It’s been four years since Pirelli returned to cycling with their P Zero road race tires. And now those original clinchers get many of the same tech updates that have popped up in the years since on pro tubulars, then road tubeless tires. Now those riding clinchers and inner tubes get the same upgrades to rubber compound, casing, and bigger sizes…
Pirelli updated P Zero Race & Road clincher road tires
Four years ago, I visited Pirelli’s factory and racetrack proving grounds to get the inside line on their P Zero Velo road bike tires. Those clinchers have been popular, but now road riders that use tubes get some updated tech – and a bit of renaming to keep everything simple & consistent.
The original race-targeted P Zero Velo, now becomes the P Zero Race.
And the original four-season P Zero Velo 4S, now becomes the P Zero Road. And the new P Zero Road adds an affordable all-rounder alternative, while the original four-season P Zero Velo 4S carries on for wet & cold training. The lightest, no protection P Zero Velo TT tire isn’t gone though, even as ultimate speed & low rolling-resistance seem to definitively favor tubeless now.
What’s new? Tech details
First up, the new P Zero Race gets new SmartEvo Compound rubber. Always one of Pirelli’s strong points based on their motorsport’s experience, the new rubber again blends three “functionalized polymers” into the mix to deliver improved grip with low-rolling resistance. It sounds like the same type of secret sauce, nanotech mixture as before, with Pirelli simply claiming more incremental improvements by using the same top-spec rubber & tread design as in the newest tubeless P Zero Race TLR tires. The P Zero Road tires get simplified with a new Evo Compound rubber blend that prioritizes longer wearing.
Next up, the tires get wider. More than just bigger sizes, Pirelli has updated the new road clincher tires to work with more modern rims. Based now with a hooked 19mm internal ETRTO 19c rim, each tire gets a wider tread for the same casing size, designed now around a shorter, wider contact patch. The new 19c-based P Zero Race now comes in 26, 28 & 30mm sizes, with the tires themselves being about 1-2mm wider than the original 23, 25 & 28s on their original 15c design rim.
Interestingly, the new P Zero Road is based on an ‘in-between’ size 17c rim, presumably on the thinking that the more endurance-focused tire will end up on older bikes with narrower rims perhaps? Update: Pirelli confirms that they anticipate the lower-priced P Zero Road tires will likely end up as a popular choice for older, narrower wheel and road bikes with less tire clearance, hence the 17c rim choice. In that case, the P Zero Road comes in smaller 24, 26 & 28mm sizes (that would actually measure out at 25, 27 & 30mm on a 19c rim.)
Lastly, there are new casings, with some wider footprint-specific updates, too. Here the tire construction is all-new, featuring a lightweight, vulcanized 120tpi nylon casing designed to be used with an inner tube. Inside both Race & Road tire, the aramid fiber TechBelt Road puncture protection gets wider too to cover the tire profiles newly made wider by those wider rims.
Pirelli says that dialing in fit to your road rims and ideal pressure is more important than ever with the wide variation in wheels and riding styles of modern road riders. So to get the most performance out of their new P Zero tires, Pirelli is quite helpful by providing detailed charts on their packaging and easily found on their website to dial in your setup. From real expected WAM (width as measured) & RAM (outside tire radius as measured) to pressure recommendations, Pirelli makes it easier to know what you are getting, and get the most out of a new set of tires!
Pirelli P Zero Race & Road clinchers – Pricing, options & availability
The top-tier Pirelli P Zero Race clinchers are available in 26, 28 & 30mm widths for $70 / 60€ per tire (measured on a 19c rim) at claimed weights of 205g, 225g & 245g, respectively. They are offered standard in all-black with white logos, or now also with a Classic brown sidewall and black logos.
Special color editions are expected later in the year for the 26 & 28mm versions, adding yellow or red logos to the blackwall edition.
Intended as more of an all-rounder or training tire, the black-only $50 / 40€ Pirelli P Zero Road clincher tires come in 24, 26 & 28mm widths (measured on a 17c rim) at claimed weights of 215g, 235g & 255g, respectively.
Both versions of Pirelli’s new P Zero Race & Road clincher tires are already available now, in bike shops and online through Pirelli retailers.