The New Express is touted as a puncture-resistant urban tyre but it’s a very different beast to armour-plated offerings such as Specialized’s Armadillo series.
The Kevlar bead keeps the weight reasonable (284g for the size tested, steel bead versions are also available), and the HyperTex casing is much more supple than an equivalent Kevlar puncture strip.
The tyre is made for Soma in California by Panaracer in Japan and build quality is excellent. However, the convoluted distribution route to the UK makes it a bit pricey. On the road it behaves more like a racing tyre than a commuting one. Rolling resistance is low and grip from the high carbon tread is good. The bigger sizes (up to 700x35c) have an increasingly deep tread, but the 23 and 26 are minimally profiled. The 26 we tested would make a super training/fast commuting/audax tyre, light and fast enough for big rides but with the added protection and comfort of a bigger air chamber and good puncture protection thrown in. The larger sizes would be more suited to touring or mixed use.