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Review – Challenge Limus Team Edition S 33mm Cyclocross Tubulars

In short: When Pros are putting in special requests for unbranded Limus’ on the muddiest of days it’s no wonder we found the Limus excelled in the muddiest of conditions.

With the wet weather finally arriving, mud is now expected for the majority of the remaining CX season. This means riders will be looking to maximise traction on the bike in order to minimise time spent off it, therefore aggressively treaded mud tyres, like the Challenge Limus will be the most common selection for the Pro riders.

The Challenge Limus tyre has been around for a fair few years now, however we were lucky enough to get our hands on the brand new Team Edition S3 model to put it through its paces.

Review - Challenge Limus Team Edition S 33mm Cyclocross Tubulars

The first thing to mention is that all of Challenges tubular selection are available in open tubular models too. These can be mounted to a standard clincher rim and can provide excellent ride feel, speed and traction compared to a standard clincher tyre. Of the big 3 tyre manufacturers: Dugast, FMB and Challenge, it is only currently Challenge who offer open tubular models – therefore allowing those riders who still run clincher setups to use quality CX tyres.

The Dugast Rhino has long been the favourite choice for the Pro’s, however in recent years the Limus model has becoming increasingly popular. We’ve seen Sven and Thibau Nys riding Challenge, amongst other big name riders.

What really caught our eye though was at this years super muddy World Championships in Valkenberg 3 out of the 5 races were won by riders on the Limus and we even heard rumours of a certain Mathieu Van der Poel having requested a special delivery of Limus tyres for the big event!

Review - Challenge Limus Team Edition S 33mm Cyclocross Tubulars
Poor Quality – but that’s certainly a Limus tread on Van der Poel’s Canyon

The first impressions of mounting the tyre onto our test rims clearly showed the severity of the Limus’ aggressive tread. It’s not always you have sore hands having mounted tubulars, however I guess it could be a good thing showing us just how much grip the tyres have! The process was also made much easier thanks to the Team Editions new softer sidewall, featuring 320 threads per inch allowing the tyre to comfortably roll onto our test rim.

The new sidewall also offers additional protection from wear and tear thanks to Challenges new factory installed protective layer, helping increase durability and keeping those cotton sidewalls looking clean after some muddy races!

The new sidewall technology also offers a significant improvement in performance, especially when run at lower pressures. Challenge recommends PSI of 23-90 for the Limus, however as most cross riders know riders opt for the bare minimum when it comes to tyre pressure in the mud, in order to maximise grip, and we got our test pair down to as low as 16 PSI without issue (60kg test rider).

The ride feel at lower pressures was also a noticeable difference, thanks to the corespun sealed sidewall and 320 TPI the tyre behaved predictably at these lower pressures eliminating the feeling the tyre may roll off the rim in the corners.

Review - Challenge Limus Team Edition S 33mm Cyclocross Tubulars

Although the Limus does feature a super aggressive tread, which does roll slightly slower than the Grifo model (designed for faster grassy courses) a Latex inner tube helps reduce rolling resistance and allows speed to be maintained in the straights.

The Limus features one of the deepest treads on the market which allowed us to survive longer without the tyres clogging up with mud compared to other brands, whilst also being able to dig deeper into the soft stuff to provide traction when in other circumstances the wheel may have spun out.

The Limus tread is somewhat more different to the likes of FMB’s Super Mud offering, however with all the recent success of riders on Challenges’ Limus, time will tell if other brands follow Challenges lead with re-engineered mud treads.

Limus vs Super Mud
Left – Challenge Limus | Right – FMB Super Mud

 

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Mid Term Review: Forme Calver SLC Carbon Cyclocross Bike

Thanks to Cadence Images for the photography, and VOID for providing us with some lovely kit for the photos

At the start of the season we were lucky enough to receive a brand new Forme Calver SLC Crossbike to test out for the season. After some early season racing here are our first impressions:

“Having only ridden high-end cantilever cross bikes prior to this season, I was excited to test out this new offering from Forme.

Forme Carbon Calver SLC Cyclocross Bike Review by @Cyclocrosss

This is Forme’s high end Carbon Disc Brake CX race machine fully kitted out for the serious racer with Shimano’s new Dura Ace Di2 9170 Hydraulic Groupset, and as ridden by multiple British CX Champion Ian Field and his Neon Velo teammates.

Our build came as a full bike, however a frameset only option is available, to suit cross racer’s preferences and budget.

Forme Carbon Calver SLC Cyclocross Bike Review by @Cyclocrosss
Photo: Cadence Images | Kit: Void Fall Jersey

Immediately the lightweight setup provided super straight line acceleration, whilst the stiff bottom bracket and laterally stiff rear triangle seemed to deliver all the power to the rear wheel. I first rode this at the National Trophy at Derby, surprising myself by leading out the race from the gun taking the holeshot. The main frame angles seem race oriented, in particular the front fork allowed me to keep the ride aggressive in the corners and the longish wheelbase on the 56 cm frame meant I could keep things stable at speed.

Forme Carbon Calver SLC Cyclocross Bike Review by @Cyclocrosss
Photo: Cadence Images | Kit: Void Armour Jersey’s

This bike came with a tubeless set up which needs some practice to get right, riding very differently to tubulars I recommend giving the tyre pressures plenty of practice before race day to avoid mishaps. That said the Mavic Ksyrium wheels are strong and light, and could cope with everything I threw at them!

Thanks to Forme’s updated geometry the ride inspires confidence and the bike feels bombproof, which is just what you need if you are hopping the hurdles in a race or tackling dry ruts and bumpy fields at speed.

Forme Carbon Calver SLC Cyclocross Bike Review by @Cyclocrosss
Photo: Cadence Images | Kit: Void WindJacket

While I have yet to ride the frame in the mud, the clearance looks to be good with a high seat stay bridge and thin seat stays which seem to offer a good soft ride with vertical compliance given the stiffness mentioned earlier.

Other areas of notice included the through axles keeping things stiff at the rear end of the bike, as well as helping with tracking the front end and obviously the added security of having your wheels securely locked into the frameset. In addition to this, as expected on a race ready frame, internal cable routing helps improve durability and provides a clean finish to the Frame.

Forme Carbon Calver SLC Cyclocross Bike Review by @Cyclocrosss

It is evident that Forme have put extensive time and effort into the design of this bike, with the top tube shape allowing for easier shouldering and most importantly the bottom bracket is threaded meaning there is no creaking, maintenance is easy and there is increase compliance in the BB area.

As expected the Di2 has been faultless and the frameset gives me every confidence it can tackle a heavy winter ahead with ease”

Photo: Cadence Images | Kit: Void Fall Jersey

More information about the new Calver SLC, including where to purchase the bike, can be found here

Words by Alec Gregory

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First Look: Van der Poel’s Secret to Success? 4Gold Nutrition

Mathieu Van der Poel and Gold. Two things commonly associated. Van der Poel does not settle for silver and neither do 4Gold who’s unique brand motto is #DontSettleForSilver

We were contacted through our website a few weeks ago by a Belgian CX Fan, who looked to share with us his reason why he thought Van der Poel had been so dominant this year in Cyclocross.

The margins between winning and losing in sport are often very small, and hence riders look for every marginal gain to increase their performance.

We were pointed in the way of 4Gold.be, a new nutrition company, with great experience.

It turns out Ex-Pro Brent Luyckx and former motocross rider Axel Roelants joined forces with Mathieu Van der Poel to create a high-quality sports drink and nutritional range, which launched this season.

We’ve all heard of MVDP, however it is too Brent and Axel who bring great knowledge to the brand. Luyckx, not so long ago, was a very promising rider himself, together with ex-motocrosser Roelants and cross phenomenon Mathieu Van der Poel seem to have formed the perfect combination. “After more than a year and a half of long days and short nights it is finally, Mathieu Van der Poel, Axel Roelants and I who proudly introduce our food supplement company 4Gold.” explained Luyckx.

Luyckx, who is only 23, was forced to end his career early caused by Crohn’s disease, which affected his intestines. This motivated Brent to strive for the perfect sports nutrition: “During my career, I felt that there was still a lot of improvement in terms of supplementation, so the idea of ​​4Gold has grown to where we are now, namely helping with achieving the dreams of other athletes.”

There is already a wide range of products available specifically for a cyclocross rider. The range includes Pre and Post race drinks as well as Carbo Electrolyte drinks for which maybe were found in the bottle of Mathieu during the early season races!?

A further range is in development with additional energy bars and supplements, and recently a range of special performance coffee has been added to give you that extra recovery benefit.

As a team of professional athletes 4Gold were quick to realise that there are lots of different factors which determine what of, and how much you need to consume. As a result, thanks to extensive research and testing a table can be found on their website suggesting exact qualities and quantities of each product to be consumed depending on your own unique circumstances, such as your type of sport, your height, temperature etc.

And obviously with the extensive drug testing top riders such as Mathieu are subject to, the focus on drug-free food is also present, with products batch tested and batch numbers of purchased products available with information on the site.

More information on 4Gold can be found here

Image result for 4gold

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Review – Challenge Grifo Team Edition S 33mm Cyclocross Tubulars

In short: Excellent all round CX tubulars with the proven Grifo Tread, a super soft sidewall, 320TPI casing and a new factory installed sidewall protection.

With us now entering November, and the course conditions softening up, the pros hang up their file-treads and opt for the Grifo Style Pattern.

We glued up a set of Challenge Grifo Team Edition S 33mm Cyclocross Tubular Tyres to see for ourselves why so many athletes are opting for the Grifo as an all round tyre.

First impressions of the new Team Edition S3 super soft sidewall were impressive, with the supple sidewall allowing for the tyres to easily be mounted to our test rims.

The new sidewall also offers additional protection from wear and tear with a new factory installed protective layer, preventing the sidewalls from rotting as fast increasing the tyres durability. That being said, the team edition cotton sidewalls won’t last as well as the basic ‘Grifo Pro’ Model which features a cheaper, less subtle, 300 TPI Super Polly casing compared to the Team Editions 320 TPI Corespun Sealed sidewall.

The new Team Edition sidewall offers a noticeable improvement in performance and feel, compared to the cheaper Grifo Pro Model, however we found the cheaper model to be slightly more durable. That being said, when compared to other big brands the Challenge Range offers excellent durability in comparison and the Team Edition S will still be going strong after a seasons use.

Another benefit of the high TPI (threads per inch) count offered by Challenge is that the feeling of the tyre rolling underneath you in the corners when run at low pressures is almost eliminated. This allowed us to corner at greater speed thanks to a more predictable ride feel.

Challenge sticks with the traditional proven Grifo Tread which offers a combination of different size knobs to allow for low rolling resistance whilst providing traction in the faster corners. The tyres also feature a latex inner tube sewn by hand into the tubulars in Challenges Italian Factory. This combination provides excellent all round speed for the faster grassier courses. The Grifo tread pattern clears mud very well so is also suitable for slippy conditions when others treads may begin to clog up, although if you are looking for something with a more aggressive tread for those really muddy days you should opt for the Limus model, which was ridden to multiple victories in Valkenberg earlier this year at the World Championships.

The main reason why we preferred the Grifo to its rivals such as the Dugast Typhoon and FMB Sprint is the additional side knobs on the very edge of the tyre. We found these provided extra traction when the bike was lent over in the turns and didn’t cost us any straight line speed. This allowed us to still be able to run our intermediate ‘all round’ Grifo tyres on days other racers had to bring out the mud tubs.

Challenge Grifo Tread vs Dugast Typhoon
Left – Challenge Grifo – Right Dugast Typhoon

Finally all Challenge Tyres are also available as Open Tubulars which fit on a standard clincher rim. This allows you to run both the same treads on training and race wheels, and although tubulars for cyclocross provide a massive benefit compared to a clincher tyre, the new Clincher Pro series paired with a Challenge Latex CX Tube helped us bridge the gap in performance between a tubular and clincher setup.

Technical features

Use: Cross Racing: All Around Soft Pack
Size: 28″
Tire Width: 33 mm
Internal Rim Width: 15-19 mm
Weight: 405 gr
TPI: 320
Bead:
Casing: Corespun SEALED
Flat

protection:

PPS
BAR: 1.6-6
PSI: 23-90 – we ran ours as low as 16 PSI
Inner tube: latex
Color: Black-White
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Review: GripGrab Raptor Gloves

Wout Van Aert, Marianne Vos, Tom Pidcock… All multiple World Champions and all with something in common. The GripGrab Raptor gloves have been around for a few years now and have enjoyed plenty of success – we thought it would be good to see why so many athletes are opting for the Raptor Gloves in Cyclocross.

WVA GripGrab
Photo: GripGrab / @naimawieczorreck

 

GripGrab, based in the cold climate of Denmark, clearly know how to make a warm glove and this was immediately evident in near freezing temperatures endured during testing, but these are a race glove so although warmth is key for Cyclocross we were confident these could be worn in races all year round, so have focused more on the specific details of the design.

As you’d expect with Grip in the company name, the grip on our muddy handlebars was exceptional, thanks to rubber printing on the palm, fingers and thumb making sure your fingers don’t slip off the bars or levers which was summed up by the brands motto ‘Never lose your Grip’. Hidden from the outside, the InsideGrip™ technology features silicon grips located inside the glove which are claimed to improve friction between glove and palm, making the glove work like a second skin with an unprecedented grip. The fingertips incorporate the same approach and ensures grip to the brake levers and gear shifters.

We too were impressed with the breathability, with the slip-in cuff allowing easy removal at the end of a muddy race, whilst the breathable softshell back allowed air to reach our hands even during high intensity races, yet the windproof design preventing that horrible feeling of wind rushing through your hands.

With ourselves located in the U.K, the typical British Winter provided us with some ideal rainy test conditions. Although the glove is not fully waterproof, we were impressed by how dry our hands kept, and linking back to the impressive warmth avoided us suffering from any cold hands during testing.

Finally a few nice additional features such as the sweat wiper and no padding again show why the Raptor Glove is tailored to suit Cyclocross Racers. We were also a fan of the Touch Screen Compatibility – allowing us to get some photos whilst still keeping our hands warm and dry!

 

More information at https://www.gripgrab.com/products/raptor-1

 

GripGrab Raptor Cyclocross Glove Review
Product Testing
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Review – Suplest Edge/3 Pro Cyclocross Shoes

As the cross season beckons we take the chance to review our first Cyclocross specific product of the season – the Edge Pro 3 Shoes from Swiss Shoe Company Suplest.

Suplest pride themselves as the smallest premium cycling shoe brand on earth, yet strive to create the best performing shoes both through comfort and functionality…

The first thing to note was the price, €349 / £300 seems expensive for a pair of shoes, yet when compared to other high performance rivals the price seems on par for a ‘top of the range’ shoe and it is fair to say we felt we got what we paid for with the  Edge/3 Pro shoes from Suplest!

Delivery was fast, and with a range of worldwide dealers, as well as a web shop ( http://www.suplest-shop.com ) the shoes are available across the globe and the shoes came professionally packaged.

Also included in the box was a nice Suplest Shoe bag for transport, as well as a range of studs for when the conditions turn slippy.

A stud spanner was also included which is a nice touch, however we left our test pair studless once we saw the impressive underside of the shoe, providing incredible grip even in the muddiest of conditions.

Sizing is something always debated on when purchasing a new pair of shoes, and having previously used an EU44 with both Specialized and Sidi, the 44 had a perfect fit and thanks to the closure system from Boa, we were able to obtain a snug fit in both thin summer, and thick winter socks.

The Boa dials make sure your feet are locked firmly in the shoes, and the new pull up to quick release feature came in handy when muddy hands were unable to grip the dials – a common problem with many other shoes on the market.

Structurally the shoes were extremely strong, with a unique micro-fibre material providing plenty of protection from the elements, whilst flex for running, yet the power transfer felt excellent through our small SPD cleats. The shoes weight in at a mere 330g (EU42) significantly less than other competition.

Overall we have been extremely pleased with the Edge/3 Pro from Suplest, and when compared to our previous pairs of Sidi and Specialized S-Works shoes would consider these a more than worthy upgrade. Afterall Suplest only create Cycling Shoes and strive to do so at the highest level – we feel this has definitely been achieved with the Edge/3 Pro!

Specification

Sizes:  EU 39-47 including 42.5, 43.5, 44.5

Colours: Black/Red or White/Fluro

Compatibility: SPD, Look, Time and Crankbrothers

Price: €349

Buy now at: http://suplest-shop.com/produkte/schuhe/crosscountry-series.html

Thanks for reading our very first review!

We hope to have many more products to test soon – feel free to contact us if you would like to see your product tested  😀