Friday, January 09, 2015

Challenge criterium sc-series / mythical tyres

I just received my new Challenge criterium clincher tires. Of course I prefer my Challenge criterium tubulars but in this bad weather this is the next best thing. I really like the super supple tan sidewalls; they give your bike a very racy look. Best of all is that I always considered Challenge to be a mythical brand. I really like to be surrounded with mythical things in my life.

Challenges racing tubulars are still made by hand, one at a time. The backstory on Challenge is that it's the recreation of the old Clement tire brand. Clement was moved out of Italy to Thailand by its parent company, Pirelli, and abandoned. The people who imported the tires in Italy, and the people who ran the factory in Thailand, then got together to provide the legendary Clement quality in a modern package. The Challenge Criterium 320 Tubular stands at the top of its current collection, providing the same quality and precision that's made it the preferred choice of professional cyclists year after year.

Challenge makes its silk casings using the same machines and labor-intensive processes perfected by Clement. The silk casing is still the preferred tubular material, as it's finer and more supple than either cotton or polyester. It could almost be considered 900 threads per inch (TPI), but the casing is constructed differently, which means that the count isn't quite accurate. A fine silk casing is the best option for road racing because it means more of the tread contacts the ground, providing the best traction and 'feel' of the road surface.

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