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Verdict: 
Impressive race-ready performance tyres with low weight and a fast turn of speed
Weight: 
196g
Contact: 
Zipp Tangente Speed tyres
9 10

Zipp have updated their tyre range, first introduced in 2007, and the Tangentes here are the middle of the three-tyre range. They're pitched as race-day tyres with an impressively low 196g weight for the 25mm size tested. They are very responsive and fast rolling tyres, ideal for racing and Sunday best bikes.

The tyres are constructed with a 220 tpi rubber/nylon casing, and weight is saved with the absence of the puncture belt that features on Zipp's two other tyres, the Course and SLSpeed tubular. I didn't suffer a flat during testing. That doesn't tell you much - luck has a huge part to play in punctures as much as anything - but the clean tread with a noticeable lack of cuts and marks suggest good durability from the rubber compound.

On the road the tyres provide the sort of speed and responsiveness you'd expect given their low. The tread compound gives the right balance of rolling resistance and grip. Shove the tyres hard into a corner and there's plenty of traction on the shoulders and a nice level of feedback that allows you to exploit the available grip. I used them in all conditions and they shone every time. They're as good as the very excellent Michelin Pro4s and Schwalbe Ones, two of my fave racing tyres.

You might expect the tyres work best with Zipp rims? To find out, I tested them on a pair of Zipp 303 wheels. I also tested them, on the same circuit with repeated laps, on a pair of Shimano RS80 wheels. There was an obvious difference in speed when riding the deep section wheels, but any difference because of the relationship between Zipp tyre and rim was impossible to detect. They proved fast on all wheelsets, suggesting that the changes to the tread compound have netted the biggest returns in performance and speed.

With the new Tangentes, Zipp have produced tyres that offer the speed and grip that a racing cyclist demands. They're certainly not cheap, and the lack of a puncture belt doesn't make them a good candidate for year-round everyday riding. The Course tyres, which we'll test soon, would be a better all-round choice. For those times when you want the fastest rubber, though, these are definitely worth a look. And don't worry if you don't have any Zipp wheels, the Zipp Tangentes work well with any rim.

Verdict

Impressive race-ready performance tyres with low weight and a fast turn of speed

road.cc test report

Make and model: Zipp Tangente Speed tyre

Size tested: 700x25c

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Designed for race day, the Tangente Speed is optimised for aerodynamics, rolling resistance and road feel with clincher convenience. Very light, this tyre will glide over the tarmac giving you that effortless road feel you want.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

For use in race events

Tyre is optimised for dry road conditions

220 TPI nylon casing with nylon puncture protection strip

New aero tread pattern

Sidewalls designed for supple and compliant ride feel

Rubber formulated for grip and acceleration

Very low rolling resistance; saves power

Light weight

Tyre specifications

Min PSI/BAR: 90/6.2

Max PSI/BAR: 125/8.6

Sizes: 700 x 23/25c

Weight: 180/190 grams

Bead: Kevlar

Casing: Rubber/Nylon

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Very fast tyres.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

They don't have a puncture belt so lack the bulletproof durability of other tyres, but the tread doesn't cut up easily and the wear rate has been good so far.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
9/10

There aren't many tyres lighter.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
9/10

That lack of a puncture belt and the improved sidewalls makes these tyres feel lovely to ride, with a level of smoothness matched only by the best racing tyres.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

They're not cheap, but then tyres that weigh this little and offer this sort of performance aren't usually cheap.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

For Sunday best or racing, these are a good alternative to the more common choices in this price range.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Speed and grip.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Lack of puncture belt could be a worry for some.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

Very fast and light tyres that offer a bundle of performance. Best saved for summer and racing.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180  Weight: 67

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,

 

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

9 comments

Avatar
pedalpowerDC [356 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Not that they aren't built to be aero, but Zipp 303 is hardly a deep-section wheelset.

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macrophotofly [257 posts] 2 years ago
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Absolutely love the Schwalbe Ones and they have the puncture belt so I would be looking for a rolling resistance and good weight offset to justify the higher chance of a puncture.
Looking back at the S' One's it listed 214g measured for a 23mm tyre - suggests a 25mm would be between 225g and 235g (schwalbe website : 225g). A 30-35g weight save in itself is not enough to justify so would like to find some rolling resistance benefits...
If they are easier to get hold of than S'Ones (which always seem to be out of stock in 25mm) I might still give them a go.

Avatar
PaulBox [644 posts] 2 years ago
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Sorry if this is a stupid question...

"You might expect the tyres work best with Zipp rims"

But why would you?

Can you really optimize a tyre for a specific rim?

Just asking.

Avatar
mrmo [2092 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
PaulBox wrote:

Sorry if this is a stupid question...

"You might expect the tyres work best with Zipp rims"

But why would you?

Can you really optimize a tyre for a specific rim?

Just asking.

yes you can, whether you would? look at any tyre and it bulges a little where the rim and sidewall meet, you could add a "fairing" to smooth the transistion between the rim and sidewall. I am sure I have seen it done, but you really are in the realm of marginal gains!

Avatar
PaulBox [644 posts] 2 years ago
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mrmo wrote:

yes you can, whether you would? look at any tyre and it bulges a little where the rim and sidewall meet, you could add a "fairing" to smooth the transistion between the rim and sidewall. I am sure I have seen it done, but you really are in the realm of marginal gains!

Wow, you live and learn, thanks.

Avatar
mrmo [2092 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

http://www.bontrager.com/technology/r4_aero

I thought I had seen someone make an aero tyre.

Avatar
mike the bike [900 posts] 2 years ago
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mrmo wrote:

http://www.bontrager.com/technology/r4_aero

I thought I had seen someone make an aero tyre.

I have several aero' tyres. By wearing away all, or most, of the black rubber I have exposed their true racing profile and simultaneously reduced the weight to a fraction of its original figure.
Nothing marginal about these gains!

Avatar
nortonpdj [167 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Michelin Pro4 Comp 180g for 23s (but150tpi) cost less than half as much.

Avatar
simondbarnes [52 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Quote:

Michelin Pro4 Comp 180g for 23s (but150tpi) cost less than half as much.

A completely different tyre in a different size costs a different amount shocker  1