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Challenge Strada Bianca Race 33



These versatile tyres are a great way to set your bike up for off-road shenanigans

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Challenge Strada Bianca Race is a low-cost yet perfectly good fat tyre for exploring bridleways and gravel roads as well as blasting the tarmac bits in between. Just be sure your frame can take them.

Back in 2014 Dave reviewed the Strada Bianca Race and gave it 4.5/5, saying 'Out on the road they're fantastic. You can run them at hitherto-untried low pressures with little or no danger of flatting them on the potholes'. The Strada Bianca on review here is the 'Gravel' version – with a lower nylon thread count and single puncture protection strip. Challenge has a 30mm version with the same name but marked as 'Pro', with a higher thread count and double puncture protection. That one's £54, so make sure you are ordering the right model.

> Find your nearest dealer here

> Buy this online here

As you might expect of a £34 tyre, the Strada Bianca is not handmade, and unlike the high-end Challenge tyres the tread is vulcanised to the casing – basically meaning heat is used to melt it all together. This results in a stiffer rubber than the handmade, glued tread that the more expensive and more supple Challenge tyres are famed for.

The standout feature here is the size – 33mm as labelled, but on my rims they measured a whopping 35mm wide. That's probably beyond the capacity of most older road bikes unless they were specifically designed for cyclo-cross, but many modern frames should fit them now that the fat (and often tubeless) sermon from Mount Rollingresistance has been accepted as Wisdom. My 2015 Merida Ride 5000 had no problem accommodating them, but you might want to try some first if your frame is of questionable capacity.

I've found some of the flatpack higher-end Challenge tyres a real 'mare to get on, but the Strada Bianca Race mounted with no issues at all, thumbs-only. Remember to spec decent-sized tubes too – sure, your 23-25mm ones will fit, but you're leaving yourself open to increased punctures as inside a 33mm+ carcass the tube will be stretched thin.

Following accepted wisdom I ran the Strada Biancas at 45 and 35psi rear and front respectively. It struck me while doing this that those were pretty much the pressures I used to run in my Panaracer Smoke and Dart mountain bike tyres back in the day...

With such low pressures you'd think handling would be all over the place – but not so. My first ride was a training session requiring four intervals in Zone Four (meaning rather fast), including one on a slightly downhill section of road that meant I'd run out of gears (50x11) trying to keep the heart rate up. During the recovery intervals I was also re-bedding-in my disc brakes, having done a full refresh of things. This involves repeated hard braking almost to a stop, then accelerating again and repeat. Throughout this nonsense the Strada Bianca held the line, with no squirming or sidewall flex apparent.

My feeling was that the Strada Biancas didn't offer as much grip as the rather excellent Schwalbe Ones I've been running for the last year, or the Schwalbe S-Ones I reviewed recently – but they are both another £20 or more a pop.

In more quantifiable results, I set a PB on a flattish section and came a close third to my all-time PB on a damp, twisty and very fast descent, so it's safe to say the Strada Biancas aren't likely to be holding you back any.

> Check out our guide to the best road cycling tyres here

Being named after Tuscany's fabled white gravel roads and sitting in Challenge's 'Gravel' category, these tyres aren't meant to stay clean, so I headed out for a few hours of bridleway, farm track and gravel backroad fun. They were excellent over gravel at high speed – steering among and through potholes, over track ridges and in and out of grassy verges, they kept tracking and I didn't once feel the rear let go under power. There's no sidewall grip so, unsurprisingly, they slid on steep cross-angled sections – but just watch for it and have your counter-steering wits about you.

They didn't dump me in two hours of mountain bike-grade stuff – thick mud, wet grass, roots and Hampshire's notorious slimy chalk, the ultimate test for any tyre. Of course, they are not quite on par with a dedicated 35mm CX tyre with sidewall knobs, but streets ahead on sections of road between bridleway blasting.

> Find more reviews of tyres here

At £34 each, the Strada Biancas will give your road bike a new lease of life as an off-road exploratory machine that won't be lagging on the black stuff. If you can fit 'em, go get 'em.


These versatile tyres are a great way to set your bike up for off-road shenanigans test report

Make and model: Challenge Strada Bianca Race 33

Size tested: 700x33-622

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

It's a tyre for people wanting to get out and off the black stuff, but not be slowed down getting there.

Challenge says:

Rough Road, Cobbles, Big Riders, Hard Packed Dirt

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Technical features

Size: 700

Tire Width: 33 mm

Rim Width: 15-19 mm

Weight: 355 gr

TPI: 120

Bead: Aramid

Casing: Nylon

Flat protection: PPS

BAR: 4-6

PSI: 60-90

Color: Black-Black

Rate the product for quality of construction:

Well put together, well finished.

Rate the product for performance:

Fast, not squidgy despite being massive.

Rate the product for durability:

Picked up a few nicks here and there but no worse than anything else. Didn't flat.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)

Average for what they do.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)

Fat = Comfy. And despite being vulcanised, they're nice and soft.

Rate the product for value:

At £34 these are very good value.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Pretty darn good.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The size. Go Fat.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Not as grippy as premium tyres. But it's not a premium tyre.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

For the price, ease of mounting, and size, these are indeed very good. Little compromise on-road and lots of fun off-road.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 183cm  Weight: 72kg

I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling

Living in the Highlands, Mike is constantly finding innovative and usually cold/wet ways to accelerate the degradation of cycling kit. At his happiest in a warm workshop holding an anodised tool of high repute, Mike's been taking bikes apart and (mostly) putting them back together for forty years. With a day job in global IT (he's not completely sure what that means either) and having run a boutique cycle service business on the side for a decade, bikes are his escape into the practical and life-changing for his customers.

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KnightBiker | 8 years ago

I used this in the Paris-roubaix cyclosportive early june and was impressed with the ride quality.

fukawitribe | 8 years ago

@reippuert That's the second time i've come across Compass in the last month or so, having never heard of them before, both with very favourable comments - they look they have some nice stuff, will give them a look, thanks for the link.

reippuert replied to fukawitribe | 8 years ago
fukawitribe wrote:

@reippuert That's the second time i've come across Compass in the last month or so, having never heard of them before, both with very favourable comments - will give them a look, thanks for the link.

You should  1 just dont expect a 35mm wide tyre to be arodynamic. At speeds above 40km/t the windresistance is somthing you really feel.

I'm using my 35mm Compass on a DT Swiss 460db rim with 28 round spokes (on DT 180 hubs which keeps the wheelset weight at sub 1500g ex rotors).

At speeds arround  29-32 km't they are faster than my Reynold 46/66 tubulars (approx 1300g) with Vittora 27mm Pave's (approx 300g - only tad lighter than the 35mm's with vavle and 30ml of sealent) due to the almost non existing rolling resistance.

Accellerating above 33Km/t  and keeping  the pace arround 35-37km/t the deep dish Reynolds narrower tyres begins begins to feel faster - especially in moderate headwind.

Above 40km/t accelerating the deep dish Reynolds are significantly faster.

Accelerating from bellow 30km/t the 2-300g heavyer DT / 35mm wheel feels faster than the deep lighter weight Deep dish Reynolds.

Downhill the wider 35mm tyre feels faster and maintains speed better than the ligher and significantly more arodymanic ddep dish wheels - even at 40-50km/t

reippuert | 8 years ago

Time to review Compass tires if you'd want to take a serious look at high performance wide & lightweight clincher (and even tubless tyres).

Rolling resistance is redicoulus low on both tarmac, hardpack and dirt. Im curently riding  Bon John Pass extralight's - 303g, 35mm wide and tubless. The range is 26, 28, 32, 35 and 38m.They are expensive but roling resistance is über-low - non-extralights is price similar to the reviewed Challenge tyres. They are produced by pannaracer, has wopping 3mm thik thread and the extralight casings are the same as in Pannaracers (in europe rare) top tubulars. still unable to pucture after a hard rainfall on danish tarmac roads with what i belive has the highest persentige of flint in  europe.

Bought my 35mm extralight in the UK from Velovitality.

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