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Challenge’s New Baby Limus CX Tire Officially Becomes the Flandrien

Challenge Team Edition Flandrien tubular logo
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Last year at the USA Cyclocross Nationals, we noticed a no-name tire in the corner of the Challange Tires booth, curiously dubbed the “New Baby Limus.” After some questions and speaking with athletes, we came to find this was the first tire Challenge developed with then Cyclocross (now XC Mountain) World Champion Tom Pidcock.

Challenge Flandrien Tubular — What is it?

Challenge’s goal with the new Flandrien tire was to provide riders a tire with traction and control that can cover a broad range of conditions.

The Challenge Flandrien tire is a tweak on the Baby Limus tread. Yes, the Baby Limus has already gone through some changes, knob height for one and spacing for another. But this time, the aim is on the side knobs, taken directly from the Challenge deep mud Limus tire. If the Baby Limus had a weak point, the side knob could be it. The knobs are great for mud but are slow, and the orientation crowds the tread, creating places for mud to stick and not shed quickly.

The new side knob profile is open to shed mud, sharp to dig into the earth, and wraps nicely around the casing to offer grip while bouncing around in the ruts. The updated tread features a tightly spaced center to maximize rolling efficiency and a paddle knob to keep the deep-seated pedaling grip while churning through the mud.

The new Flandrien tread comes paired with the Challenge Team Edition casing. This 320 TPI core-spun casing is the second tier (and most attainable) in the Challenge lineup, only second to the SETA Silk casing. The Team Edition casing is the right mix of robust and supple, plus it comes in both Red and White side walls (though the Challenge Flandrien is only available in white at the moment).

Challenge Flandrien vs. Baby Limus

So, is the Baby Limus now obsolete? No — not at all. Though the Challenge Flandrien does offer some great improvements to the tread, the Baby Limus is a great all-around option. This new option makes it tough to decide what tread to run on a slightly wet or drying course. Challenge riders can now choose between the Grifo, Baby Limus, and Flandrien — in that order, of track saturation.

Because we’ve had limited race time on the new Challenge Flandrien, we contacted our buddy (and Challenge athlete) Adam Myerson, who has been riding it for a while, for some insight. Like why Challenge would need to improve on the Baby Limus and what conditions he thinks best suit the Flandrien.

Myerson: “I was handed a set of Flandriens on a Tuesday last December. I was so excited about them that I glued them up and won 50+ nationals on them two days later. Sometimes, the Grifo isn’t quite enough; sometimes, the Baby Limus is too much. The “New Baby Limus” is the perfect fast mud tire, especially when dealing with rutty conditions.”

Challenge Flandrien Tubular Weight and Impressions

The Challenge Flandrien comes in at a respectable 432g in the Team Edition casing. The tire feels very well crafted, and the edge between the tread and casing is tight. We find that the meeting between the tread and the casing on most handmade tubular tires is a tough spot to keep bonding adhesion. The craftsmanship and consistency on the new Flanderien tire are top-notch from anything we’ve seen in tubulars.

First Ride Impressions

I got a few rides on the Challenge Flanderien tires around our local course. The Team Edition casing is a very supple starting point for a new tread kick-off. It’s been a while since I’ve ridden a high-end tubular around, I’ve mostly been rolling the Challenge Red TE Grifos (read our review here), and the sensation is striking. The grip, the suspension, and the ride quality all blow clinchers out of the water (sorry clinchers). However, my favorite part about riding tubulars is the feel in the corners and through uneven terrain. That grip and squish of the tire conform to all the ground underneath. That loose feeling can be weird at first, but once you harness it, you can take advantage of coasting through technical sections without a death grip on the bars.

During our limited time on the Flanderien tire, I felt very confident, especially while in the wooded sections of our track. The side knobs are still pretty large, so they aren’t the best in the super dry grass crit courses, but they are an upgrade on a course with any moisture. The tightly spaced centerline tread rolls fast on the pavement, grass, and mud. I especially like the clearing power of the Flanderien tire. When riding actively in the mud, the tread is open and finds grip. When on a transitional piece of the course (like dry grass or pavement), the mud falls off thanks to the open mid-shoulder. I can’t wait to get this tire rolling at a proper muddy race and stack it against my favorites.

Technical Details — Challenge Flandrien

  • Construction: Handmade Tubular
  • Series: Team Edition
  • Size: 33mm
  • Weight: 432g (tested)
  • TPI: 320 Corespun Cotton
  • Compound: SMART Soft
  • Colors: White
  • MSRP: $119.99
  • Limited Availability September 1st

For more information on Challenge Tires, check out Challengetires.com

Look for a full review soon, and check out our Best Cyclocross Tires for answers to all your CX questions.

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Nick
Nick
7 months ago

all the photos seem decent quality except the all-important side-by-side comparison which really doesnt show the differences very well.

tertius_decimus
tertius_decimus
7 months ago

MSRP: $119.99

Ahahah. Haha. HAHAHAHAHA.

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