Lifeline's 25mm Prime Armour Road tyres are packed with the sort of features we'd associate with models twice the price: 120tpi casings, Kevlar puncture repelling belts, aramid folding beads, an all-up weight of 281g and operating pressures between 100 and 120psi... Yours for 14 quid a pop!
Their soft 70a 'durometer' rubber compound is another surprise, especially at this price, and bodes very well for wet, slippery conditions. Aside from the channelled shoulder tread, they're essentially slick.
Moderately tricky to fit – I resorted to my workshop lever – they'll submit in a couple of minutes with three decent tyre levers and strong thumbs. They also ease out a little after 100 miles or so, meaning roadside removal shouldn't present too many headaches.
Given their asking price, I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of performance, but from the outset they've delivered a brisk, efficient though comfortable ride across most surfaces – even run at their maximum (although it's probably worth mentioning that the test rig in question is based around an old-fashioned steel tubeset and carbon fork, which offers a very compliant ride).
Hammering along my favourite 25-mile loop at a steady 23mph and swooping through the back-to-back doubles, I was grinning from ear to ear while becoming more provocative in my cornering technique, but the tyres held their line admirably – better than the Maxxis Re-Fuses I tested last month.
In mild to moderate conditions, I'd expect any decent road rubber to display impeccable manners at 25mph plus and descend like a demon. With this in mind, I treated myself to a 1-in-7 on the return leg and let rip. Whizzing along at 33mph, they were willing me faster but I began to feel split second pauses in traction, so backed off, easing down to 25 at the first bends in case diesel spill or similar contaminant lay in wait.
Long, steady miles in seasonally typical single figures confirmed a delightful balance of responsiveness and grip, and even roads carpeted in iced dung couldn't cajole a spiteful side. Manhole covers and other ironworks were the closest they came to feeling uncertain, though not obviously worse than the Maxxis when run between 100 and 105psi.
Judging by the prevalence of thorns, shards of glass and other sharps, the puncture-proof belt seems to be up to the mark. Similarly, aside from some very minor nicks, the casings remain in very rude health.
Capable training tyres with a seriously competitive price tag – recommended
road.cc test report
Make and model: Lifeline Prime Armour Road Tyre
Size tested: 700x25, 120TPI casing
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?
Lifeline says: "Speed, traction and puncture protection for high paced road cycling in challenging conditions."
I would generally agree – capable all-rounders that are hard to fault for £14.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Prime Armour Road tyres feature a fast rolling slick centre tread, lightweight 120TPI casing, a Kevlar breaker and full nylon reinforcement.
Nice, compliant ride.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, the Prime Armour Road tyres have been impeccably mannered in all contexts, delivering a quick, compliant and dependable ride over most surfaces and in the wet. Longterm durability is difficult to comment upon but so far, I'm struggling to find an obvious fault.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Pretty much everything, easily on par with some costing £30 apiece.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing given the design brief and asking price. Being picky, I'd like to see a wider range (literally) of sections - 28, 32mm...
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? For training and general riding, yes.
Use this box to explain your score
Although they haven't scored 8 across the board, taking into account the excellent price and their very good performance, they definitely deserve an 8 overall.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)