Pirelli Cycl-E Downtown Sport Road Tyre

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Please note: View 'Tyres Guide' below for ETRTO Sizing

Product Description

DEVELOPED FOR E-BIKES

Downtown are tyres developed for urban and commuting use, where rolling efficiency, reliability and maximum grip on any surface and on any weather conditions are essential.

  • Rigid bead
  • Reflective sidewall stripe for increased visibility in low-light conditions

Occasionally, without notice, manufacturers change product design and/or specifications.

Road Bike Tyre Guide

 

Road Bike Tyre Guide


Overview

Road bike tyres make up a huge part of how a bike rides. This simple component of your bike may not seem as important as brakes or even a frame, but because they are the only part of the bike that actually touches the road, they’re vital. When deciding which road tyre is right for you, it’s important to consider a few aspects of tyres, and in this road tyre guide we’re going to break down what makes tyres different from each other.


Size

Road bike tyres come in a fairly limited selection of sizes. Through the years tyre size has been very much driven by what the pros use, and it’s thankfully moved on from the very small 18c tyres of yesteryear. Nowadays, road tyres generally come in three sizes: 23c, 25c and 28c. The numbers more or less equate to millimetres, and refers to both the height and the width of the tyres, so a 25c tyre would be about 25mm tall and wide.

Giant road cyclist racing on TCR

Most race bikes these days will come with either 25c, and these sizes are best for minimising rolling resistance. For endurance or sportive bikes, 28c tyres are most often used, allowing for greater comfort over long distances. Wider tyres will also be able to deal with rougher roads easier, and you’ll sometimes see 30c or even 32c tyres on some endurance bikes, catering to rough roads and cobblestones that are encountered in Europe. Some bikes are now featuring even wider tyres, catered to a greater variety of surfaces, and these gravel bikes can have 32c-40c tyres. You can go to our tyre size guide for more details.


Tread

Tyre tread refers to the pattern on the top of the tyres. This design affects the performance in terms of steering precision, grip and water displacement. Road tyres most often come with slick or smooth designs, as this helps reduce rolling resistance. It also helps increase grip on smooth surfaces, helping keep your cornering speed high.

Front view of Liv road bike

Compound

The compound of the tyre is the quality of the rubber that’s used. It makes up the characteristics of the tyre: how it rides, feels and performs. Softer compounds give greater grip, but comes with the cost of faster wear, while harder compounds will last longer, but not provide the same level of grip. Most times more expensive tyres will have softer compound rubber for greater performance.

Liv road bike with multi colour design

Continental’s Black Chili compound is engineered to balance rolling resistance and grip, using Activated Silica Compound technology. Maxxis has their 3C Triple Compound that uses a harder, faster rolling rubber in the centre and two progressively softer compounds on the sides, providing greater grip.


Protection

No one likes flat tyres, so puncture protection is always one of those important deciding factors in tyre choice. Many tyres have a layer beneath the tread that helps prevent punctures, with more expensive options either having a greater amount of protection, or better strength to weight protection.

Giant flat bar road bike with disc brake wheels

As with many cycling components, there’s a balance between a benefit and how much that benefit weighs. And so, with puncture protection this is also the case. Some tyres like the Continental GatorSkins offer fantastic protection, with a little compromise in weight, but make for excellent winter or training tyres. Going tubeless also significantly reduces the risk of punctures. For more on tubeless, see below.


Weight

As with everything else on your bike, one of the biggest factors when choosing tyres is their weight. Because rolling mass can play such a large part in how your bike rides, affecting rolling resistance and handling, it’s important to balance the benefits of a particular tyre with its weight.


Tubes/Tubular/Tubeless

Standard bicycle tyres use tubes for inflation, but that’s not the only option these days. In fact, there’s three options to keep air in your tyres, and they all have their benefits and drawbacks.

Tubes

The standard option for inflation, inner tubes give you the easiest inflation because you’ll always have tubes available at every bike shop around. They are used in clincher tyres, which are the standard tyres that use beads around the edge to fit into the hook of the rim. Tubes are the most common use for inflating clincher rims, and provide the easiest way to get air into your tyres. And if you get a puncture, it’s easy to replace the tube. Having said that, though, it’s easier to puncture than tubeless.

Liv road bike with drop handlebars

Tubular

Tubular tyres have a history in racing and provide many benefits to the serious road cyclist and racer. Tubular tyres don’t use a tube, and are fully enclosed all the way round, as compared to clinchers that have an opening where they fit into the rim. They are lighter than clincher or tubeless tyres and offer superb rolling, the fastest around. Which is the obvious reason that you’ll find them on Peloton and on the top racer’s bikes, winning races.

Road cyclists riding up hill

The downsides are that you need a specific rim for them, as tubulars need to be glued onto the rim. If you get a puncture, then you need to remove the whole tyre and replace it with a new one, gluing it back on. If you want the best performance, tubulars are the way to go, however, racers who have a team of mechanics will benefit from them the most.

Tubeless

While it’s been around in mountain biking for some time, tubeless tyres are becoming more popular in road biking, for good reason. Tubeless sealant within the tyre dries when it makes contact with air, so any potential punctures are sealed up almost instantly.

Road Bike Tyre Guide

With tubeless tyres, you can run lower pressures without the risk of punctures, giving you greater comfort and potentially more traction. And because there’s one less layer between you and the road, rolling resistance is reduced, making you faster. The downsides can be that you need specific tubeless rims and tyres, which aren’t as common as general clinchers, and can be more expensive. But it seems worth the price for faster riding and fewer punctures.


Pressure

Tyre pressure can completely transform how your bike rides, being the only real suspension that a road bike has. It’s important to strike the balance between cushioning, rolling speed, and protection. Thankfully, some of those go hand-in-hand.

Greater pressure will help prevent punctures and generally decrease rolling resistance, while lower pressure will give more comfort. Traction and optimised performance can be found when the right tyre pressure is used. It’s important to be aware that tyre pressure depends not only on what tyres you use, but on your weight. Heavier riders will need greater pressures and the opposite for lighter riders. See our tyre pressure guide to find out the best pressure for you.

Road cyclist training in hilly area

Winter tyres

As well as making the roads more slippery wet weather throws up more debris. This means that the best winter road bike tyres offer improved puncture protection and better grip without slowing you down too much. Tyres like the Specialized Roubaix Pro are very tough and remarkably grippy while still rolling quickly.

Compound

The key to grip in wet conditions is the rubber compound: hard compound tyres are durable and roll quickly but they’re not so grippy in the wet; soft compound tyres are very grippy, but they’re slower rolling and wear quickly. Dual compound tyres offer the best of both worlds. The softer compound on the shoulders of the tyre gives you extra grip when you lean the bike into a corner while the harder compound in the centre keeps you rolling quickly and prolongs the life of the tyre.

two road cyclists in winter

Puncture Protection

A protective layer under the tread is what you need to reduce your chances of getting a puncture. The key here is to offer extra protection while still allowing the tyre to be flexible and subtle enough to roll quickly and comfortably. Continental’s Duraskin layer featured in their very popular Gatorskin winter tyre and Specialized’s Armadillo flat protection are good examples of well-balanced puncture protection.

puncture protection layer

Size

As well as being more comfortable, wider tyres offer more grip, so you’ll have more control on slippery road surfaces. A useful trait for winter cycling. The higher volume also means you get more air between the wheel rim and the road. This means that the inner tube is less likely to get pinched and puncture if you roll over an object. Many tests have shown that wider road bike tyres actually roll better than very narrow ones.

cycling on a wet road detail

Tread

While deep treads in motor vehicle tyres squeezes water out from under them, road bike tyres are too narrow to aquaplane at normal speeds. This means that heavily treaded road bike tyres are unnecessary on smooth surfaces. Slick road bike tyres are fine in wet conditions on normal roads as it’s the rubber compound that has more effect on grip.

cycle race in the rain

Delivery & Guarantee

UK Delivery Information

International Deliveries – Temporarily Suspended 11/11/20

Note: We are still offering deliveries to the Isle of Man, Scottish Highlands, Scottish Islands, Channel Islands, Isle of Wight, Jersey and Guernsey. 

Courier Delivery update: Due to the COVID19 situation, we are currently experiencing some delays with deliveries. Our couriers are working around the clock to get your order to you as soon as possible but there is a potential delay of up to 48 hours . Please check your tracking on track your order here.

Please download the TNT Track and Trace App for iOS here and Android here so you can keep an eye on your delivery and any further updates.

Please note on the TNT tracking app it may show your delivery status as ‘Collecting’ (as per image below). This means your delivery has left our warehouse and is currently held at TNT main depot and there could be up to a 48 hour delay.

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Please keep checking the TNT tracking for further updates. On behalf of TNT we apologise for any delay and inconvenience this may cause. 

We are committed to offering fast and free delivery, whether you're ordering bikes, accessories or clothing. Our standard delivery service is FREE in the UK, regardless of the size and on all orders over £20.

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Please note that Pre-Order dates can sometimes change due to updated stock information.

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Returns & Warranty

It's easy to return a product with our 365 day, hassle free returns. 

We will give you a full refund on any item that is returned to us unused/unfitted, in a resaleable condition and in its original packaging (where possible).

Please note: For hygiene reasons, we cannot accept returns of facemasks, undershorts or underwear if the item has been removed/unsealed from its original packaging.

If your item develops a fault or arrives damaged, please contact us first so we can resolve the issue for you as quickly as possible.

For more information please visit our Returns & Warranty page.

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