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Panaracer's Race D Evo 3 tyres feel confident in the turns and roll well enough, but don't appear to be wildly different to many other tyres with some kind of puncture resistance. Durability does seem very good, though.
The Evo 3s are an update to the Evo 2s tested on road.cc back in 2015 – the price is the same and the weight comparable too. The Evo 3 also gets the same 'hard in the middle, soft on the edge' tread compound which Panaracer is calling ZSG Dual Compound. The main difference with the Evo 3s is the way Panaracer is doing the puncture protection – something it calls 'Protite'. Rather than having a separate breaker strip layer in the tyre, the puncture protection is incorporated into the tread rubber. Panaracer claims this increases puncture protection by 25% and reduces weight. The claimed weight for a 25mm tyre is 260g whereas the Evo 2 came in at the same for a 26mm, so where that weight saving goes is not clear – perhaps on more rubber in the tread.
When it came to fitting, they were mounted to Stans ZTR Alpha 400 wheels and went on OK with two thumbs and no tyre levers, despite not looking like they would. On the rim and inflated, the profile is slightly raised in the middle, giving it a slight V rather than completely round. This means that harder compound area is also that little bit deeper to give plenty of durability, which is what that 'D' label is all about.
Out on the roads I've ridden them a good few hundred miles on a variety of surfaces, from lovely smooth tarmac to off-road excursions including some naughty rocky sections. As far as durability goes, there were a fair few cuts to the softer sides of the tread but nothing going in the middle, not even any visible flattening of the centre of the tread.
I can't really back up the puncture resistance claims as enthusiastically, though, and have had penetrative punctures front and rear on two separate rides through the lanes after the hedges have been trimmed. These occurred off the main centre line of the tread, to the side of that thicker, harder centre tread. Puncture resistance is something that's very difficult to judge anecdotally over the course of one test, whether you have any incidents or not. All I can really say is that they don't appear to be wildly different to many other tyres with some kind of puncture resistance in this regard.
One thing I have found, though, is that tyres without a breaker layer stiffening the carcass seem to ride a lot better than those with, both in terms of comfort and performance. Panaracer doesn't say exactly how or where the puncture resistance is incorporated into the tread but if it is a property of the material compound itself then its effects are going to be eroded as the tyre tread wears. Indeed, puncture resistance degrading as the tyre wears can be experienced markedly with most tyres, and it's a sure sign the tyres are ready for replacing when the punctures start coming frequently.
The ride performance of the Race Ds makes them suitable for year-round training and distance riding. They feel confident in the turns and roll well enough; if they were going to be any faster and lighter then there would be a sacrifice in durability and toughness so, like their predecessors, they achieve a nice balance for general use.
All-round all-weather tyres that ride very nicely and will last, but puncture resistance may not live up to the hype
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Panaracer Race D Evo 3
Size tested: 700x25C
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?
Billed as an all-round, all-weather training and racing tyre and seems to fit that well enough.
Distributor ZyroFisher says: "The all new Race Evo 3 Series promises to deliver the best possible performance from a premium road tyre. The Evo 3 improvements include better rolling resistance, greater puncture protection and increased durability. Whilst maintaining those Evo characteristics of great cornering grip and all weather consistency"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Features 'Protite', which is what Panaracer calls its puncture resisant material incorporated into the tread of the tyre, as well as ZSG dual compound which means softer rubber at the edges and a harder, more durable compound in the centre.
From Panaracer's website:
This is a completely new puncture protection material. Not only is the material more resistant to punctures AND lighter, it's incorporated directly into the tread layer. ProTite is also 25% more puncture resistant that our previous PT Shield and Belt.
ZSG DUAL Compound
Sticky for the turns and harder in the center. You'll find it on the tires used in the grand tours, classics and Pro-Tour events. ZSG Dual Compound delivers the best of both worlds in tire performance.
A solid and durable tyre that will do the duties all year round; the puncture resistant technology won't change your life but again no real complaints.
Durability seems to be the standout feature here, and they certainly stand up to the miles well.
Not class leading, but with their durability and puncture resistance it's a good balance.
More comfortable than tyres with thick breaker layers, these feel nice at lower pressures and don't squirm around.
Doubtless you'll find some deals out there on the web but at £40, if you are shopping on price, you may find more competitive offerings.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They rode nicely and performed well enough – puncture resistance seems no better or worse than others offering such resistance, but durability is very good.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I particularly liked the profile of the tyre, with thicker, harder compound in the middle. These haven't shown much sign of wear in the miles they have done so far and still have plenty of life left in them.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I wasn't overly impressed with the puncture resistance. I felt the need to take a couple of tubes out on rides. To be fair, they are about as puncture resistant as I would expect of any tyre of this type at this weight but the marketing suggested I could expect something better.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Probably, though I would be more and more tempted to go tubeless these days.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your score
A 'good' 7 for a tyre that does a great job all-round and really feels like it will last, but my confidence about initial puncture resistance has been a little too shaken to give it an 8.
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