The new Gravel Grinder from Challenge. © Cyclocross Magazine

The new Gravel Grinder from Challenge. © Cyclocross Magazine

We saw hints of it at Frostbike, and grabbed a quick look at NAHBS 2014 but it’s official: Challenge has added the Gravel Grinder in three forms: clincher, tubular and open tubular, giving you the choice of suppleness or durability. The Tubular and Open Tubular are available in a 36mm width using  300TPI SuperPoly casing, while the vulcanized clincher, intended to be the tool of choice for racers taking on more aggressive conditions, is available in a 38mm width in both 120 and 60TPI nylon casings. “While our current gravel offerings address racers’ needs on moderate courses,” the company stated, “we were eager to find a robust solution for conditions particularly tough on tires.”

Challenge has been committed to offering tires for cyclists interested in riding more than just pristine pavement for a long time, with tires like the Parigi Roubaix, the Strada Bianca and then with the Almanzo before this Gravel Grinder option.

The three iterations of gravel for Challenge. © Cyclocross Magazine

The three iterations of gravel for Challenge. © Cyclocross Magazine

They explain, “Since releasing our original gravel tire, the Almanzo, we learned that the length of endurance gravel races, paired with the extreme terrain, demands more from tires than short-format cyclocross races. This led to our using progressively more robust casing materials and longer lasting rubber compounds. We added our Double Puncture Protection System (PPS2) and extra volume for additional float, comfort and durability. The Gravel Grinder is a function of our commitment to leading the charge in gravel and being at the forefront of the technology. ”

For those who think the tread looks familiar, like the recently introduced Challenge Chicane, Challenge’s Emmily Zinn explains, “Superficially, it’s borrowed from the Chicane, but at low pressures on the Chicane, the side knobs hit the ground in a straight line. The idea with this one is that you just have that file touching in a straight line but if the conditions shift [or your bike in a turn], there is a bit of heft on the edges.”

Challenge’s Gravel Grinder vulcanized clinchers will be available in June and the Tubulars and Open Tubulars will be available in July through international distributors and local retailers.

We also heard rumors of a new ’cross tread to be released later in the summer, so stay tuned.

Gravel Grinder Specs:

Handmade Tubular and Open Tubular

  • Casing: 300TPI SuperPoly
  • Bead (Open Tubular): Aramid, folding
  • Inner tube (Tubular): seamless latex with removable presta valve core
  • Puncture protection: PPS2 (Double Puncture Protection System)
  • MSRP: $118.99 (tubular); $83.99 (open tubular)

 Vulcanized Clincher

  • Casing: Available in both 120TPI and 60TPI Nylon
  • Bead: Aramid, folding
  • Puncture protection: PPS (Puncture Protection Strip)
  • MSRP: $47.99 (38mm); $37.99 (28mm)

Check back for a review as we put these tires through the paces gravel grinding this season!

Check out all of our tech goodies from Sea Otter 2014, and keep checking as we start to get rolling into the long weekend.