Pirelli Cinturato Gravel S First Impressions
Designed primarily for soft conditions the Pirelli Cinturato Gravel S has an aggressive well spaced tread that looks to have the characteristics of a multi-purpose tyre.
We previewed these tyres recently and with conditions under tyre just right, we just had to try them out. Out of the box, these 40mm tubeless ready tyres seated pretty easily on some wide carbon tubeless rims with a fair bit of sealant. Slightly heavier than most gravel tyres I’ve used, the SpeedGrip compound did feel robust enough for the kind of terrain I had in mind. My route included a mixture of Sussex Wealden clay, mud and roots. Added to that was Downland chalky flint-infused trails, hard pack and loose gravel roads.
Straightaway, these tyres rolled surprisingly well on the asphalt. I was running the tyres initially at around 3 Bar/40PSI (relatively hard for soft terrain riding), so any fears about these tyres dragging on the road were allayed. Hitting Downland chalk trails – both dry and the more moist sections at a steady tempo – the Cinturato Gravel S provided great grip and traction; even with relatively high tyre pressure. This gave me the confidence to descend on a long, rocky and rutted track at a fairly aggressive pace, with no problems. The Gravel S reinforced sidewalls provided ample protection from the local flint-bombs that can often destroy less robust tyres!
How is it in the mud?
Mixed-gravel terrain and forest fire roads proved that the tyres rolled pretty well over less challenging trails so could well be used for gravel racing even in drier conditions. Over muddy terrain the Cinturato Gravel S performed impeccably providing plenty of grip and no noticeable rear wheel drift on wet and challenging muddy off-camber rutted trails. I was particularly impressed with the way the Gravel S was able to shed mud. Even the odd rooty singletrack proved manageable in terms of the tyre’s grip and control. I can’t vouch for how they would perform under more race conditions where the tread and compound will come under more pressure from being pushed harder into corners etc, but I have no doubt that performance would remain impressive.
In summary, the Pirelli Cinturato Gravel S is potentially a cutting-edge soft terrain tyre with an aggressive tread pattern that handles the toughest and muddiest terrains without increasing rolling resistance. The plateau-like almost rounded knobs create a stiff tread that sheds dirt and debris easily. They roll over everything they find, so when the terrain gets demanding, with dry or wet soil, rocks and even roots, the Pirelli Cinturato Gravel S will keep you moving. Look out for a longer-term review in the new year.
Check out the Cinturato Gravel S tyres on the Pirelli site.
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