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.