The Pirelli P Zero Race TLR tyre is a bit more of an all-rounder than the SL version, with increased puncture protection, but retains the same levels of excellent grip and rolling resistance. It's a race tyre for those who don't race, if you like.
Jamie tested the SL version of this tyre recently and was, overall, pretty impressed. I'd say these standard Race models are a better buy, though, if you don't mind carrying a few extra grams – and anyway, that added weight comes with the benefits of better puncture protection.
The SLs weighed 236g on the road.cc Scales of Truth whereas these are 273g, so 74g extra for a pair – not exactly the kind of difference that you are going to notice. The majority of that extra weight comes down to the fact that these Race TLRs have a puncture breaker belt that sits beneath the rubber. If you look at the cross-section images on Pirelli's website, you'll see that the SL does away with this.
They share the same compound and carcass construction, so the ride quality isn't impacted much.
The SmartEVO compound isn't as soft and tacky as some but it does offer very good grip levels. I've ridden them a few hundred miles on a mixture of wet and dry roads and found them to give plenty of confidence when banking the bike over at speed.
Durability is good too. They barely look as though they've been used, to be honest, and have kept their rounded profile, so no signs of wear yet.
The TechWALL 120TPI (threads per inch) carcass is supple for a tubeless tyre, and having them pumped up to my preferred high pressures still gave a forgiving ride in relation to some other tubeless tyres I've ridden, such as the Ere Research Genus.
The give in the carcass also allows for plenty of feedback to come up through from the road, so you know what is going on beneath you.
Rolling resistance feels low as well. They feel fast as they fly along the tarmac and you can carry that speed into the bends because of the grip levels, which makes for plenty of efficiency.
The TLR part of the name tells you that these Pirellis are tubeless-ready, and fitting them to a range of wheel widths saw no real issues. A blast from the pump's storage tank saw the beads pop snugly against the wheel rim, and they took a minimal amount of sealant to plug any gaps.
The sidewalls don't seem to be porous at all, as there was no sealant leaking through after installation, and I haven't had to top the pressures up much either.
The Pirellis come in four different sizes – 24mm, 26mm, 28mm and 30mm, with the upper three all being compatible with the latest hookless rims. It's worth noting that the 24mm isn't, though.
Priced at £59.99, these are up there with many of the top-end tubeless tyres. That's the same price as the excellent Michelin Power Road Tubeless, which has a very grippy compound and low levels of rolling resistance.
Another high-quality contender at this price point is the Maxxis High Road Tubeless. That one sticks in my mind because of how supple the 170TPI casing felt.
One of my favourite tubeless tyres of the moment, though, is the Hutchinson Fusion 5 Galactik which costs just £44.95. You are limited to a 25mm width only, though.
Overall, the P Zeros are up there in terms of performance with a lot of the top-end tyres. Yes, they are at the upper end of the price scale but they are a good investment if you want to ride fast without sacrificing durability.
Pricier than some but you do get a fast, grippy and durable tubeless road tyre for your money
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Pirelli P Zero Race TLR
Size tested: 700Cx26
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 TLR synthetizes the advantages of the tubeless technology in an all-rounder cycling tyre for high-intensity training sessions and races.
'The TechWALL+ Road carcass improves reliability against punctures without affecting the weight of the tyre while the special SmartEVO Compound enhances the grip performances both on wet and dry asphalt compared to our previous cycling compounds."
The P Zero Race TLR brings all the performance of a race tyre without sacrificing durability or decent puncture protection.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The tread pattern of P ZERO™ Race TLR is an evolution of the design of P ZERO™ Velo: several seasons of research and developement on the roads of the World Tour led to a new design that enhances the behaviour of the bicycle in every weather condition.
SmartEVO Compound is a new formulation that enhances the already excellent performance of our previous road cycling compounds. The experience of motorsport competitions and World Tour winner input led to our best road cycling compound ever.
The new tubeless-ready carcass engineered to resist punctures without affecting the weight of the tyre. A strong yet supple structure formed with multiple cut resistant layers.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It is a good tyre for those who want to ride fast without having to use a lighter tyre that might not be as reliable or durable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
A good balance of perofrmance and durability.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
If you can swallow the price, then nothing really.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They hold their own against tyres from Maxxis, Michelin and others, although the Hutchinsons mentioned in the review offer impressive performance for a lot less money.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, especially if you can get them a bit cheaper.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a very good all-round fast training/race tyre that delivers performance across the board, even taking into account the premium price.
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!