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The Pirelli P Zero Race sits at the top of the firm's clincher range, and is designed as a 'race ready all-rounder.' Out in the real world, it feels fast, proves grippy for twisty criterium races, and is a competitive weight.
On test we have the 28mm width, but the P Zero Race is also available in 26mm and 30mm. These 28mm versions have a claimed weight of 225g, although we found them slightly heavier at 235g a piece. That's still very competitive for a 28mm tyre, though, and roughly the same as a Continental GP5000 (they often come in a little lighter than their 250g claimed weight).
The P Zero Race is the direct replacement for the P Zero Velo tyre we tested back in 2017. Those thoroughly impressed us with performance both in the dry and wet, and proved quick enough to race on – yet were more durable than most tyres of the same weight.
The new P Zero Race has lived up to expectations on my summer Roval Rapide CLXs, during both racing and training for a solid six weeks.
Fitting the tyres proved little hassle on both old and new wheels, and Pirelli provides a very comprehensive table of what width your tyres will actually measure on different rims – and what pressures it recommends too. On the pictured 19mm (internal width) Synchros rims the tyres measured exactly 28mm, just as promised.
Chucking the tyres straight in at the deep end, I headed off to a midweek crit. This particular circuit features a hairpin corner with no camber which proved the perfect opportunity to test dry weather performance.
Now, I am more than aware that cornering speed is far more dependent on confidence than grip, but for me this confidence is largely based tyre feel. I was quickly able to trust the Pirellis, and after a few pedal strikes and watching a few people sliding out in front of me, I was thoroughly impressed – and a few BC points richer.
The next few weeks seemed to contain endless wet training rides. When Matt tested the cheaper P Zero Road he was left wanting when conditions got damp, but the softer SmartEVO compound of this Race version grips well, even on slick tarmac. It's on a par with other top offerings I've used, such as the Goodyear Eagle F1 and Conti GP5000.
At £54.99 these are at the premium end of the market, but perform very well. It's a shame they're a full £15 more than their £40 predecessors, but they still manage to undercut the GP5000 (£59.99) while matching them for performance. The Goodyear Eagle F1, however, is usefully cheaper at £45, if a little bit prone to punctures.
With a 127 threads-per-inch carcass, the P Zero Race's road feel is extremely similar to the Goodyear and Conti options mentioned above. That's to say it's good, but not quite on the same level as the very best out there such, as the Vittoria Corsa Speed (which I reserve for racing only).
Pirelli has found a good balance between speed, grip, durability and puncture protection with the P Zero Race, which results in a tyre that's fit and forget for the summer season at least. I was more than happy both training and racing on these, as they don't feel fragile yet compromise very little in terms of speed or grip.
Great balance of grip, speed and durability in a race-ready clincher tyre
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Pirelli P Zero Race
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?
Pirelli says, 'P ZERO Race synthetizes the advantages of the tubetype technology in an all-rounder cycling tyre for high-intensity training sessions and races."
I found them excellent to both race and train on, and a good balance between grip, speed and durability.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Available in 26, 28, 30mm
28mm - 225g
TechBelt Road Carcass
Good but not phenomenal; 127tpi is decent but not class leading, though these are quite durable because of it.
Quite durable for a 'race' tyre, so better than many competitors in this area.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well: grip is good both dry and wet, road feel is also good and I didn't get any punctures. It fitted with ease, and Pirelli's mountain of charts for sizing and pressures are very useful.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
They don't feel fragile but are still fast and grippy, which means I can fit and forget rather than swapping tyres for racing and training.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not a lot to dislike. They're £15 more expensive than the P Zero Velo they replace, though.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
As mentioned in the review, they are at the expensive end of the market, but on par with similar performers. The Continental GP5000s are only slightly more, though the Goodyear Eagle F1s are usefully cheaper.
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 offer great performance and compromise very little in any of the key areas: grip, durability, puncture protection and rolling speed.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized venge pro 2019 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,
Jamie has been riding bikes since a tender age but really caught the bug for racing and reviewing whilst studying towards a master's in Mechanical engineering at Swansea University. Having graduated, he decided he really quite liked working with bikes and is now a full-time addition to the road.cc team. When not writing about tech news or working on the Youtube channel, you can still find him racing local crits trying to cling on to his cat 2 licence...and missing every break going...