Issue #013 Review

Pirelli Cinturato Gravel M 700 x 40C in review

Pirelli present a completely new range of tires. Besides the Cinturato Gravel H for hard and the Cinturato Gravel M for mixed surfaces, the Italian tire brand also introduced a Cross version. Read on to find out what we thought.

Two years ago, Pirelli made their return to road cycling with the P Zero Velo. The subsequent release of the Pirelli Cinturato Velo was aimed primarily at tubeless fans and endurance cyclists. Now, the Italian tire brand also has suitable tires in its portfolio for gravel and cross riders. The Pirelli Cinturato Gravel or Cross are made in France and are available in several different versions to offer the optimal solution for various riding styles and conditions. The developers at Pirelli have modified the tread patterns of the individual models to make them suitable for anything from cross to gravel, taking into account not only the typical conditions of the disciplines but also the inherent characteristics of the associated rim designs and brakes. The new Cinturato Gravel and Cinturato Cross tires come with the so-called SpeedGRIP rubber compound, which you’ll also find on the Pirelli Scorpion product range, supposedly optimised for rolling resistance.

Tire models ending with “H” – for hard terrain – are suitable for compact surfaces, paved roads and cobblestones, while those ending with “M” – mixed terrain – should perform best on mixed surfaces with changing conditions due to better self-cleaning characteristics. The Cross version of the Cinturato is available for hard and mixed surfaces in 700 x 33C. Specific models of the Gravel version are available for hard and mixed surfaces in 700 x 35C, 700 x 40C, 700 x 45C, 650 x 45B and 650 x 50B. Depending on the profile and dimensions, the Pirelli tires weigh between 380 g and 570 g. The pair of 700 x 40C Pirelli Cinturato Gravel M tires we had on test weighed 479 g and 488 g, below the manufacturer’s specification of 500 g per tire. On our Acros test rim with an inner width of 19.1 mm, tubeless setup was quick and easy. The supple sidewalls immediately seat onto the rim bead and seal reliably from the start. Pirelli recommends a tire pressure of at least 2.5 bar – our starting point for the test.

Loose gravel and loamy soil – this is where the Gravel M reveals its strengths!
The semi-slick centre tread ensures low rolling resistance on compacted surfaces.
The shoulder knobs aren’t oversized, they’re well supported and generate plenty of grip on challenging terrain.

When accelerating, the Pirelli Cinturato Gravel M feels comparatively cumbersome and demands a lot of input from the rider. The semi-slick centre tread, along with the hefty rotating mass, offers good efficiency on level terrain as well as on paved roads. Fine, loose gravel and humid and loamy ground are among the best conditions for the Gravel M. Its good mud-shedding abilities keep the tread free from debris even at moderate speeds. The well-supported shoulder knobs offer lots of grip and break out in a controlled and predictable manner. Even the occasional excursions far off the beaten track don’t faze the Gravel M. However, on compact surfaces and asphalt, it lacks precision when changing direction quickly. Here, it demands a lot of input from the rider and the occasional steering correction. After more than 1,000 km of testing on a variety of surfaces and mixed weather conditions, we didn’t have a single puncture. We found the ideal tire pressure to be 3 bar at the rear and 2.8 bar up front. With this setup, the tires offer an excellent balance of comfort, grip and rolling resistance.

Over 1,000 kilometres and countless skids without a puncture. The Pirelli is suitable for everyday use!

The Pirelli Cinturato Gravel M impressed us with its off-road performance and comfort in demanding terrain. Its puncture protection and predictability make it ideal for all gravel riders and adventurers who ride in all weather conditions and generally avoid paved roads. Pirelli have created an off-road specialist whose all-round performance is limited by the comparatively aggressive tread profile. It is important to assess your preferences and to choose accordingly before buying – that’s the downside of such a diverse range.

Tops

  • bump absorption and comfort
  • puncture resistance
  • lots of grip in challenging terrain
  • predictable

Flops

  • sluggish acceleration
  • limited range of application

Tester: Ben
Duration: 2 months
Price: € 49.90

Mire info: pirelli.com
Weight: 483.5 g on average (700 x 40C)

Words: Benjamin Topf Photos: Valentin Rühl