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Pirelli P Zero Race TLR (Made in Italy)



Excellent ride quality, suppleness and grip – but these Pirellis are pretty pricey
Awesome grip
Very fast rolling
Very supple feel for a tubeless tyre
Nearly eighty quid a tyre!

At 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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This is the latest version of the Pirelli P Zero Race TLR, a tyre that Pirelli claims is a massive 24% smoother than its predecessor while also reducing the risk of punctures. Those are some big claims, and while difficult to prove away from the lab, they certainly feel impressive out on the open road. The only problem is that the performance isn't the only thing that has risen by a large percentage, the price has also been inflated by quite a degree...

If you're looking for other tyre options, check out our best road bike tyres buyer's guide.

I last reviewed the P Zero Race TLR in 2020 and was impressed – and I clearly wasn't the only one. The amount of brands that send in their high-end race bikes fitted with these tyres shows their wide-ranging appeal alongside the likes of the Continental GP5000 and Schwalbe's One.

2023 Pirelli P ZERO Race TLR (Made in Italy).jpg

That 24% increase in smoothness has been recorded in-house by Pirelli testing the old and the new versions in a 28mm size. I've also been running them both side by side – not a perfectly scientific test as the old tyre is 26mm, the new one 28mm, but I've tried to balance the pressures to make it as accurate as possible. And I'd definitely say the latest version is more comfortable on dimpled, broken sections of tarmac – and that's really saying something, as I was very impressed with the previous model.

That's because the biggest change to these new P Zeros is in the casing, creating a very supple tyre that can roll through the rough sections even at the higher tyre pressures I prefer.

> How to choose the best width road tyres for your riding

Early tubeless tyres didn't have a lot of feel to them when compared to something like an open tubular with a high thread count of around 300 TPI (threads per inch). Take a look at Jamie's review of the Challenge Criterium RS Handmade TR tyres if you want to know more about this.

2023 Pirelli P ZERO Race TLR (Made in Italy) Fitted 1.jpg

But tubeless tyres have improved over the years, with many now giving a ride quality similar to that of standard clinchers, especially at higher price points. These Pirellis take it to the next level though, exceeding their comparatively modest 120 TPI count.

Pirelli calls the casing SpeedCORE and, for the moment at least, Pirelli is only using it on this Race TLR tyre.

2023 Pirelli P ZERO Race TLR (Made in Italy) Fitted 2.jpg

Pirelli says that it's a unique design, which adds an aramid layer within the tyre's rubber, giving a more supple feel than the more common separate bead-to-bead aramid layer. You then get the nylon casing layers for added puncture protection.

I can't vouch for the effectiveness of SpeedCORE against punctures, as I tend to suffer very few punctures and, true to form, I suffered none during the review period.

Greater suppleness from a tyre also makes for greater speed, as the tyre spends more time in contact with the ground on rough road surfaces. We're not talking night and day differences here, but it's a subtle improvement over the earlier tyre, and one that's definitely beneficial if you like a lot of feedback from the road.

2023 Pirelli P ZERO Race TLR (Made in Italy) - boxed 1.jpg

Pirelli has stuck with the SmartEVO rubber compound, which I feel is a good thing. It's not as tacky to the touch as some tyres, but out on the road the grip is very good in both wet and dry riding conditions.

Their rolling resistance feels low, which in the real world makes them both fast and responsive.

> Video: Learn the easy way to change a tubeless tyre

The TLR logo highlights the fact these are tubeless, and I found them simple to set them up. The sidewalls don't leak sealant when they're first inflated, and once I'd done a quick five-mile loop to make sure everything was seated correctly and to fling the sealant around, they required little in the way of pressure top-ups.


So, it's all good news then, is it? Well, apart from the elephant in the room that is the price. These cost £78.99 each, which equates to £157.98 a pair, which is how most of us would use them...

But their performance is awesome, and close enough to justify buying over the £90 Challenge Criteriums I mentioned earlier.

The Continental Grand Prix 5000 AS TR tyres that I reviewed, the newest version of its GP5000s, are even more expensive at £89.95, so the price of the Pirellis isn't out of kilter with some of their competitors.

Aaron was massively impressed with the Vittoria Corsa N.Ext TLR tyres that he described as durable and fast-rolling, and they're a little cheaper at £69.99 each.

Steve liked the Panaracer Agilest TLR road tyres which are light and fast – plus tough enough for winter roads. In a 28mm size they are about 60g lighter than the Pirellis too, 245g vs 305g, and they cost just £59.99.


From a performance point of view Pirelli's P Zero Race tyres are awesome – fast, grippy and with a beautiful ride quality. They've a high price tag though, and there are less expensive alternatives out there that offer very similar performances.


Excellent ride quality, suppleness and grip – but these Pirellis are pretty pricey test report

Make and model: Pirelli P ZERO Race TLR (Made in Italy)

Size tested: 700x28C

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: designed for Performance, Speed and Grip. The SpeedCORE carcass is a thin airtight later of rubber compound with aramid particles that covers the internal part of the tyre. This construction allows greater flexibility of the rubber compound, creating a faster and more supple tyre with reduced rolling resistance, whilst the use of aramid allows for better puncture resistance. A 120tpi nylon fabric with an additional anti-puncture aramid breaker completes the carcass. The tread pattern uses the most advanced Pirelli SmartEVO compound for the highest level of performance. All these special features of the P ZERO Race TLR are skilfully crafted in Italy providing unique quality and superior performance. P ZERO Race TLR is designed for Performance applications during Spring, Summer and Autumn seasons."

A great performing road tyre, one of the best out there but for a price.

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

Compound: SmartEVO compound is the latest generation blend of smart polymers to provide maximum grip with a low rolling resistance allowing for maximum speed and control.

Casing: SpeedCORE is a cutting edge TLR casing technology with an inner layer of aramid compound plus an aramid breaker providing fast yet very comfortable riding.

Compatibility: Sizes 26-622 and below are not compatible with hookless rims - Sizes 28-622 and above are compatible with hookless rims subject to ETRTO 5bar/73psi max pressure limitation.

Made in Italy

Sizes: 26mm, 28mm, 30mm

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
Rate the product for value:

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

A great road tyre in terms of ride, grip and rolling resistance.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Their very supple road feel.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

At a smidge under £80 these are very expensive.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on

They are not to dissimilar to the latest offering from Continental, or the Criterium tyres mentioned in the review, but there are many high-performance tyres that cost less, such as the Panaracers also mentioned.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes, if they were discounted.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

They are hard to fault in terms of performance and they are easy to set up – but it's a lot of money for the marginal gains.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

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,

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, 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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G1989 | 1 year ago

Pogi don't rate Pirelli:

Now Uae ride Continental

Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
1 like

That certainly is a pricey RRP, but if anyone does fancy them many online retailers including Merlin, Tredz and Tweeks have them for around £50.

bobbinogs | 1 year ago

Tubeless tyres are still a solution to a problem I don't have.

ErnieC replied to bobbinogs | 1 year ago

Good for you, best to skip all the articles on tubeless tyres then. 

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