Home
Verdict: 
A fast, comfortable and durable tyre for training and racing, with excellent wet grip and cornering
Weight: 
210g
Pirelli P Zero Velo folding tyre
9 10

The Pirelli P Zero Velo tyre marks a very impressive return to cycling for Pirelli after a half-century hiatus. This tyre is fast, comfortable and long lasting, making for a great all-round ride experience on the road.

I first tried the P Zero Velos out at the launch in Milan a couple of months ago, and left with mixed feelings. However, after a thorough test period I have to say any doubts have subsided. I came away from the launch with the 25mm tyres and they've been on my main road bike ever since, taking on everything I've thrown at them during a wet summer. They still look fairly fresh and haven't punctured once.

Find your nearest dealer here

One thing I learnt at the launch was that the tyres aren't made in Italy but France, a practical decision according to Pirelli so it could focus on R&D and partner up with an already established factory to get them made in large quantities for a competitive price. They're actually made in the same factory as Hutchinson's tyres, though Pirelli states that the P Zero Velo is 100 per cent its own tyre, and that the SmartNET Silica compound is sent from Romania, where it's made, directly to the factory.

Fitting the tyres to my bike was an absolute breeze as they're very supple. Out on the road, they are thoroughly impressive at all times, feeling fast and slippery (through the air, not on the road surface!), yet able to take on the often poorly maintained roads that I'm accustomed to in the south west. Cornering in the wet never feels sketchy, and they zip along very nicely on flat roads without giving any unwanted feedback.

I know that they have bad weather in Italy, but I'm still very impressed with how much Pirelli has obviously thought about adverse conditions when developing these tyres. I saw Pirelli testing the wet grip of the tyres on the test track outside of Milan at the launch, and it certainly appears to have paid off.

> Buyer's Guide: 18 of the best road cycling tyres

Weighing in at 210g, the P Zero Velo is 15g lighter than a Continental Grand Prix 4000S II, which I'd say is its main competitor as an all-round race tyre. Okay, you're not going to notice such a small difference on the road, but the fact that it doesn't seem to have affected durability is notable. The P Zero Velos ride smooth but act tough, and feel like the best of both worlds.

The tyres are priced at £39.99 each for the 23mm and 25mm versions, and £41.99 for the 28s. I'd say that's a fair price and, going off RRP, the best value performance tyre out there (although after heavy discounting from online retailers it's possible to pick up a Conti Grand Prix 4000S II for under £30 a tyre, or a Michelin Power Competition for a shade over £30).

After 1,000-odd miles there's still tread on the tyre, so if durability is your priority they may be worth the slight levy. Having used both the tyres mentioned above and other similarly performing/priced tyres such as Specialized's S-Works Turbo and Clement's Strada LGG heavily, I'd say the P Zeros are longer lasting.

Pirelli P Zero Velo tyres 2.jpg

Pirelli P Zero Velo tyres 2.jpg

I must confess I was a little disappointed that the P Zero Velos don't look a bit more 'Pirelli'. The famous logo that adorns its F1 tyres is nowhere to be seen here. You might totally disagree, but I think the classic Pirelli logo looks far better than the one on these tyres.

In conclusion, after more than 1,000 miles on the P Zero Velo tyres I'm extremely impressed with their performance. Pirelli doesn't supply any data on rolling resistance or puncture resistance compared with the competition, its official line being simply that it doesn't think it's 'classy' or in keeping with its values to come in all-guns-blazing and take a pop at its competitors. As a reviewer I'm not simply going to take Pirelli's word for it that these tyres are the business, but they certainly ride like they are.

If you pay the slight premium over a race tyre from the likes of Michelin or Continental I can't guarantee you speed gains, but I doubt you'll feel short-changed.

As well as the P Zero Velo silver label tyres I tested, you can also get the P Zero Velo TT slick for maximum speed for £39.99 (23mm only) and the P Zero Velo 4S offering more durability for £43.99 (23 and 25mm) or £45.99 (28mm).

Verdict

A fast, comfortable and durable tyre for training and racing, with excellent wet grip and cornering

road.cc test report

Make and model: Pirelli P Zero Velo

Size tested: 25mm, 700C

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?

The Pirelli P Zero is a road race clincher tyre, with a patented silica compound. I'd class it as an all-round tyre for training and road racing, and that's exactly where Pirelli has positioned it, with a TT and all-season tyre also available.

Pirelli says: "Years of top-level racing expertise deliver the crowning jewel. The P ZERO Velo sets a new standard in bicycle clincher performance. At its core, the patented Pirelli SmartNET Silica® which provides superior grip in both dry and wet conditions, as well as unparalleled puncture resistance and mileage longevity.

Key Benefits

Low rolling resistance

Dry & wet grip,

Supreme comfort

Puncture protection

Mileage longevity

Superior handling for extreme safety feeling"

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

Made with Pirelli's patented SmartNET Silica compound

Superior puncture resistance and rolling resistance promised compared to competition

Contour shaping

Functional groove design tread pattern

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Say what you want about tread patterns, but on the P Zero Velo it gives me great cornering confidence.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Fast, grippy and good in all conditions.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

There's still tread on the tyre after 1,000-odd miles, I can't argue with that.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
9/10

One of the best for a road clincher – impressive.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
9/10

For a 25mm tyre I was impressed with the comfort of the P Zero Velo.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

There are cheaper, but from my experience I'd say the P Zero Velos are worth the extra compared with 95% of road tyres out there for racing, and are probably the best all-rounder I've tried.

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

Thoroughly impressive; they felt fast and slippy yet were able to take on poorly maintained roads with aplomb.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Hardwearing, smooth, able to take on rough road surfaces with ease – and a great all-round tyre that is still more than capable of fast road racing.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The fact that they're not actually made in Italy, and the aesthetics (I want the full Pirelli logo!).

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

If you want a tyre for your racing bike that will last you the year and then some, this is one of a select group that I'd fully recommend.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 27  Height: 179cm  Weight: 75kg

I usually ride: Road bike (currently Specialized Tarmac)  My best bike is: Ridley Chronus TT bike

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, triathlon races

After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since.  He joined road.cc in 2017, having previously worked for 220 Triathlon magazine. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake. 

15 comments

Avatar
LastBoyScout [265 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

My experience of Pirelli tyres on a car is that they were fantastic in the dry and terrifying when it got damp - My Dad says the only car he's ever spun was on Pirelli tyres and he used to do quite a lot of rally driving.

So I hope these bike versions aren't the same as that.

Avatar
TheDoctor [238 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

An expensive risk to try these over the continentals or michelins in the hope they perform ok! they could have done a special launch price or something?

Avatar
sethpistol [89 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes
TheDoctor wrote:

An expensive risk to try these over the continentals or michelins in the hope they perform ok! they could have done a special launch price or something?

 

Seems to be plenty of deals on them - saw them really cheap in Austria last weekend at an event, cheaper than any of their competitors

Avatar
sammutd88 [48 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

I've tried all the popular tyres, Conti GP4000Sii, Schwalbe One, Veloflex Corsa, Vittoria Corsa and Rubino G+ and recently took a dive and bought the Velo 4S in 28c size. These things are astonishingly comfortable. They roll on to the rim the easiest of any tyres, they feel fast, haven't punctured in 500km so far and evidence of wear is non existant. the grip around corners is the best I've expereienced. I know these aren't the standard Velo's and have a bit more tread on them but I'd imagine the Velo's here and even more supple (which is hard to believe). I'm a big fan, and if my luck continues with these 4S's, I've found my favourite tyre. Btw, I frequent roads and well and rough trails........

 

Bicycle Rolling Resistance have also tested the range, so if you are into numbers, check that out. Numbers aside though, these feel sensational

Avatar
macrophotofly [273 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

The GP4000's on my main weekend bike are nearly at the wear markers  after a good 5800km and these new Pirelli's are tempting to try given the 15g rotational weight reduction. Despite trying a few other tyres I still keep comign back to 4000's - they seem a great all round (8/10 in all areas) tyre. One exception was the Schwalbe Ones which I found to be slightly quieter and slightly better grip in the wet on tarmac surfaces that are just stones laid on tar - so many of the country lanes round here are like that so a spare pair of wheels have them on - on smoother surfaces in the wet the 4000s still seem better though. The measured Rolling Resistance on another website at 80 PSI (my preferred pressure for a 25mm) slightly counts against the Pirelli's and I wonder if they will last as long as nearly 6000km? Is it worth risking to find out? In the end I think I will stay with GP4000s and swap the inner tubes to latex. Gives a similar weight reduction.

My winter bike runs GP 4 seasons and the Pirelli P Zero Velo 4S (not reviewed above) look a more appealling option ( lower weight, lower rolling resistance vs GP4S) and hence I will put my money down there when the GP4Seasons give up the ghost

Avatar
rtw [33 posts] 1 week ago
3 likes
TheDoctor wrote:

An expensive risk to try these over the continentals or michelins in the hope they perform ok! they could have done a special launch price or something?

 

Really? I thought £40 a tyre was pretty reasonable and par for the course. Certainly worth a punt. We live in a world of £350 saddles, £4000 wheels, £300 cassettes and £200 bike computers, and yet for the actual interface with the tarmac £40 is too much?

 

 

Avatar
srchar [614 posts] 1 week ago
1 like

If only Pirelli had thought so long and hard about wet performance in their F1 tyres, might have saved me a three hour wait in the pissing rain at Monza the weekend before last.

Avatar
check12 [124 posts] 1 week ago
1 like
rtw wrote:
TheDoctor wrote:

An expensive risk to try these over the continentals or michelins in the hope they perform ok! they could have done a special launch price or something?

 

Really? I thought £40 a tyre was pretty reasonable and par for the course. Certainly worth a punt. We live in a world of £350 saddles, £4000 wheels, £300 cassettes and £200 bike computers, and yet for the actual interface with the tarmac £40 is too much?

 

 

 

i think the point is that the market leader is £30ish so a newcomer pitches a "as good as" but not proven long term and in the field tyre at +30%ish price and the thought is, hmm why swap? Even when my 4000s are ready for replacing there's no upside to swapping to these at the moment. 

Avatar
Ogi [110 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

30%ish higher of £30 is Pirelli's RRP. What is Conti's RRP? Exactly...either way, the price of Pirellis will come down in few months to £30 or less and they will be competitive to Contis and Michelins and to everybody's liking. More choice is good!

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds [627 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

Not convinced and the reviewer doesn't understand rotational weight otherwise would dismiss any weight saving given it's tiny and also doesn't make a point of measuring the actual width of the tyre to compare directly with others on the same rim.

The sidewalls on these are wafer thin, only the Vittoria Speed and Continental TT are thinner, as for the wear/durability. Being impressed with a 1,000 miles on a front tyre for a lightweight rider just shows you how low some people's expectations are.

That these are maybe just on a par with an 'old' tyre like the 4000sII just shows you how far behind Pirelli are with their 'top tyre'.

Avatar
check12 [124 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes
Ogi wrote:

30%ish higher of £30 is Pirelli's RRP. What is Conti's RRP? Exactly...either way, the price of Pirellis will come down in few months to £30 or less and they will be competitive to Contis and Michelins and to everybody's liking. More choice is good!

 

im not talking about rrp I'm talking about what you can actually buy them for, if they are able to be bought at the same price as contis 4000s then maybe I'll give them a try, if they stay more expensive then I can't see why I should or would give them a try. You are right more choice is good at the same price or more expensive with better features. 

Avatar
Prosper0 [99 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

According to the ever reliable Bike Rolling Resistance guys, these brand new, ground breaking tyres have a rolling performance of the same or slightly less good as the current generation of top tyres, Conti 4ks, Vittoria Corsa etc. 

 

Dissapointing. Move along. 

Avatar
Ogi [110 posts] 1 week ago
1 like

Just to give my additional two cents. BicycleRollingResistance guys are great. I really do appreciate their laboratory approach to benchmarking tyres, which cuts through a lot of the marketing mambo jumbo. However, focusing solely on data figures in buying your tyre would be flawed in my opinion. The tests are imperfect to grip, cornering, braking, durability and "feel". Also, tests are performed using only single tyre each (sampling problem) and there is also volatility here. I.e. buying same tyre again and re-testing will produce somewhat different results.

Conclusion: BicycleRollingResistance guys can help you a lot in benchmarking tyres but it won't tell you all. 

Also, argument that P Zero Velo is to the "similar level" to the existing top tyres (Michelin Power Competition, Conti GP 4k S2, Schwalbe One), which will make them inferior very soon (with the new generation)...I'm not so convinced. I'll give an example. Conti keeps producing tyres with the magical Black Chili compound (GP TT, GP Force/Attack, GP Supersonic, original GP etc.). You can get the feeling that Conti pushes it to the limit (varying thickness of the thread, protection layer etc.), with clear balancing out element and "no free gains" conclusion, at least if you ask me. I.e. all of those tyres have a clear hierarchy and conflict between speed/puncture protection. I'm not sure there is a massive gain out there (speed improvement without loss of puncture protection and durability). Concluding, P Zero seems like a good tyre. Expensive? Yep, I got two Conti Grand Prix for the price of one Pirelli - which I rate 80% of GP 4000 S2 for 50% of the price.

O

Avatar
rtw [33 posts] 1 week ago
1 like
check12 wrote:

 

i think the point is that the market leader is £30ish so a newcomer pitches a "as good as" but not proven long term and in the field tyre at +30%ish price and the thought is, hmm why swap? Even when my 4000s are ready for replacing there's no upside to swapping to these at the moment. 

When you write it as a % then it sounds a lot, but we are talking £10 per tyre here, not £100 more. And so £20 more for a set. And what is £20? It wont buy you two tickets to the cinema. It is 25% of a tank of petrol. It is buying yourself and your mates coffee on a ride.

Avatar
izza [14 posts] 5 days ago
1 like

I put these tyres on my bike and rode in the alps on both wet and dry days.

Felt like an improved version of the Conti's.  Maybe more similar in feel to the Vittoria Corsa's but with better puncture protection.

Can thoroughly recommend them.