Criterium racers, Challenge has a new tyre just for you

A close up of the hot patch on a Challenge Criterium RS tyre
(Image credit: Will Jones)

Challenge Tires is always good for some exciting new product news in the halls of the Eurobike trade show, and 2022 is no different, as the Italian brand has this year used the show to launch a trio of new tyres. 

Catering to gravel and road cyclists alike, the new launches include an update to the popular Gravel Grinder gravel tyre, a new width option for the Strada Bianca, and an all-new high-performance tyre for racers, the Criterium RS. 

A black sidewall Challenge Criterium RS tyre

(Image credit: Will Jones)

Criterium racers rejoice

Starting with the latter, Challenge says the Criterium RS tyre aims to "enhance the perfect mix of speed, grip, and durability," while also "providing refined control and shock absorption capabilities thanks to its handmade construction." It is available in a choice of two constructions. The first is tubular, while the second - no doubt more relevant to most people reading this - is a hookless-compatible tubeless clincher. It is constructed using a core-spun cotton casing with 350 TPI (threads per inch), complete with Challenge Tires' own 'Smart Prime' rubber compound. 

High TPI counts are regularly associated with a supple ride, but are also often connected to a fragile tyre that will wear and puncture easily. To counteract this, the Criterium RS is fitted with 'PPS Ganzo' fabric, which is described as a highly flexible, tight weave fabric that sits beneath the tread to offer puncture resistance without losing the supple ride feel. 

The result, Challenge claims, is one of the lowest rolling resistance tyres on the market, and the best road bike tyre in the brand's range for criterium racers. It will be available to buy in October, in a choice of 25 or 27mm, complete with a choice of black or white sidewalls, at $94.99 / €84.90 per tyre. 

A tan sidewall Challenge Strada Bianca tyre

(Image credit: Will Jones)

 Strada Bianca gets wider

Next up, Challenge's popular Strada Bianca handmade tubeless ready (H-TLR) tyre has gained some girth with a new, wider option. Already comprising 30, 33, 36 and 40mm widths, Challenge has added a new 45mm option to cater to the ever-widening tyre trends. 

Pitched as the tyre designed to take you over rough pavement, cobbles, sandy or hardpack fields, and dry rocky terrain, the tyre's Strada Bianca name translates to 'white road'. This is in reference to the unpaved Italian gravel road terrain for which the tyre was originally designed, as seen each Spring at the popular Strade Bianche WorldTour race. 

Besides the width, the new tyre remains unchanged from the existing Strada Bianca options, and as such is complete with SmartPlus compound with its gravel-specific herringbone tread pattern, 260TPI polyester casing, Corazza Armor for sidewall protection and stability, as well as the same PPS Ganzo puncture protection strip as the Criterium RS above. 

The 45mm Strada Bianca will weigh 550g per tyre, and will be available in a choice of black or tan sidewalls at €77.90 / $88.90. Like the Criterium RS, it will go on sale in October. 

A tan sidewall Challenge Gravel Grinder tyre

(Image credit: Will Jones)

Gravel Grinder 2023

The third and final launch of the day is in the form of an update to the Gravel Grinder, Challenge's popular gravel tyre which is a feature in our guide to the best gravel tyres.  

The central strip of diamond-shaped tread remains the same as before, but on either side, the transition and shoulder knobs have been enlarged and stiffened, with a smoother transition from the central strip to create an increase in cornering predictability, traction and off-road grip. 

The tyre comes with many of the same features as the Strada Bianca above. This includes the same 260TPI polyester, SmartPlus compound and Corazza Armor, with the same PPS Ganzo strip of puncture protection fabric. 

The Gravel Grinder will be available in September, in a choice of 33, 36 or 40mm and black or tan sidewalls. It will be priced at $89.99 / €77.90.

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