Pirelli Gravel RC Tires: Getting Rolling

Pirelli Gravel RC Tires: Getting Rolling – by Grannygear

NOTE: Pirelli Tires provided the Cinturato Gravel RC tires for test and review at no charge to Riding Gravel. We are not being paid, nor bribed for this review and we will always strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.

A close up of the Cinturato Gravel RC as held in the hand by Grannygear
The Pirelli Cinturato Gravel RC

The Gravel RC is a bit of an interesting creature, with very fast looking, minimally low profile center knobs and graduated layers of wider spaced knobs that increase in aggressiveness as you move towards the outside edges.

Could the Gravel RC be the one-tire-to-rule-them-all design for So Cal type of riding: Road rides to the local foothills, then hard climbs and descents on rough dirt roads that humble milder tire designs?

Let’s look at the website for this tire: https://www.pirelli.com/tyres/en-ww/bike/tyres/catalogue/cinturato-gravel-rc

So Pirelli sees the Gravel RC as a fast rolling tire with racing potential and yet a good bit of ‘save my day’ edge knobs so you survive the rougher parts of the ride. I think that seems reasonable by looking at it.

The casing for the Gravel RC is Pirelli’s TechWALL Gravel, so it has a 120TPI belt that covers the tire bead to bead, although the tire stats call it out as a 60TPI tire construction. A blend then?

The rubber compound also gets a cool name: SpeedGRIP. Apparently putting the last part of the name in all caps makes it cooler. Not sure. Like GrannyGEAR. Hey…that works! I do feel more awesome…if that is indeed possible.

Regardless of marketing names…some tires rise to be an engaging overall ride experience and some just roll around with little interest in having fun so we shall see.

I weighed the Gravel RC tires at 608g and 635g which is quite a disparity, more so than I can recall in a set off tires. Also the manufacturer’s claimed weight is 590g, so while that is close to the one number, it is quite a bit off for the other.

Chart showing sizes available in the Cinturato Gravel RC range.
Chart showing versions of the Cinturato Gravel RC available now.

These tires are “big bottomed” tires in a 700×45 size (other sizes available), measuring out at 46mms on a 25mm rim at first inflation. The Gravel RC tires have a square-ish profile with the edge knobs rising up to defend you from evil ruts and loose corners. I have been running 30psi as that seemed like a decent place to start for mixed surface stuff. I bet I could go to 25psi off road with them though.

So far I have had two rides on the Gravel RC tires over my ’20 Mile Loop’, a gravel bike test loop that really tosses everything I have out here for terrain and conditions, all in one ride. It’s a great workout with over 2k’ of ascending in that 20 miles, a lot of that in the first 10 miles. Right now, after this bad winter, the dirt roads are really bad, so the 46mm profile has been a blessing.

Fast enough for roads…

Thoughts after 40 miles on the the Gravel RC tires:

  • They do roll well for a bigger tire, even with the more gnarly knobs off-center.
  • Yes, I can feel the +600g weight, but only when I am trying to get up to speed, especially on the road, but that is to be expected. It’s not a road tire.
  • In the dirt , these Pirelli tires have been really good, probably better than anything else I have been on of late. They feel very, very, secure when cornering and they hook up well. They remind me of a fast rolling MTB tire in a way.
  • That big volume is pretty awesome in the chunky, rutty areas. Lots of grace being given out here.
  • Quite good in sand too. Seems to steer pretty straight and not argue too much about that.
  • The Gravel RC tires seem like their minimal center knobs are wearing fast? We shall see.
Image of dirt road in mountainous area.
….but the Cinturato Gravel RC is best here.

Anyway, that is it for now. More to come as the miles add up and the sun rises. It’s about night riding time here in So Cal. The EZ Bake Oven is on.

Note: There is also a new version of this tire which we reported on recently HERE.


Author: Grannygear

Grannygear hails from SoCal and spent most of his cycling days as a mountain biker from the formative years of mountain biking all the way up to the present day. His day job is in the tech sector, but he has spent time writing about off road 4X4’s, 29″ mountain bikes, and cycling in general. Grannygear and Guitar Ted have worked off and on together since 2009 after a chance meeting at Interbike. With gravel cycling on the rise, Grannygear has been exploring how this genre’ works in SoCal and now does guest pieces for RidingGravel.com in his spare time.

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