Pirelli PZero TLR SL Race 26mm Tyre
Reviewed by Robert Thorpe
Reviewed by Robert Thorpe
There can be something worrying about any tyre with ‘race’ within its name, as you instinctively know that it’s designed for speed. Ultimately we love speed, yes… but we like to balance it with safety, especially on the damp autumn roads in the national park, where lose grit and muddy tarmac can make descents interesting.
Add to this, the SL badge which Pirelli give to their lighter high performance race tyre and the interest rises even more. Thankfully though, these Pirelli PZero TLR SL tubeless ready tyres have proved themselves to be impeccable at handling, as well as being a superb rolling tyre, meaning that I really have had some sublime rides on this particular example of 26mm road rubber. So much so that it’s going to be difficult for me to replace them, as I move further into the Pirelli range on our tests. For such high praise, Pirelli have obviously worked very hard, using their vast experience gained from supporting UCI tour teams, developing a truly fine road cycling tyre that we believe all riders can benefit from.
In action it rides super smoothly, despite the thinner tread thickness given to the SL, and it quietly grips where required, then rolling when the power goes down and speed is called upon. It’s a confidence building tyre that Pirelli have clearly designed to achieve all these things, but so often brands fail in their pursuit. Pirelli though have a long and varied history in tyre technology and have brought it all to bare in the latest PZero range. For me, this 26mm tyre example sits in the perfect place, with comfort, performance and grip all gaining high marks on our test.
Let’s take a closer look: firstly, the SL designation given to the Zero Race TLR SL is to signify a lighter version of the new P Zero Race TLR tubeless tyre. Whilst using the same SmartEVO rubber compound and the new 120 TPI TechWall+ casing, it’s a technological tyre designed for speed and for racing. Weight wise it comes in at 246g, which is more than acceptable. Pirelli also provide suggested pressure guides, and we ran these generally at 90psi, giving a balance between speed and grip on the wet roads. Handling was firm, precise and confident, allowing the rider to simply concentrate on their own performance, which is what we all want from a tyre, isn’t it. The 26mm size tyre seems ideal, giving that necessary comfort and being a good size for speed. Bigger tyre sizes seem the norm now and the 25/ 26 range is the current favourite with riders. This race ready rubber from Pirelli should fit in perfectly, performing as well as it has dine during our test rides on the harsh and unrelenting roads of the Yorkshire Dales.
The puncture protection belt is gone to save this weight and to help to increase the rolling resistance, but Pirelli still claim that puncture protection is adequate. All that I know is that I’ve been deliberately riding these tyres on typical country roads here in the Yorkshire Dales, with numerous farmers cutting back hedges and leaving the sharp and tyre hunting debris all over the tarmac and yet I’ve not suffered any punctures. In my book, that’s a realistic and significant test and an honest result. Pirelli say that this is due to the tubeless casing and sealant providing a certain amount of this protection, especially compared to equivalent lightweight clinchers or tubular tyres. All I can say is that they would seem to be correct and it’s a good tyre for autumn country roads where the surface might be slightly damp or scattered with elements of field debris on the surface. Yes, be it a training ride or a race, this tyre will give you an element of gain and as proof, even my own limited Strava times benefited from the new Pirelli Race compound and their technologically developed tread pattern.
Ultimately we all like to ride fast in a bike, but we like to be safe. Testing the Pirelli PZero TLR SL 26mm tyre has been a real pleasure and quite a surprise. It’s a positive tyre that provides good comfort on harsh roads and its a fast performer whilst still holding the road when you throw the bike into that lose corner. It also seems to be reasonably hard wearing and is easy to fit onto the wheel, remaining stable and firm. The 26mm is in my opinion a great choice for all around riding and this tyre will bring lots of smiles to your road cycling miles. It’s not the cheapest of tyres, but you have to pay for performance, and this tyre from Pirelli certainly does that.