Tucked quietly beneath familiar treads, Challenge is rolling out significant updates to their most popular road, gravel & CX tires starting this season through the start of 2022.
The biggest news with ‘cross season already underway is that their most popular 33mm UCI-legal cyclocross treads all now get soft & supple H-TLR casing for better low-pressure grip. Strada road tires also get an overhaul with better lightweight protection. And on gravel, the Getaway adds a smaller size now, a larger size soon, and lots of supple handmade options for both tubeless and their uniquely durable tubeless tubulars alongside the Strada Bianca & Gravel Grinder…
Challenge CX tires inherit supple handmade tubeless upgrade from gravel
Let’s get cyclocross out of the way, as real CX racing feels ready to drop at any moment. Challenge doesn’t have any new cross tread designs, but the popular Grifo, Chicane, Baby Limus, and Limus all get the latest in handmade (non-vulcanized) H-TLR tubeless-ready construction. With 300tpi tan wall SuperPoly (polyester blend) casings, PPS puncture protection & aramid folding beads, these tubeless cross tires offer many of the supple benefits of tubulars, without having to glue up tires days before your race.
The Chicane & Grifo H-TLR are already in stock at distributors for early season racing, while Limus will be ready in a week & Baby Limus by early October for muddier racing. All should retail for the same 76€ pricing as the gravel analogue 33mm Almanzo & Gravel Grinder H-TLR which debuted two seasons ago.
Strada road tires get handmade tubeless & lighter protection
Challenge seems to be trying to simplify the naming of their most modern road tires, now sticking with the name Strada for their premium handmade tubeless road tires in 25, 27 & 30mm widths. Like the CX tires, the new tubeless Stradas inherit the same handmade 300tpi SuperPoly casings & tubeless-ready aramid folding beads that first debuted on the gravel range. While most are tan wall only, the 25mm even adds a black sidewall option for roadies hoping for a more modern look.
What’s also new is that all of the premium road tubular, tubeless & handmade clincher tires also move to the newer
PPS Ganzo protection belt that first debuted on Challenge’s newest Getaway gravel tire. This puncture protection uses a finer-weave nylon material vs. the older polyester PPS, which claims to be lighter and more puncture-resistant than previous versions of PPS.
Challenge triples Getaway sizes, give gravel new rubber, plus more tubeless tubulars
On the Challenge gravel tires there are so many updates it’s hard to keep straight.
The biggest news here is more versions of the popular new gravel Getaway – Challenge’s first completely new tread design in years. It first debuted last winter as a 40mm only handmade tubeless tire (H-TLR). Now, it adds a 36mm H-TLR version developed to fit in bikes with less clearance (like all those UCI limited CX bikes), and an even bigger 45mm version is coming very soon. (We’ve been teased it’ll be here by the end of the year.)
Construction of all the gravel tires now includes the latest Smart Plus rubber compound debuted on the Getaway, the same Ganzo protections & Corazza Armored beads for any tie that could encounter sharp hooked rims.
The Getaway is also joining the other gravel tires with durable handmade tubeless tubulars (H-TLTU) for plenty of gravel options, especially for all those cyclocross riders with plenty of existing tubular wheels just waiting for adventure. Challenge has specifically developed their unique tubeless tubulars for the rigors of gravel riding with tough PPS Ganzo & PP2 full edge-to-edge sidewall & tread protection against punctures. They even suggest that H-TLTU tires are more durable than regular tubeless – they can run sealant and be fixed with tubeless plugs, plus the tubular rim bed design is less susceptible to damage from rock strikes at too low pressure.
I’ll admit that even as a CX tubular fan, I’ve been a bit skeptical of gravel tubulars. But I have been riding them over some demanding gravel & trails so far this summer, all trouble-free so far.
Now the Challenge gravel tires are available in the same sizes for handmade tubeless tubulars (H-TLTU), tubeless (H-TLR) AND clinchers (H-CL). That gives you the slick Strada Bianca in 30, 36 & 40mm, the Almanzo (old Grifo XS) in 33mm, the grippy shoulder Gravel Grinder (aka Chicane) in 33 & 36mm, and the fast-rolling Getaway in 36 & 40mm.
We’ve also been teased that the giant gravel slick Strada Bianca should also add a 45mm option around the beginning of 2022.