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The Panaracer Agilest Folding Road Tyre is the tubed version of the impressive Agilest TLR I reviewed not long ago, and inevitably it shares many positive traits. It's a little less supple, but the excellent feedback, all-conditions grip and general robustness remain – and despite that toughness, it's light and feels fast, too.
Whether you want tubed or tubeless, for racing, training or daily commuting, check out our guide to the best road bike tyres.
Early in the test I had a bit of a moment, and the Agilests saved me. I was on a very narrow lane with a car running up from behind, and this car couldn't wait – there was a blind corner ahead so obviously it was perfect for overtaking. I ran as close to the edge of the tarmac as I could as it steamed past in touching distance... and then the edge of the road broke up and turned to mud.
It all got a bit spicy and the rear wheel tramlined for a few seconds along the wet, filthy tarmac edge as it drooped into the rutted verge. The bike got increasingly sideways and then, somehow, the rear found grip and popped back up onto the road. That the Agilests found any grip at all impressed me, but not as much as the feedback they gave even when sliding along a 'road' surface far worse than they're designed to tackle.
I don't suggest you go gravelling with these, but they've proved confidently tenacious and communicative on dirty, gritty and often badly potholed back lanes, while still accelerating and rolling well. In these aspects they match the tubeless versions, which use the same ZSG Agile compound.
They've resisted punctures in the same way too, despite the poor conditions wrought by spring tractor action and winter ice, and inevitably their handling feels identical – hard climbing and braking grip is good, wet grip is great and they steer very neutrally.
In fact, having swapped straight from the TLR versions to these tubed ones, I can say the only difference I really felt was in the the suppleness of the sidewalls. These feel slightly stiffer and a little less compliant, though they're still perfectly comfortable overall. Presumably this is down to the 'Tough & Flex Super Belt', there to resist punctures even as it resists grammar, because otherwise the casing is the same for both tyres.
That casing is Panaracer's 'Advanced Extra Alpha Cord' one, and while Panaracer doesn't give a threads per inch (tpi) count for it, it does say this: 'AX technology uses extremely narrow cord which is weaved at a super high density into the casing for lightness and flexibility. This increased density improves resistance to cuts and abrasions.'
Whether it's 120tpi, 60tpi or something else entirely, if you want maximum suppleness you should go for the puncture-belt-free TLR version, though, even if you run that tubed.
I found these easy enough to get on (though I did use a plastic lever for the last little bit), and the bead has been designed to work on both standard and hookless rims. There's a tan-wall option too, if you want to offset all this newfangled stuff by looking a bit sepia.
While £44.99 isn't the lowest you can pay for a tubed tyre, it seems fair for the performance and weight. The Michelin Power Cup Tube Type Tyre that I tested last year is £52.99, for instance, and slightly heavier than the Panaracer at 232g.
Tyres such as the Pirelli P7 Sport, which I tested in 2021, and the Hutchinson Challenger, as tested by Stu last year, also offer strong performance and higher value at £29.99 and £31.95 respectively, but both of those are considerably heavier. The Pirelli is 310g and a little slow rolling with it, and the Hutchinson is 303g.
As good as those tyres are (especially for winter training and general riding), you will definitely notice the extra 200g of rotating weight over these Panaracers. You're getting something for the premium here.
The puncture-resistant belt does dull the casing's natural suppleness somewhat, and if you don't mind a bit of extra weight you can get similar performance for less money, but that aside, these are very good tyres. They're grippy in all conditions, neutral and predictable through the twisties, and robust. They're light and roll well, too.
Great tyres that are grippy, light and robust, if not quite as supple as some
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Panaracer Agilest Folding Road Tyre
Size tested: 28mm
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: "This tyre perfectly demonstrates the 'Panaracer Ratio' with its balance of performance, puncture resistance, and grip while excelling at low rolling resistance."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Panaracer says: "This model incorporates the newly developed ZSG Agile Compound and "TOUGH & FLEX SUPER BELT" which reduces rolling resistance by 12% and weight by 40g compared to the previous model."
There are plenty of tubed tyres around the £30 mark, but they tend to be heavier and sometimes slower too. The price here seems fair for the performance.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well – it gives strong, predictable grip in all conditions and rolls well too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Grippy and predictable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Feels less supple than some.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's in line with other tubed tyres of a similar performance level and weight.
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
These do pretty much everything very well. They're not as supple as some rivals (or the tubeless version on the same casing but without the puncture belt), but there's not much in it and they're a long way from harsh. They're very good.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,