The Lifeline Prime Race tyres offer an excellent all-round package for a very minimal outlay. If you want decent grip, low rolling resistance and high levels of durability then put them on your shopping list.
Lifeline is an in-house accessory brand of online retailer Wiggle, and of all its products I've tried so far, none has disappointed – and that doesn't change here with the Prime Race.
For starters their 120tpi (threads per inch) casing gives a much more supple ride than I expected, which means comfort is fine even at the maximum recommended pressure of 110psi. On that subject, if you like to run things soft then it's worth noting that the recommended minimum pressure of the Primes is 90psi.
The real star of the show, though, is the rubber compound. Lifeline says that these tyres are "inspired by cyclists sprinting for 'primes' (pronounced 'preems') in criterium races", and that they are "designed for high speeds, tight bends and the pursuit of victory". That's exactly what you get, a tyre compound that is great for fast riding and racing, with very good grip levels in the wet and dry. Really bank the bike over, for a large roundabout, say, and the grip starts to break away ever so slightly but it quickly regains traction so it's easily controlled. It certainly didn't affect my confidence as I knew what was going to happen, and it did this consistently.
As far as weight goes, the Lifelines also score well here at just 232g for the tested 25mm models, which benefits acceleration and climbing.
On the road the Primes feel fast, so I wouldn't expect there to be a whole lot of rolling resistance, and they are definitely quick enough to race on.
Durability is often the big deal breaker with tyres. You want to find that compromise between puncture resistance and overall wear against grip levels and weight. The Prime Races are a well-rounded package using a Kevlar belt for puncture resistance and this does its job well. It's hedge-cutting season around here, which, paired with the rain, makes for increased puncture risk, but I haven't had a single issue with these, not even a cut or mark.
Should you puncture, you might find the Primes a bit of a faff to fit, depending on your rims. I tried to get them on a set of DT Swiss RR21s and basically gave up – if I'd managed to get them on I wasn't going to be getting them off again – and although they fitted okay to some Superstar Components Pave 28s and Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels, they were noticeably tighter than a lot of other tyres.
Overall, Lifeline is on to a bit of a winner with this package and that's before you take the price into consideration. Just £14 a tyre is pretty impressive, especially against the opposition.
Running them on a Verenti test bike, I swapped out the similarly priced Continental Ultra Sports and the difference was marked, even though the Conti is no slouch, and found the same up against Michelin Lithions, another well respected training tyre.
Great all-round tyres that are quick enough to race on, at an exceptional price
road.cc test report
Make and model: LifeLine Prime Race Road Tyre
Size tested: 700 x 25mm
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?
Wiggle/Lifeline says: "Inspired by cyclists sprinting for 'primes' (pronounced 'preems') in criterium races, LifeLine prime race tyres are designed for high speeds, tight bends and the pursuit of victory."
They certainly offer good levels of grip and low rolling resistance.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Fast rolling slick centre tread
Channelled shoulder tread for wet weather cornering traction
Kevlar breaker for effective puncture protection
Lightweight 120 TPI Casing
60a rubber compound for superior traction (68a / 62a on coloured options)
Aramid folding bead
Available in various colour options
Sizes: 700 x 23c/25c
There feels like there is a bit of give in the sidewalls even at the upper recommended pressures.
At £14 they offer excellent value for money against the opposition when you take into account the performance.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Fast-rolling tyres that offer decent levels of grip and durability.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A bit tight to get on and off.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Very good high performance tyres at an entry-level price point.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Mason Definition
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: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.