Pirelli PZero TLR 26
by Robert Thorpe
by Robert Thorpe
It’s been cold and damp here in North Yorkshire recently. The leaves are lying on the ground and adding to the autumnal road dangers. Good tyres are critical are this time of the year, as they can compensate just a little for a lack of handling ability, which I’m modest enough to admit to having. Pirelli are a brand that are used to creating tyres for bad weather. Just look at their Formula 1 credentials, or indeed their return to world cycling in recent years. Yes, these Pirelli PZero TLR 26 road tyres are definitely confidence giving and allow me to relax just that little bit more, as I enjoy the colours of autumn in the national park.
I chose a particularly testing ride for my cousin and I last weekend. It traversed the hills on narrow and winding lanes, filled with grit and soil and dirt, and wet from the rain that hadn’t yet dried due to the damp air. Our bikes looked like Cyclo-cross bikes as we climbed and descended back down to the valley. By the time we finished, we looked like a couple of Flanders riders, all splattered with the spoils of our ride. Thankfully though, the tyres had done their job and along the way I achieved a climbing success and a long and drawn out fast section, that swooped and swerved before descending the twisting road into Middleham. Ultimately, this is what we want tyres to achieve for us and these new Pirelli’s had done their job. Time to take a look at the tyre that allows you ride so well in autumn then.
Like the TLR Race in 28mm we tested a few weeks ago, this 26 iteration is likewise designed in accordance with the latest ETRTO standards and the tyre is compatible with hookless rims, as seen on many of the latest road tubeless wheels.
It’s created by Pirelli using 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. It’s a very firm tyre on the wheel, retaining shape when fitted and they’re a very stable tyre in use, with no adverse movement. In terms of comfort in relation to the 28mm, I didn’t really notice that much of a difference. However, it’s certainly a faster and more power efficient tyre on the roads, rewarding yourself efforts on the climbs and the descents. How does it compare to the PZero TLR SR, race ready model; it’s definitely more grippy and gives a whole level of confidence when cornering on the messy country roads.
Road debris and field hedge cuttings have been all over the roads in recent weeks, as the farmers prepare for winter. However, these Pirelli tyres have simply ridden on through the lanes, with the tough casing, puncture protection belt and compound proving their worth. Weight wise, it’s also a reasonable tyre and has an excellent balance between its performance and durability. It’s proved itself to be the ideal general usage tyre for all conditions, with exceptional performance and grip in the wet.
This is the 3rd tyre in the PZero test range for us this autumn, and each one seems to get better, having started with the 28mm TLR. The read pattern is tried and tested and the compound is super sticky, yet rolls surprisingly well when you need it to. I was delighted with the Pirelli TLR SR 26mm Race tyre, especially with it being a tyre for speed. However, this general training tyre is a real road gripping genie, having a well defined tread pattern and being better able to throw the water away from you as it meets the tarmac. In terms of an all round tyre for the average and the experienced road cyclist, what more do you need. Price wise too, it’s within reach of most people and will pay you back in dividends through safety on the roads. Pirelli know their stuff on tyres and the PZero Race TLR in 26mm could easily become a classic.