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Pirelli Cinturato Gravel M tyres review

Pirelli’s chunkiest gravel tyres look like a 70 tractor tyre so can it still live up to their ‘Mixed Terrain’ labelling. We've put them to the sword to find out

Pirelli Cinturato Gravel M tyres
(Image: © Pirelli)

Our Verdict

If you’re after seriously tough, grippy, fit-and-forget gravel all-rounders that still roll OK on the road, then Pirelli's Cinturato Gravel M is one of the best options available

For

  • Good all-round wet and loose grip
  • Centreline still rolls fast
  • Stable and surefooted at low pressures
  • Tank tough and impressively puncture proof

Against

  • The sturdy build takes some accelerating
  • Relatively slow off-road

The Pirelli Cinturato Gravel tyres come in two types, with Pirelli wrapping the same sturdy base carcass with two different toppings. The M stands for mixed and makes a very surefooted and grippy front match to the H (Hard) rear or a max control, fit and forget collar and cuff front and rear set. 

We recently rode and reviewed the Cinturato H tyres, now it's the turn of the more rough-going Pirelli Cinturato Gravel M. As both tyres share a good amount of technology, there's a lot of repeat information, but we also dive into the benefits of the mixed terrain tyres. 

Construction

Pirelli has built its Cinturato Gravel tyres with the toughness of Italian gravel events in mind. Just like the Gravel H, the twin-ply carcass is overlapped to be triple under the tread footprint, and the same nylon anti-puncture blanket is wrapped from bead to bead, with another reinforcing wrap around the base of the tyre to just above the rim. We tested the standard black wall version but there’s also a brown wall ‘Classic’ option too.

Pirelli Cinturato Gravel M tyres

With closely-spaced centre tread and wider arrowhead tread pattern on the shoulders, the Gravel M tyres are grippy, yet hold speed well over smoother terrain (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

The M uses a chunky, wide-spaced arrowhead tread pattern on the shoulders which joins to create a closely spaced linear centre strip. Both Cinturato Gravel tyres get a custom ‘SpeedGRIP’ rubber compound derived from Pirelli’s MTB tyres too.

That brings the 700x40mm sample we're testing in at 540g, which is similar to Panaracer Gravel King SK and Schwalbe G-One AT but 100g heavier than Continental Terra Trail and WTB Resolute in the same size.

Pirelli Cinturato Gravel

The Cinturato Gravel H (left) has noticeably less tread than the Cinturato M (right) (Image credit: Pirelli)

Performance

With a sturdy weight and tractor looks, we were expecting road work to be a noisy trudge on the Gravel M’s and they definitely take some torque to accelerate. The heavily damped carcass doesn’t feel springy or lively either, but they are impressively stable, even at Pirelli’s sub-30psi recommended front pressure. Being able to run pressures that low (once you’ve got a slightly baggy fit sorted) gives them a very smooth feel that becomes more obvious the faster and rougher things get. The way the centre line tread cleans up fast from carrying most of your weight but the open shoulders stay relatively dirty shows why they actually diesel along pretty well once you’ve got them up to speed.

The bombproof, damped build means you don’t have to back off when trails get rockier or more potholed so they hold momentum well on forest/moorland tracks/towpaths etc. As soon as the tyre sinks into softer ground, rolling speed falls off significantly though. The extra bite means predictable all-conditions grip right over onto aggressive cornering or off-camber angle. That’s a real bonus as many similarly aggressive looking tyres (like the WTB Resolute) are actually really limited in terms of lean grip and can give you a nasty shock if you tip the bike in hard or try and shave grip up an off-camber bank or rut. The fact that the compound can be trusted when things get damp/rooty/rocky is a big bonus for more adventurous and aggressive use too.

The extra terrain moulding and solid feedback that comes from stress-free low-pressure use also enhances that grip even further. As a result, it was our nerve/the ability to see at eyeball rattling speeds that limited how hard we were hitting the roughest, most technical trails, not the capability of the tyres. Or to put it another way, if you’re after the gravel equivalent of Enduro tyres, here they are.

While we’ve not had them long, they’ve shown no signs of scuffing, tearing, cutting or other damage yet which aligns with the impressively tough results we’ve had from other Cinturato road tyres.

Verdict

A sturdy, rather than lively feel but if you’re after seriously tough and grippy fit-and-forget gravel all-rounders that still roll OK on the road, then Pirelli Cinturato Gravel M are one of the best options available.

Tech specs

  • Sizes: 700 x 35/40/45mm 650 x 45mm
  • Weight: 550g (Gravel M 700 x 40mm)
  • Width: 39.5mm (Gravel M 700 x 40mm)
  • Price: £54.99 (all sizes)