Pirelli P Zero Race 4S tyre review - fast, grippy and comfortable

It's never too early to start thinking about the rubber you're going to be riding when the rain finally comes - and these Pirellis should be at the top of your list

Pirelli P Zero Race 4S Tyres
(Image credit: Paul Grele)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

The decisions that Pirelli have made in the design of this tyre, between the materials used and compromises chosen, have led to a superb product that I enjoyed riding very much. It is priced competitively against the likes of Continental's Grand Prix 4 Season too. If you're after a fast, all-season tyre this is well worth considering.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Excellent grip

  • +

    Good weight for usage type

  • +

    Great all-round tyre

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Not tubeless compatible

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The new Pirelli P Zero Race 4S 700c tyres are are new, four-season variant that the Italian brand has just added to the relaunched P Zero clincher range (opens in new tab)

They have been designed for all-year-round riding and to provide great handling as well as high puncture resistance. 

They come in two widths - 26c and 28c - and are all 700c with a folding bead. The tyres on test (28-622) weighed 261g and 263g compared to the stated weight of 260g. They are also a tubed-only tyre, no messy tubeless sealant here!

Pirelli P Zero Race 4S Tyres


(Image credit: Paul Grele)

Construction

The Pirelli P Zero Race 4S tyres use a 120tpi casing with a TechBELT Road anti-puncture Aramid strip underneath the SmartEVO compound rubber that makes up the tyres' tread. As with all things a tpi (threads per inch) rating is a compromise. The lower the number (eg: 60) the more durable a tyre will generally be, but it is also likely to be heavier. less supple and therefore and less responsive. Conversely the higher the number (eg: 240) the lighter and more supple a tyre will be but at the expense of durability. 

So by choosing a 120tpi casing - which is relatively high for a nylon casing, beating the Continental GP 5000 (opens in new tab) (three layers of 110tpi) and Vittoria Corsa N.EXT (opens in new tab)(100tpi) and then adding the TechBELT layer to aid puncture resistance it should be possible to achieve the feel and durability of the tyre that you require. 

Pirelli uses SmartEVO compound, which is a single-compound mix using three different polymers to provide a balance which Pirelli claims solves the trade-off that traditional rubber compounds suffer from. In this way they aim to provide better grip and rolling resistance in any weather condition.

Pirelli P Zero Race 4S Tyre foled


(Image credit: Paul Grele)

The ride

I have been riding with these tyres since the colder weather of April 2022 until the heatwave in July 2022 and they have coped really well with a temperature range from 2-3 degrees up to 30 degrees, and no, I didn't try them on that 39.1-degree day.

They were very grippy/tacky to the touch upon fitting to a Borg26 (opens in new tab) wheelset.  I did wonder how that grippy feeling would translate into rolling resistance, particularly over time and temperature. Over the test period the grippiness has remained when touched, so it wasn't a surface treatment; rather down to the compound itself. Also interestingly, whilst I wondered whether the grip might translate to higher rolling resistance as the temperature rose, it hasn't felt as though it has. 

I found that these tyres rolled very nicely and gripped fantastically well, The ride is supple, comfortable and fast. They coped with washboard sections of road easily and softened the jolty vibrations that can occur with those surfaces. 

I wondered whether the feeling of speed and responsiveness that I like in the Borg26 wheels might be masked by a different set of tyres, but not at all. In fact I found that they complemented each other well. 

The Borg rim is 20mm wide (internally) and Pirelli uses a WAM (Width As Measured) system so that you know the actual width of the tyre when fitted beforehand. It's the first time that I've tried this: the prediction was around 28.5mm and I measured 28.2mm. This allowed it to fit in my frame etc nicely. Previously I had a Continental Grand Sport Race 28c tyre which came up to 30.5mm width when paired with the Borg rim, and unfortunately I had some rubbing as it was too wide. I like the WAM idea. 

Pirelli P Zero Race 4S Tyres view of the tread

(Image credit: Paul Grele)

I have been using the Continental Grand Prix 4 Season tyres for many years now and it's been my benchmark for a fast, comfortable, puncture-resistant, quality tyre for all-year-round use. I have to say that the Pirelli may have stolen its crown. Certainly if the last four months of use are anything to go by. I reserve full judgement after a full year's use though. Sometimes tyres go on to try out and whilst fine or good, you can't wait to put your old favourites back on. This time the P Zero Race 4S are staying put and will only be changed to test something else. I really appreciated the combination of fast, grippy and comfortable. 

Over the test period there have been no tears or splits to the tyre and I haven't had any punctures either. I noticed a small hole in the tread however, until I realised that it was a wear gauge! So all good.

I ran the tyres at the recommended 81psi from the 'Fine tune your performance' section on the box. A 28c tyre on a 15c rim for my weight range was 90psi then -9psi as I had it on a 20c rim. It certainly felt about right to me.