Panaracer's first ever tubeless road tyre puts in an excellent performance, being fast and grippy in a wide range of conditions and warding off punctures well. It's a bit on the heavy side, though, and the price is high compared to other tubeless options.
Panaracer has been quietly expanding its tyre range in recent years, most notably its choice of tyres aimed at the growing gravel and adventure bike market. But during the process of updating its flagship performance road tyre, it has added its first ever road tubeless offering. And it's an impressive debut.
We're big fans of tubeless tyres here at road.cc. The best advantage over a regular clincher is reduced punctures. That's because there's no inner tube to be pierced by a piece of flint or thorn, instead a liquid latex sealant inside the tyre can seal most small holes. Despite the benefits, your choice for a decent tubeless tyre is still limited, leaving German brand Schwalbe to really lead the charge.
More options are a good thing, and the new Race A Evo 3 Tubeless tyre is a very good choice. The Japanese company developed a new bead (called ProBead) using a proprietary carbon-based material aimed at making tubeless installation much easier than the sometimes tricky task it can be, and also ensuring a solid and safe seal with the rim.
It works. Installing the tyres was a breeze. I fitted the tyres to some DT Swiss test wheels, with no tyre levers needed, poured in some sealant and they inflated first time using just a track pump. This is how tubeless installation should be all the time; none of the drama that can put many people off even trying it. No special tubeless inflators required.
The tyres retained air well, too, only needing a top-up after about a week if I left them unchecked, but I regularly check tyre pressures before most rides so it's within acceptable limits.
I reviewed the previous Race A Evo 2 tyres and was impressed with their speed and durability. The new versions retain the ZSG Dual Compound, which puts softer rubber on the shoulders and harder material along the centre and works well to provide good grip through the corners and decent wear resistance. There's also the All Contact profile, which instead of a traditional round profile, uses an angled tread that puts more rubber in contact with the road when you lean over.
A key change to the Evo 3 is an attempt to improve the puncture protection. It has developed Protite, a proprietary resin that's incorporated into the tread rubber at the yarn level instead of the separate breaker strip previously used. The upshot is reduced weight and, more importantly, improved puncture resistance.
I've been racking up hundreds of miles in a wide range of conditions and over all sorts of road surfaces, and I've yet to puncture. Of course, the tubeless setup helps vastly in reducing the number of flats, but I'm sure the Protite is doing its job. There's evidence in the state of the tyre tread, which after all these miles shows few marks or cuts, despite being regularly ridden over badly damaged roads and clattered into the occasional pothole – all part of the testing procedure.
What's more, the new puncture protection hasn't adversely affected the feel or performance of the tyres. Some tubeless tyres can feel a little wooden, but these are very smooth and wonderfully supple. They track the road surface and provide good feedback from the tarmac, helping you to exploit their grip through fast corners and suchlike. They're very smooth and fast feeling, ideal for racing or speedy sportive riding.
Over the many hundreds of miles I've been riding them, the tyres have performed flawlessly. They have a quick feeling that is comparable to other high-end race tyres, and grip levels are confidence-inspiring in the dry or wet.
Add the combination of durability and puncture resistance, plus the high level of traction, and they're a good choice for a year-round tyre if you value high performance in your tyre choice, but they're tough enough for long distance riding and regular training or commuting.
You can choose from 23 or 25mm options; I tested the latter, which weighs 322g. That's about 30g heavier than the benchmark Schwalbe Pro One tubeless tyre tested last year.
They're also a bit 'heavier' in terms of value for money... The Panaracers were really impressive throughout the test period, but it's hard to describe an £80 tyre as good value, even given their excellent performance. It's especially more wallet frightening when you consider that the excellent Pro One is 'just' £56.99 per wheel. As good as the Panaracer tyres are, they're not really £23 better than the Schwalbes, so if price really is a factor (and it is for most people) they're difficult to recommend over the Pro Ones.
Easy to install tubeless tyre with a very smooth and supple performance
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Panaracer Race A Evo 3 Tubeless tyre
Size tested: 700 x 25C
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Panaracer Race series has a well established pedigree for performance, puncture resistance, and durability
Our new Race EVO3 Series takes this performance to the next level with greater puncture protection, grip, and longevity
After years of development we're proud to add true road tubeless tires to our lineup.
Our proprietary ZSG compound offers superior grip no matter what the conditions, hot or cold, wet or dry
ProTite improves on our previous PT protection and does not get in the way of the performance of the tire in any way
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Standard 700c road wheel size
Tubeless folding tyre
Easy to set up
Proprietary bead material with higher tolerances
Pro tight puncture protection
Seals without use of a compressor
Holds air longer than conventional tubeless tyres thanks to a butyl application
Designed to run at lower pressures
Increased comfort without speed sacrifice
Shop around because you can get them cheaper.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Provide puncture-free riding with great performance whether it's racing or training or even commuting you're into.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Really easy tubeless installation, impressive puncture resistance and smooth and supple road feel.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Pricey, and on the heavy side compared to the competition.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Tubeless tyres are getting better all the time and these are an excellent choice – if the price and weight don't put you off...
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.