While we’re on the subject of prototype tubulars, Challenge had some of their own spinning around Nationals. Stamped with ‘Team Edition’ and ‘Prototype,’ the Cannondale team tent had a number of bikes equipped with the special tubulars…
According to Challenge, the prototypes shown are experimenting with new rubber compounds. While they wouldn’t specify what the changes will be, they did mention that the final versions will be ready in time for the 2016-2017 cyclocross season. Based on the Team Edition build, the tubulars appear to have the same 320 tpi Corespun cotton casing with a latex inner tube, but there may be a change or two to the casing as well.
Rumors are floating around about a prototype Grifo XS spotted in Europe, but Challenge says that will actually be a new Euro specific version of the Chicane. As sometimes happens, Challenge didn’t have the proper hot patch so they used one that was already available. The tire will supposedly have a deeper wrapped file tread with knobs on the very edges of the tread which is meant for the deep sand conditions found on many European courses.
On the road or gravel side, Challenge is about to launch their new Strada Bianca Plus Series tire in a 33mm wide, 60 tpi vulcanized casing. The Plus Series joins the 120 tpi Race, as well as Open Tubular and Tubular options.
If 33mm isn’t big enough, Challenge will also have a new 36mm road tread! Again, the hot patch on the tire isn’t correct, but this tire will be built on the gravel casing with the Paris Roubaix tread pattern (not shown). Likely available in both Open Tubular, and Tubular versions, the tire is in prototype form with production tooling in the works.