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Pirelli

Pirelli is a tyre manufacturer based in Milan, Italy. The company produces tyres for bicycles as well as motorcycles and cars. It is the sixth largest tyre manufacturer in the world, operating in over 160 countries.

Pirelli
Pirelli

History

The company was founded more than 150 years ago in 1872 by Giovanni Battista Pirelli and initially made rubber products such as transmission belts and rubberised canvas. In 1890, Pirelli moved into tyre manufacturing, with its first product being a bicycle tyre before it later ventured into motorcycle and car tyres.

Pirelli’s range of bicycle tyres gradually expanded over the coming years, with the ‘Tipo Milano’ racing tyre launched in 1895. By the turn of the century, Pirelli was producing a selection of tubes, travel tyres, racing tyres, and even components such as pedals, handlebars and brakes.

When the first Giro d’Italia was held in 1909, Pirelli firmly wrote itself into the cycling history books thanks to 30 out of the 49 finishers arriving in Milan on Pirelli tyres. This paved the way for the likes of Alfredo Binda, Gino Bartali, and Fausto Coppi to use Pirelli tyres over the coming decades.

After an intensive reorganisation project, which involved selling off sectors of the business, Pirelli withdrew from bicycle tyre production in 1992.

Nevertheless, 25 years later, the company returned to the cycling industry with its groundbreaking P Zero Velo tyre. Since then, the company has resumed bike tyre production in Italy at the revamped Bollate plant, producing high-performance tyres such as the P Zero Race 150.

Pirelli is currently the tyre sponsor for pro cycling teams Trek-Segafredo and AG2R Citroën.

Key Moments

1909 - Pirelli rubber-stamps its place into cycling

The company’s pro cycling journey began all the way back in 1909 with the inaugural edition of the Giro d’Italia. Given the challenging conditions of Grand Tours during the early 20th century, the fact that over half of the finishers were riding Pirelli tyres demonstrated the company’s high-quality products on one of the sport’s biggest stages.

1992 - A demanding reorganisation project

As the 20th century drew to a close, Pirelli was forced to sell off several of its sectors, with the plug also pulled on the bicycle tyre division. Pirelli then underwent a recovery phase where it focused on launching new products and technologies into untapped markets such as the Far East and Africa.

2017 - Pirelli returns with the P Zero Velo

After multiple decades away, Pirelli re-entered the bike tyre market with its performance tyre, the P Zero Velo.

“For our bike tyres, we draw on a unique heritage of knowledge, technology and sporting experience. Pirelli’s offer today is completed with tyres made for those consumers who look for innovative and technological bike products as they do for their cars and bikes.”

Antonella Lauriola
COO
View post on Instagram
 

Pirelli's products

Road: The company’s road tyre range, the P Zero, is performance-focused but still offers the handling and grip required on the tarmac. Both tubeless-ready and tubular choices are available. Pirelli also offers a few Cinturato road tyres that are better suited for long-distance riding over various terrains.

Gravel: Pirelli’s Cinturato range is designed to perform on both tarmac and uneven terrain. The gravel models are available in a selection of sizes from 35mm upwards.

Mountain Biking: The Scorpion range is Pirelli’s dedicated MTB tyre offering. There are models of the Scorpion suitable for cross country, trail, enduro and downhill.

Did you know?

Whilst Pirelli is now highly regarded for its tyres, it has also manufactured some surprising products over the years. One of these products was scuba diving rebreathers.

Pro cycling

Current sponsorships: AG2R Citroën, Lidl-Trek

Previous sponsorships: Jumbo-Visma, UAE Team Emirates, Team BikeExchange

Notable wins:

  • After Alfredo Bovet won the 25th edition of Milan-Sanremo in 1932, his Bianchi manager Edoardo Bianchi sent a message to Pirelli praising its tyres’ performance.
  • Fausto Coppi won his fifth and final Giro d’Italia whilst using Pirelli’s newly released Specialisimi Corsa tyres in 1953.
  • After teaming up with Pirelli in the summer of 2018, Mitchelton-Scott’s team leader Simon Yates claimed his maiden Grand Tour victory at La Vuelta a España - riding with Pirelli tubs throughout.
  • Annemiek van Vleuten then won the 2019 Strade-Bianche whilst riding for the Australian outfit’s women’s team - the squad finished the race without suffering a single puncture.
  • The Dutchwoman then used Pirelli tyres to take the rainbow jersey a year later in Harrogate, Yorkshire in the 2019 UCI World Championships women’s road race.
  • In 2021, Lizzie Deignan (Lidl-Trek) won the inaugural edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes, riding the P Zero tubeless tyres to a historic victory over gruesomely wet and muddy cobblestone sectors. Elisa Longo Borghini repeated the feat for the team and Pirelli the following year.

Top Pirelli Stories

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Featured Video

Lizzie Deignan's Trek Emonda SLR | The Queen Of Paris-Roubaix's Pro Bike

Lizzie Deignan's Trek Emonda SLR | The Queen Of Paris-Roubaix's Pro Bike

The first women’s winner of Paris-Roubaix, Lizzie Deignan, is one of the all time cycling greats. She's a former world champion, a winner of La Course, the Tour of Flanders and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, among many other top races. With Lizzie currently in Britain racing the Women’s Tour for Trek-Segafredo, we were lucky enough to get our hands on her beautiful Trek Emonda SLR for our latest pro bike check!

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