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review

Zipp Tangente SLSpeed Tubular tyre

8
£76.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Large volume race tubs that are fast, supple and grippy. Save them for the dry though.
Weight: 
275g
Contact: 

At road.cc 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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Zipp were one of the first to start increasing rim width for aerodynamics so it's no surprise their Tangente SL Speed tubular tyres have followed suit. Low weight and supple casing means these things fly.

The Tangentes are designed to work with Zipp's own Firecrest wheels, which have wide-profile rims that are more rounded than traditional deep section wheels. Unfortunately I don't have a spare pair of Zipps kicking around but fitting the SL Speed to a similarly shaped rim shows a very rounded profile that mates neatly with the rim well and braking edge.

Seventy-six pounds is a lot for a bike tyre but for your money you are getting a top spec tubular with a weight of just 250g. They are easy to fit, sitting pretty much true as soon as you place them on the rim and pump them up. They only have a standard length 42mm valve but being designed for deep section wheels they come with a removable core to allow fitment of a proper extension. Not a lot of tubs have this option so it's a welcome addition.

The 320tpi cotton casing is very supple, which gives a beautifully smooth ride even when pumped up to the 130psi Zipp recommends for my weight.

The rubber is optimised for dry conditions and I'll concur with that, they are pretty skittish in the wet and doesn't make for an enjoyable ride. I wouldn't want to use a tyre this light in the wet anyway although you do get some puncture protection and it seemed to work over the test period as I picked up a couple of cuts without flatting.

Grip levels are good, with impressive lean angles being achieved without them feeling like they are going to break away. Wear rates are looking pretty good for the mileage they've done too.

The only real downside is how quickly they lose pressure, about 20psi over 24 hours front and rear at times. It's only really a major issue if you are doing 12 or 24-hour time trials or the like, but you will need to pump them before each ride.

Overall the Tangente SL Speed tubs are beautiful to ride thanks to that 320tpi casing and low rolling resistance. Grip is brilliant, in the dry at least, and they're surprisingly robust for such light tyres.

The price is steep but it's similar to the flagship tubs in Veloflex's or Vittoria's line ups which both offer similar weight and comfort although they are sold in 23 and 25mm options.

Verdict

Large volume race tubs that are fast, supple and grippy. Save them for the dry though.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Zipp Tangente SLSpeed Tubular tyre

Size tested: 700x27c

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?

Race tyres in a 27mm width to suit Zipp's own Firecrest rims although they'll work with other wide rims out there. They are great tyres though with a very supple ride.

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

*Intended use: Racing

Optimized for dry road conditions

*320 TPI cotton casing

*Puncture protection belt

*Rubber formulated for grip and acceleration

*24mm or 27mm widths

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
8/10
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
9/10
Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

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

The Zipp's are really nice tyres to ride all day thanks to the mixture of speed and performance.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The supple casing.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Having to pump them up before every ride.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

The Zipps are pretty much at the pinnacle of what makes a great race tyre. You get the balance of speed, grip and comfort even when pumped up to 130psi. The cost is prohibitive for daily use though and I'd keep them for dry race days only.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 36  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: Kinesis T2  My best bike is: Kinesis Aithien

I've been riding for: 10-20 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 road.cc, off-road.cc 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!

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