With a recent influx of bike tires from traditional tire manufacturers, there’s only one brand that screams performance — Pirelli. After rolling on the new Pirelli P ZERO Velo 4S 28mm tires all summer, these are giving the best all-season tires on the market a run for their money.

Pirelli P ZERO Velo 4S 28mm Tires Features:

  • SmartNETā„¢ Silica compound
  • Lightning bolt groove design provides optimal water drainage
  • Aramid fiber belt for puncture resistance
  • Optimized 127 tpi casing
  • Available in 23, 25 or 28mm (tested)
  • Width: 28.15mm on Zipp 454 NSW / 30mm on Bontrager Aeolus XXX 4
  • Weight: 255 grams (actual)
  • MSRP: $65-$68
Pirelli P Zero Velo 4S 28mm Tire Review

The lightning bolt pattern evacuates water for all-weather traction.

Pirelli P ZERO 4S enters with panache

It’s no secret that a high-quality tire can make or break a bike. Too narrow, too firm, too stiff or otherwise undesirable tires should be eschewed like an overripe watermelon. On the other hand, some tire makers have nailed the ideal width, suppleness and grip. With Pirelli’s entry into the bike market, the expectations have been high and performance has met those expectations.

Installation was breezy with the Zipp 454 NSW Disc wheels and a little tougher (but still tool-free) aboard the Bontrager Aeolus XXX 4 wheels. Overall, the ease-of-mounting gets a solid thumb’s up from me and the bead sits securely in place once inflated. The 28mm width tested is true-to-size aboard classic 17mm internal width rims.

Pirelli P Zero Velo 4S Review

A great match with Bontrager’s new Aeolus XX 4 wheels.

Again, aboard the Zipp 454 NSW wheels, the Pirelli P ZERO Velo 4S tires have a more bulb-like shape and deflect noticeably under load at 80/85 psi. That lateral flex isn’t a detraction and instead really allows the tire to spread and deliver hero grip at every turn. But, wider, 21mm rims allow these tires to balloon out to over 30mm in width with a more rounded tire profile. Lateral movement is somewhat reduced, but lateral grip remains excellent.

Rolling resistance feels on par with the best rolling stock available. Without any clear method of testing, I’m relying on feel and speed (climbing, descending and rolling terrain) and a good comparison to some of the fastest tires I’ve ridden, including Zipp Tangente Course R25 and Continental Grand Prix 4000S. This rolling speed was evident on flat terrain and extended climbs where the tires felt grippy yet fast.

Zipp 454 NSW and Pirelli P Zero VELO 4s

The P Zero’s delivered excellent traction on misty morning rides in Washington.

I really do love the smooth and supple ride these tires afford and put them in the upper class of all-rounder tires on the market. The only real niggle I’m seeing is that the woven bead-reinforcement fabric is peeling off just slightly in places.

After hundreds of miles, the tread is wearing very well with very little tread loss. The only thing that seems to give these tires a fuss are goathead thorns, which are all-too-prevalent in the fall here in Utah.

The Good

  • Roll extremely fast
  • Excellent handling in all conditions
  • Easily-mounted without tools
  • Lively and responsive

The Bad

  • Woven bead fabric is peeling away from the rubber in a couple of spots

The Bottom Line: PirelliĀ P ZERO Velo 4S

Pirelli has long made legendary treads for vehicles, so it’s no wonder their inaugural bike line is so well-sorted. The all-around performance of the 28mm tires has me wanting these tires on every bike. The casing is supple with traction aplenty and they roll with aplomb.

Buy Now: Available at REI.com

About Author

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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