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The Pirelli P7 Sport is a grippy, robust and dependable tyre that's great for training and general riding – especially considering the price. It's a little heavy and fairly slow to accelerate, though, and its slight sense of sluggishness never completely goes away.
The P7 Sport is cheap, requires an inner tube (none of this fancy new-fangled tubeless action here) and promises to last an age – even on grim winter roads. The inevitable downside is, of course, that it's relatively heavy (310g) and noticeably slow to accelerate.
It's also not incredibly supple, thanks to its 60tpi casing and the thick protective belt under the tread. Pirelli calls this 'TechBELT casing technology', which sounds better than 'More Layers of Stuff technology', though it really is just another layer of stuff.
The rubber itself feels quite thick, too – the wear indicators are around 1.5mm deep, which might not sound much but translates to quite a lot of material once it's gone all the way round.
I found the extra layer of cut-resistant fabric stiff enough to make getting these on my wheels trickier than expected, simply because it wants to stay flat and pushes the beads out of the central channel. Once on and inflated, though, its presence is very reassuring.
Smack a sharp edge over a bad road repair, a stray stone or a sunken drain, and it noticeably dulls the impact in comparison to lighter tyres. Thorn and gravel-strewn backroads feel less risky, too – I suffered no punctures during testing, though of course some of that is luck.
Having started at the same pressure (90psi) as with my previous, quite similar tyres – a set of £20 Goodyear Eagle Sports – first impressions were of harshness. However, having realised I'd accidentally gone to 95psi I dropped to 85 and then 80psi on successive rides, by which point they'd improved to be perfectly comfortable – and with no detectable change in rolling speed.
Not that they seem to have much of that anyway. The resistance to acceleration over lighter tyres (even the Goodyears are lighter at 279g) is perfectly understandable, but I found the P7 Sport's slight feeling of sluggishness at constant speeds harder to fathom.
It really is only slight, though, and while I thought it was measurable on Strava after the first ride, the discrepancy seemed to disappear as time went on. The sensation of slight extra resistance, on the other hand, never did.
Still, as these are aimed at training and general riding, the extra effort is only going to do you good. That's what I've been telling myself, anyway...
Dry grip from the Pro compound is good, and I felt confident leaning it quite hard into bumpy corners – loading it up a bit reveals reasonable feedback, despite that stiff carcass (the tyre's, not mine).
It did take me a while to really trust it, purely because out of the box the tread is very shiny and slippery-feeling. It's presumably just releasing agent from the mould, and as always it wears off – if only after around 30 miles – but it made me wary. Nevertheless, I never had any moments or 'floaty' feelings of impending slides.
I found the P7s equally dependable in the wet, and again had no issues. Climbing grip is good even under deliberate provocation on farm-infested back lanes, and there's decent feedback as they start to struggle for traction. Wet cornering also feels predictable.
They steer very neutrally, which helps: the cross-section isn't so round on my 19.5mm ID rims that they lean in too slowly, and neither is it triangular or steep-sided enough to require extra bar pressure and angle to actually turn the bike (rather than just lean it over).
As well as the 28mm on test, it's also available in 24, 26 and 32mm widths.
At £25.99, it's not quite the cheapest as far as non-tubeless clinchers go, but it's not the most expensive either.
The aforementioned Goodyear Eagle Sport is just £20 and lighter, if not as well-armoured, while the Vittoria Zaffiro Pro V Graphene 2.0 is £24.99 but heavier even than this Pirelli. On the other hand, it's a little light on feedback.
Pirelli's own P Zero Road is more at £37.99, but it's much lighter, more supple and faster too – though Matt found its Evo compound rather lacking in the wet.
For a really supple, grippy, fast-rolling yet durable tubed tyre, it's worth looking at the Vredestein Fortezza Senso Superiore, but just one of those costs more than a pair of P7 Sports – they're £64.99 each.
The P7 Sport is a cheap yet confident and dependable tyre that's well suited to winter roads and filthy lanes. It's not especially fast and doesn't feel fast either, but at suitable pressures it's comfortable, neutral and well-placed to get you home every time.
Dependable, durable and predictable tyre that's great for winter – though it can feel slow
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Pirelli P7 Sport tyre 700x28
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: "The P7 Sport is the ultimate all-round training tyre. It was developed to give racers and everyday riders the same confident control as racing products while providing added durability."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
-The P7 Sport design is derived from the World Tour-ready P ZERO™ Race. It has more sipes to enhance the warming up and grip at lower temperatures.
-The PROCompound is an advanced rubber mix designed for high-mileage and durability without compromising wet grip.
-The P7 Sport relies on a 60tpi nylon casing structure with an added layer of cut resistant fabric under the tread to provide superior puncture protection.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Good – they're grippy and feel tough, though they're not the fastest or most supple things.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Predictable grip, neutral steering, robust feel.
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?
The Goodyear Eagle Sport is £20 and lighter, but that's because it's not as heavily armoured and not as potentially puncture-proof.
Alternatively, the Vittoria Zaffiro Pro V Graphene 2.0 is slightly less at £24.99, but it's heavier still and a little lacking in feedback.
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
Given its intentions, this is a good tyre. It's robust, predictable whatever the weather, and promises to last many miles (and with minimal punctures). It's heavy and feels a little sluggish, but that's the price of its protection – and the actual price is pretty inviting too.
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,