Pirelli's Return to the Peloton

It’s hard to mention Pirelli without thinking of Formula 1, where the speeds involved and tyre stresses push materials engineering to the limit. With such a background, Pirelli is well equipped for re-entry into the cycling market after an absence of over 50 years.

Pirelli’s range of road tyres covers three models: the Velo, an all-rounder race tyre; the Velo TT, an ultralight time trialist tyre; and finally, the Velo 4S, a durable cold weather/winter tyre and the option tested here. In the interests of wider, comfier tyres, my test set measured in at 28c width.

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Aside from the rather striking packaging, the first thing I noticed about the Pirellis was how supple the tyres are. They just about rolled onto my test rims of their own volition with minimal coercion. They look and feel like a premium tyre, with an atmosphere of race day that seems to hang around despite supposedly being an all-weather mile muncher.

This feeling stuck around once out on the road, as it turns out the Velo 4S is quite quick! In fact, it didn’t occur to me this was meant to be an all-weather tyre until I double-checked with Pirelli. In fact, when swapped with the handmade Italian wonders previously fitted to my test bike, it was hard to tell the difference. Third party testing confirms this, rating the Velo 4S as quite possibly the fastest tyre in the “all weather/well protected” category.

Grip between tyre and the road is comparable to that between a car mechanic and a new Pirelli calendar, which is to say, substantial. I didn’t get a chance to put them through their paces in the wet, but if the soft compound is anything to go by, I can see them performing well.  Despite plenty of glass on my commuter route, I have yet to experience a puncture. Longer term testing will reveal if these observations hold up, but early impressions are good.

Pirelli has made a competent re-entry into the cycling market. The P Zero Velo 4S is a quick, grippy tyre with reasonable (but not overly heavy) protection. If you’re after some strong racing heritage or just want to match your bike to your favourite Formula 1 car, give them a look.

RRP: $89.99

Distributor: MG Distributors


Images by Cameron Mackenzie

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