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Pirelli Cinturato Velo TLR Reflective Tyre

700x28c (28-622) 370g each £66.99 each

The Pirelli Cinturato Velo TLR Reflective Tyre is a clincher type tyre aimed at road and light gravel cycling. It’s tubeless ready, provided, of course, that your wheels are, and has a nice reflective band for night-time ventures. Sounds perfect for some lively commuting and general jaunts. A mixture of durability, control, and robust protection are on offer. I have not been disappointed.

 

Pros: easy to put on and take off, sensible sizes, lively, reflective strip.

 

Cons: light gravel means just that, not more.

Spec/Materials 4.5/5

Available in three colours, the Pirelli Cinturato tyre is a tubeless ready clincher. The blurb states that Pirelli’s SmartNet Silica technology gives these tyres anisotropic properties. Fundamentally, this means that the molecules are in an orderly pattern allowing the material to demonstrate different qualities when measured in different directions; presumably, in this case, rolling and grip, especially when cornering in the wet. This should be a lively, stable tyre.

 

60 TPI in the nylon casing promises a good mix of rolling – without the out and out ease of racing slicks – and durability. However, there’s more to things than this, as you’d hope at this price point. Firstly, there’s an inner layer of high-density nylon from bead to bead, providing the final barrier to unwanted foreign objects, as well as offering stability at low pressures when running as tubeless.

Available in three colours, the Pirelli Cinturato tyre is a tubeless ready clincher. The blurb states that Pirelli’s SmartNet Silica technology gives these tyres anisotropic properties. Fundamentally, this means that the molecules are in an orderly pattern allowing the material to demonstrate different qualities when measured in different directions; presumably, in this case, rolling and grip, especially when cornering in the wet. This should be a lively, stable tyre.

 

60 TPI in the nylon casing promises a good mix of rolling – without the out and out ease of racing slicks – and durability. However, there’s more to things than this, as you’d hope at this price point. Firstly, there’s an inner layer of high-density nylon from bead to bead, providing the final barrier to unwanted foreign objects, as well as offering stability at low pressures when running as tubeless.

Size and fitting 4/5

tyre cycle bike package pirelli
pirelli tyre cinturato bike cycle

Well, fingers and thumbs only onto the rims on the ex-tourer-cum-commuter-beast-of-burden Dawes: Ryde Sputnik and Mavic A217. Very easy. Harder over Tannus Armor inserts, but that is to be expected: long-handled wand or good quality levers required.

 

Removal was easy, too, courtesy of the inexpensive, but highly effective Lifeline Tyre Levers.

 

Of course, these are tubeless ready. So, with compatible rims or a conversion kit, you can get the benefit of running tubeless. The tyres seemed to stick to the rims pretty rapidly, but there’s more to setting up tubeless than cooperative tyres.

 

For most of the test, I rode with tubes in, one with Tannus Armour and one wheel without.

 

Ours were the 700x28 model, but there are 32 and 35 options available for a more comfortable ride, clearances permitting. A lot may depend on how gravel orientated your riding is, whilst my general ride is fifty-fifty light gravel and asphalt.

Ride quality/Handling 4.5/5

This is generally excellent within the specified paradigm of road and light gravel. More specifically, most of the riding has been on roads – potholed city highways, narrow, debris covered back lanes, and the odd bit of smooth as silk asphalt, add to that long sections of crushed lime towpath, good quality forest tracks, and some packed mud trail, and you have the diet for the test.

 

Keeping the pressure around 90psi seemed to work perfectly, thanks to the detailed advice on the packaging. Getting up to speed rapidly on the tarmac, with confident cornering on faster downhill sections, felt really good. Occasional sharp braking brought things to a reassuringly smooth halt. Along stretches generously covered in mud and muck from tractor wheels, swerving to avoid the larger lumps or bumping over smaller bits did not lead to any unnerving moments.

tyre  bicycle

On the light gravel, things went really nicely, too. You’d not expect rolling to be as good as on the road, but everything felt pretty smooth. Cornering on packed crushed lime was as good as on more stolid touring tyres, such as the Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tour  – or even quite spicy ones, such as the Schwalbe Marathon Racers that grace my tourer. Getting further into the woods, handling remained fine on hard packed surfaces, but rougher sections and wet mud lost a bit of traction; at over 15mph I sometimes felt less than 100% in control. Had I been running lower pressures on tubeless, this may well have been mitigated. Likewise, if I’d got the wider options. Equally, they aren’t going to be as gravel proficient as the Schwalbe G-One All Round, but they don’t claim to be.

 

A shallow tread doesn’t guarantee much cut on loose-topped surfaces, but nor does it pick up much in the way of mud and other, sharper, unwanted detritus. I’ve found no bits of embedded flint or shards of glass to interfere with control.

 

Then only time I have felt a little too much live was when pulling a trailer heavily loaded with the weekly shop and Christmas pressies. That may well have nothing to do with the tyres, although on 700x32s it is not something I’ve experienced with a load of that type.

Durability/Puncture Protection 4.25/5

Five hundred miles of mixed terrain riding, and there’s barely a mark on them. OK, you’d hope this type of tyre at this price point would give you many, many more miles, but things bode well. As mentioned above, they don’t seem to pick up sharps that could cause cuts or even penetrate the outer casing, or, even worse, cause a puncture.

Update May 2023: after the initial testing period it was suggested that I keep hammering the Cintruatos. Why not, I thought? So, six months and 2600 miles now on the treads and they are still looking pretty good. They've done 80% of that on gravel. Light gravel? Well, a good chunk on crushed lime or rougher hard pack canal towpath, but a good deal on stony forest trails and heavier gravel, too. Now they are not designed for the latter, but we do not always have a choice. some superficial grazes have developed, but the only real concern is where a vicious slice of sharp gravel penetrated through the rubber and the puncture protection. Even so, they are still going well, and I expect them toggle me good service yet. I think these are very durable indeed.

Of course, Tannus Armour under one tyre should ensure puncture free cycling. However, the other tyre has gone through road working debris on long sections of officially closed road without ill effect. Likewise, I’ve gone over Friday night’s inner-city carpet of broken glass and rural hedge-slashing on country lanes without the hiss of death.

 

I did manage to get one puncture. This is not a reflection on the puncture protection on offer; just bad luck and a stiff bot of hawthorn cutting left across the canal towpath. In my experience, few tyres defeat hawthorn. I hear a chorus of “Should have gone tubeless.” And another of “Tannus Armor forever.” Fair enough.

Value 3.5/5

These days there is a galaxy of tyres within any discipline of cycling, form leisure an commuting to high speed technical downhill racing. There are some who feel that a lot of this is hype, others who seek any advantage on offer. A lot depends on how specialist you are. What type of cycling you to do, how competitive – if at all – and, frankly, whether you can really be bothered.

tyre bicycle velo pirelli

The Pirelli Cinturato are not cheap, by any means. Yet, this price is by no means unusual for high quality tyres such as these. Commuting and light gravel being the target, they sit between the sturdy and great value Oxford Mojo – much cheaper and long lasting, without a tubeless option, but grand commuters on a moderate budget – and the Schwalbe G-One Allround – my favourite tubeless gravel tyre, around the same price mark, ok on the road, but grand on hefty gravel trips. The Goodyear County Premium probably edge it on a wider range of terrain, and are cheaper, but I found them generally less compliant on the road.

Summary

I’ve enjoyed riding to work and back with these: compliant on the road, lively on the crushed lime and mud-pack, ot to mention over frosty ground and frozen leaves. They definitely have that quality that helps make riding fun, but offer security when braking and cornering, too. So, you’ve got to agree with Pirelli: asphalt and light gravel, commuting, longer leisure rides or night time winter training are very much the sphere of influence. Well worth a good long look, unless you really want to go full-gravel or full-road.

Verdict 4/5 Lively, likeable, highly compliant tyres, doing just what they claim very well.

 

Steve Dyster

 

https://www.extrauk.co.uk

PUBLISHED DECEMBER 2022

UPDATED MAY 2023

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