One key project that Pirelli has been working on for the past few years just made their all-around road racing & road riding P Zero Race TLR tire a lot quicker than before… they brought production in-house in northern Italy, outside of Milan. By taking full control over the manufacturing process, Pirelli has been able to re-optimize how they put their tires together, dramatically reducing rolling resistance through much more careful control of the materials that make up a WorldTour-level tubeless road racing tire.
We’ve been keeping an eye on Pirelli’s move to in-house production at their completely overhauled and modernized factory in Bollate, Italy since last spring. It started with tube-type 4Season training tires, then some more special edition ultralight clinchers
After years of contract manufacturing their premium tires in France by Hutchinson, the move to their own Italian production has allowed Pirelli to have more say over how exactly their tires are made.
Part of that seems to be keeping a tighter control on their proprietary materials, especially advanced rubber compounds that have been codeveloped in the advanced R&D lab that they share with their motorsports & Formula 1 tire development. We got a glimpse of that capability back in 2017 when they returned to cycling, but literal armed guards kept me from taking photos to share with our readers.
But another part was that Pirelli knew what they wanted to change, and physically had to build new manufacturing machines and create new automated production lines to achieve the tire construction they were looking for. The move allows Pirelli to more precisely place the materials into the carcass of their premium cycling tires.
The result is SpeedCore.
SpeedCore appears to effectively reconfigure the different layers of the P Zero Race TLR tubeless road tire. Now the inner-most layer is a bead-to-bead flexible homogeneous aramid & rubber composite for reinforcement (black & gray speckled), followed by the core single-ply 120tpi nylon casing, with a tougher but narrow aramid breaker band directly under the rubber tread to offer puncture protection. The difference is mostly putting the lighter aramid layer inside, separate from the anti-puncture band.
The materials appear to actually be the same. The rubber itself is still the same latest-generation polymer-infused SmartEVO compound. Pirelli even says the tire weight, grip, and consistent wet & dry performance remain unchanged.
Pirelli says that when testing 28mm versions of the previous French-made P Zero Race TLR tires against this newly updated Italian tire, the new revamped P Zero Race TLR showed a 24% reduction in rolling resistance.
Pirelli P Zero Race TLR Italia – Options & availability
The updated tubeless-ready tire is now the fastest in Pirelli’s entire road bike range – and is being raced in the World Tour by Trek-Segafredo, AG2R Citroën, and Q36.5 Pro Cycling. It also comes in more sizes than ever, with even more on the way later this year.
At what appears to be the same pricing, the new made-in-Italy Pirelli P Zero Race TLR comes in 700c x 26, 28 & 30mm versions – in Classic natural brown wall or all-black sidewalls with silver, red, yellow, or white logos. There’s also a newer 32mm width only in black, and even wider 35mm & 40mm versions will be available later this year. The 28mm and larger tires are also compatible with hookless tubeless rims.