Following up the all-new 40mm Getaway, Challenge has another new high-volume hardpack dirt road & gravel tire in the new Strada Bianca 40. Combining their newest supple handmade tubeless construction and new 40mm width with their classic herringbone road tire tread, the new Strada Bianca is more versatile than ever for all-road riding.

Challenge Strada Bianca 40mm all-road & gravel tire

Challenge Strada Bianca 40 gravel tire, 700c 40mm high-volume all-road gravel bike tire, Stevens Super Prestige snow

Stevens Super Prestige w/ new Strada Bianca 40

The Getaway may have been Challenge’s first all-new tread design to get named “gravel-specific”, but Challenge tires have been ridden on all road surfaces for years – asphalt, gravel & dirt. Of course, the Strada Bianca itself takes its name from the fast hardpack white gravel roads of Tuscany, made famous by the granfondo that was so popular it became a modern professional Spring Classic.

Challenge Strada Bianca 40 gravel tire, 700c 40mm high-volume all-road gravel bike tire, winter grit

We reviewed the original 260tpi Strada Bianca 30mm with latex tubes over all sorts of hardpack back five years ago, so were happy to see how this classic design has evolved with the times. While the thread count remains the same, these larger-volume tires simply feel more comfortable, and faster-rolling…

Dirt & Gravel Road – Tech details

Challenge Strada Bianca 40 gravel tire, 700c 40mm high-volume all-road gravel bike tire, studio

Besides adding 1cm of width, the new tire also gets Challenge’s latest gravel-specific, tubeless construction. While most tubeless gravel tires are still manufactured in a high-temperature vulcanization process that generally means a stiffer (and sometimes tougher) casing, Challenge’s Handmade TubeLess Ready (HTLR) tires are built more like a traditional tubular or open tubular tire, with glues and room temperature coatings to woven casings for the most part.

Using a fine double-ply 260tpi polyester construction with bead-to-bead latex coating increases sidewall durability and retains air. Then a flexible, tight-weave Ganzo PPS (Puncture Protection System) liner under the tread limits flats from anything you run over.

Challenge Strada Bianca 40 gravel tire, 700c 40mm high-volume all-road gravel bike tire, folded

The natural rubber Strada Bianca 40 tread is also said to be “gravel-specific” with a higher durometer that claims reduced wear, and a SMARTplus composition that retains grip, low-rolling resistance & shock-absorption all at the same time. Lastly, the tires have a black Chafer protection strip around the folding tubeless-specific aramid bead that protects the tire from sharp-edged rim bead hooks (these tires are for hooked rims only), and make it easy to see that they’ve snapped into place.

Curiously/interestingly, these 40mm tires are much easier to mount than their narrower HTLR counterparts. It still can possibly require some special tricks. But I mounted these with a single tire lever, no extra straps, and inflated them tubeless with a regular floor pump on the first try (to these affordable Hunt 4 Season Gravel X-Wide alloy wheels which made things easy.)

Challenge Strada Bianca 40 gravel tire, 700c 40mm high-volume all-road gravel bike tire, 41mm actual width

Update: Of note, just like the new Getaway 40 that measured a tiny bit larger than the stated 700x40c size, the Strada Bianca 40s measured in at a real 41.2mm wide on these 25mm internal hooked aluminum rims.

The end result is a tire that is noticeably softer in your hand and more supple riding on the road or trail than a vulcanized tire at the same pressure. More suppleness means both more grip over irregular surfaces and more comfort over bumpy terrain.

Strada Bianca 40 – Riding Impressions

Challenge Strada Bianca 40 gravel tire, 700c 40mm high-volume all-road gravel bike tire, snow

Challenge says the Strada Bianca 40 is suited for riding “rough pavement, cobbles, sandy or hardpack fields, to literally floating over the more enduring dry, rocky terrains”. That’s a pretty broad range for a tire without any read tread on it. But as an off-road rider that is happy to drift a bit through the loose stuff, this new 40mm Strada Bianca seems to live up to that broad characterization.

Challenge Strada Bianca 40 gravel tire, 700c 40mm high-volume all-road gravel bike tire, read detail

With such a big volume I’ve been maxing out just over the 45psi/3bar upper pressure limit for fast road riding. But since it has been snowy & icy with gravel on even the dry sections of road recently, I’ve been dropping down the absolute low end of the new tire’s 25psi/1.7bar rating to find grip on & off-road. At that low pressure the tire conforms to frozen gravel roads and seems to stick to wet cobbles. I think when things warm up and dry out, I’ll probably go back up to split the difference when you feel a bit more support in hard turns.

All-new 40mm Challenge Getaway handmade tubeless gravel tires, bikepacking riding off-road

Much like the equally wide Getaway which I had been riding more off-road and even bikepacking this winter, I’m finding myself surprised at how versatile& durable these two tires are off-road, with very little tread. It seems clear that the more supple construction truly offer more real-world grip for mixed-surface riding.

All-new 40mm Challenge Getaway handmade tubeless gravel tires, bikepacking camp

40mm Challenge Getaway gravel tires

If gravel riding means more off-road dirt and trails than hardpack, pick the Getaway. If your gravel riding mixes equal parts tarmac, smooth (white?) gravel, even sand & cobbles, the Strada Bianca 40 is probably the better bet.

A note… I don’t have a lot of sharp gravel that generally can be harder on softer sidewalls. It does happen though. Challenge makes big claims about testing their gravel tires in the toughest, sharpest flint. My riding has been over a lot of tough off-road terrain in truly challenging conditions, and these new generation Challenge gravel tires have handled it trouble-free. But sidewall cuts can be unpredictable, so your mileage may vary.

Challenge Strada Bianca 40 – Pricing & availability

Challenge Strada Bianca 40 gravel tire, 700c 40mm high-volume all-road gravel bike tire, 450g 455g actual weights

The Strada Bianca is now the one tire with the most choices in the Challenge line-up. While most tires get one or two size options, you can get a Strada Bianca in 30mm, 33mm, 36mm, or 40mm to cater to whatever type of all-roads that you ride. That’s probably especially important for road bikes that may have more fork than frame clearance, so you can mix and match to get the most grip & comfort.

Challenge Strada Bianca 40 gravel tire, 700c 40mm high-volume all-road gravel bike tire, winter detail

The handmade-in-Thailand tan wall only 700x40mm Strada Bianca 40 sells for $86 / 78€ a piece, with a claimed weight of 460g. Our test tires came in at 450 & 455g, which is again about 5g lighter than the more knobby Getaway. The new 40mm slick all-road & gravel tires are available now direct from Challenge, and from retailers around the globe.

ChallengeTires.com

15 comments

  1. IanE on

    Interesting comments about offroad grip with a virtually slick tread, I did wonder at what point you could ditch the knobbles altogether, I mean, do knobbles really grip in gravel or are they only good for mud and grass? Even riding in Scotland with some Vittoria Terreno Dry fitted I’m wondering if there is any point in the knobbles, guess the don’t do any harm if the weight penalty for the Getaway vs. the Strade Bianche is only 5g…

    Reply
    • Cory Benson on

      @Ian, the knobs are really crucial when it is both wet & loose. If it’s just one or the other and you enjoy the occasional but expected drifting session… slicks can be fun. I will say that I also love the slightly wider WTB Horizon for a similar off-road grip feel at low pressures. My theory is often that I would rather have a slick tire where I slip when expected from the start, than to have a knobby tire slip unexpectedly.

      Reply
  2. patrick on

    Nice pictures. Did you have a chance to measure the actual width on these? If yes, could you mention the internal width of the rim(s) measured on?

    Reply
  3. nightfend on

    As great as these sound…they are only for use on hooked rims. So while that is what many of us have currently, that is definitely not the trend the industry is going in. Something to keep in mind.

    Reply
    • Cory Benson on

      @Night, of note… the hooked-only is a current recommendation apparently. Challenge sticks closely to ETRTO rules and recommends that their handmade road/gravel/cyclocross tubeless tires be used only with hooked rims. But, they are currently testing the safety of lower pressure gravel (& CX?) tires for future approval also on hookless rims.
      We’ll let you know when we know more.
      Off the record… (no one’s listening now, right?) I have had a prototype Challenge gravel tire in my hand labelled for use specifically on hookless rims. But no more details available on that yet.

      Reply
  4. K-Pop is dangerous to your health on

    Really wanted to like Challenge tires but they’ve given me nothing but problems over the years. Treads and sidewalls are cut prone and treads wear out quick. I’ve even had treads delaminate from the casing with very little miles on them. Handmade tires sure do ride nice though.

    Reply
    • Cory Benson on

      @KPop, as I noted above individual results may vary. And if you ride in places with a lot of sharp road debris or exceptionally sharp gravel, you may need to prioritize super puncture resistance over ride quality.
      But I can say with confidence that the only ride ending failures I’ve had in the last 5-6 years on handmade Challenge tires have been running over two different sharp piece of metal in two alt cross races on cotton CX tubulars. And one of those I was able to ride several kms to the finish by using a Muc-Off BAM foam inflator.
      It could be worth giving these latest tires another try? I’ve definitely been happy so far.

      Reply
      • K-Pop is dangerous to your health on

        I’ve torn through too may Strada Biancas and other Challenge tires to go back. Switched to the 120tpi Maxxis Velocita 700×40 size. Closest vulcanized tire I could find to the ride quality of handmade. Oddly enough about 80gm less per tire and so far they’re proving to be more durable. I’ll flip this back in your court, you should try these.

        Reply
        • Cory Benson on

          Touché @KPop, I haven’t ridden them myself, but Tyler a good bit of miles on them on the Lauf Anywhere with pretty good feedback. Interesting to hear them seeming more durable to you, as we were told they omitted Maxxshield sidewall cut protection in favor of lighter weight & a more supple ride when they first launched. But in its place is MTB-inspired EXO sidewall protection which should do more with less. Looks like a good, light all-road/gravel option.

          Reply
  5. Jozef NR on

    Try Tufo Thundero gravel tire, handmade in Czech Republic, high tpi, good sticky compound, nice, comfortable and silent rolling… 🙂

    Reply

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