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Gravel Tires Tubeless

Challenge Chicane Tubeless Gravel Tire

A few years back Challenge borrowed its own, world famous, speed cyclocross tubular tread pattern, the Chicane, for it's Gravel Grinder clincher tire. Same pattern, larger casing and you have a fantastic gravel-speed tire. With the diamond knob file tread center and it's distinctive edge tread, the UCI legal 33mm Chicane is now available as a tubeless ready tire (TLR) as Challenge has finally developed a tubeless bead they feel comfortable with and offers an advantage over their vulcanized open clincher system with a tube. TLR was made to deliver what all tubeless systems intend- create the advantage of lower pressure with no pinch flats and gain advantages in traction, grib, and surface adherence that ensures speed and the ability to carry lines that only low pressure tubular use allowed before. The difference is tubeless is easier, more durable, and much more cost effective if not quite as supple as a tubular tire can be.

The surprising aspect of the Chicane TLR it is actually more versatile than just a speed tire suited to dusty hardpack, rock or any firm terrain. Of course it delivers great speed on pavement for a cross tire, especially once it has worn a little, but it is also great on dry grass and oddly effective on ice. Many cross riders opt to use the Chicane for a rear with a more all-around tread like the Grifo up front. That means you can ride it early in the season then reinstall if for specific course conditions such as rock hard, dry frozen ground at the end of November, or break it out for an icy course the week before Christmas. We have found it to be effective in firm, wet sand as well, so once you gauge out the course and time race day schedule, you can choose the optimal tire for you. Many cross riders find a four tire rotation can get them through a season. How about a Chicane, two Grifo, and a Limas- all in TLR form?

The Chicane TLR is built around a 120 tpi Nylon casing which is supple enough for the 33mm tire. A specially shaped and reasonably flexible tubeless rubber bead it built with an aramid core, so it has some pliability for reasonable installation yet doesn't really stretch. Challenge recommends a 15-19mm internal rim width, which seems almost too narrow on the low end and too conservative on the high end but this is their tire. Mounting a 33mm tire for low pressure use is pretty ideal. If you go too narrow for the rim, you don't get the right tire shape and the footprint feels to insecure at low pressure. We have found that the Chicane TLR will set up well on a Stan's BST or BST-R rim in the 17-21mm much more easily than expected, and with successful hold and seal even at around 20-25 psi overnight, though the recommended range for use is 40-75 psi. Regardless of the width, the shorter the bead channel, the better off you are. To mount, just squeeze the mouth of the tire to get the two beads right in the center channel as you finish installing the last 3rd of the 2nd bead. If the first bead creeps on the rim shelf towards the edge, it will be much more difficult.

For protection the rubber is the only answer, along with the nylon casing. Challenge has yet to offer much more detail about the rubber itself, but early reviews demonstrated good puncture protection and tear resilience. We can only share what we know! Overall we are pleased to see Challenge bring their long-proven cyclocross tread designs to a tubeless ready tire. Often copied, but never duplicated, Challenge delivers uncommon performance that is now accessible to every rim format available.


  • Tubeless ready cyclocross tire built for speed, yet has much more to offer
  • Proven diamond knob file tread center and distinctive, confident edge tread
  • UCI legal 700x33mm tire best suited for hardpack, dry and dusty, dry grass and even ice as a season-long option
  • 120 tpi Nylon casing is supple enough, resilient in use, with some puncture protection
  • Rubber tubeless bead with aramid core offers some flexibility, minimal stretch
  • Optimized per Challenge for 15-19mm internal rim width
  • Recommended pressure range: 40-75 psi
  • Size: 700x33mm
  • Color: Black/Black
  • Weight: 355 grams