Pirelli is back for more, having previously confirmed that it was re-entering the cycle category; the company’s new PZero Velo range is billed as ‘a new era in the world of cycling tyres, this time not for the best car or motorbike but for the best machine ever created: man’.
Pirelli’s bicycle tyres are the product of more than two years of research, development, market analysis, lab and road testing.
As with its well-known car tyre namesake, Pirelli’s PZero Velo tyres draw extensively from Pirelli technology and its ‘110-year expertise in sports competition, taking advantage of invaluable know-how, tests, patents and technologies designed by the Italian company since its foundation in 1872.’
Pirelli notes that several factors make a tyre excellent, but its core is always the compound. This is why Pirelli developed a new molecule patent for the bike world, ‘the unique, exclusive and innovative SmartNet Silica’.
Composed of more than seventeen elements, the Pirelli compound was synthesized at the company’s Milan Bicocca Technology & Innovation Centre. The researchers who worked on this project are the same ones who worked on the F1 P Zero compound, currently a tyre used in F1 racing. SmartNet Silica is a silicate-based molecule whose configuration differs from traditional silicates: it has no spherical shape but is an elongated stick.
A release from Pirelli added… ‘The molecule demonstrates a natural self-sorting tendency instead of being randomly positioned within the matrix. Such configuration assures numerous benefits in terms of performance: its longitudinal position positively affects the tyre smoothness allowing highly directional performance, thanks also to its high elasticity leading to decreased heat generation and rolling resistance.’
A further claimed advantage of SmartNet Silica is its anti-cluster ability; it spreads evenly and fully within the matrix: this property, added to the natural chemical affinity with water, ‘results in outstanding wet performance’.
A further characteristic of SmartNet Silica is its ability to ‘create a genuine particular matrix that binds other compound elements to it’. The stability of the molecular weaving is seen as vital for providing reliable performance and contributes to natural puncture protection without adding weight to the tyre structure and prolonging its longevity over time.
There are three models of PZero Velo: with one name for three different models aimed at the three main road uses and color-coded like the P Zero used in F1 motor-racing.
- The silver label showcases the PZero Velo, aimed at road racing. It is light and the most versatile of the three as it provides speed and handling along with dry and wet grip meaning top cycling safety. It is positioned as being ideal for competitions or training on any type of surface.
- The red label denotes PZero Velo TT, the fastest and lightest of the whole range. Designed for speed, it features ‘great handling as well as top wet behaviour’.
- The blue label showcases the all-season tyres. PZero Velo 4S tyres are ‘ideal during autumn and winter.. They offer high puncture protection and an outstanding wet grip guaranteeing, at the same time, rolling, comfort and mileage.’
The new bike tyre range was designed at the Pirelli R&D Innovation centre, at Bicocca, Milan: the main one among Pirelli’s 11 worldwide R&D centres. The company yearly allocates €200 million for the development and innovation of its tyre range and employs over 1000 dedicated researchers.
PZero Velo prototypes were tested in Sicily at the Giarre facility near Catania where Pirelli’s Testing Department performed a total of more than 100,000 km of comparative road tests ‘meeting strict standards under controlled and scientifically replicable conditions’. Specifically, several tests took place on Mount Etna, which offers – within a few kilometres – a broad choice of weather conditions, altitudes and surface types among the most demanding in the world.
PZero Velo is positioned in the premium market segment and is dedicated to the cyclist who seeks pure performance. The range will be available in European, US/Canadian and Asia Pacific points of sale from August 2017.