Cross is Cancelled – Get your Gravel on!

Don’t let your cross race bike sit on the peg this winter, “get your gravel on” and keep that bike a working part of your winter quiver. We got the lowdown from Rory at Upgrade about the best tyres for the upcoming months…

If you are a cross racer with Tubs then you are now hanging up your race wheels until next season, but that’s no reason for the bike not to be enjoyed. Swap out to a set of clincher wheels with tubeless tyre set up and open up the fun this winter.

Challenge Tires are well known for their performance CX tyres and racing athletes but its worth looking at the extensive range they offer that covers you for winter road conditions. Here are two great options that will fit your cross bike frame.

Gravel Grinder TLR 38mm is a effectively a wider version of the classic fast rolling Chicane cross tyre and is available in a TLR (Tube Less Ready) option. Constructed as a vulcanised (rubberised side walls) clincher it’s light at 375g and the 120tpi construction gives you the benefit of that comfort and grip when running lower tubeless pressures. In the narrower 38mm version (42mm also available) comes in a custom looking Brown sidewall colour, or black, and is recommended to be used with Challenge Smart Sealant that has long lasting properties that reduce “balling or drying”, especially after CO2 is used.

Srp £56

Strada Bianca  TLR 36mm is a great way to convert your cross bike into a fast rolling winter road machine. Going higher volume on the road adds huge grip and feeling of security in the corners as well as getting you out of trouble on the bad surfaces that winter tarmac can throw at you. Come the spring it will also work well as a light gravel tyre. Challenge’s natural rubber compound is super grippy in bad conditions and the tight chevron tread pattern extends far round the tyre for surefooted handling when cornering.

The TLR version comes in black sidewall and rides light with its 120tpi casing. I you prefer that tan look then there is also a handmade Tubeless version for an even more supple ride.

Srp £56


Clincher tyres from Challenge are organised into product families:

Vulcanised Tubeless Ready (TLR) – moulded clincher tyres that can be run with sealant with excellent compliance in category

Handmade Tubeless Ready (HTLR) – lighter construction casing for greater compliance and ride quality

Vulcanised Clinchers (RACE) – moulded tyres with rubberised sidewalls, cheaper and functional

Handmade Clinchers (PRO) – supple SuperPoly case construction with Aramid bead and puncture protection options


Words and pictures supplied by Rory at Upgrade. Intro by Glen Whittington. Main photo by Charles Woollam. Additional photos by Challenge.