The 2018 Sea Otter trade show is here, and gravel tires are making quite the splash. Up today is big news from Challenge Tires.
Challenge Tires is one of the most-storied names in bike tires, but thus far, it has resisted the tubeless movement. For the 2019 model year, Challenge is acknowledging tubeless is here to stay, especially in gravel. The company is offering tubeless models of its handmade clinchers for gravel and appears to be moving that way for cyclocross as well.
First up in Challenge’s gravel movement are 700c x 38mm and 42mm tubeless-ready versions of its Gravel Grinder tread. The Gravel Grinder has the same tread as the Chicane cyclocross tire, with a fast-rolling center and side knobs for grip on rougher terrain. The smoother Strada Bianca will also be offered in a 36mm tubeless version.
Coming soon will also be 650b x 46mm tubeless-ready versions of both the Strada Bianca and Gravel Grinder. [Editor’s note: Our Instagram post from Sea Otter said they are 47mm wide, but the company’s official material says 46mm. We will work on clarifying the discrepancy.]
Although tubeless has become the norm in gravel riding, Challenge still offers its gravel treads as tubulars for riders who want to go that route. New for 2019 are a 36mm version of the Strada Bianca and a 40mm model of the Dune cyclocross tread the company is re-branding for gravel. In a nod to its gravel re-purposing, the Dune might also get a 1mm latex sidewall cover for added protection out on the road.
If you are looking for the pumped-up Dune tubular for either gravel or cyclocross, Challenge suggested a new name is likely to accompany the new volume.
The other big change coming down the pike are tubeless-ready versions of the Grifo, Limus, Baby Limus and Chicane cyclocross tires. According to Challenge, only the Dune will not be receiving the tubeless-ready makeover at this point.
Challenge will have prices for the new tires available in the U.S. on May 1st.
For more new gravel tire coverage from Sea Otter, check out the options from IRC Tires.
Stay tuned for much more coverage from the 2018 Sea Otter trade show and bike races.