Several Belgian pros could be seen last weekend riding new prototype cotton tubular tires at the national championships in sandy Koksijde. In fact, Thijs Aerts (younger brother of Toon) won the U23 title and Thibau Nys (son of Sven) won the 15-16 title on the new Team Edition tires, tentatively named the Dune Dry.
photo courtesy of Telenet-Fidea Lions & Toon Aerts
Challenge Dune Dry cyclocross tubular tire prototype
The Dune Dry (possibly to be named Dune EVO) prototype design isn’t a huge departure from Challenge’s own file tread designs. Although their previous Grifo XS (now gravel Almanzo), current Chicane & Dune cyclocross tires all share the same pyramid-shaped file center tread, each of those tires added on shoulder knobs for cornering in wet, soft & loose terrain.
This new Dune Dry is a dry sand-only tire (maybe dry snow/ice too?), where instead of shoulder knobs it looks to include a three prominent circumferential ridges on both sides. Those are said to “supply substantial additional floatation in soft sand” and likely also offer some directional stability in the soft sand as well. Dugast has been making a similar looking tire for several years called the Pipistrello, but it doesn’t have these more pronounced ridges along the outside of the tread.
Challenge also tells us that the thin & narrow tread section “exposes the extra super soft, supple (silk or cotton) casing for an extra large floatation, traction, and cornering footprint.” The tires are also said to include an extra soft rubber compound to maximize grip & extra thin, seamless latex inner tube for suppleness. These tires also have a new 30mm wide base tape to provide a better gluing surface for the latest crop of 26-28mm tubular rims, like those from these Belgian pros sponsored by Bontrager, DT Swiss & Shimano.
Thibau snaps courtesy of Sven NysThe new design does seem very course specific, but a number of Belgians did have plenty of success over the weekend in the dunes of Koksijde. Besides the two younger guys winning national championships, Toon Aerts took 4th place on the tires in the men’s elite race, and Ellen Van Loy 2nd in the women’s elite. Watching the race it was interesting to see that the tires looked to pack up and hold a thin layer of sand on the tire, which seems to have offered these riders the traction they needed to ride to a win.
Challenge says that limited quantities of this new tire will be available in the next couple weeks (by the end of January) in silk Seta Extra and cotton Team Edition TE S casings.