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 independant 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 three of these tires, check the reviews below to go to the particular tire's review and test results. You can also compare all three 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 (this)
Pirelli P Zero Velo 4S review
Compare: P Zero Velo Vs P Zero Velo TT Vs P Zero Velo 4S
Pirelli P Zero Velo TT overview
The P Zero Velo TT is one of the lightest tires on the market. With a specified weight of just 165 grams in the 23-622 size (only available size), this is a direct competitor to the Continental Grand Prix SuperSonic (read review) which pretty much is the benchmark in the ultra-light category. To get to this ultra low weight, Pirelli uses a 127 TPI casing with a very thin layer of rubber and skipped the use of any form of puncture protection. The P Zero Velo TT can be recognized by the red markings on the sidewall.
Be aware when going for a tire like the P Zero Velo TT or Conti SuperSonic that these tires are no-compromise tires obtimized solely to provide the lowest possible rolling resistance. If you're just a weekend warrior, just grab the all-round versions of these tires as they are just a little bit slower yet provide much better puncture resistance and mileage. If you're looking for the absolute fastest and lightest tires for a TT, you've come to the right place, scroll down to see all test results.
|Model||P Zero Velo TT|
|Tire Type||Tubetype (clincher)|
|Supplied By||Bought in store|
|New or Used||New|
|Specified Weight||165 grams|
|Available Sizes||23-622 (700x23C)|
Size and Weight Measurements
|Size and Weight Measurements (Bike Wheel: 622x17C, Pressure: 100 psi / 6.9 bar)|
|Specified Weight||165 grams|
|Measured Weight||163 grams|
|Measured Width||25 mm|
|Measured Height||22 mm|
|Total Tire Thickness Center||1.7 mm|
|Total Tire Thickness Sidewall||0.6 mm|
Weight. The P Zero Velo TT is only available in the 23-622 size as that apparently still is the most popular size in this segment. The specified weight is 165 grams which is a bit more than the Continental Grand Prix SuperSonic that has a specified weight of 150 grams. Unlike the Conti SuperSonic, which in reality comes in closer to 180 grams, the P Zero Velo TT is lighter than the specified weight at just 163 grams!
Size. Just like the P Zero Velo that I've tested in the 25-622 size, the P Zero Velo TT is 2 mm bigger than the specified size. On my rim, at an air pressure of 100 psi / 6.9 bars the 23-622 Velo TT measures 25 mm wide and 22 mm high.
Tire Thickness. As expected of a no-compromise time trial tire, the total thickness of the tire at the center of the tread is very low. With a tread thickness of just 1.7 mm, the Velo TT is slightly thinner than the Conti SuperSonic and much thinner than most all-round tires that mostly come in between 2.5 and 3.0 mm. The sidewalls have a thickness of 0.60 mm which is similar to most other road bike tires with high TPI casings.
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|
The P Zero Velo TT is a tire optimized to provide a low rolling resistance which means the rolling resistance tests should be its natural habitat. After running this tire through all of our tests, it definitely doesn't disappoint!
At the high air pressure of 120 psi / 8.3 bars, the Velo TT performs equally good as the Conti SuperSonic (read review) with a rolling resistance of just 10.2 watts. At the lower air pressure of 80 psi / 5.5 bars, the Velo TT is even able to outperform the Conti SuperSonic by 0.3 watts with a rolling resistance of just 12.2 watts.
For a first try, Pirelli did a great job with the Velo TT as outperforming the Continental Grand Prix SuperSonic in the rolling resistance tests isn't easily done. If you like the SuperSonic, the new Pirelli time-trial tire definitely is worth a try.
Puncture Resistance Test Results
|Puncture Resistance Test Results (higher is better)|
|Puncture Resistance Tread||7|
|Puncture Resistance Sidewall||4|
With the very thin tread and no anti-puncture belt under the tread, not much can be expected in the puncture tests. In the tread puncture test, the P Zero Velo TT scores a very low 7 points which is the same as the Conti SuperSonic, but much lower than more all-round tires that mostly come in at 11-12 points. In the sidewall test, it scores 4 points which is a typical score for a high TPI road bike tire.
The Pirelli P Zero Velo TT is a true time-trial tire with a very low weight, low tread thickness of just 1.7 mm, low puncture resistance, and a very low rolling resistance. If this is what you're looking for in a tire, the new P Zero Velo TT definitely is worth a try. It looks like Pirelli hit the sweet spot with their entire range of P Zero Velo tires as they definitely deliver on what is promised.
The big rival of the P Zero Velo TT is the Continental GP SuperSonic (read review). The problem with the SuperSonic is that it can be very hard to find in stock and the real weight of store bought tires is closer to 180 grams than the specified 150 grams. My sample of the Velo TT, which is also a store bought tire, came in a bit lighter than the specified weight making it a lighter tire than the SuperSonic. On top of the low weight, the P Zero Velo TT also seems to be much easier to find in stores at lower prices. This tire definitely is worth a try!
TEST VERDICT: Highly Recommended