Challenge has updated all of their Team Edition tubular cyclocross tires with all new coatings and cotton casings. The primary change is in the tread with a new compound and durometer, and they some also got a change in thickness of the base rubber. The new rubber is softer and grippier, but lasts just as long. That lets you run lower pressure for better cornering grip, and it’ll be more supple for better overall traction while still being just as fast on the straights.
The coating on the sides used to be a latex formula, and would wear faster, so many riders would put an aqua seal on it. The new coating is still latex based, but is thinner, more UV resistant and more durable. It’s also more flexible and more waterproof.
Overall, weights stayed within 5-10 grams of the originals, but are generally a bit lighter because of the thinner coating. They’re already in production and shipping to distributors, so should be available by end of April. Pricing says the same.
The new casing is on the top, original on the bottom. We could feel the difference, with the new version being softer and more pliable in every direction.
Along with the new casings comes the Challenge Dune, an all-new tread pattern made for deep sand events like the Koksijde UCI World Cup race in Belgium. It’s a file tread design that’s way more open than the Chicane, so it’s going to float over the loose sand rather than channel it into the center since there are no real side knobs. They say their sponsored pros are running it at lower pressures, too, which really helps with flotation.
It’ll come in a 700×33 size with the new Team Edition 320tpi Corespun Cotton casing. Inside is their PPS1 Aramid puncture protection system and a latex tube. Weight is 450g on our scale. Price is $129 / €99. It’s a tubular only for now, but they’ll likely have a clincher version ready before ‘cross season starts this fall.
New colors options are available at OEM for the Challenge Elite open tubular (aka Clincher) and other models. They’ve already offered a red sidewall on their mountain bike tubular tire in the past, so these are just new hues available for OEM spec.