We spotted these P Zero Race TLR SL pro road tubeless versions of Pirelli’s P Zero Velo road bike tires earlier this year as prototypes on the Mitchelton-Scott’s bikes in training. Now Pirelli has officially rolled out two versions – Race TLR & Race TLR SL, tubeless road tires that range from all-around road riding & training… to the lightest, highest-performance road racing tire Pirelli has ever made…
UPDATE: For the actual weight & width of the P-Zero Race TLR 28mm, jump to the bottom of the post.
Pirelli P Zero Race TLR & TLR SL lightweight tubeless road bike tires
We’ve been waiting since the P Zero Velo brought Pirelli back to bicycle tires in summer 2017 for a tubeless follow-up to those fast nano-tech clinchers. And apparently Pirelli has been working on these ever since.
Now it seems that both current road World Champions Annemiek van Vleuten & Mads Pedersen have been training on the new tires as they get set to return to racing (not to overlook Vincenzo Nibali, too). Developed together with Mitchelton-Scott & Trek-Segafredo, Pirelli says the new P Zero Race TLR tires are World Tour race-ready, and expects them to soon seen a racing debut, likely alongside their tubular version.
What’s new in tubeless Pirelli P Zero Race TLR tires?
Two versions of the new tubeless road tires are being offered. The Pirelli P Zero Race TLR is the all-rounder. Use it as a 4-season training tire or a fast-rolling yet durable race tire, with sizes from 24-30mm.
The Pirelli P Zero Race TLR SL takes it a step further as a road racing focused tire, with the same SmartEVO rubber but an even lighter & more supple reinforced casing construction, in sizes from 24-28mm. It is the “lightest and most performing tyre ever produced by Pirelli in its range dedicated to cycling“.
P Zero Race TLR – Tech details
The core of both the P Zero Race TLR & TLR SL is Pirelli’s latest SmartEVO rubber compound. Said to be an even more advanced compound than the original silica-infused SmartNet of the P Zero Velo line, this new formula mixes three different polymers to deliver better grip on both wet & dry surfaces, while also having low rolling resistance and good damping qualities.
Talk of almost ‘magic’ rubber compounds often seems like marketing hype. But, when I visited Pirelli’s super secret development lab three summers ago (they wouldn’t let me take any photos inside), it was clear that they convert their century of race tire development into proprietary rubber compounds that perform really well out on the road.
Beyond the chemistry itself, the two tires get distinct tread pattern differences as well. The Race TLR tire’s tread is based on the lightning bolt design of the original P Zero, alternating a simple sipe with each bolt to flex a bit for extra grip over irregular surfaces in a deep lean. While the Race TLR SL sticks with two simple grooves down its center, prioritizing straight line speed over cornering in less than perfect conditions.
Inside the construction of the tire the differences carry over – TechWall+ for the TLR (plus extra protection), and TechWall for the TLR SL. Both use supple multi-layer 120tpi tubeless synthetic casings with lightweight bead-to-bead anti-flat protection, but the heavier TLR also gets an extra puncture protection belt under the center of the tread.
Speaking of light weight, Pirelli calls these their lightest-ever road tires. Comparing a 24c TLR SL at 230g to the original 23mm P Zero Velo clincher at 195g (or the 210g 25mm), it’s clear that is meant to be a claim based on the lack of an extra inner tube. You will likely save weight if you were using standard tubes. But if you factor in something like a 23g Tubolito tube, it’s not really lighter, even before you add the weight of tubeless valves & sealant.
Pirelli P Zero Race TLR recommended tubeless tire pressure
Like we saw in van Vleuten’s prototypes, a key to road tire performance is the right pressure. And finally with more people adopting road tubeless, more riders are running lower pressures and tire makers are starting to offer more realistic pressure recommendations. Pirelli has done well with a helpful chart as a starting point here, factoring in rim width & rider weights.
They also say that for more comfort you should try to drop 0.3bar/5psi out of the front tire. For a more aggressive setup, match front & rear pressures. And when riding in wet or cold conditions to drop 0.3bar/5psi out of both tires.
P Zero Race TLR & TLR SL – Pricing & availability
The new tubeless Pirelli road tires are both available now. The P Zero Race TLR sells for $80 / 70€ per tire. They are offered in 24c (245g), 26c (270g), 28c (295g) & 30c (320g) versions.
The P Zero Race TLR SL is just a bit more expensive at $85 / 75€ per tire. The SLs are offered in 24c (230g), 26c (245g) & 28c (275g) versions.
Pirelli bases those sizes on us of a 17mm inner rim width for the 24c tire, and 19mm rim width for all others – using ETRTO standards. But they recognize that modern road rim widths are all over the place these days, so offer a helpful table to estimate real widths (width as measured, WAM) and real outer diameters (diameter as measured, mislabeled here as RAM or radius as measured like we saw with the 3T Exploro RaceMax debut).
Recommended pressure, rim combination, riding style, temperature impacts and more are all printed on the recyclable cardboard packaging of the tires to try to make setup as easy as possible for the end-cyclist.
Officially the Race TLR & TLR SL are available starting tomorrow July 28 globally, in bike shops and online Pirelli retailers.
Update: Actual Weight & Width of P-Zero Race TLR 700c x 28mm
To go along with the launch, we were sent a pair of the P-zero Race TLR tires in a 700c x 28mm size.
On the scale, these came in at 297g which is just 2g more than claimed. That’s quite good considering how widely production runs of tires can vary in weight.
To test, we mounted them up to an older set of Zipp 303 Firecrest tubeless wheels. These are not the new wider, hookless version, but the generation just prior. Mounting them tubeless was fairly easy. The tires slipped onto the rim with little fuss, and popped into place with a blast of air from a compressor. The rear did so with the valve core still in place, the front required the removal of the core for some added oomph. After the tires were seated, there was a bit of air leakage from a few pin holes around the bead, but doing the usual “panning for gold” method where you hold the wheel flat, and shake the sealant around on top of the leak (with leak point down), caused them all to seal up quickly. By the time we had put them back on the bike, we were able to inflate the tires to 75psi without any further leaking and finished the first ride without issue.
In terms of actual width, when the tires first got mounted to the 19mm internal width rims, they measured 27.83mm. By the end of the first ride, they had stretched to 28.82mm which puts them less than 1mm over the claimed width above. For reference, the 700c x 28mm Continental GP 5000 Tubeless tires mounted to the same rims measured 29.2mm by the time we removed them after many miles.
Overall, the P-Zero tires are exactly what we’ve come to expect from Pirelli. They mount easily, are true to size, and seem to have a fantastic ride quality and even better grip. Hopefully they prove to be fairly durable – if so, there’s no doubt that these are a great option for tubeless road.