Well regarded automotive tire maker Pirelli has developed a new patent dedicated to the cycling world. SmartNet Silica is being dubbed a new generation high-tech molecule that “delivers maximum performance, balanced on all fronts, conceived exclusively by Pirelli’s chemistry labs.” SmartNet Silica is being used in the new PZero Velo tire range.
As with its well-known car namesake, PZero Velo tires draw extensively from Pirelli technology and its 110-year expertise in sports competition. Several factors make a tire excellent, explains Pirelli, but its core is always the compound. Composed of more than 17 elements, the Pirelli compound was synthesized at the company’s Milan Bicocca Technology & Innovation Center. The researchers who worked on this project are the same ones who worked on the F1 P Zero compound, currently the only tire used in F1 auto racing.
SmartNet Silica is a silicate-based molecule whose configuration differs from traditional silicates, says Pirelli. It has no spherical shape but is an elongated stick. The molecule has a natural self-sorting tendency instead of being randomly positioned within the matrix. Such configuration assures numerous benefits in terms of performance.
Its longitudinal position positively affects the tire smoothness allowing highly directional performance, thanks also to its high elasticity leading to decreased heat generation and rolling resistance.
Anti-cluster ability spreads evenly and fully within the matrix. This property, added to the natural chemical affinity with water, results in outstanding wet performance.
A further characteristic of SmartNet Silica is its ability to create a genuine particular matrix that binds other compound elements to it. The stability of the molecular weaving is vital for providing reliable performance and contributes to natural puncture protection without adding weight to the tire structure. It also prolongs longevity over time.
The new compound will be available in three tire models, each aimed at the three main road uses and color coded like the P Zero used in F1 motor-racing.
The silver label indicates PZero Velo, aimed at road racing. It is light and the most versatile of the three, as it provides speed and handling along with dry and wet grip meaning top cycling safety. It is ideal for competitions or training on any type of surface.
The red label denotes PZero Velo TT, the fastest and lightest of the range. Designed for speed, it features great handling as well as top wet behavior.
The blue label is on the all-season PZero Velo 4S tires. These are ideal during autumn and winter. They offer high puncture protection and an outstanding wet grip.
For the contour and construction of the new PZero Velo tires, Pirelli made use of ICS (Ideal Contour Shaping) technology working on the shape of the tire contour. The use of CAD software, along with subsequent analysis of the finite elements helped optimize the construction parameters of the tire contour and repeatedly simulate performance.
To fine-tune the tread pattern of PZero Velo and PZero Velo 4S (the TT model is 100% slick), Pirelli relied on the motorsport-inspired FGD technology (functional groove design). The tread pattern, which does not have an aesthetic function, takes inspiration from one of Pirelli’s best SSP tires (SuperSport class of the World SuperBike racing competition), the Diablo Supercorsa. Tread pattern angles, depths and distances were researched to maximize performance in terms of water outflow, dry and wet grip, mileage, tire response, as well as comfort and handling.
The tread pattern recalls a “flash” and features extremely tight angles down the middle area with a definite lateral opening so as to facilitate water drainage, smoothness and even the tire usage. Moreover, the tread pattern has been designed to be progressively deeper to enhance resilience and give the tire reactiveness and response even on extreme bends.
The position of the pattern creates a different number of contact points between the tread and the ground. PZero Velo has three major footprint areas: a central slick ribbon, for high tire smoothness, two extra-grooved intermediate bands, which help to negotiate bends and heat the tire, and semi-slick edges providing high tire responsiveness at bend apex. This result is optimum contact whenever the tire is required to supply maximum ground power transfer and safety in any set of conditions.
PZero Velo prototypes were tested in Sicily at the Giarre facility near Catania where Pirelli’s Testing Department performed a total of more than 100,000km of comparative road tests meeting strict standards under controlled and scientifically replicable conditions. Specifically, several tests took place on Mount Etna which offers a broad choice of weather conditions, altitudes and surface types.
PZero Velo is positioned in the premium market segment and is dedicated to the cyclist who seeks pure performance. The range will be available in starting in August. For more info visit www.pzerovelo.com.