Pirelli P Zero Race TLR tires - fast, durable and easy to mount

There are both faster and more robust tires than the P Zero Race TLR - but Pirelli's balancing of those two compeating demands is an excellent blend for racing

Pirelli P Zero Race TLR mounted on a wheel
(Image credit: Future)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

Easy to fit, super fast, grippy, with decent puncture protection. Although they come with a preimum price tag, it is at least in line with other top-end road tires. Less fragile than the very lightest of tires, the P Zero Race TLR provide peace of mind when racing on real world roads, without support vehicles.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Easy to fit

  • +

    Profile with wide rims is great

  • +

    28mm and 30mm compatible with hookless rims

  • +

    Faster than previous model

  • +


  • +


  • +

    Great grip in all conditions

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Not the fastest of fast when it comes to road race tires

  • -

    26mm not hookless compatible

  • -

    Price is high for tires

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

On July 20, 2023, Pirelli announced a recall of these Pirelli P Zero Race TLR tires in the size 28mm. You can find more information about the recall in our news story here and on Pirelli's website here.

Pirelli is an Italian tire company that has been the official tire supplier to Formula 1 since 2011. More recently, they moved back into the road and mountain bike markets, with high performance models being used by the Trek Segafredo World Tour teams.

Pirelli P Zero Race TLR: construction

Being the first of Pirelli's tires to be made in Italy (France is the usual country of manufacture), the P Zero Race TLR incorporates the brand's 'Speedcore' technology, which incorporates amarid fibres into the rubber of the tire to improve puncture protection without impacting rolling resistance. 

Also present is the new SmartEVO compound, which combines three different polymers into one compound to produce better grip and lower rolling resistance in all weather conditions. 

Advertised at 295g but coming in fractionally heavier at 296 and 300g, these are still lightweight race tires in the 28mm option. Fitted to Parcours Chronos wheels they measure 29mm in width. 

There are 26, 30, 32, 35 and a whopping 40mm also available - with the 28 and 30mm models being hookless compatible.

Pirelli P Zero Race TLR mounted on a wheel

(Image credit: Future)

They also come in different colours. For those who watch F1, these match those which denote several different tire compounds - but in the case of the bike tires, the difference is only aesthetic. Still, this means you can match the tires to your bike or, if you like, or go for a classic gum-wall option instead.

Pirelli P Zero Race TLR: the ride

Pirelli P Zero Race TLR mounted on a wheel

(Image credit: Future)

Fitting the tires was nice and easy. No tire levers or grippy gloves were required. I put them on a pair of Parcours Chrono wheels which have been optimised to work best with 28mm tires. However, this does mean that to maintain pressure you definitely need to use sealant, something I’m sometimes a bit lax with. My first ride required a few pump stops due to this error on my part.

Once sealed up and maintaining pressure, the first thing I noticed with these tires was how comfortable they made the bike. Potholes in the West Midlands are notorious, but the roads genuinely felt smoother with these fitted and the extra air in the tires. They also interfaced really well with the rims keeping a nice rounder shape and also not bulging over the edge of the rims. With regards to sealant, though, you need a decent amount - I initially didn’t put enough in the front and the air pressure still went down quite quickly. I do think a foam insert may be a good idea for added security.

As for speed, these tires feel fast! They feel a bit more supple than the Conti GP5000 that I have been using and the reduced rolling resistance of the 28mm tires over 25 appeared to help too. Rolling along the flats they felt rapid and ate up the tarmac leading to some higher average speeds for the same power, compared to what I normally experience. 

Riding out of the saddle on steeper climbs, even with some moisture present, resulted in no wheel slip and traction was great. Cornering-wise, the roundness of the tires allowed for a very consistent feeling of grip as I banked over on the bike, with the supple and grippy compound used inspiring confidence. For dry weather they feel as fast as any tire I’ve used and in the wet exceed that.

In terms of wear, there hasn’t been any noticeable flattening on the profile after a few hundred kilometers and impressively there have been no nicks or cuts from road debris yet. I have also not needed to plug any punctures as of yet, but that is as much as testiment to the sealant as of the tires. Even so, the lack of punctures is always a good sign

Pirelli has claimed that its new Italian production of the tires and the new compound results in a 24% improvement in 'smoothness' over their last tire in 28mm. However I have yet to find any conclusive testing which backs this claim up - and it is a big claim. 

The only comparison I could find was conducted by BicycleRollingResistance.com and they found an improvement of 1.1-1.2 watts saved compared to the previous Pirelli PZero tire (all conducted at 90 psi, 29kph, 42.5kg load). They also found the New GP5000 S TR was a bit quicker and the Vittoria Corsa Speed G+ 2.0 was the fastest - but that both were neither as grippy nor as protected against punctures. 

Pirelli P Zero Race TLR: value and conclusion

Pirelli P Zero Race TLR mounted on a wheel

(Image credit: Future)

At $99.90 / £78.99 per tire these are certainly a premium product, so it’s only fair to compare like with like. At $95.74 / £79.95 per tire, the Continental GP5000 S TR are similar value, but can be a pain to install. The fast but fragile Vittoria Corsa Speed TLR G2.0 tires come in at $102.12 / £75 with the regular Corsa being more durable, and a little slower, at the same price. The Specialized S-Works Turbo RapidAir T2/T5 comes in cheaper at $82.97 / £65.00, but does have fast wear. 

With the price of current top end road racing tires, the Pirellis sit comfortably in the range of many competitors - not great value but not bad value either. One thing that can be said for certain is that they perform brilliantly, are fast and comfortable, and (based on some independent testing) are less puncture prone and have better wear life than other fast race tires. This combination could result in a greater lifespan with better value as a result, but longer term testing would need to be conducted to confirm for sure.

The Pirelli P Zero Race TLR 28mm tires are a superb tire choice for those looking to make their bike as fast as possible. The easy installation means the fitting process is no longer something to be dreaded, while the speed, low rolling resistance, and brilliant grip are all apparent from the off. 

The promised improved lifespan and better puncture protection makes the price tag justified in-line with other top-end race tires. Although not the fastest available, the balance of speed and longevity as well as puncture protection offers the peace of mind not found with the most fragile and speedy race tires.

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Andy Turner