Challenge has just announced that it has designed a range of new tyres. After their first vulcanized tubeless tyre, they've managed to make their handmade tyres tubeless too. We headed over to their stand at EuroBike to learn more.
The headline is that they've created a tubeless tubular, an idea that has been done before, but not with the beautiful cotton casings that we can see here.
The technology behind the new tyres is Handmade Tubeless Ready or HTLR for short. For the tubulars, the latex inner tube is removed and replaced by a latex coating on the inside of the tyre. Challenge is also using the ETRTO standard for tubeless fitting, news that will certainly please those of us that have struggled with tyre/rim combos in the past.
The tubeless tubular is aimed, you might be surprised to learn, at the gravel racing market, where punctures are rather common. The idea is that racers who suffer a puncture too large for the sealant to fix, can use a plug to quickly get going again. This, combined with the lighter weight of tubular rims and the extra suppleness of the high tpi cotton casings, is meant to provide the ultimate solution for racers.
But it's not just gravel tubulars that Challenge is treating to their HTLR technology. A range of their road clinchers have also been updated with the Strada 25mm, Paris Roubaix 27mm, and Strada Bianca 30mm all getting the tubeless treatment. The Almanzo and Gravel Grinder tyres also now come with the newest tubeless technology.
An Aramid bead protection strip covers the tubeless bead to protect the area against sharp rims and bare carbon. The high thread-count of the cotton casing keeps the tyres very supple and when Stefan Wyman showed us the new rubber, it was interesting to feel the amount of give in the tread compared to a conventional tubeless tyre.
This suppleness is meant to improve the tyres ability to deform over rough terrain, improving comfort, grip and rolling resistance. We're keen to test this for ourselves so look out for the review.
Challenge owner Alex Brauns said, “It has been our goal to be at the
forefront of truly handmade tubeless-ready products for a long time but the industry
standards had not been defined. With new ETRTO and soon ISO standards in place,
we are proud to lead the way with our unique, artisan HTLR products that we believe
deliver the best possible ride in terms of performance, handling and comfort.”
We've been promised a range of tyres for testing, so we'll have to brush-up on tubular glueing protocol!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. After joining the road.cc staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.