Panaracer tyres are perhaps better known in the off-road world, where they have a loyal following and impressive pedigree, but the company's range of road tyres is constantly evolving and equally impressive. Unlike their names: this is the prosaically titled Panaracer Race Type A.
The Race tyre sits towards the top of Panaracer's road range and is available in three flavours: L (for 'light'), D (for 'durable') and A (for 'all-around' - which probably means all-rounder). It's the latter option that I've been testing for the past month or so.
As the name implies, the A tyre sits between the out-and-out lightweight L version and the tougher D version, and it strikes the balance perfectly. I've ridden the test pair on several routes, from rough and potholed country lanes to reasonably maintained main roads, and they bowl along very nicely on the different surfaces.
The tyres have an 'all contact tread shape' - slightly pointed rather than an inverted U-shape - which means a relatively narrow strip of rubber is in contact with the road when you're vertical, with a wider strip coming into play to give more grip as you lean into corners. This feature is not unique to Panaracer, but it works well and inspires confidence, especially on twisting descents.
In addition, the pointy bit of the tyre is made from a harder compound to improve wear and possibly rolling resistance when riding in a straight line, while the sections on either side are a slightly softer compound which helps improve grip on the bends. To test this feature, I've used the tyres at our local motor racing circuit (it's open to cyclists when the cars and motos pack up for the day), throwing my bike into the chicanes, leaning over more than I might on the open road. The grip remained reassuringly positive.
Panaracer says the Race A tyres are suitable for all weathers. I've done some rides in the rain and, although the grip on these tyres maybe wasn't quite as good as my usual yardstick for damp and greasy conditions, Conti Gatorskins, it wasn't far off.
All the Race tyres are available in 23mm and 25mm sizes, and I've got the 23s on a set of wheels with Mavic Open Pro rims. Fitting and removing was easy, the tyres neither too tight nor too sloppy on the rims.
To prevent punctures, the tyres have a protective layer under the rubber that Panaracer calls the 'PT shield'. It's not Kevlar, that well-known aramid fibre, but it seems to do the job very well. As well as riding on the aforementioned potholed country lanes, I've also used these tyres through glass-strewn city streets and cyclepaths, and not had a flat yet.
Panaracer's given weight for the Race A is 210g (for the 23mm), although they tipped the road.cc scales at 225g. The 25mm tyre is listed on the Panaracer website as 240g. The combination of relatively low weight and good puncture-resistance makes it a good choice for sportives, especially those that take in more rural or poorly surfaced roads.
The Panaracer Race Type A tyre retails at around £35. This is fair value but not a bargain. It's at least a fiver more than comparable tyres, such as Schwalbe Duranos (a tad heavier) and Michelin Pro 3s (a tad lighter), both of which are available for £25-£30. But it's on a par with the typical price for Continental's GP 4000 (which is 20g lighter), and the price of this Panaracer might come down at the usual online stores if they start stocking this tyre in large numbers.
Good quality tyre, nicely striking the balance between light and tough - ideal for sportives.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Panaracer Race Type A 700x23C trye
Size tested: 23mm
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 Panaracer website says the Type A is: 'an all condition all-purpose tire. As a racing tire its excellent strength-to-weight ratio and ZSG Dual Compound make this the perfect multi-use tire. Exclusive PT Shield extends bead-to-bead for the ultimate in puncture and pinch flat protection. Superfine AX Casing is the perfect combination of suppleness while tough enough to help fend off pinches and sidewall cuts."
After several weeks and a few hundred miles of riding, this seems a fair claim.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, but it would need to be the same price as similar products from other manufacturers
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, with the above caveat
About the tester
Age: 50 Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm Weight: 11 stone / 70kg
I usually ride: an old Marin Alp My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, mtb,