as seen on many of the latest road tubeless wheels.
Pirelli have used their latest SmartEVO rubber compound on these tyres and a new 120 threads per inch (TPI) TechWall+ casing, with a lightweight puncture protection belt sandwiched between the casing and the rubber. What we can say, having started to test the 2 new tyre offerings is that they go onto the wheel easily and without levers, they’re a firm shape when fitted and they’re a very stable tyre in use, with no adverse movement.
Starting things off with the P-Zero 28c Race TLR, it’s a superb all around tyre that’ll suit a variety of riders. Gone are the days of skinny 23 wheels for speed, as riders are riding more in comfort, choosing 25 upwards and with bike manufacturers supporting this trend in greater wheel clearances. We put the 28 Race TLR onto a Bianchi Infinito and the clearance was ample. Whilst retaining their original P-Zero tread patten, Pirelli have made the side walls slimmer and yet managed to increase the strength and stiffness. What this means in practice is a more stable tyre that also doesn’t add adversely to the bike weight, coming in at 291g. And, as the tread pattern is tried and tested at the highest level, why change it. It’s a tyre that we found had a decent rolling resistance and a superb grip. You can literally feel the stickiness of the rubber as you run your hand over it, and on the road what this means is a whole new world of rider confidence and safety, both in dry and wet conditions, of which we get just a touch on our test route here in the Yorkshire Dales.
Yes, riding the rough agricultural roads of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and usually doing so on a 25 tyre at most, I was pleasantly surprised at the extra comfort provided by the Pirelli PZero Race TLR 28”. Clearly I’ve been riding skinny wheels too long!
It definitely removes lots of the vibrations and bumps, and when added to the extra grip provided by the P-Zero tread pattern and stiffer side wall, I was able to confidently take on the tight and twisting descents. I expected some speed loss due to the extra width of the 28c, but it wasn’t too bad and in fact gave better performance in lots of areas. However, and it’s a very minor however… the climbing ability of the tyre was somewhat slower, requiring more power for the same gain and leaving me floundering on some steeper climbs where I would normally excel.
Once back onto general rolling terrain again though, the 28c P-Zero proved to be the ideal tyre, giving me a very comfortable and a very safe ride, with lots of confidence into the corners. It’s also a super strong compound, which we deliberately tested by following farmers who were hedge cutting! Thankfully the quality of the Pirelli compound proved itself and we rode a way unhindered and without punctures.
Ultimately, as a training tyre or a general usage or commuting tyre the Pirelli P-Zero Race TLR in 28c is a great choice for most riders and will give you the confidence to take on more, which it what we all want as cyclists. If however, you’re a stickler for steep climbs, then maybe the 26c Race TLR is a better choice, but you’ll lose out on the superb comfort provided by the 28c. Price wise these tyres come in around the £59.99 point and they’re hard wearing enough to be good value. Ultimately, you have to pay for safety and performance, and these tyres provide you with both.