Pirelli, one of the greatest players in the car and motorcycle tire market, has made a comeback into the bicycle tire market and released a full range of high-end road bike tires. This is big news because 80 to 90% of a bicycle tire's performance is determined by the rubber compound. Pirelli has a long history of developing tires for motorcycles and cars that consistently come out on top in tests performed by independent institutions.
The new range of Pirelli road bike tires consists of three tires. The first and most all-round tire is the Pirelli P Zero Velo that can be seen as a direct competitor to popular tires like the Continental Grand Prix 4000S II. The second tire is an ultra-light time-trial tire: Pirelli P Zero Velo TT. The third is an all-season version with a compound that's optimized more towards cold and wet conditions: Pirelli P Zero Velo 4S.
I've tested all 3 of these tires, check the reviews below to go to the particular tire's review and test results. You can also compare all 3 of the new Pirelli tires side by side in the comparison section of this website.
Pirelli P Zero Velo review
Pirelli P Zero Velo TT review
Pirelli P Zero Velo 4S review (this)
Compare: P Zero Velo Vs P Zero Velo TT Vs P Zero Velo 4S
Pirelli P Zero Velo TT overview
The P Zero Velo 4S can be recognized by the blue markings on the sidewall which to me looks good for a tire optimized for colder and wetter conditions. The construction of the P Zero Velo 4S is very similar to the regular P Zero Velo, the all-weather compound, of which a slightly thicker layer is applied to the tire, seems to be the only change. The 127 TPI casing and layer of aramid fiber under the tread to protect against punctures appear to be the same.
Just like the P Zero Velo, the P Zero Velo 4S is available in the 23-622, 25-622, and 28-622 sizes. When going for a tire like the 4S, rolling resistance probably isn't the most important thing you're looking for, but it's still good to know they didn't forget that bicycling is a human powered sport and you want both good grip and a decent rolling resistance!
|Model||P Zero Velo 4S|
|Tire Type||Tubetype (clincher)|
|Supplied By||Bought in store|
|New or Used||New|
|Compound||SmartNET Silica 4S|
|Specified Weight||220 grams|
Size and Weight Measurements
|Size and Weight Measurements (Bike Wheel: 622x17C, Pressure: 100 psi / 6.9 bar)|
|Specified Weight||220 grams|
|Measured Weight||220 grams|
|Measured Width||27 mm|
|Measured Height||25 mm|
|Total Tire Thickness Center||2.9 mm|
|Total Tire Thickness Sidewall||0.65 mm|
Weight. My sample of the 25-622 P Zero Velo 4S comes in at 220 grams which is spot on to the specified weight of 220 grams.
Size. On my 17C rim, at an air pressure of 100 psi / 6.9 bars, the maximum width of the tire is 27 mm and the height of the tire is 25 mm.
Tire Thickness. The 4S version of the Pirelli P Zero Velo is very similar in construction to the regular P Zero Velo. With a tread thickness of 2.9 mm and a sidewall thickness of 0.65 mm, there is a slightly thicker layer of rubber on the 4S.
Rolling Resistance Test Results
|Rolling Resistance Test Results (Speed: 29 kmh / 18 mph / 8 m/s, Load: 42.5 kg / 417 N)|
|Inner Tube||Conti Race28 (100gr butyl)|
|Rolling Resistance 140 psi / 9.7 Bar||
CRR: Not Tested
|Rolling Resistance 120 psi / 8.3 Bar||
|Rolling Resistance 100 PSI / 6.9 Bar||
|Rolling Resistance 80 PSI / 5.5 Bar||
|Rolling Resistance 60 PSI / 4.1 Bar||
|Use the formula: RR (watts) = CRR * speed (m/s) * load (N) to calculate rolling resistance at a given speed and load|
Rolling resistance of all weather tires is hard to predict as it depends on how much the compound has been optimized towards grip under wet and cold conditions. The Pirelli P Zero Velo 4S does well in the rolling resistance tests with a rolling resistance of just 14.7 watts at 120 psi / 8.3 bars. Compared to the regular P Zero Velo, you're only losing somewhere between 2.5 and 3.0 watts of rolling resistance which really isn't all that bad.
Compared to all season tires from the competition, the P Zero Velo 4S performs very strong in the rolling resistance test. The main competitor is the Continental Grand Prix 4 Season (read review) that has a higher rolling resistance but comes with extra tread puncture protection and protected sidewalls as well. If you're looking for a fast all season tire that is similar in construction to summer tires, but you only want an all season compound with no extra protection, the P Zero Velo 4S seems to be the best choice.
Puncture Resistance Test Results
|Puncture Resistance Test Results (higher is better)|
|Puncture Resistance Tread||13|
|Puncture Resistance Sidewall||5|
The P Zero Velo 4S is very similar in construction to the regular P Zero Velo. This means that in the puncture resistance tests, both tires score very close to each other. In both the tread and sidewall puncture tests, the 4S scores slightly (1 point) better than the regular P Zero Velo which probably can be attributed to the higher tread and sidewall thickness.
The Pirelli P Zero Velo 4S is an all weather tire that is similar in construction to regular all-round summer tires. Rolling resistance is a bit higher because of the use of an all weather compound that is optimized for cold and wet conditions. If you're looking for a fast all weather tire, but don't need the extra protection that most all weather tires offer, the P Zero Velo 4S is the best all weather tire on the market at this moment.
It would be nice if Pirelli added a P Zero Velo 4S Protection with an extra layer of puncture resistance material from bead to bead as that would compete directly against the Conti 4-Season. For now, it looks like Pirelli did a great job with the new P Zero Velo tires as they cover 95% of the premium tire market with just 3 tires.
TEST VERDICT: Highly Recommended