No Dodging: Panaracer Race D Evo4

Winter, such as what passes for it in Northern California, which is to say spring in most places, has been a mess. Cracked asphalt, potholes, and oil-slicked roads yield delights like car crashes that spray safety glass (Is there a more oxymoronic term out there?) from curb to curb. I’ve never walked through a mine field, but I have done couples’ counseling, so maybe I have.

I’ll take couples’ counseling over trying to avoid the glass and potholes.

Or, I can just run the Panaracer Race D Evo4. I’ve previously reviewed other Panaracer road tires and I’ve liked them. The Race D is meant to be a tougher, more puncture-resistant training tire than the Race A. I’d previously ridden the Race D Evo3 and liked it.

There’s not another class of product that where I will so deliberately “test” the item’s quality as I do with tires. Tires that are meant to be puncture resistant, like this, are subjected to a curious treatment whereby I see something nasty ahead and I take a moment to judge whether running over the item will result in a certain flat, or just a chance of it. I’ll be honest and say that I did not run over the smashed whisky bottle I saw on the bike path yesterday, but I rolled over every other piece of garbage that was in my way.

I think there’s a difference between tempting fate and stepping on its toes.

In a similar vein, pushing a road tire to the limits of its adhesion isn’t really a an area I’m looking to develop expertise, but Panaracer’s ZSG natural tire compound has allowed me to slide tires on thermoplastic road strips and paint and actually recover.

What encourages me to flirt with fate is Panaracer’s 3D Casing (Double Dipped Duro), which is meant to give the tire toughness from rim to rim, not just beneath the tread. Given that both the (previously reviewed) Race A and the Race D share the ProTite puncture-resistant belt, I have to credit the 3D casing with making this tire so tough.

I’ve yet to flat this tire after more than 500 miles of riding on it. That’s nice and all, but that’s not nearly as impressive as the fact that I don’t see any significant cuts in the tread or on the sidewall. That part surprised me. Another surprise: Why isn’t this tire tubeless like the Race A?

Ride quality usually suffers in training tires. The Race D doesn’t ride as nicely as the Race A, but it doesn’t feel ponderous like some tires I’ve ridden.

The tires go for $54.95 at retail. They come in three widths: 23, 25 and 28mm; I’ve been running the 28s because aforementioned potholes. That and the fact that I can run a 28 at 75 psi and enjoy a rough road.

Final thought: Tubeless is the only way to improve this tire.

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