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9th June 2020 EDIT: We've had an issue with the rear tyre where the tread has begun pulling away from the casing. We have contacted Wolfpack for their response and will be updating the review accordingly.
10th June 2020 EDIT: Wolfpack said: "it’s something that Wolfpack is aware of and working with the factory to find a permanent solution. As with any new brand or product there can be some teething issues. If a customer had this issue it is covered fully under warranty."
We have amended the scores to reflect this.
Wolfpack's Road Race Cotton Tyres are supple and grippy. The ToGuard compound is very good, providing a fast ride with surprisingly good wear rate, but the price will make them race-day only options for many riders.
Wolfpack is a relatively new name in the bike industry and there was quite a bit of excitement when its tyres were first spotted. Well, tyre nerds like myself got excited and it was all because the person who had designed the new ToGuard compound, Wolfgang Arenz, had previously designed very good compounds for the likes of Continental and Schwalbe.
The Road Race Cotton tyre is, as the name might suggest, a tyre aimed at road racers. It's a lightweight clincher tyre with a thin strip of rubber mounted on a high 320TPI (threads per inch) cotton casing.
I set them up on a pair of Prime Black Edition 60 carbon disc wheels (19mm internal) with latex inner tubes, and the 26mm size that I have here measured up at 27.3mm when inflated to 60psi. With this setup, I found the ride to be fast and comfortable, the supple casing helping to smooth out the rough roads.
The tyres were very easy to install thanks in part to the supple casing, and I was able to roll them onto the rim without using tyre levers.
While some tyres take a bit of getting used to, I quickly felt comfortable throwing the bike into fast corners. The tyres performed well in dry and wet weather, though I'm yet to test them out in races.
Given the supple feel of the rubber, I've been surprised by the high resistance to wear. The Race Cotton tyres have dealt with the rough local roads well and while I always put punctures down to luck, the tread is showing very little wear with no major cuts. For a race tyre, it's very good.
The ToGuard rubber compound is, according to Wolfpack, designed with puncture protection built into the compound itself, thus eliminating the need for a protective strip under the rubber.
That also helps to keep the weight down, with one 26mm tyre weighing 233g on the road.cc scales. That provides a slight weight saving over the 26mm S-Works Turbo Cotton (240g) and Vittoria's Corsa G2.0 (257g).
According to Wolfpack, tyres with its ToGuard compound 'absorb less deflection energy, providing reduced rolling resistance from all other tyres using his previous compounds'. While they are certainly speedy tyres, Wolfpack doesn't provide any data.
Right now, you're limited to three tyre choices in the road range: the Race, Race Cotton and Race Tubular. There's no tubeless option yet and sizes are limited to 24mm and 26mm, though hopefully, we'll see the range grow.
At £64.99, these are premium tyres and many will want to save them for nice weather and their best bike. They are up against some very good and slightly cheaper options in the form of the S-Works Turbo Cotton at £61, Vittoria Corsa G2.0 at £54.99 and Continental's GP5000 at £60.
All in, the Wolfpack Road Race Cotton Tyres are a very good option for a fast road setup. The ToGuard compound seems to hold up well, even on rough roads, and offers great cornering grip and a fast ride.
Fast, grippy and supple – but these premium road race tyres have issues
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Wolfpack Road Race Cotton Tyres
Size tested: 26mm
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?
Wolfpack says: "Wolfgang Arenz has developed many award-winning racing tyres in recent years and now combines all his know-how in the new Wolfpack Race Cotton tyre. The cotton carcass of the Race Cotton is even more supple compared to a nylon carcass, thus reducing rolling resistance. The ToGuard rubber compound in combination with the supple Cotton carcass and the aerodynamically optimized profile make the Race Cotton one of the best tyres in its class."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Maxim Pressure 125 psi / 8.5 bar
tubeless ready: no
220gr (24mm) / 230gr (26mm)
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The tyres are great for fast road riding, with very good grip and a fast, smooth ride.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I felt instantly confident throwing the bike into corners. There's plenty of grip on wet and dry roads.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The price is quite high, but this is a premium tyre.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Marginally higher than the S-Works Turbo Cotton (£61) and a tenner more than the Vittoria Corsa G2.0s (£54.99).
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
Fast and grippy, but not as robust as I first thought.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. After joining the road.cc staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.