Panaracer Race Type D Tires

Between now and the start of Interbike you’re going to see a few different reviews of different pieces of gear/clothing because I’m playing catchup on reviews that should have been complete a while back. In my zeal to be thorough (and not review something before I’ve actually ridden it, ahem), I sometimes get more miles in on stuff than is truly necessary. It is perhaps not the greatest service, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to rubber stamp “approved” on a piece of gear I’ve only handled in a press conference.

I got interested in the Panaracer Race Type D tires this spring in part because I wanted to explore some of the options for wider tires that are out there. The Type D is a true 25mm-wide (it also comes in a 23mm width) tire. The tire gets its “D” monicker for durability because this is the more flat resistant cousin to Panaracer’s Race Type A, a more high-performance tire.

This isn’t a particularly light tire; one of mine weighed in at 258 grams. And it doesn’t have the softest, highest thread-count casing; it’s only 66 tpi. But an ultralight, supple casing, sticky race tire wasn’t why I was interested in this rubber. I wanted to see if it would fill my need for a bomber tire that would allow my road bike a bit more flexibility on terrain.

The casing includes Panaracer’s PT puncture protection which is a bead-to-bead puncture-resistant belt and it’s covered with Panaracer’s dual-compound ZSG rubber, which like many tires on the market, features a softer durometer rubber on the sides of the tread while sticking with a harder rubber in the center in order to keep rolling resistance low. The harder center tread is a fair bit narrower than many similar tires, meaning the moment you lean the bike you’re rolling onto stickier rubber.

For four months I’ve been riding this tire. It’s been over potholed roads in the South, godawful excuses for pavement in Eastern Europe including the single sorriest excuse for a road I’ve ever seen (thank you Bulgaria), up and down the Transfagarasan Highway as well as another bottom/top/bottom jaunt, just last week at Haleakala.

Panaracer recommends running these between 90 and 140 psi. I’ve been pumping them up to 100 psi and riding through stuff more than around it. In more than 2000 miles, I’ve yet to have a flat. And their grip has been something the Incredible Hulk would admire. Only once have I managed to push these tires to their absolute limit. I was getting low on the descent of Haleakala and on damp road when I felt the rear tire slide ever so slightly during a tight switchback. It gave a little and I stood the bike up a bit and it hooked up, then I leaned a bit again and it gave a bit more and hooked up the moment I stood the bike up a bit again. It was easily the most controlled slide I’ve ever experienced on a road bike on pavement.

I mostly ride tires that cost at least 50 percent more than this tire’s suggested retail of $44.95. Many are even double this. Why? Because I find so many tires in this price range to offer such woefully lacking performance an extra $25 or $40 per tire can make the difference between a lively ride and one that feels mired a peat bog, even while rolling down asphalt. I really didn’t think I could find a tire in this price range with phenomenal flat resistance that would still offer a rewarding ride. Color me surprised.

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12 comments

  1. JimW

    It’s nice to hear good things about Panaracer tires. I’ve been riding the Closer model all summer and they ride quite nicely and wear well but do get punctures. No breaker belt though and about $30 a piece.
    I have been looking at getting these type D’s from my experience with the Closer. Panaracer makes a great product that many overlook.
    Nice review.

  2. Nick

    I just read your piece in peleton about the Transfagarasan Highway and had been wondering what kind of rubber you were using. I would never have guessed from your description there that it was a “durability” tire with 66 tpi. That alone seems to speak pretty highly of the tire.

    Thanks for the review, and for thoroughly putting the product through its paces before sharing it with us.

  3. Ray

    I was curious to know your thoughts on how easy/hard these tires were to seat onto your rims? I have read other reviews of Panaracer tires and I seem to recall comments surrounding how tough they were to slip onto a clincher rim.
    BTW – I like your choice in wheels. I have been rolling on Easton EA90SLX wheels for three years and they are uber plush. :)


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Ray: The difficulty of mounting a tire has a lot to do with the inner diameter of the rim. Easton rims have a slightly smaller ID than some of the other popular rims. I really didn’t have any trouble getting these on.

  4. Ray

    Good to know and thanks for the feedback. I recently tried mounting a set of Challenge hand-made tires (Italy) and for the life of me I could not get the bloody things to slip over the rim. Honestly, I tried using levers, put gloves on, the whole nine yards, but no joy. My thumbs were screaming for mercy at the end of it. Not having “thumbs of steel” the shop I go through was cool about it and allowed me to exchange the tires for another brand; too bad because I was really looking forward to trying something different. I’ve been using Vittoria Open Corsa CX tires for several seasons and they slip on the rim like butter. Great tire! Again, thanks and I really enjoy your reviews. Ciao.

  5. WV Cycling

    @Ray – Yes, Challenge Tires are a son of a biscuit to mount first time. I’ve been using Challenge Elites for three years now (and just mounted my first Challenge Gara this week). After being mounted for a week or so, they stretch just enough to be able to take off with a lever, but remount with your hands.

    Don’t get me started with tubless mountain bike tires. I just end up going to my shop every time and sadly ask them to mount them for me :(

  6. armybikerider

    Thanks for a review of a more modestly priced piece of gear.

    There are examples in every category of really good performing equipment at prices that most can afford. Sure they aren’t pro-caliber but neither am I and I’d be hardpressed to tell the performance difference between 120 TPI and 66 TPI tires anyway…..and many times the less expensive gear is more durable then the expensive cousin. Case in point is the Pro3 tire that I’m lucky to get 1800 miles before it’s completely trashed versus the Vittoria Rubino (not the Pro model) where I just logged the 5500th mile this morning for the year and it’s still got life in it.


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Nick: I like the Panaracers a whole lot and a comparison is difficult because I haven’t ridden these tires on the same roads. That said, I did like the Roubaix tires and Specialized’s entire line is light years better than what it used to be. I suspect that this is a situation where both tires are so good you can’t get a wrong answer.

  7. Mark Twight

    I’ve been riding in Bulgaria all summer where – as you noted – some roads redefine the term. A combination of A23 rims and Ruffy Tuffy tires have served me well. Only one flat (from a nail long enough to punch through the rim) in a couple of thousand miles that included plenty of potholes, cobbles and gravel. Thumbs up for Panaracer tires.

    MFT

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