Pirelli Cinturato Gravel H Tires: Checkpoint

Pirelli Cinturato Gravel H Tires: Checkpoint – by Guitar Ted

The Pirelli brand name is not really all that well known in cycling circles and definitely is a new name in gravel tires. We were curious as to just how their take on a gravel tire would work out. The set of Cinturato Gravel H tires arrived about a month ago now and the introduction can be seen here with my first impressions. In this post I am going to relate my experiences on gravel with the Cinturato Gravel H and how the tire has performed so far. Let’s dive right in….

Close-up of the Pirelli Cinturato Gravel H tire.
The Cinturato’s lowered tread blocks seem to allow for plenty of speed yet have surprising grip.

Ride Performance: With a low, limited amount of tread and a flattish crown to the casing I wasn’t expecting much lateral grip. However; whatever Pirelli did with the compound for this tire seems to have given this tire a bit of an over-achieving effect. It reminds me of the Terrene Honali, another bigger tire with lowered tread that had surprising amounts of grip. Now, that isn’t to say that I would be blasting corners, with high lean angles on gravel, and expecting the Cinturato tires not to give up grip. They wouldn’t be that surprising! The Cinturato does not feel skittish in corners, and I expected them to be a nervous tire in loose gravel as well. That just hasn’t seemed to be the case though.

Side shot of the Cinturato Gravel H tire's branding patch

Another part of the Cinturato I was pleasantly surprised by was how well it felt in terms of ride feel. The bead-to-bead Nylon puncture protection belt seems to be offset by the use of Pirelli’s claimed 127 TPI casing construction. I mentioned it in my first impressions on this tire in the introduction – This tire feels pretty smooth. Much better than the larger volume Panaracer Gravel King SK+ 650B X 48mm tire we have on test. This is maybe more of a knock on the Gravel King and not so much of a compliment to the Cinturato. Still, the Cinturato feels better than it should, in my opinion. The puncture protection and the overall weight of this tire would usually point to a stiffer feeling ride, but that is not the case here.

Besides those qualities I have found that since the initial set up that the Cinturato has not stretched a lick. It still is slightly wider than 47mm. It also holds air pressures for long periods of time compared to many other tubeless tires. Here it shares a quality with the aforementioned Gravel King. So, in terms of the finer details, this Cinturato tire seems pretty easy to live with.

Close-up of a bike on a dirt road.
The Cinturato had plenty of grip for this dirt road, but mud? Forget about it! The Cintuarto Gravel H is NOT a mud tire!

So Far… I’m pretty impressed by the Cinturato. It does ride well, handles well, especially for a tire with not much tread, and it is almost a ‘set it and forget it’ tire in terms of width and air pressure retention. Pirelli’s SpeedGRIP compound lives up to its name, so far, making the Cinturato equally adept on pavement or on unpaved surfaces like crushed rock and dirt. While it is not a tire I would count on for railing dirt corners, ala MTB style, the Cinturato does exhibit a bit better grip than you might think it should have based upon the minimalist tread pattern.

The only real negative I have with this tire is its weight overall. At slightly over 580 grams per tire (on our test set) the Cinturato is on the heavier end of the scale in terms of tires in the 45mm-50mm size range. But that weight is offset by the seeming reliability, stability, and ride feel that the Cinturato displays. I’ll put in another month on these tires before I give my “At The Finish“, final verdict review, but the Cinturato seems well on its way to achieving high marks in this test.

Note: Riding Gravel purchased these Pirelli Cinturato Gravel H tires for test and review. We are not being paid, nor bribed for this review and we always strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.


Author: Guitar Ted

Guitar Ted hails from Iowa. Home of over 70,000 miles of gravel and back roads. An inaugural member of the Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame and Co-creator of Trans Iowa in late 2004- Guitar Ted has been at the forefront of the growth of gravel events and riding since then. Creator of Gravel Grinder News in 2008, he produced the premier calendar of gravel and back road events. GT joined forces with Riding Gravel in late 2014.

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