We've got the 'L' Race Evo 3 tyres here, the 'L' standing for Light, which Panaracer says is a race day version ideal for time trials and hill climbs. They're certainly fast rolling, but with decent puncture protection as well they don't feel as if they need to be reserved for those special events or dry days only. They're good value too.
- Pros: Impressive cornering grip, fast rolling
- Cons: No tubeless option
Panaracer makes three versions of the Evo 3: the 'D' (Duro), the 'A' (All Round), and this Light model, with the main difference coming down to the amount of puncture protection they offer.
Unlike the D and A models which get bead to bead protection, the L has just a central strip of Panaracer's Protite under the main tread, like that found on most tyres of this type.
It seems to work pretty well as I haven't picked up any full punctures over the test period, just a few nicks here and there. Considering how wet and gritty the roads have been, I'd say that's quite impressive.
Just running my fingers over the Evo 3s in the box gave me a good inkling of how these tyres were going to perform in the bends and I wasn't disappointed. Panaracer doesn't go into the full details behind its ZSG (Zero Slip Grip) compound but it feels really tacky on the shoulders for ultimate grip, and slightly harder on the central strip for durability when you're heading straight.
Panaracer goes for a slightly different profile to the tyre than most; it's more peaked at the centre rather than the usual rounded shape found on many others. It calls it All Contact, and once your weight is added to the bike it flattens out to give you a decent strip of rubber on the road. When cornering, the theory is that you have more tyre in contact with the road. Whether it makes a massive difference is difficult to quantify, especially without using another tyre with the same compound but different shape.
Really pushing hard into the bends finds the Evo 3s just gripping and gripping without slippage at all, even when the road surface changes or you have to tweak your line. In the dry they are confidence-inspiring and well up there with something like Continental's GP 4000 S II, tyres I'm a big fan of.
Wet weather grip is pretty good too. They'll eventually break away, but you can feel that point coming as they slowly start to lose traction rather than an all-to-nothing.
A soft compound benefits grip but the downside is that it increases wear, because the rubber is quite soft. I've done a few hundred miles on these so far and they are still looking good, with no signs of wear at all. I wouldn't expect massive mileage from them like more of a general training tyre, but I normally get a good 1,500 to 2,000 miles from a rear tyre of this type. If I get anything different over the coming months I'll come back and update the review.
When it comes to fitting, things are easy enough. They don't have the most supple of sidewalls so you need a bit of thumb power to get the final bit in place.
They are available in 23mm, 25mm and 28mm options, but if you want to go tubeless – which many racers do – then you'll be left wanting I'm afraid. Only the 'A' models come in tubeless.
When it comes to value these have an rrp of £39.99, which is the same as the recently tested Pirelli P Zero Velos and they differ in weight by only a matter of grams. Those Continentals I mentioned above, the GP4000 S IIs, come in at £49.95 and are a touch heavier. They are probably a bit more of an all-round tyre than the Panaracers, as I have happily ridden them right through the winter without puncture or durability issues. Obviously these prices are all RRPs, so it's worth a shop around.
Overall, the Race Evo 3s are a great set of tyres. They'll definitely be moved across to the best bike for the summer season and I'll be content knowing that I won't have to worry too much about changes in weather conditions.
Great performance tyre with grip by the bucket loads in the wet and dry
road.cc test report
Make and model: Panaracer Race L Evo 3 folding tyre
Size tested: 700x25c
Tell us what the product is for
Panaracer describes the Evo 3 L thus: "Race day version especially for TT's and hill climbs combining a super light weight with an improved casing and compound. You even get ProTite puncture protection under the tread"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* 24% more puncture resistant than Evo 2
* New proprietary Protite puncture material
* Improved cornering performance
* Greater durability
* All weather tread
They've picked up a few small cuts in the wet.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Plenty of performance and excellent grip makes for a great race tyre.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
No tubeless option.
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 overall score
The Race Evo 3 Ls are great tyres for those who have minimal rolling resistance and exceptional cornering grip at the top of their tick list, but they aren't restricted to race day. They come in at a sensible price too.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is:
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.