Heavy duty tyres that'll get the job done no matter where you want to ride
Decent tyres will set you back a few quid, but as the only contact point between you and the road it is an integral part of your bike set-up - and should never be just an afterthought.
At the end of the day, crap tyres are crap tyres. Some people like to say life’s too short to ride sh*t bikes. That’s right. But life’s definitely too short to spend time in the hospital after bailing out on a corner because your tyres don’t grip well enough.
Challenge’s Paris-Roubaix Open Tubular tyres cost north of £50, but you get plenty of bang for your buck. And plenty of width too, for that matter. If you want to follow the trend for wider rubber, Challenge only offer the Paris-Roubaix in 27mm. They’re big, they’re chunky and they have a 300tpi casing meaning they’re surprisingly supple for something so substantial.
Italian brand Challenge have earned a reputation as a manufacturer of quality tyres across the spectrum and the ‘open tubulars’ here are actually clinchers. They’re an open version of Challenge’s eponymous tubulars, in fact, and weigh in at 325g. They’re not light, but then you wouldn’t buy these if you want to fly up climbs.
They’re big, they’re chunky and they have a 300tpi casing meaning they’re surprisingly supple for something so substantial
They have been built instead to see you over challenging terrain. As the name suggests, that includes cobbles and they’ve also been touted as a great option for gravel racing.
Better than that, though, the high thread count casing is backed up by a double puncture protection system, meaning the high quality shouldn’t mean a high puncture count as well.
We put them to the test on that front earlier in the year and, in the interests of doing the job throroughly gave them a real test.
We were over in Belgium at the time and, having just climbed the Koppenberg, wanted to get back to the bottom. Now anyone who’s ridden the Koppenberg can tell you the route back to the bottom is rather long. We didn’t fancy riding back down (seriously, it’s not a good idea) so perhaps unwisely decided to take a left about 100 metres after the top, down a track and through the woods.
Halfway through the woods, we found that it was somewhat muddier than we’d thought and although we were caked in mud and the bike was filthy, the tyres held firm even though they had all manner of rocks and sticks stuck to them. You can’t argue with that.
Oh, and these - like Bontrager’s Open Tubulars have gumwall sidewalls as well. Nice.