Challenge Paris-Roubaix Race 27c clincher tyre - review - Road Cycling UK

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Challenge Paris-Roubaix Race 27c clincher tyre – review

Want a fast clincher tyre you can rely upon? The Challenge Paris-Roubaix Race is a strong option

The Paris-Roubaix Race is a new addition to the Challenge range and builds on the success of the Italian firm’s line-up of wide and tough tyres named after the Hell of the North.

The Paris-Roubaix has been a popular model for some time and, until now, has been offered in tubular and open tubular formats. We liked the super-supple, 300tpi (threads per inch) open tubular version (made like a tubular tyre but left open, like a clincher) so much that we included it in the 2016 RCUK100.

The only trouble is, it costs a weighty £58 per tyre. Now, however, Challenge have introduced a traditional clincher version bringing the price down to £40 per tyre – still premium, but in line with many other tyres. The clincher has a vulcanised construction, rather than being handmade, like Challenge’s tubular and open tubular tyres.

The Paris-Roubaix Race is a new addition to the Challenge range

The Paris-Roubaix clincher comes in two different models: the Plus and the Race. Sticking with the very Italian tradition of measuring things with odd numbers, the 27mm-wide Race we have here has a 120tpi construction and weighs 215g per tyre, compared to 60tpi and 240g for the Plus, so it should be more supple, as well as being lighter.

The Paris-Roubaix may be marked as 27mm but, in reality, stick it on an up-to-date wide rim, and it will expand to wider than this. Most of our rides with the Paris-Roubaix Plus came on the Trek Domane SLR 6 Disc, which has huge tyre clearance and Bontrager wheels with a 25.8mm outer/19.5mm inner rim width, so it’s hardly surprising comfort was impressive – but after squeezing them onto a set of similar Pro-Lite rims, we found much the same.

  • Specification

  • Price: £40 each
  • Weight: 215g
  • Website: Challenge
  • UK distributor: Paligap

Of course, as the name suggests, these tyres are designed to be used in places like the infamous Forest of Arenberg cobbled section of Paris-Roubaix, or rough roads in general, so this width is useful as you’re able to run the tyres at low pressures, increasing comfort.

While we couldn’t physically get out to the cobbled segments of the Paris-Roubaix course for this review, we did choose the roughest roads we could find around our local riding area, and can happily report very decent comfort when run at between 50-60psi on those wider rims. You don’t get that same supple, floating feeling as the open tubular tyres, but these are a chunk cheaper and ride quality is still very good.

As with many tyres in the Challenge range, puncture resistance is beefed up on the centre-strip, which has been treaded in a comprehensive zig-zag pattern for extra adhesion on slippery cobbles. Not only this, the compound is very grippy to touch, translating into superb road-hugging performance.

The zig-zag tread provides plenty of grip, but puncture protection is limited on the sidewalls

However, the puncture-resistant layer is limited to the centre strip covered by tread. That means the sidewalls are quite thin, and inevitably will be more susceptible to knicks and cuts in this area. That said, the protected centre strip does curve a good way around the edge of the tyre, so you have to get unlucky to puncture there.

What this does do though, is keep weight down. For clincher tyres like this, the 215g weight is very impressive, and as a result they’re rapid to ride on in all weathers, on all terrains, and feel very responsive when the road isn’t trying to shake you off.

Mount the Paris-Roubaix tyres on a wide rim and they blow up beyond their stated 27mm width

Besides, the lack of puncture protection in the sidewall, the only criticism we can aim at these tyres is the lack of a tan sidewall like the tubular and open tubular models – one of the coolest additions you can make to your road bike.

Conclusion

This winter we’ve also reviewed the Michelin Power All Season 25c tyre, and were very impressed with its overall performance – the Challenge Paris Roubaix is much the same, except it throws a lightweight spanner into the works. These are capable, performance-bred clincher tyres for the worst road surfaces, make no mistake.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Excellent grip
  • Impressive comfort, particularly when paired with a wide rim

Cons

  • No tan sidewall
  • No puncture protection in the sidewall

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