The Panaracer Pasela PT folding tyre is a lighter version of the long-running and justly popular TourGuard tyre, and in my view it's a very solid and sensible choice for general riding. PT stands for ProTite, which refers to the system of aramid belt for added puncture resistance. The tyre also incorporates 400D cord technology, which supposedly offers greater defence against cuts while improving rigidity when cornering.
One of its biggest draws is the sheer range of sizes: from 700x23 through to 26x1.75, not forgetting old school 27in for that authentic finishing touch to a classic. Mind you, they do seem very slightly narrower than rival brands, and proved tricky customers to mount on deep-section aero rims.
Folding beads and deep-section rims can be a tricky combination to mount first time round. These were no exception, and after a few catapulted tyre levers and primal grunting, I reached for my workshop tyre wand. Leaving them partially mounted for a few minutes seemed to induce a little more stretch and, in turn, made for easier fitting. They're much easier with a more traditional wheel, such as Mavic's Open Pro.
Folding versions are extremely convenient for touring and similar contexts where carrying spares is welcome or you just want to save a few grams, but there's also a wire bead version for £24.99 which might be easier to mount and could have greater appeal to purists restoring an 80s classic.
At 256g apiece, our 25mm tyres were svelte enough for training and fast commutes. Noting their operating pressures of 85-115psi, I initially set them up on my fixed gear time trial bike to see how they'd deliver at the higher pressures. Even at their maximum, the ride never felt harsh.
Acceleration and rolling resistance isn't on par with more contemporary 25mm models, such as Vee Tire's Rain Runner. That said, they're no slouches and the relatively compliant, grippy nature inspired confidence when blasting along greasy dung-strewn back roads.
I wasn't overly surprised to flat a couple of weeks and 200 miles in – a very sharp thorn had pierced the sidewall. New tube, CO2 and we were back in business. Pushing them hard on long, 1-in-4 descents following a torrential downpour saw them bite pretty convincingly up to 30mph.
Running them at 100-105psi seemed their sweetspot, although in similar conditions a more contemporary compound encouraged me to push things that bit harder.
Fast commutes incorporating stop-go town centre sections with the usual hazards didn't tax them, and their sprightly persona kept things nimble and the right side of exciting.
No flats since, but I've been doing some post-ride tread scrubbing using a sudsy bucket and Oxford Tyre Scrub to shift embedded grit, flints and other sharps that can burrow inside over time.
Repatriating the Rain Runner to my TT build and popping the Paselas on my 1991 road bike, there was sufficient clearance between them and the BBB Slimguard mudguards. So what? Well, a lot of small manufacturers from this era decided they'd build a stock race frameset and add eyelets, thus marketing them as trainers. However, getting full-length mudguards to fit without fouling a 23mm section tyre sometimes proved impossible. This build still runs an 80s/90s Campagnolo drivetrain, so the amber walls also complemented this period feel very nicely.
I still rate the Paselas and reckon they're a good bet for training – especially on older bikes where preserving originality is welcome. The wide range of sizes also means they're worth considering for cyclo-cross or gravel bikes that double as winter trainers. That said, I'd stick with the wire beads and save £30 a pair (at RRP); while likeable, the folding versions are outclassed on value by faster-rolling, higher-pressure contemporaries.
Updated classic that still performs well, but the wire bead version is better value
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Panaracer Pasela PT Folding Tyre
Size tested: 700x25
Tell us what the product is for
Panaracer says: "The Pasela ProTite is available in a wide range of sizes. It incorporates ProTite technology for puncture protection and has two excellent 'all-around' tread patterns. Available in a folding or steel bead configuration. A series renewal offering the same basic performance with enhanced puncture resistance."
It's a classic tyre that is still very relevant and available in a wealth of sizes. However, in my view, the folders are outclassed in the value-for-money stakes by more sophisticated, contemporary rubber.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Panaracer lists the sizes available:
Aramid centre strip, 60tpi casing
Fairly quick, compliant ride and seemingly dependable in the wet.
Puncture-repelling strip is good, but doesn't offer the same level of protection as more sophisticated, contemporary casings/belts.
Generally dependable, compliant ride.
Wire bead versions are a better buy, at £24.99, in my opinion.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A very capable tyre for general riding, delivering a relatively swift, compliant ride. The full zodiac of diameters is a definite draw for riders of older machines.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Lightweight, relatively quick, compliant ride, wide range of sizes particularly appealing.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Tricky to mount on deep-section rims.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, the wire bead versions.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, but the wire bead versions.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Classic, quick rolling tyre that's still relevant, though the folding bead versions aren't such good value when pitted against similarly priced contemporary rubber.
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)