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The Panaracer Agilest TLR Folding Road Tyre is confident and predictable even on wet, messy roads, and it's robust enough to handle such winter travails too. Despite this, it's impressively light and feels fast both for acceleration and rolling speed. It's hard to say if it's really the agilest, but it's certainly among the best road bike tyres out there.
These went on my Mavic rims very easily, only needing a (plastic) lever for the last 20% or so of the second side. The beads then seated using just a regular track pump. Despite this easy fit, they also held air very well right from the first inflation. I found them a little more of a struggle on some carbon rims – I needed the lever for both sides – but it still wasn't bad, and they again seated with just a regular track pump.
Panaracer says these tyres are designed specifically for easy installation on modern rims, which includes hookless designs, and I found nothing to disprove that.
I also ran these tubed, though to be honest found no night and day difference between that and tubeless – at least, not with the pressures only 10-15psi lower without the inner tube. Either way, the ride is good, if neither especially harsh nor exceptionally plush.
If you like crazy-high pressures, though, note the maximum recommended is 95psi. Personally I ended up running them around 70-75psi, though I could probably go 10psi lower if I could just convince myself it wouldn't explode my lungs on a climb...
Smacking them hard into hidden potholes (the tyres, not my lungs) results in a reassuringly pliant response from the sidewalls, and I have no concerns about their strength; some of my local lanes are very rough, and these dealt with what lurks beneath the sodden leaves (like the news, it's nothing good) without complaint.
I didn't think the official info was that clear about what puncture protection these have, so I asked brand manager Blair Morgan – and no, it turns out there are none of the dedicated layers found in the clincher versions, which feature the likes of the 'Tough & Flex Super Belt', the 'Tough & Flex Super Outer Shield' and the 'Protite Belt.'
For this TLR version, Panaracer feels the AX-Alpha Cord casing combined with the airproof layer is thick enough to provide good protection, with any slack being taken up by the sealant. 'It is also very light,' said Morgan, 'allowing the tyre to deform in a way that maximises contact with the road.'
Obviously there's an amount of luck involved, but I never suffered any punctures during the test, despite spending plenty of time not noticing trap-like potholes camouflaged with leaves (at least until my teeth crashed shut), and encountering fairly regular drifts of crap – hedge cuttings, storm debris from the trees, and piles of anything from the fields that will fit (briefly) into a tractor tyre.
There's been no noticeable wear during the test (though five weeks isn't enough for that, really), but more relevantly there's no sign of damage.
As I said, these took some pretty hard hits in the lanes, but the supple yet tough-feeling response from the sidewalls under impact is impressive.
Grip in the wet from the ZSG Agilest compound is also impressive, and even on the worst surfaces – moss under trees, that plastering of soaking leaves and crunchy rural tarmac – I found them confidence inspiring enough for some pretty hard braking into corners, down steep hills and towards tractors. Sometimes all at once.
The rear tyre also found excellent climbing grip on the same terrible surfaces, even up steep hairpins when out of the saddle with my weight, inevitably, shifted away from the back. Obviously they'll let go if you really provoke them, but confidence and feedback are great.
Despite the grip of the new compound (in temperatures no lower than 5°C, anyway, the coldest it got during the test period), the Agilests roll easily and never feel like they're holding you back. (Let me also apologise for writing 'Agilests', in case you don't hate language.)
Are these the agilest tyres ever? I can confidently say no, probably not, I dunno, maybe? But actually, no. No, they're not. But they steer and handle very well, with no strange quirks and a rounded profile that means the the front never feels like it's falling into corners. They spin up under acceleration easily, too. If you want a really twitchy feel you probably need something with a more triangular cross-section.
The profile is apparently more rounded than the Race series tyres that the Agilests (sorry again) have replaced, though that's more to fit better with today's wider rims than to influence steering response. They shaped up very neatly on my 19mm inner diameter/22mm OD rims, with a nice smooth transition that's no doubt aero enough to make me a stage winner (nope).
Our 28mm versions aired up to exactly 28mm, something I frankly found so weird I had to measure it again. They also come in 25mm and 30mm widths, and in another blow to cycling clichés, ours weighed slightly less than claimed: 245g each instead of 250g. What is the world coming to? Don't answer that.
At £59.99 these are par for the course when it comes to premium tubeless tyres. The Specialized S-Works Turbo 2BR 2Bliss Ready T2/T5 scored very highly in our test, for instance (if not as highly as in Scrabble) and is £55, while the 250g Vittoria Corsa N.Ext is £64.99 and excellent, according to Aaron's review.
Overall, these are lovely tyres – light and fast, confidence inspiring even on bad roads, tough enough to cope with winter, and easy to get onto modern rims. They also then sit with a very nice profile. If you're looking at premium rubber and happy to pay for it, they should have a place on your list.
Confident and predictable yet light and fast – plus they're tough enough for winter roads
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Panaracer Agilest TLR Folding Road Tyre
Size tested: 700 x 28
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 TLR is the Tubeless Ready model of the Agilest range. The 'Panaracer Ratio' is in full effect with this tyre. ZSG Agile Compound has been combined with the super supple Advanced Extra Alpha Cord to deliver a grippy low rolling resistance supple ride.
The bead has been designed with consideration around current rim profiles including hookless beads for ease of installation specifically around mounting and inflating.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well – they're confident and quick even in far-from-ideal conditions.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Pretty easy to fit, light, fast rolling but predictably grippy.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's bang on for mainstream premium tubeless.
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 are excellent: light, fast-rolling and grippy wet or dry, with a confident feel and neutral steering characteristics. They're also tough enough for winter roads and the price, if not cheap, is bang in line with the competition.
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,