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Pirelli Cinturato Velo TLR Reflective



High-quality tyre for pretty much all weather conditions, keeping the puncture fairy away while rolling quickly
Sticky compound offers great grip
Impressive puncture belt
Good range of sizes
Not always the easiest to pop onto your wheels

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Pirelli Cinturato Velo TLR is a very good tyre, especially as we head into winter, offering plenty of wet weather grip while also providing loads of puncture proofing. This model also gets reflective detailing, ideal for dark rides now that the clocks have gone back. The small cost to the rolling resistance is worth it for the durability too. It doesn't quite squeeze into our best road bike tyres buyer's guide, but it's only half a star behind the two top choices for winter...

I'm a big fan of the SmartNET Silica rubber compound that Pirelli has used here on the Cinturato as it gives a very reassuring ride, especially in the wet. Like you'd find on many summer race tyres, it has quite a soft and tacky feel to it in your hands; it's nowhere near as hard as you might find on something like Continental's Gatorskins, for instance.

My initial test rides all took place in the dry and I didn't hesitate to chuck the bike into the bends as fast as I normally do straight away, such was the feedback and confidence I was getting back from the Pirellis.

The compound offers loads of grip, and I could really nail the bike flat-out through the local twists and turns or attacking fast roundabouts.

As the weather has turned showery and wet, the Pirellis have continued to impress. Obviously, you have to scrub off a bit of speed, but I haven't felt as though I've needed to back off too much when negotiating corners or traffic, as there still feels to be plenty of grip there.

Puncture protection

For puncture protection Pirelli uses what it calls Armour Tech, which consists of a high-density nylon layer covering from bead to bead along with an aramid breaker layer under the tread. Aramid fibres are also placed into the actual tread for added protection.

2022 Pirelli Cinturato Velo TLR Reflective.jpg

All of this means the Cinturato is quite a thick tyre, something I noticed while fitting them on to the wheel rim. As I was pushing the bead over the rim to get them seated it was noticeable how much extra material there is in the middle compared with a lighter weight summer race tyre.

Overall weight hasn't been massively affected, though, as they come in at around 363g each. Not hugely light, but acceptable for the protection levels.

I have spent plenty of time on the country lanes where the farmers have been having a field day covering them in hedge cuttings and the tyres haven't suffered any punctures at all so far. There are a few tiny little marks where things have tried, but to no avail.

This extra thickness and the inclusion of a breaker belt does mean the Cinturatos aren't the fastest rolling tyres out there, and if you ride them alongside something aimed at racing in the sun then you will notice the difference, especially under acceleration. If you aren't constantly swapping between bikes, though, it's unlikely you'll notice because in isolation the Pirellis don't feel sluggish. This time of year, I would definitely take puncture proofing over speed.

While we are talking about puncturing, it's worth mentioning that the Cinturatos are tubeless-ready, so you can fit them with an inner tube inside or on their own with sealant. They are also compatible with hookless rims.

If you ride in the dark a lot, I'd highly recommend this Reflective version of the Cinturato as the silver band around the outside of the tyre glows up brilliantly when light is cast upon them.

Other options are all black (£61.99) or black with a tan sidewall (£63.99).

I originally fitted them to the FFWD Tyro 2 wheelset I had in on test, and then to my own set of Hunt's Race Aero Superdura alloy wheels when the FFWDs went back.

2022 Pirelli Cinturato Velo TLR Reflective Fitted 2.jpg

As I mentioned above, they took a fair bit of thumb and lever pressure to get them over the side of the rim, but once on they sealed as a tubeless setup straight away with the use of an Airshot tubeless tank. I tested a previous version of these tyres back in 2020 and found that they didn't fit easily with just a track pump, but there are various options you can use to seat them if you don't have an inflation tank, as you'll find in our guide to fitting tubeless tyres.

Using them with an inner tube is a lot less faff (I ran them both ways) and once fitted they rode well, offering plenty of comfort. They feel reasonably supple too, considering their pretty low threads-per-inch count of just 66tpi and the fact that tubeless tyres require a more robust sidewall, which can deaden their feel a little compared to clincher only.

It's early days but wear rates don't look to be an issue. The rear is still fully rounded, and I've locked it up a few times under heavy braking.


Price-wise these 700 x 28mm versions (32mm and 35mm widths are also available, and 26mm in the other two colours) cost £66.99 each.

That's in the ball park of quality opposition such as Goodyear's Vector 4Seasons which have gone up to £64.99 since I tested them in 2020.

Many plump for Continental's Grand Prix 4 Seasons when they want to carry summer performance over to the winter months, and to do so will cost you £65.95 a tyre.

Simon tested those in 2020 and thought they were excellent (for £54.95), but tubeless compatibility isn't an option, if that's your thing, though they are a good 70g lighter.


On the whole, for everything but all-out racing the Pirellis do a great job, offering decent enough rolling resistance while being as tough as old boots. They aren't as well priced as they were just a couple of years back (that can be said for a lot of things), but they are still just about competitive against the high-quality opposition.


High-quality tyre for pretty much all weather conditions, keeping the puncture fairy away while rolling quickly test report

Make and model: Pirelli Cinturato Velo TLR Reflective

Size tested: 700x28

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?

From Extra, Pirelli's UK distributor:

Cinturato Velo is the tubeless-ready clincher tyre from Pirelli, crafted around protection and comfort, without compromising performances.

Reflective sidewalls increase safety at night and in low light conditions

Pirelli's experience and the reliability of SmartNET™ Silica technology combined with the tubeless-ready comfort and the resistance of the Armour Tech™ technology facilitated the creation of a new clincher tyre with a unique DNA, perfect for long-distances and various terrains.

Armour Tech™ construction (patent pending) combines various components, in order from inside to outside, which add to the 60 TPI Nylon casing underneath:

High density Nylon layer from bead to bead, which protects against cuts as well as improved stability at low pressure riding and contribute to make the carcass air tight when used with liquid sealant

High density waved aramid fiber breaker belt placed underneath the tread, which provides protection against punctured and sharp object cuts.

Aramid fibres dispersed into the tread rubber compound (SmartNET™ Silica) in two layers: an outer one (cap) which grants performances (dry & wet, mileage, contact feeling), an inner one (base) which, thanks to an higher gradient of those fibrils, slows down the penetration of foreign bodies towards underneath layers

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Extra lists:

Key Benefits

Reflective sidewalls


Good rolling resistance

Dry & wet grip,

Supreme comfort

Excellent puncture protection

Mileage longevity

Superior handling for extreme safety feeling.


Armour Tech

Smartnet Silica

Functional Groove Design

Ideal Contour Shaping

Tyre Sizes




Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
Rate the product for value:

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Offer plenty of performance even though they are loaded with protection for all-weather durability.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Very good puncture protection.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Quite a tight fit to get on some rims.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on

They cost pretty much the same as the Goodyears and Continentals mentioned in the review.

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

For the conditions they are designed for, the Pirellis do a very good job of combining durability with performance. The protection does add weight, but that doesn't really make a huge difference out on the road.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

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,

As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for, and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!

Add new comment


maxdabrit | 1 year ago

 A civil public discourse with a differing opinion backed by facts ( BRR numbers ) .Thank you everyone. 

ktache | 1 year ago
1 like

I had reflective sidewalls on some of my winter contis at some point, not very effective when running rim brakes for me, on alloys not the ceramic. The black gunk is very good at hindering the reflectivity.

Wouldn't mind some now that I use disks.

Jimmy Ray Will | 1 year ago

Go big or go home they say... in the case of this tyre, for me that mantra was a mistake. 

I'm running 35mm Cincurato's with a tubeless set up, and I have never experienced anything so lifeless and slow in all my cycling days. The gravel tyres they replaced roll noticeably faster!

I'll add that the grip is not awesome either. Don't get me wrong, its not bad at all, but I can't help feel that is from the sheer scale of the contact patch rather than the quality of the tyre compound. 

However, I've never had a puncture, and its nice not having to worry about every road blemish / pot hole, especially when riding at night, so the tyres remain... for now. 

In summary, you can have too much of a good thing, and despite what the marketers will tell you, at some point rolling resistance does increase as you keep adding width to a tyre. 

I'd be interested to see if say a 30mm would be a better winter compromise for me. 


mike the bike replied to Jimmy Ray Will | 1 year ago

I have the 26mm (the 28 was out of stock) and tis true, they are slightly wooden compared to many lesser tyres.  But they are magnificently, incomparably puncture proof and I really value that in these colder, wetter days.  And they grip well enough for this rather steady rider.

I realise that I have offended the puncture fairies and am prepared for the visitation of my first flat in two years.

Joe Totale replied to Jimmy Ray Will | 1 year ago
1 like

Bicycle Rolling Resistance have tested both the 26mm and 35mm tyre. It appears that it's a tyre sensitive to pressure and that the lower pressure that you run a larger tyre at does lead to significantly higher rolling resistance.

BRR does confirm though that it's one of the toughest tyres around so that's not just some marketing spiel from Pirelli.

It does alright on the wet grip test but so much of that is about how confident a rider you are in the wet IMO.

Secret_squirrel replied to Joe Totale | 1 year ago
Joe Totale wrote:

Bicycle Rolling Resistance have tested both the 26mm and 35mm tyre.

I had a quick google and got the impression that the 35 and 40mm were pretty much a different model marketed for Gravel?  Or is there a 35mm "road' too?

ChasP replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago
1 like

Yes the road version comes in 35mm but BRR put it in the gravel section due to the width. I've got them tubeless for clubrun/audax use and am pleased with the performance. They lose out a bit on smoother faster sections but give more speed and confidence on rougher roads.

a1white replied to Joe Totale | 1 year ago

incredibly they appear to be even more puncture resistant than Gatorskin Hardshells, with a better rolling resistance. Shame they are so eye-wateringly expensive.

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