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Panaracer's new Race A Evo 4 TLC Folding Road Tyre is a welcome addition to the lineup. The ZSG compound has excellent levels of grip in both the wet and dry, and when it comes to fitting them tubeless there is very little air loss. They are a tight fit, though, and come up quite narrow on the wheel.
Tubeless tyres need to have quite a tough sidewall to reduce porousness and the Panaracers definitely have this. Once fitted, they lost just 5psi in the first 24 hours, and that was before adding sealant. It does make them difficult to fit, though.
Normally when testing tyres I fit them first with tubes, as it should be faff-free, before going down the tubeless route. I could tell straight away that the Race As didn't have a lot of give, requiring a load of thumb pressure to get one side seated, let alone the second side.
With a tube involved, trying to get them onto a 19mm internal rim was near impossible without using a tyre lever. Aborting that, I went down the tubeless route, and while they were still tough to get over the rim edge, at least there was nothing to pinch with the tyre lever.
Once seated, they popped onto the rim easily with a blast from the Beto Surge Tubeless pump, and then after the sealant was added they lost very little inflation.
Once you've fitted them to the bike, all that hassle can be forgotten because the grip is brilliant. The ZSG compound is tacky to the touch and the grip is hard to fault. In the dry you can bung these tyres into a bend or roundabout at stupid angles and speeds and they will just hold on. In the wet you obviously need to back things off a touch, but the grip is still there, and with plenty of feedback you can really feel what the tyre is up to.
It's hedge-cutting season around here, so I was a little worried about how the Panaracers were going to stand up to punctures and the like, but I haven't had any issues at all. Closer inspection has seen no cuts or holes in the tyres for the sealant to deal with.
Tubeless tyres are more expensive than standard clinchers, but even at £59.99 the Panaracers are pretty good value, I'd say.
Continental's Grand Prix 5000 TL is an excellent tyre, but I reckon the Race A Evo 4 matches it on grip, if not ease of fitment. The Conti will set you back £69.99.
Schwalbe's Pro One is one of the best tubeless tyres out there, and is very easy to set up. The Panaracer is snapping at its heels when it comes to grip and rolling resistance, and undercuts its £66.99 rrp.
Overall, once fitted the Panaracers can't be faulted, but if you need to fit a tube at the side of the road there'll be cussing.
A pig to fit with a tube, but excellent grip and rolling resistance
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Panaracer Race A Evo 4 TLC folding road tyre
Size tested: 700 x 25
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?
Panaracer says, "Panaracer Race A has evolved even further with the all new Tubeless Compatible (TLC) version of our best-selling road tyre.
"The Race A Evo4s new 'All Contact Tread Shape' has been re-engineered to accommodate wider rim widths to continue to deliver superior grip and low rolling resistance. The Tubeless bead connection to the rim is designed to ensure a secure and confident fit."
Very good performance when it comes to grip and rolling resistance.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Panaracer's new ZSG Compound further reduces the low rolling resistance of the previous ZSG compound by 10%. In addition, grip in all weather conditions has been improved by 20% over the previous generation. We've further enhanced the ZSG compound by significantly increase the compound's resistance to cuts out on the road.
At only 210g (25c) you can expect the ultimate tubeless road tyre performance.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Quality race tyres that you can really trust in the corners.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Very tight to fit.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
As a quality tubeless tyre they are a bit cheaper than some of the main players' offerings, such as Continental's Grand Prix 5000 TL at £69.99, and Schwalbe's Pro One at £66.99.
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
Really, really good tyres when it comes to performance, just let down a little by their tight sidewalls, which makes fitting tougher than many other tubeless tyres.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 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
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!