Panaracer claims its Race C Evo 3 Classic Folding tyre offers the best possible performance from a premium road race tyre. This latest version is said to offer better rolling resistance and greater puncture protection while maintaining impressive cornering grip in all weathers. The holy grail then, but do you know what? They do a pretty damn good job.
Last year I tested the 'L' version of this tyre, which stands for Light, with Panaracer saying they were ideal for race day – especially the likes of time trials and hill climbs. I was very impressed and still am, even after they have seen plenty of miles over various conditions. The 'C' version we have here follows a very similar theme, being around the same weight but with a more classic look with their tan wall construction.
Performance-wise they are some fast feeling tyres. At 205g front and rear, they certainly don't hamper acceleration or climbing in the hills.
Panaracer has used its ZSG compound for the grippy bit of the Evo 3s and while the company doesn't go into much detail of what components make up the mix, it has a very tacky feel to it, even when the tyres are sat in the box.
Cornering is impressive; you can push them hard into the bend and really feel the compound gripping the tarmac. In the dry you can take sharp, off-camber corners with plenty of speed without fear of them slipping out from beneath you.
In the wet things are pretty good too. They didn't feel skittish on damp surfaces like some tyres I've ridden, and if they are going to break traction you get quite a bit of feedback so you can feel it coming rather than having them just snap away without warning.
Puncture protection was my only original concern with these tyres, because even with the rubber and carcass mixed together these are not thick tyres. Panaracer has added its Protite belt for protection beneath the tread, and the casing uses the same AX-Alpha cord casing found on the Race A (All round) Evo 3 option.
I did pick up one puncture from a thorn after riding near a recently cut hedge, but other than that I haven't had any issues on various wet days riding around the lanes.
The Race C is available in a 28mm width and this 26mm, although neither looks to be available in a tubeless version if that's your thing.
One thing that might worry some is that stamped on the tyre is a recommendation to keep the tyres inflated to 105psi, which is going to be too high for most. I tried them at various pressures from 80 to 110psi and noticed no issues with how they rode or stayed on the rims.
Overall, the Panaracers offer a very supple ride with plenty of grip and are reasonably robust for their design against the competition.
Fast rolling race tyres with plenty of grip that can also take a bit of abuse
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Panaracer Race C Evo3 Classic folding tyre
Size tested: 700x26
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?
Panaracer says, "The all new Race C Evo 3 promises to deliver the best possible performance from a premium road race tyre
"A classic tread pattern, this lightweight tyre has been developed with a focus on control and ultimate performance centred around the same AX-Alpha cord casing used on out popular Race A EVO 3. 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."
They are impressive all-rounders.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Excellent all season race tyre
* ZSG Compound
* Classic file tread / mixed tread design for great tyre feel and control
* AX-Alpha cord casing
* New proprietary Protite belt puncture protection
* Improved cornering performance
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A great tyre for riding fast without having to worry too much about punctures.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Excellent grip levels.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
No tubeless option.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Compared with a lot of this style of tyre on the market, they are well priced.
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
A good all-round balance of great racing performance without being fragile, at a good price. Shame they aren't tubeless ready.
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!